Tuesday, December 20, 2016

⚖ Silver v Quora, 10th Cir. Nov. 23, 2016 :: Plaintiff Cause of Action for Defamation Against Quora Dismissed Pursuant to 47 USC 230(c)

FACTS: "Silver is an investment banker, venture capitalist, and author of 33 books on entrepreneurship and finance who resides in New Mexico."

"Quora operates a question-and-answer website at www.quora.com that allows registered users to ask and answer questions on any topic."

"This lawsuit stems from a question on the website that solicited feedback on Silver: “Has anyone worked with or heard of David Silver at Santa Fe Capital?”... Silver claims two false, disparaging posts in response to this question damaged his reputation and caused him to lose potential clients and book publishers: 
  • On September 7, 2012, Tessa Salton responded, “Your instincts are correct. He is not licensed or accredited any longer. A fraud.” Id. Her post included a link to an article in The Chicago Tribune, which reports on a $23 million damages award against Silver in an investment case. Id. 
  • On October 16, 2013, Neil MacAskill responded, “You are better off buying lottery tickets. One of our checks to him supposedly got lost so we sent him another. Then he cashed both and never did a thing for us. Said he built a business development plan but never delivered it. Save your money.” Id.
"Silver filed this lawsuit, which asserts a state-law claim for libel and defamation and seeks millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages"

RULE:  "Section 230 “creates a federal immunity to any state law cause of action that would hold computer service providers liable for information originating with a third party.” Ben Ezra, Weinstein, & Co. v. Am. Online Inc., 206 F.3d 980, 984-85 (10th Cir. 2000). It does so through the interplay of two key provisions. Under § 230(c)(1), “[n]o provider . . . 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). And under § 230(e)(3), “[n]o cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.” Id. § 230(e)(3)."

ANALYSIS: "[T]he CDA bars Silver’s libel and defamation claims against Quora. ... 'The prototypical service qualifying for this statutory immunity' [is] 'an online messaging board (or bulletin board) on which Internet subscribers post comments and respond to comments posted by others.' Quora fits squarely within this prototype."

Silver v Quora, 10th Cir. Nov. 23, 2016 

See also QUORA GETS EASY SECTION 230 WIN IN TENTH CIRCUIT–SILVER V. QUORA November 28, 2016 · by Eric Goldman Technology & Marketing Law Blog (Goldman has a screen capture of the Quora discussion)
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