Saturday, May 26, 2007

NYT on user-generated ads

The High Price of Creating Free Content: The story is about the expenses associated with sorting through user-generated ads and finding ones good enough to adopt as one's own. It doesn't mention the potential false advertising issues. Currently I'm aware of only one case alleging that user-generated ads endorsed by the actual producer constitute false advertising, but we can expect more if the fad for such ads continues. Does section 230 immunize producers if the ads are internet-only, even if they single out certain ads and feature them heavily in their own advertising? That's certainly an unexpected result, but it might be the legally correct one.

Section 230 is like the DMCA's safe harbors: enacted before we had a good grasp on what the internet is for. And that's often true and often unavoidable, so I don't mean to suggest Congress erred. If these laws were enacted today, they'd have different contours, that's all.

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