Sunday, January 08, 2006 loses section 230 defense

Via Eric Goldman, a case in which a court denies a defendant's claim for immunity based on Section 230 immunity for content providers. collects gripes about companies and then offers those companies, for a fee, help resolving the complaints. Allegedly, provided some of the actionable website content itself rather than just relying on reports from others. The plaintiff's trademark claims were dismissed, since no one would confuse a gripe site with an official site, but common-law disparagement claims survived.

This is an example of the continuing importance of common-law disparagement as applied to statements not made by competitors in commercial advertising. (If the actionable content was generated by the website and not by disgruntled consumers, it's arguably commercial speech, given that then uses its criticisms to solicit business from the attacked company. But maybe not -- it would make an interesting review problem.) The First Amendment, however, imposes some significant limitations on common-law claims, so the plaintiff's task is far from over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, I work for reputation armor and I was not aware they lost a case... Nice.