cdaOne probable result of the lawsuit against Alexandra Goddard may be ammunition for the repeal of section 230 which is meant to deal with indecent materils being published on the internet. By that I mean pornography as well as issues dealing with cyber bullying.

For example one provision reads as follows:

“(5) to ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal criminal laws to deter and punish trafficking in obscenity, stalking, and harassment by means of computer.”

The problem with this goal is that section 230 weakens it with the next provision that has not sat well with those who have been trying to deal with cyber bullying and copyright issues:

(c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material

(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker

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.
(2) Civil liability

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—
(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or
(B) any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1)

What does this have to do with bloggers, forums and hosting services? It is a provision to protect bloggers, web hosts and various parties on the internet from undue pressure from outside forces. In this cases, those who are filing defamation lawsuits.

The provision is supposed to protect those who use good faith efforts to ensure that offensive material does not get published and the rights of those being posted ABOUT are also protected. Unfortunately bloggers and forum owners use this provision to get away from being accountable for their actions and also shields the hosts and other content providers from having any liability for what is posted through their services. 

There are individuals and groups with different points of view trying to get this law repealed or at minimum, the bad parts of it amended.

This website, for example, wants to repeal this law in order to make it easier to combat the widespread use of blogs, forums and youtube for the express purpose of harassing a targeted individual or group. and similar blogs are part of the ammunition by those who want to reach that goal.

Not only will the end result of the Goddard lawsuit be a factor on how this effort turns out, but the PROCESS of this lawsuit as it works it’s way through the legal system and the debate it sparks in regards to this law will as well.

Stay tuned