Web defamation lawsuits are not easy ones to bring because of the immunity granted to internet service providers by the federal Communications Decency Act Section 230. However, there are a few helpful cases to help plaintiffs combat the immunity.
In one case, the website Roommates.com filtered the results displayed to users based on the preferences they selected. The court decided that such collaborative efforts by the website were not entitled to Section 230 immunity. Fair Housing Council v. Roommates, Inc. (9th Cir. 2008) 521 F.3d 1157. Therefore, in cases where an ISP actively participates in creating content, immunity may not apply.
In another case, the court denied immunity because the website Dirty.com went beyond mere hosting and specifically encouraged the development of offensive and defamatory content. The court looked at the very name of the site, the posts the site selected to publish, the site's taglines, and the site's added comments to encourage offensive dialogues. Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings (E.D. Ky. 2012) 840 F.Supp.2d 1008.
The above decisions may allow plaintiffs to avoid dismissals under the Communications Decency Act Section 230.
DISCLAIMER: The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between The Levine Firm and the user or browser.
General Practice Lawyer