Connect with us

Section 230

The Authors of Section 230 Discuss the Law, 25 Years Later

Published

on

Screenshot of former Congressman Chris Cox from the webcast

June 25, 2020 — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and former Congressman Chris Cox, authors of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, joined technology policy journalist Ashley Gold to defend the importance of the law, 25 years after its original passage.

“We thought people should be focused on ideas,” said Wyden, when Gold asked in a Wednesday webinar what inspired the pair to write the law.

The team knew the digital revolution, which introduced new user-generated technology, was promising.

“The Internet couldn’t be treated like traditional media,” Cox said. “The users are the broadcasters and we knew there were going to be billions.”

“I couldn’t conceive of why anybody would invest in a small innovator, somebody who is taking a risk, who only has an idea, if they’re going to be held liable for the content of billions,” recalled Wyden.

“We knew if you wanted the internet to grow, you needed some protections,” said Cox.

The team knitted together Section 230 to protect an infant industry. Their decision occurred free from lobbying pressure.

“We attempted to arm websites with a sword and a shield,” Wyden said.

Section 230’s shield is the immunity granted to platforms, which allows for the unlimited proliferation of ideas to occur online. The law’s sword grants these platforms the ability to go after objectionable content.

“Prior to Section 230, a platform would have a powerful incentive not to moderate content, because moderation was punished with unlimited liability,” said Cox. “Without Section 230, my god, just imagine.”

When asked if the team thought about the future of the internet when crafting the law, Cox answered that they “knew that the need for such a law would only become greater and greater.”

“We never had the idea that this was an industry that needed infinite protection,” he continued. “We saw that there was a specific problem, baked into the design of the technology.”

Gold further questioned the panel, asking what changes they would make to amend the law if they could.

“I think any changes made to the law should not target constitutionally protected speech and not discourage moderation,” Wyden said. “As of yet, every single proposal being offered violates one or both of these principals.”

“I don’t think the law was ambiguously drafted, but I would find all the places I think the courts misinterpreted it and add an additional 3 paragraphs,” Cox said.

“Those who want to throw out Section 230, I want to hear what they’re going to do to protect constitutional speech and promote online moderation,” Wyden said.

Former Assistant Editor Jericho Casper graduated from the University of Virginia studying media policy. She grew up in Newport News in an area heavily impacted by the digital divide. She has a passion for universal access and a vendetta against anyone who stands in the way of her getting better broadband. She is now Associate Broadband Researcher at the Institute for Local Self Reliance's Community Broadband Network Initiative.

Section 230

Companies May Hesitate Bringing Section 230 Arguments in Court Fearing Political Ramifications: Lawyers

Legal experts say changing views on Section 230 will make platforms less willing to employ that defense in future cases.

Published

on

Carrie Goldberg, founder of C.A. Goldberg law firm

June 25, 2020 — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and former Congressman Chris Cox, authors of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, joined technology policy journalist Ashley Gold to defend the importance of the law, 25 years after its original passage.

“We thought people should be focused on ideas,” said Wyden, when Gold asked in a Wednesday webinar what inspired the pair to write the law.

The team knew the digital revolution, which introduced new user-generated technology, was promising.

“The Internet couldn’t be treated like traditional media,” Cox said. “The users are the broadcasters and we knew there were going to be billions.”

“I couldn’t conceive of why anybody would invest in a small innovator, somebody who is taking a risk, who only has an idea, if they’re going to be held liable for the content of billions,” recalled Wyden.

“We knew if you wanted the internet to grow, you needed some protections,” said Cox.

The team knitted together Section 230 to protect an infant industry. Their decision occurred free from lobbying pressure.

“We attempted to arm websites with a sword and a shield,” Wyden said.

Section 230’s shield is the immunity granted to platforms, which allows for the unlimited proliferation of ideas to occur online. The law’s sword grants these platforms the ability to go after objectionable content.

“Prior to Section 230, a platform would have a powerful incentive not to moderate content, because moderation was punished with unlimited liability,” said Cox. “Without Section 230, my god, just imagine.”

When asked if the team thought about the future of the internet when crafting the law, Cox answered that they “knew that the need for such a law would only become greater and greater.”

“We never had the idea that this was an industry that needed infinite protection,” he continued. “We saw that there was a specific problem, baked into the design of the technology.”

Gold further questioned the panel, asking what changes they would make to amend the law if they could.

“I think any changes made to the law should not target constitutionally protected speech and not discourage moderation,” Wyden said. “As of yet, every single proposal being offered violates one or both of these principals.”

“I don’t think the law was ambiguously drafted, but I would find all the places I think the courts misinterpreted it and add an additional 3 paragraphs,” Cox said.

“Those who want to throw out Section 230, I want to hear what they’re going to do to protect constitutional speech and promote online moderation,” Wyden said.

Continue Reading

Section 230

Head of Big Tech Lobby Group Says Repealing Section 230 Unconstitutional

CTA CEO said abolishing intermediary liability protections violates private industry protections against government interference.

Published

on

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association

June 25, 2020 — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and former Congressman Chris Cox, authors of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, joined technology policy journalist Ashley Gold to defend the importance of the law, 25 years after its original passage.

“We thought people should be focused on ideas,” said Wyden, when Gold asked in a Wednesday webinar what inspired the pair to write the law.

The team knew the digital revolution, which introduced new user-generated technology, was promising.

“The Internet couldn’t be treated like traditional media,” Cox said. “The users are the broadcasters and we knew there were going to be billions.”

“I couldn’t conceive of why anybody would invest in a small innovator, somebody who is taking a risk, who only has an idea, if they’re going to be held liable for the content of billions,” recalled Wyden.

“We knew if you wanted the internet to grow, you needed some protections,” said Cox.

The team knitted together Section 230 to protect an infant industry. Their decision occurred free from lobbying pressure.

“We attempted to arm websites with a sword and a shield,” Wyden said.

Section 230’s shield is the immunity granted to platforms, which allows for the unlimited proliferation of ideas to occur online. The law’s sword grants these platforms the ability to go after objectionable content.

“Prior to Section 230, a platform would have a powerful incentive not to moderate content, because moderation was punished with unlimited liability,” said Cox. “Without Section 230, my god, just imagine.”

When asked if the team thought about the future of the internet when crafting the law, Cox answered that they “knew that the need for such a law would only become greater and greater.”

“We never had the idea that this was an industry that needed infinite protection,” he continued. “We saw that there was a specific problem, baked into the design of the technology.”

Gold further questioned the panel, asking what changes they would make to amend the law if they could.

“I think any changes made to the law should not target constitutionally protected speech and not discourage moderation,” Wyden said. “As of yet, every single proposal being offered violates one or both of these principals.”

“I don’t think the law was ambiguously drafted, but I would find all the places I think the courts misinterpreted it and add an additional 3 paragraphs,” Cox said.

“Those who want to throw out Section 230, I want to hear what they’re going to do to protect constitutional speech and promote online moderation,” Wyden said.

Continue Reading

Section 230

Broadband Breakfast Hosts Section 230 Debate

Two sets of experts debated the merits of reforming or removing and maintaining Section 230.

Published

on

Screenshot taken from Broadband Live Online event

June 25, 2020 — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and former Congressman Chris Cox, authors of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, joined technology policy journalist Ashley Gold to defend the importance of the law, 25 years after its original passage.

“We thought people should be focused on ideas,” said Wyden, when Gold asked in a Wednesday webinar what inspired the pair to write the law.

The team knew the digital revolution, which introduced new user-generated technology, was promising.

“The Internet couldn’t be treated like traditional media,” Cox said. “The users are the broadcasters and we knew there were going to be billions.”

“I couldn’t conceive of why anybody would invest in a small innovator, somebody who is taking a risk, who only has an idea, if they’re going to be held liable for the content of billions,” recalled Wyden.

“We knew if you wanted the internet to grow, you needed some protections,” said Cox.

The team knitted together Section 230 to protect an infant industry. Their decision occurred free from lobbying pressure.

“We attempted to arm websites with a sword and a shield,” Wyden said.

Section 230’s shield is the immunity granted to platforms, which allows for the unlimited proliferation of ideas to occur online. The law’s sword grants these platforms the ability to go after objectionable content.

“Prior to Section 230, a platform would have a powerful incentive not to moderate content, because moderation was punished with unlimited liability,” said Cox. “Without Section 230, my god, just imagine.”

When asked if the team thought about the future of the internet when crafting the law, Cox answered that they “knew that the need for such a law would only become greater and greater.”

“We never had the idea that this was an industry that needed infinite protection,” he continued. “We saw that there was a specific problem, baked into the design of the technology.”

Gold further questioned the panel, asking what changes they would make to amend the law if they could.

“I think any changes made to the law should not target constitutionally protected speech and not discourage moderation,” Wyden said. “As of yet, every single proposal being offered violates one or both of these principals.”

“I don’t think the law was ambiguously drafted, but I would find all the places I think the courts misinterpreted it and add an additional 3 paragraphs,” Cox said.

“Those who want to throw out Section 230, I want to hear what they’re going to do to protect constitutional speech and promote online moderation,” Wyden said.

Continue Reading

Recent

Signup for Broadband Breakfast

Get twice-weekly Breakfast Media news alerts.
* = required field

 

Trending