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Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Unauthorized internet reseller of plaintiff’s products is not guilty of trademark infringement, and does not cause actionable initial interest confusion, by using plaintiff’s trademarks in meta tags of website at which plaintiff’s and its competitors’ products are sold, and in...

Web Hosting - Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions - Updated June 6, 2007

2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8845 (N.D. Ill., June 21, 2000)

Court holds that those engaging in web site hosting activities are immunized by the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. 230(c) from liability arising out of their involvement, via those activities, in the dissemination or publication of information originating from third parties. Section 230(c)(1) provides that "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." The court held that those who provide web hosting services are service providers within the meaning of the CDA, and hence entitled to the immunity it provides. Said the court: "by offering web hosting services which enable someone to create a web page, [defendants] are not magically rendered the creators of those web pages. See 47 U.S.C. 230(c)(1). As such, plaintiffs' new characterization of [defendants] as web hosts neither prevents these defendants from being deemed service providers protected by immunity under the CDA nor makes them content providers unprotected by the CDA's immunity."

Quick Hits

Johnny Doe v. Mark Bates and Yahoo, Inc.
No. 5:05-CV-91-DF-CMC (E.D. Tex., December 27, 2006).

Court holds CDA Section 230 immunizes Yahoo from civil liability arising out of its hosting of an online ‘e-group’ named ‘Candyman’ on which illegal images depicting child pornography were exchanged.  The co-defendant, Mark Bates, was convicted for his involvement as the moderator of this online forum.  Plaintiff brought claims under 18 U.S.C. Section 2252A, which creates a private right of action for those aggrieved by a violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 2252, a criminal statute that prohibits the dissemination of child pornography.  The Court, in a case of first impression, held that the CDA immunized Yahoo from such civil claims, as well as claims of negligence, negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy, arising out of its hosting of this forum.  The Court reached this result notwithstanding the fact that 47 U.S.C. Section 230(e)(1), titled “no effect on criminal law,” provides “nothing in this section shall be construed to impair the enforcement of  … Chapter … 110 (relating to sexual exploitation of children) of Title 18, or any other Federal Criminal Statute.”  Said the Court:

while the facts of a child pornography case such as this one may be highly offensive, Congress has decided that the parties to be punished and deterred are not the internet service providers but rather those who created and posted the illegal material, such as defendant Mark Bates, the moderator of the ‘Candyman’ e-group.

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