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The Comminications Decency Act:

The Law Governing The Internet You and Your Attorney Should Know

A federal law called the Communications Decency Act or "CDA", 47 U.S.C. § 230 is part of our United States federal laws. The CDA has declared that when a website visitor, user, member, writes and posts material on a website, the website itself cannot, in most cases, be held legally responsible for that posted material.

Specifically, 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1) states, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Because the posts on National Blacklist are authored by users of the site, the CDA asserts that we, “National Blacklist,” cannot be legally regarded as the "publisher or speaker" of the reports contained here, and hence we are not liable for reports even if they contain false or inaccurate information.

The reasons for this rule were straightforward, and based on the understandable argument that websites cannot possibly monitor, investigate, verify, and determine the accuracy of the huge volume of information for which their users choose to post.

Also, US Congressional Lawmakers and the US Supreme Court agreed that if disgruntled people were permitted to hold a website liable for information that the website did not create, this would open an opportunity for exploitation, and people, businesses, organizations, even our various levels of government, would be able to stifle the free speech of others, and thus render websites like National Blacklist less effective, thus less relevant.

In general, each and every lower federal district court and federal appellate court that has construed the CDA has held that websites like National Blacklist are immune from virtually every type of civil liability based on information posted by a third party (the site's users). See Doe vs. America Online, Inc., 783 So.2d 1010 (Fl. 2001); Green vs. America Online, 318 F.3d 465, 470 (3rd Cir. 2003) (noting that the CDA, "‘precludes courts from entertaining claims that would place a computer service provider in a publisher's role,' and therefore bars ‘lawsuits seeking to hold a service provider liable for its exercise of a publisher's traditional editorial functions - such as deciding whether to publish, withdraw, postpone, or alter content.'"); Carafano vs. Metrosplash.com, Inc., 339 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2003); Schneider vs. Amazon.com, Inc., 31 P.3d 37 (Wash.App. 2001); Doe vs. GTE Corp., 347 F.3d 655 (7th Cir. 2003); Zeran vs. America Online, Inc., 129 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 1997); Blumenthal vs. Drudge, 992 F. Supp. 44 (D. D.C. 1998).

So what this all means to you is that if some escort has posted legitimate and accurate information about you, and you wish to hide it, there is little you can do legally to remove it. And if some escort has sadly or wrongly posted false information about you on National Blacklist, the CDA prohibits you from holding us liable for the statements which those escorts have written, and you would need to legally pursue the escort who published the controversial comment, and face your accuser in court. If you successfully prevail against the author of a post in a court of law, we will gladly remove the post upon receiving a court order to do so.

 

With deep gratitude we thank the following organizations for fighting for an individual’s rights to make protected Free Speech postings on the internet, and in fighting for the rights of websites like ours to host such postings.