United States: towards the end of Internet intermediary immunity?
In the United States, the immunity guaranteed to providers of interactive computer services (or intermediaries) by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (47 US Code § 230) shivers again with the introduction of a new bill called “Safe Tech Act”. According to Section 230, intermediaries cannot be held responsible for user content. This bill is intended to ensure that the immunity provided for in Section 230:
- does not apply to intermediaries offering paid services or hosting advertising;
- does not preclude injunctions aimed at removing content that may cause irreparable harm.
The authors’ motivations relate essentially to fundamental rights (discrimination, extremism, harassment). However, the purpose is the same as that of the Shop Safe Act (which targets online counterfeiting: iptwins.com, 2020-03-03): to make Internet intermediaries accountable by subjecting them to a less favorable legal regime, safer for Internet users. Both texts agree, in particular, on the need to adapt the legal regime of intermediaries while ruling out strict liability.
- United States: Shop Safe Act, a bill to end online counterfeiting, iptwins.com, 2020-03-03.
- Online counterfeiting and consumer safety: commentary on the March 4, 2020 hearings before the U.S. House of Representatives, iptwins.com, 2020-03-17.