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Thread: READ: if there is a problem with what is posted on this site

  1. #1

    Default READ: if there is a problem with what is posted on this site

    There is federal law called the Communications Decency Act (CDA) , 47 U.S.C. § 230. Here is the Wikipedia article discussing the history of the law.

    Basically, the Communications Decency Act says that when someone writes and posts material on a website, the site itself cannot, in most cases, be held legally responsible for the posted material. Specifically, 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1) states, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

    Because all of the posts and threads here are authored by the registered users of the site, I cannot be legally regarded as the "publisher or speaker" of the posts contained here, and hence I am not liable even if they contain false or inaccurate information.

    The reasons for this rule are fairly simple. Websites and forums cannot possibly monitor the accuracy of the volume of information which their visitors may choose to post. If a person or company were permitted to hold a website liable for information that the site did not create, this would stifle free speech as fewer and fewer sites would be willing to permit users to post anything at all.

    If you think otherwise and plan on bringing legal action against me, please have your lawyers refer to:

    Batzel v. Smith, 333 F.3d 1018, 1027-28 (9th Cir. 2003) (recognizing, "Making interactive computer services and their users liable for the speech of third parties would severely restrict the information available on the Internet. Section 230 [of the Communications Decency Act] therefore sought to prevent lawsuits from shutting down websites and other services on the Internet.")

    Generally speaking, each and every lower federal district court and federal appellate court that has construed the Communications Decency Act has held that websites such as this forum are immune from virtually every type of civil liability when the site has been sued based on information posted by a third party. See:

    Doe v. America Online, Inc., 783 So.2d 1010 (Fl. 2001)

    Green v. America Online, 318 F.3d 465, 470 (3rd Cir. 2003) (noting the Communications Decency Act, "‘precludes courts from entertaining claims that would place a computer service provider in a publisher's role,' and therefore bars ‘lawsuits seeking to hold a service provider liable for its exercise of a publisher's traditional editorial functions - such as deciding whether to publish, withdraw, postpone, or alter content.'")

    Carafano v., Inc., 339 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2003)

    Schneider v., Inc., 31 P.3d 37 (Wash.App. 2001)

    Doe v. GTE Corp., 347 F.3d 655 (7th Cir. 2003)

    Zeran v. America Online, Inc., 129 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 1997)

    Blumenthal v. Drudge, 992 F. Supp. 44 (D. D.C. 1998)

    In a nutshell: The CDA prohibits you from holding liable for the statements which others have written.

  2. #2


    No one has made any legal threats recently... I've just been wanting to post this disclaimer.

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