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Old 04-08-2008, 08:39 PM   #1
Lasher
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User generated content - immunity.

Not sure how relevant this is in-game, but very relevant to the forums, hosted blogs, etc that many MUDs have. The only reasonable decision that could have made imho, but stranger things have happened in law so it could have gone either way:

Third Party Content Immunity Affirmed
"9th Circuit Affirms Immunity for Pure Third-Party Web Content"

"En banc decision defines scope of immunity for mixed-content websites"

DWT LLP | Practice Areas: Media Advisory Bulletin
By Kelli L. Sager, Bruce E. H. Johnson, Thomas R. Burke, and Ambika K. Doran
[April 2008]

"The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, has issued a widely anticipated decision concerning the scope of immunity afforded by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). In a lengthy opinion issued late last week, the court reaffirmed prior rulings that interpreted the statute as broadly immunizing website owners from liability based on content posted by third parties."

"Service provider or content provider?
The district court held that Roommates.com was immune from liability under Section 230 of the CDA, which states that “[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)(7). The immunity provided by the federal law thereby distinguishes “service providers” from “information content providers,” who are defined as those “responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of [content].” Id. § 230(f)(3) (emphasis added)."

"As the 9th Circuit noted, however:
"A website operator can be both a service provider and a content provider: If it passively displays content that is created entirely by third parties, then it is only a service provider with respect to that content. But as to content that it creates itself, or is “responsible, in whole or in part” for creating or developing, the website is also a content provider. Thus, a website may be immune from liability for some of the content it displays to the public but be subject to liability for other content.""


"Erring on the side of immunity
Notably, the court emphasized that in close cases, courts should err on the side of finding Section 230 immunity, “lest we cut the heart out of section 230 by forcing websites to face death by ten thousand duck-bites, fighting off claims that they promoted or encouraged—or at least tacitly assented to—the illegality of third parties.” In finding Roommates.com immune for content posted in the “additional comments” section, and in stating the policies behind Section 230 generally, the court made clear that website operators remain free to edit third-party content, so long as they do not do so in a way that makes it unlawful. Thus, as the en banc decision states, the message behind the decision “is clear: If you don't encourage illegal content, or design your website to require users to input illegal content, you will be immune.” "
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:18 AM   #2
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Re: User generated content - immunity.

Wow. Thanks for sharing this.

This is an excellent ruling for anyone who runs a mud, forum, or other similar web site.

I agree it is the only logical way it could be judged, but hey, we do have the DMCA still in force after all.
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Old 04-09-2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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Re: User generated content - immunity.

Good for website owners, yes. In the UK though, there's been some talk about making ISPs responsible for bad behaviour on the part of their users, which I should imagine means uploading warez sites, downloading piracy and so on. Not sure how that's going to work really.

I think there is a bit of a problem though because nobody really has responsibility for certain stuff on the 'Net. Sure, that's part of the Net's appeal as well, but still, I wonder how sustainable that position is in the long term. Or how appealing. I mean some of the user generated content is vile, there's an example I came across which trolls a MUD that's one of the biggies here and it's just... horrible...

Added, I don't want to add the URL because I don't want to feed the troll

Last edited by nass : 04-09-2008 at 02:13 PM. Reason: troll feeding
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:22 PM   #4
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Re: User generated content - immunity.

Nice. Good to see the 9th circuit spending time on a worthwhile case for once. Also good that they came to the only right decision they could reach. It sure takes a lot of pressure off of site owners now that this has been clarified.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:14 PM   #5
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Re: User generated content - immunity.

Very nice find. Just a couple of weeks ago I was discussing this very topic with someone and noted that there wasn't any good, direct legal precedent upon which to judge the issues of liability. Thanks for posting this!

Take care,

Jason
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