Section 230 Doesn’t Protect Advertising “Background Reports” on People–Lukis v. Whitepages

27 12 2020

Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
April 21, 2020

Whitepages compiles and generates “background reports” on people, remixing content from a database of public and private records that allegedly incorporates 2B+ records/month. In response to searches on people’s names, Whitepages provides free previews, such as this one included in the court opinion (this is a truncated view–it goes on for 3 pages):

Much of the free preview provides links indicating that more information about the person may be available behind Whitepages’ “premium” paywall. Thus, the plaintiffs assert that the free preview acts as advertising for the premium service.

Instant Checkmate runs a similar service to Whitepages. The interface is different, but the plaintiffs still characterize the free preview as advertising for the paywalled database.

The plaintiffs claim that the free preview violate Illinois’ publicity rights statute by displaying people’s personal data in the “ads.” The defendants moved to dismiss. This case reminded me a little of the uncited Facebook Sponsored Stories case (Fraley v. Facebook)….

Section 230. The court might have said that Section 230 doesn’t apply to publicity rights claims as IP claims (which is probably true everywhere except the 9th Circuit), and the court doesn’t address the closely analogous FTC v. Accusearch case denying Section 230 protection for the sale of telephone call records. Instead, citing the terrible 7th Circuit Huon decision, the court says “Whitepages did not act as a mere passive transmitter or publisher of information that was ‘provided by another information content provider.’ Rather, it is alleged to have actively compiled and collated, from several sources, information regarding Lukis. The CDA therefore does not shield Whitepages from liability.”

Case citation: Lukis v. Whitepages Inc., 2020 WL 1888916 (N.D. Ill. April 16, 2020)

More

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/04/section-230-doesnt-protect-advertising-background-reports-on-people-lukis-v-whitepages.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



TheDirty Easily Defeats Another Defamation Lawsuit–Laake v. Dirty World

27 12 2020

Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
April 16, 2020

… today’s pro se lawsuit, like numerous lawsuits preceding it, goes nowhere and gets a quick dismissal.

The plaintiff says that TheDirty hosts a service that it knows “libels” people. This sets up an easy Section 230 defense. The court’s analysis of Section 230:

federal law forbids defamation claims against host or platform website operators such as Dirty World, such as those alleged here, under the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230 (the “CDA”). Dirty World cites multiple cases explaining the reasons underlying CDA’s prohibition. Conclusory and speculative allegations that the host or platform website operator must have created the speech is not sufficient to state a claim. [Kimzey v. Yelp!] Plaintiff has not plead facts here that “tend to demonstrate that the” post “was not, as is usual, authored by a user.” Further, the possibility that the posts were created by the website owner is not sufficient for a defamation claim to proceed against a host or platform website operator. [Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com]

The First Amended Complaint’s allegation that “it is evident” that Dirty World “itself places comments on the webpages that are posted on their website www.thedirtyarmy.com” because the phrase “The Dirty Army” is present on Dirty World’s website and also its Facebook page is not sufficient to defeat CDA immunity

A parallel copyright claim fails because the complaint didn’t allege a copyright registration. ..

Case citation: Laake v. Dirty World LLC, 2020 WL 1866124 (D. Ariz. April 14, 2020). The complaint. See also the court’s refusal to add GoDaddy as a defendant (magistrate report; district judge’s approval).

more

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/04/thedirty-easily-defeats-another-defamation-lawsuit-laake-v-dirty-world.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



Videogame Can Replicate Musician’s “Signature Move” (Unless It’s a False Endorsement, Which It Isn’t)–Pellegrino v. Epic Games

18 12 2020

\Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
April 1, 2020
Pellegrino is a saxophone player with “externally rotatable feet,” which has helped him develop a nifty “signature” dance move while playing. The videogame Fortnite sells “emotes,” optional customizations for players’ digital avatars. Pellegrino alleges that the “Phone It In” emote depicts his signature dance move. Pellegrino sued Fortnite for a variety of claims. The court dismisses all of them, with prejudice, except for the false endorsement claim (which will fail later).

Case citation: Pellegrino v. Epic Games, Inc., 2:19-cv-01806-JP (E.D. Pa. March 31, 2020). The complaint.

MORE

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/04/videogame-can-replicate-musicians-signature-move-unless-its-a-false-endorsement-which-it-isnt-pellegrino-v-epic-games.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



The Joys and Dangers of Tweeting: A CDA Immunity Update

29 03 2020

LexBlog
J. Alexander Lawrence
November 12, 2019

A recent decision from a federal court in New York highlights the limits social media users enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The case involves Joy Reid, the popular host of MSNBC’s AM Joy who has more than two million Twitter and Instagram followers, and the interaction between a young Hispanic boy and a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA)–hat wearing woman named Roslyn La Liberte at a Simi Valley, California, City Council meeting.

The case centers on a single re-tweet by Reid and two of her Instagram posts.

more

The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2019/11/12/the-joys-and-dangers-of-tweeting-a-cda-immunity-update/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



Top Internet Law Developments of 2019

27 03 2020

Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
Jan. 7, 2020

It’s increasingly hard to find good news in Internet law, so I organized this year’s Internet Law roundup by categories of doom. Trigger warning: you should grab some tissues before proceeding.

Doomed (in a Bad Way)

Doomed: User-Generated Content.

Doomed: Print-on-Demand Services.

Doomed: Online Marketplaces.

Doomed: Internet Access Providers.

Doomed: Cybersecurity.

Doomed: Sex Workers and Sex Trafficking Victims.

Doomed: the CCPA. 

Doomed (in a not-terrible sense)

Doomed: “Must-Carry” Obligations for Publishers Who Aren’t State Actors. 

Doomed: the Roommates.com Section 230 Exception.

Doomed: Cases Against Social Media Services for Terrorist Content.

Doomed: the Liebowitz Copyright Litigation Machine.

Doomed: Politicians Banning Constituents on Social Media. T

Other

Online Political Content and Ads.

hiQ v. LinkedIn.

more

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/01/top-internet-law-developments-of-2019.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



Google Search Qualifies For Section 230, Whether or Not It’s a “Platform”–Chukwurah v. Google

26 03 2020

Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
February 4, 2020

This is a prisoner pro se lawsuit. “The Complaint avers that beginning February 28, 2014, Google identified Chukwurah as a ‘a triple murderer serving 50 years in a Maryland,’” allegedly because of false court documentation. The court explains:

the Court, at best, may plausibly infer that Google amounted to the search engine which linked Chukwurah’s name to content created and published by the Circuit Court. Even Chukwurah concedes that Google “is a search engine who didn’t start this defamation.” Thus, the CDA precludes the common law defamation claims against Google as a third-party interactive computer service provider…

Chukwurah, in response, seems to argue that the CDA does not bar his claims because Google created the platform that “enabled the defamation of [his] name in a demonizing manner [g]lobally.” But this is precisely the service provider’s role that the CDA aims to protect. Where, as here, a lawsuit seeks to hold the provider liable for decisions about posting content created by a third party, the CDA precludes the claim against that provider.

The court deftly sidesteps the platform vs. publisher dichotomy, which makes sense because that dichotomy is asinine and incoherent. As the court succinctly says, Section 230 immunizes lawsuits that seek to “hold the provider liable for decisions about posting content created by a third party.” Call it a platform or a publisher; it doesn’t matter. The result is the same either way: Section 230 preempts the claim.

more

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/02/google-search-qualifies-for-section-230-whether-or-not-its-a-platform-chukwurah-v-google.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



Why Section 230 Matters And How Not To Break The Internet; DOJ 230 Workshop Review, Part I

23 03 2020

Tech Dirt
Berin Szoka, Ashkhen Kazaryan, and Jess Miers
Feb, 21, 2020

The Department of Justice held a workshop Wednesday: Section 230 – Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability? (archived video and agenda). This was perhaps the most official “Airing of Grievances” we’ve had yet about Section 230. It signals that the Trump administration has declared war on the law that made the Internet possible.

In a blistering speech, Trump’s embattled Attorney General, Bill Barr, blamed the 1996 law for a host of ills, especially the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

more

The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200221/11290843961/why-section-230-matters-how-not-to-break-internet-doj-230-workshop-review-part-i.shtml Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



Court To Racist Douchebags: It’s Not Defamatory For A Newspaper To Call You ‘Racist Douchebags’

21 03 2020

Tech Dirt
Tim Cushing
Nov 15th 2019

When is it defamatory to call people “racist douchebags?” Well, let’s start with the “douchebag” part. This is always a statement of opinion and never actionable. . .

Calling someone a racist is almost always a statement of opinion. Unlike calling someone a felon or a child molester, claims of racism are based on perception. This makes them closer to a statement of opinion than an actionable fact.

So, calling people “racist douchebags” isn’t defamatory.

more

The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20191110/13531143357/court-to-racist-douchebags-not-defamatory-newspaper-to-call-you-racist-douchebags.shtml Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



CDA Section 230 Immunizes Platform From Liability for Friend and Content Suggestion Algorithms

9 09 2019

J. Alexander Lawrence on
LexBlog
September 5, 2019
A recent Second Circuit decision makes clear that the safe harbor that social media and other Internet companies enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act broadly applies to a wide variety of claims.

When you think about the Section 230 safe harbor, don’t just think defamation or other similar state law claims. Consider whether the claim—be it federal, state, local, or foreign—seeks to hold a party that publishes third-party content on the Internet responsible for publishing the content. If, after stripping it all down, this is the crux of the cause of action, the safe harbor should apply (absent a few statutory exclusions discussed below). The safe harbor should apply even if the party uses its discretion as a publisher in deciding how best to target its audience or to display the information provided by third parties.

more

The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2019/09/05/safe-harbor-in-section-230-of-the-communications-decency-act-applies-to-wide-variety-of-claims https://www.lexblog.com/2019/09/05/safe-harbor-in-section-230-of-the-communications-decency-act-applies-to-wide-variety-of-claimsClicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico



Section 230 Applies to Facebook’s Post Removals and Account Suspensions–King v. Facebook

9 09 2019

Eric Goldman
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
September 6, 2019

The court summarizes the facts:

King alleges Facebook removed multiple posts by him, and temporarily suspended his Facebook access on several occasions in 2018, for posts that Facebook deemed a violation of its terms of service (“ToS”). The crux of his claim is that Facebook has violated its ToS in removing his posts and suspending his account, and that Facebook treats black activists and their posts differently than it does other groups, particularly white supremacists and certain “hate groups.”

This is an easy Section 230 dismissal:

  • ICS Provider: King admitted.
  • Publisher/Speaker claims: Yes, because each claim “is based on Facebook’s provision of the service for use by others or its moderator decisions on which posts to remove or not and which accounts to suspend or not” (cites to Brittain v. Twitter and Fields v. Twitter)
  • Third-party content: “all of King’s allegations rest on treatment of speakers (who make posts or otherwise provide content) and differential treatment of specific posts made either by himself or by other Facebook users”

Case citation: King v. Facebook, Inc., 3:19-cv-01987-WHO (N.D. Cal. Sept. 5, 2019)

more

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2019/09/section-230-applies-to-facebooks-post-removals-and-account-suspensions-king-v-facebook.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

Powered by WPeMatico