CDA230

Carafano v. Metrosplash.com, Inc., 339 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2003)

Type of online publisher: 
Metrosplash.com, dating website
Publisher's Role in Third Party Content: 
Standardized questions on profile
CDA § 230 applicable?: 
Yes

The dating website Metrosplash.com, Inc., was sued for a third-party's objectionable response to an online questionnaire. The court ruled that providing a questionnaire for users to fill out did not make a dating website an information content provider because none of the objectionable content posted by the third-party "bore more than a tenuous relationship to the actual questions asked."

The court concluded that calling a website a content creator for posting standardized questions would run counter to Congressional intent in enacting CDA § 230, since creating easily encoded questions arguably "promotes the expressed Congressional policy ‘to promote the continued development of the Internet and other interactive computer services.'"

Key Quotes:

[R]eviewing courts have treated § 230(c) immunity as quite robust, adopting a relatively expansive definition of "interactive computer service" and a relatively restrictive definition of "information content provider."

Under § 230 ... so long as a third party willingly provides the essential published content, the interactive service provider receives full immunity regardless of the specific editing or selection process.

Congress granted most Internet services immunity from liability for publishing false or defamatory material so long as the information was provided by another party. As a result, Internet publishers are treated differently from corresponding publishers in print, television and radio.

Court Opinion Document: 

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Some lawmakers want to undo crucial online privacy rules. Tell your members of Congress to defend your rights. https://act.eff.org/action/te...

Feb 21 @ 3:25pm

The movement to encrypt the web has reached a milestone, and we still have more work to do. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Feb 21 @ 2:53pm

The M2 car hacking tool by @macchinaCC launches today. T-shirts help benefit EFF's fight for your right to repair. https://www.kickstarter.com/p...

Feb 21 @ 12:48pm
JavaScript license information