EFF urged a Pennsylvania court to dismiss defamation claims against the controversial website DontDateHimGirl.com arguing that federal law shields the website from liability to protect the free flow of information online.
DontDateHimGirl.com was created by Tasha Joseph as a forum for women to share information about men. One of the men discussed on the site Todd J. Hollis claims that some participants posted defamatory statements about him on the website. In its amicus brief EFF argues that DontDateHimGirl.com's owner cannot be held liable for comments written by others under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 specifically protects hosts of interactive computer services from liability to encourage free discourse and robust debate.
Nearly every court that has considered Section 230 has recognized the intent of the law and shielded website operators from liability. EFF has provided amicus support in a number of lawsuits including one that recently held that Craigslist was not responsible for the content of posts made by the public.
The amicus brief was also signed by the Center for Democracy and Technology and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania.
Outcome: The court dismissed the case on the ground that it did not have jurisdiction over the Florida-based website operator and so did not reach the Section 230 issue. Hollis has refiled the case in Florida.