Roundup of the House Commerce Committee Hearing on Section 230

Yesterday, the House Energy & Commerce Committee (the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce) held a hearing called “Fostering a Healthier Internet to Protect Consumers.” The hearing page. This post rounds up some…

The PLAN Act Proposes to Amend Section 230 to "Protect"...Landlords and Hotel Chains?

This is my third time in 2019 blogging proposed Section 230 amendments. The other two bills, from Sen. Hawley and Rep. Gosar, propose structural reforms to Section 230–to mandate political neutrality and ban any content moderation not required by law,…

Call for Participation: WIPIP 2020, Santa Clara University, Feb. 7-8, 2020 #WIPIP2020

The High Tech Law Institute invites you to participate in the 17th annual Works-in-Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium (WIPIP), February 7-8, 2020, Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, California. The colloquium provides intellectual property scholars with a forum to…

How Internet companies decide which user-submitted content to keep and which to remove—a process called “content moderation”—is getting lots of attention lately, for good reason. Under-moderation can lead to major social problems, like foreign agents manipulating our elections. Over-moderation can…

New Paper Explains Why Technologists Should Rally Behind Section 230

At the request of James Grimmelmann, and with his editorial support, I wrote an essay for the Communications of the ACM called “Internet Immunity and the Freedom to Code.” The abstract: The Internet’s freedom to code is in jeopardy. In…

Section 230 Helps Tumblr Defeat Nonconsensual Pornography Suit--Poole v. Tumblr

This ruling came out in March, but it just showed up in my Westlaw alerts. I don’t know why it was delayed over 6 months. The opinion is topical and clear, so I thought it’s still worth blogging now. This…

Legal Research Services Are Struggling With Emojis and Emoticons

Jennifer L. Behrens, a law librarian at Duke Law School, has posted an article: “Unknown Symbols”: Online Legal Research in the Age of Emoji.” She conducted numerous search queries to see how the major legal research services handled case opinions…

E*Trade Defeats Copyright Claim Over Dancing Old Man in Commercial--Vacchi v. E*Trade

Gianluca Vacchi is an Italian entrepreneur. He has a large social media presence, including nearly 12M Instagram followers and 1.8M Facebook followers. He claims his social media presence depicts a fictional alter ego who is “an extravagant millionaire dancing with…

More Teenagers Mistakenly Think "Private" Chat Conversations Will Remain Private--People v. JP

This is a story of four teenage girls and one teenage boy. The girls use the aliases “7Up” (a/k/a JP, the defendant in this case), “Lady Gaga,” “Dream Ruiner,” and “Me.” The boy, called S, allegedly engaged in anti-social behavior…

Partial Screenshot Qualifies as Fair Use (on a Motion to Dismiss)--Yang v. Mic

We’ve blogged about a few cases involving screenshots of newspaper pages consisting of copyrighted photos, including Clark v. TransAlt and Hirsch v. Complex Media. This case adds to that canon, but not in a particularly enlightening way. The screenshot at…