THE U.S. COMMUNICATION DECENCY ACT AND LIABILITY OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide a wide variety of Internet related services to millions of users. This huge spectrum of services undoubtedly subjects ISPs to potential tort liability. ISPs’ tort liability have a chilling effect on the vibrancy of Internet communication because it would be impossible for ISPs to screen all Internet content posted by millions of third parties using their services. Thus, in the Communication Decency Act (“CDA”) of 1996, the U.S. Congress introduced Section 230 to protect ISP from liability and to maintain the robust nature of Internet communications. Even though a significant part of the CDA was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1997, Section 230 of the CDA remains intact to protect ISPs from tort liability. This article illustrates on the specific protection offered by Section 230 of the CDA to ISPs, its limits, and immunities.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What protection does Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 provide?
Does Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act have limitations?
Does an Internet Service Provider lose Section 230 immunity if it edits the content?
To what cause of actions is Section 230 applicable?

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