Backpage Dismissal Does Not Solve Websites’ Woes

Law360, New York (December 21, 2016, 2:11 PM EST) -- Ariel A. Neuman

Julian C. Burns A California court’s recent dismissal of criminal charges against the CEO and former owners of online classifieds site Backpage.com reaffirmed a broad view of website operators’ immunity from liability for content posted by third parties. But while the court’s ruling bolsters the weight of precedent favoring expansive immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, an existing “exception” stripping website owners of immunity when they “materially contribute” to the illegality of posted content ensures that innovative plaintiffs lawyers and state prosecutors will continue to advance novel theories of website operator liability. Further clarity on...

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