Reply to post: Re: The law of Unintended Consequences applies....

Section 230 supporters turn on it, its critics rely on it. Up is down, black is white in the crazy world of US law

LDS Silver badge

Re: The law of Unintended Consequences applies....

1995 was a quite different Internet era. It was difficult to envision what would have come next. But the law was uselessly too broad as you point out.

It was clear an email provider couldn't be liable for the contents of emails - just like a telephone carrier is not liable for the contents of the calls. It could be extended to leasing hardware or software with no direct involvement and revenues but from the leasing itself, and without any rights on the contents.

But when "platforms" which allows to *publish* and reach millions of readers/viewers become available - and using a business model built on monetizing those very contents directly - the original assumption went out of the window.

Probably, the best way to modify Section 230 is to separate the former system from the latter.

If you're a "platform" that directly monetize contents published (made publicly available) i.e. through usage rights, user tracking and profiling, direct control of which ads are shown, etc. etc. you are directly liable for the contents - just like any other publisher, because your whole business is built on such contents. People uploading them in some ways "work for you" (especially if you pay them.... as, for example, YouTube does).

Otherwise if you just offer basic services, don't monetize someone else's contents directly in any way(paying for the platform usage should be allowed, of course) or contents are personal and not publicly available (i.e. email), don't control what ads are shown and from where, don't track and profiles users to sell their usage, nor you pay in any way the user, then you should not be liable (unless you break some other law - i.e. knowingly allowing illegal activities, or trying to hinder competition)

I know this will kill Facebook and Youtube - but they are exactly the problem.

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