Communications Decency Act

News & Analysis as of

Airbnb Files Suit to Enjoin San Francisco Law

As expected, Airbnb filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday seeking to enjoin the recently enacted amendments to the City’s so-called “Airbnb law.” The suit seeks to strike...more

A Little “Mayhem” Reveals Limits to Immunity Provision of Communications Decency Act

As a general rule, a website is not held liable for the content its users post on its platform. The Communications Decency Act (CDA) immunizes websites from lawsuits by not treating the website as the publisher or speaker of...more

Rejecting First Amendment And Communications Decency Act Arguments, California Appellate Court Affirms Order Requiring Non-Party...

In a published decision filed on June 7, 2016 in Dawn Hassell v. Ava Bird, Case No. A143233, the Court of Appeals for the State of California, First Appellate District, determined that the trial court’s order requiring Yelp...more

SF Supes Vote to Violate Communications Decency Act with Amendment to Airbnb Law

On June 7, 2016, which also happens to be primary day in California, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to amend the City’s Residential Unit Conversion Ordinance (the so-called Airbnb Law) to require...more

Pitfalls in Managing Online Reputations

Whether you represent sports stars and high-profile entertainers, or hometown doctors, architects, and restaurateurs, you have almost certainly gotten calls in the past several years asking for your help in dealing with...more

New York Court Dismisses Defamation Suit Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

On May 2, 2016, the New York Supreme Court for the County of Westchester granted defendant Seeking Alpha, Inc.’s motion to dismiss plaintiff Mark Nordlicht’s (“Plaintiff”) defamation complaint in the case styled as Nordlicht...more

Lessons from eMerge: The Communication Decency Act, A Tool Against Cyberbullying

The 3rd annual eMerge conference hosted a list of speakers as diverse as Miami. Among them, Colin Powell, Tony Hawk, Pitbull, and Monica Lewinsky. Just last year, Ms. Lewinsky broke her public silence when she gave a...more

The First Circuit’s “Scungy” Backpage: Copyright And Right Of Publicity Claims Ineffective Against Sex Trafficking

In Doe v. Backpage.com, the First Circuit affirmed the District of Massachusetts in holding that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) shields from civil liability a website used by third parties to facilitate...more

How to Protect Your Company’s Social Media Currency

Today’s companies compete not only for dollars but also for likes, followers, views, tweets, comments and shares. “Social currency,” as some researchers call it, is becoming increasingly important and companies are investing...more

First Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Lawsuit Against Backpage.com, Confirms Broad Scope of Section 230 Immunity

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit this week delivered a resounding victory for websites dependent on a federal immunity from claims based on content posted by third parties. Broadly interpreting Section 230 of...more

First Circuit: CDA Bars Action Claiming Websites Facilitated Sex Trafficking - Communications Decency Act Immunizes Websites for...

In affirming the dismissal of an action seeking damages under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejected "end run" arguments from the...more

Defamation: Internet Crisis Control

Arriving at his warehouse last week Knott Faire, owner of Faire Carpet Cleaning, discovered yet another complaining critique posted on WELP: “Lots of hype, a mediocre cleaning and a hassle at the end. Don’t get tied up with...more

Social Gatherings and Social Media this Holiday Season – What's Not to "Like"?

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, almost 90% of employers throw a holiday party. Taking into account holiday parties hosted by employees for co-workers, there is a very good chance your...more

Online Negativity: How to Fight Back

The internet is a powerful channel for communication, with great strengths compared to other media. It has been referred to as the "largest public space in human history”. Internet communications can reach an unlimited...more

Immunity Under the Communications Decency Act

To encourage the growth of the internet, the Communications Decency Act immunizes companies that host content from liability for that content. However, recent caselaw confirms that this immunity is not boundless. Accordingly,...more

Stretched Past Its Limits: Have The Courts Extended Immunity From Online Tort Liability Too Far?

I have practiced entertainment and technology law for over 30 years. More than any other area of the law, the developments and enhancements in technology have outpaced the law’s ability to take those developments and...more

Social Media Brings the Right of Publicity to the Masses

Do you consider yourself famous? If the answer is no, then you have likely never been concerned with the invasion of your right of publicity. The right of publicity is the right of a person in his or her identity—name or...more

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: More Lessons to Be Learned

Courts continue to struggle with the application of CDA immunity to shield service provider defendants from liability in extreme cases. In this case, the Washington Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, affirmed the lower court’s...more

Are You Sure This Isn’t About Copyright? Chicken Sandwiches, Monkey Selfies and the Boundaries of Copyright Law

Last week, a wild crested macaque named Naruto (but really People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against photographer David John Slater in the Northern District of California. The...more

GAME OF (STICKS &) STONES – Prior Restraint & Online Defamation

In previous posts, we have explored several aspects of internet defamation – including suing anonymous internet and twitter users and the protections afforded to internet users and providers for re-publishing content under...more

Status Updates: Appeals court upholds anti-cyberbullying law; better marketing through neural networks; restaurant owner turns the...

Cruel intentions. Laws seeking to regulate speech on the Internet must be narrowly drafted to avoid running afoul of the First Amendment, and limiting such a law’s applicability to intentional attempts to cause damage usually...more

When Bad Things Happen to Good People...On the Internet

The internet has generated countless new ways to communicate and share thinking. Some posted information is negative, which can still be useful when messages are truthful, in good taste, and constructive. But some negative...more

The Communications Decency Act May Disappoint

California boldly made an example out of a felonious website owner who operated a website dedicated to shaming, embarrassing and harassing complete strangers. Following the first-ever prosecution of the operator of a “revenge...more

Other Peoples’ (Adult) Content (Episode 15)

There are so many legal issues in Episode 15 that it’s hard to know where to begin, so I’m going to start at the end: porn. Pied Piper is competing against nemesis Endframe for a $15 million contract from the online porn...more

The Bermuda Triangle of Online Defamation: Copyright, Clickwrap and the CDA

We have written many times about attempts to use copyright law to do what defamation law can’t: take stuff down from the internet. Because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) prevents a defamation plaintiff...more

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