Monday, May 18, 2015

Backpage protected by Section 230, according to MA federal judge; 9th Circuit turns down injunction based on copyright claim against anti-Muslim film

Electronic Frontier foundation reports two very  important cases this Monday morning.
In Massachusetts, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against for a user-generated sex trafficking ad.  The judge felt the ad was abhorrent (as would most reasonable users), but said that Section 230, as written protects the site, which does not have a practical ability to presceeen what users do.  The story by David Greene is here. The court apparently rejected “good faith” arguments as well as those that claimed that Backpage was actually a “back door” information content provider, or claims of “tacit encouragement”. The case is “Doe #1 v. Backpage”.  The Opinion is here
Kris Olson has an article “’Free and open Internet’ trumps against Internet sex trafficking”, in Massachusetts Lawyers, link here. Some observers feel the Backpage case is weak even without Section 230. 
There is separate litigation going on in Washington State about Backpage, before the state supreme court here.

Also, in the case Garcia v. Google (Feb. 27, 2014), the en banc Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s denial of Cindy Lee Garcia’s request for a preliminary injunction requiring YouTube to remove materials related to “Innocence of Muslims” under DMCA Safe Harbor.  The embedded PDF for the opinion is here.

The en banc oral arguments from Dec. 2014 are available on YouTube.

The “threat” was considered as part of the auxillary “irreparable harm” idea used to justify a preliminary injunction for a copyright claim later.  The script had been originally titled “Desert Warrior”. 

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