Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: A "Good Samaritan" Law Without the Requirement of Acting as a "Good Samaritan"
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Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: A "Good Samaritan" Law Without the Requirement of Acting as a "Good Samaritan"

  • Author(s): Sevanian, Andrew M.
  • et al.
Abstract

When Congress enacted Section 230 of the Communications

Decency Act, it made an implicit deal with every Interactive Computer

Service (ICS): at least attempt to clean your website of defamatory or

otherwise illegal third-party content in exchange for immunity from

vicarious liability. However, the majority of courts applying Section

230 have since construed this aptly-titled "good Samaritan" law as a

grant of blanket ICS immunity, offering protection regardless of

whether an ICS actually regulates or edits its website. This piece

analyzes an aparent split among the circuit courts, and explains that

blanket ICS immunity does not square with Congress' underlying

intent of encouraging ICS self-regulation. In the end, this article

highlights four potential scenarios in which an ICS could lose its

Section 230 "good Samaritan" immunity status when it does not act

like a "good Samaritan."

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