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.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5070/LR8211027178
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."