Thursday, June 09, 2011

Asia Econ Inst v Xcentric :: Sec 230(c) defense successful (again)

Asia Economic Institute v. Ventures LLC, et al. Case No. CV 10-01360 SVW (PJWx). United States District Court, C.D. California. May 4, 2011.

Background: Plaintiff filed multiple claims against defendant dba RipOffReport based on unfavorable reports written by third parties on Defendants website. See sample Asia Economic Institute reviews on RipOffReport.

Procedure: Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment based on Communication Decency Act's Good Samaritan Provision, 47 USC 230(c) Immunity

Issue: 47 USC 230(c) provides immunity for online services where the online service is not the author of the content. Specifically, Sec 230(c) provides 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(c)(1). Further, "No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section." 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(3).

Def, who runs a website hosting third party reviews, has repeated been found to be a provider of interactive computer services, and immune from liability.

The reviews in question were written by third parties without involvement of the defendant. Minor style guide recommendations, insertion of tags and codes does not alter def as not the publisher of the content. The insertion of tags serves to promote online visibility of content and does not alter defendants status (citing Roomates.com in accord).

"In determining which of Plaintiffs' claims should be barred by the CDA, the CDA should be given the expansive reading that Congress intended. See 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(3) ("No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.")."

Holding: Def Motion for Summary Judgment Granted; Case Dismissed pursuant to 47 USC 230(c)
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