Cyberbullying and ISP immunity

The Yale Law Journal “Pocket Part” just published a short piece by Jenner & Block attorney Bradley A. Areheart that advocates narrowing Section 230 immunity to allow “recourse” for alleged cyberbullying victims. Mr. Areheart proposes a DMCA-like notice and take-down mechanism whereby an ISP with “actual knowledge through notice of an alleged tort” such as libel would lose immunity if it failed to remove the allegedly tortious content.

If adopted, my guess is that ISPs would quickly find themselves buried in notices resembling pro se defamation complaints. If a notice appeared to have any reasonable chance of surviving a motion to dismiss (forget about the merits here), chances are the ISP would not investigate further, but would promptly take down the objectionable material.

What would this mean for websites featuring user-generated content and future online innovation in general?


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