A Recap of My Recent Section 230 Papers

I’ve been actively writing about Section 230 recently, so I thought it might help to round them up into a single post:

An Overview of the United States’ Section 230 Internet Immunity (2019). This is the basic primer you’ve always wanted. If you’re not an expert in Section 230 and want to read only one piece to get the lay of the land, this is it.

Why Section 230 Is Better Than the First Amendment (2019). This is the next piece to read after the primer. Once you understand the law, you need to understand how its substantive and procedural benefits make it so successful. This piece explains Section 230’s complicated, counterintuitive, and underappreciated “hydraulics.”

The Complicated Story of FOSTA and Section 230 (2019). A primer that explains FOSTA, how it came about, and what it does.

The Ten Most Important Section 230 Rulings (2017). After 2 years, I don’t think I’d change this list at all, except possibly for substituting in the HomeAway v. Santa Monica Ninth Circuit ruling for the Airbnb v. San Francisco district court ruling. They reached the same result, but the HomeAway opinion is binding precedent throughout the Ninth Circuit. The Herrick v. Grindr and Daniel v. Armslist cases are both important, but they are largely extensions of the Doe v. Backpage ruling.

Older Stuff:

Balancing Section 230 and Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiatives (2017). My written testimony from the House Commerce Committee FOSTA hearing.

Sex Trafficking Exceptions to Section 230 (2017). My written testimony from the Senate Commerce Committee SESTA hearing.

The Implications of Excluding State Crimes from 47 U.S.C. § 230’s Immunity (2013). How relevant is this today? The state AGs recently sent a THIRD letter reiterating their 2013 request to exclude state crimes from 230.

Online User Account Termination and 47 U.S.C. §230(c)(2) (2012). A topic that has heated up a lot in the past 7 years, but Section 230(c)(1) has stolen the spotlight.

Related Reading:

Copyright’s Memory Hole (2019). The story of how censorial plaintiffs pile into Section 230’s IP exception, a story that will be repeated if/when Congress expands Section 230’s exceptions.

Of Course the First Amendment Protects Google and Facebook (and It’s Not a Close Question) (2018). The title says it all.

Who Cyber-Attacked Ken Zeran, and Why? (2017). Unraveling the greatest whodunit in Internet Law history.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act Isn’t an ‘Intellectual Property’ Law (2017). Congress made the Defend Trade Secrets Act subject to Section 230 in a cumbersome and counter-intuitive way.

Also, I enthusiastically recommend Jeff Kosseff’s book, The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet (2019) (Amazon affiliate link). My comment from the book’s back cover: “Most people benefit from Section 230 every hour, but are unaware it even exists. Jeff Kosseff’s new book provides the first-ever comprehensive history of this monumentally important law. The book’s lucid and reader-friendly style will fully engage Section 230 newcomers; while the book’s many never-before-publicized details will enlighten Section 230 enthusiasts.” An additional blurb: “So much of our life today―our reputation, networks, and livelihood―is mediated by our online presence. Kosseff’s excellent and well-researched book should thus be read by anyone interested in online regulation. It is a joy to read.”