In January 1996, shortly after it was enacted, I wrote one of the first articles on the Good Samaritan exemption created by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. §230(c)—popularly referred to as the Communications Decency Act or CDA), correctly arguing that it preempted claims against interactive computer service providers and users, not merely for defamation, but for a broad array of claims. I did not, however, envision that subsection 230(c)(1) would be construed as broadly as it has been over the past two decades, or that subsection 230(c)(2) would be applied as infrequently. Indeed, when the district court and then the circuit court decided Zeran v. AOL, I was critical of their analytic approach, as some may remember from early articles in The Cyberspace Lawyer.

The law, however, is written by courts, not commentators, and the rule of Zeran has been uniformly applied by every federal circuit court to consider it and by numerous state courts. And it has never been rejected in any precedential opinion. Indeed, it is perhaps a fitting tribute to the viability of Zeran that 20 year later the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in its 12th opinion construing the CDA, barely spent even a sentence affirming dismissal of a defamation claim brought against Facebook over user content, pursuant to the CDA and the rule first developed in Zeran. See Caraccioli v. Facebook., _ F. App’x _, 2017 WL 2445063 (9th Cir. 2017).

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]