Prevarication Du Jour


The Cabin Boy™ has tweeted this—Cheddar201602281636ZThe Gentle Reader who has been following Schmalfeldt’s career of cyberfoolishness will not be surprised to find that the Cabin Boy™ is wrong. Here’s the EFF’s take on the Communications Decency Act—

Section 230 says that “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” (47 U.S.C. § 230). In other words, online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do. The protected intermediaries include not only regular Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but also a range of “interactive computer service providers,” including basically any online service that publishes third-party content.

CDA 230: The Most Important Law Protecting Internet Speech

Here’s what the General Counsel of Automattic, the company that owns WordPress.Com has to say about the value of 47 U.S.C. § 230’s protection afforded to publishers of third-party speech on the Internet—

I think to the extent that it protects speech, you can’t get much more expansive. I think the concept of no third-party liability is good.

You can find that and more concerning WordPress and the Communications Decency act here.

Here’s what the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals thinks—

What §230(c)(1) says is that an online information system must not “be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by” someone else.

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law v. Craigslist, 519 F.3d 666, 671 (7th Cir. 2008).

No, the EFF and WordPress.com agree with me. So do lots of federal courts, including the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Wisconsin is in the Seventh Circuit). Of course, the Cabin Boy’s™ misunderstanding of the Communications Decency Act has been pointed out to him before, but he continues to insist that his interpretation overrides the case law. It’s that sort of pigheadedness that will make his loss in LOLsuit VI: The Undiscovered Krendler so expensive.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


One of the bits of Internet law that the Cabin Boy™ consistently get wrong deals with the protection afforded to website operators who allow comments. If the comment process is interactive, then the website operator is not responsible for the content of comments made by others. That’s what the Communications Decency Act says, and that’s how the courts have interpreted the law. Period. The End.

I don’t have to be an ISP in order for Hogewash! to enjoy that protection. Neither does the operator of BillySez. Neither does the operator of The Pontificator, although in his case that’s a moot point because he seems to be the true author of all the comments appearing at that site.