Mickey Kaus Discovers Section 230
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 at 12:10 PM EDT
Yep, itâ€™s all Section 230, all the time here at Info/Law! Makes for a nice change from filtering. Mickey Kaus writes about the threat by Sarah Palinâ€™s attorney to sue anyone defaming her, and also those who republish such defamation. Heâ€™s astonished to learn that Section 230 could shield him and other bloggers. (Iâ€™d presume that Palinâ€™s attorney also knows this, and is ignoring it for the sake of a stronger-sounding threat, but you never know.)
I donâ€™t want to be harsh about Kaus - Section 230 is a little obscure - but I think any blogger, and especially one whoâ€™s a lawyer, should have some familiarity with it. (Citizen Media Law Project has a great summary of its effects, for example.) Kaus goes on to list five observations, which merit a bit of comment:
Kaus then confidently predicts Congress will amend the statute (â€"But I find it difficult to believe that the broad web-site-protecting reading of Section 230 will hold upâ€¦ When Congress sees how that phrase has been interpreted, it may (as they say) revisit the issueâ€). Um, no. Itâ€™s been around since 1996, and I know of no serious effort to amend it since. Scholars keep putting up alternatives, but Congress seems quite happy with Section 230, even when it gets interpreted in ways that prevent children who are sexually assaulted from recovering against the on-line sites where they met their assailants. If Congress isnâ€™t going to help the kids, itâ€™s not going to be too worried about Palinâ€™s press imageâ€¦
This article originally appeared on Info/Law.