Communications Decency Act Section 230 and the Future of Online Speech
Date of Event
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was designed to protect free speech on the internet by allowing companies to moderate the speech they host without incurring liability for it.
Because of Section 230, you can't sue Facebook for what a user posts on the theory that Facebook was the publisher of that content. You also can't sue Facebook for removing your posts on a theory that it is a state actor, with associated constitutional restraints for free speech purposes.
Over the last several months, politicians have proposed different pieces of legislation that would weaken the protections provided by Section 230. Then on June 4, President Trump issued an Executive Order purporting to stop online censorship by declaring that Section 230 should be limited to those platforms which do not exercise editorial control—a position that is contradicted by judicial interpretations of the section's scope.
In this panel discussion, sponsored by Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the Stanton Foundation, we will discuss the history, text and application of Section 230, the legislative proposals to amend it and the implications of those proposals for internet platforms and their users.
Andrew Geronimo is a supervising attorney at the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he manages the IP Venture Clinic. Geronimo joined CWRU Law in 2017 as the Stanton Foundation First Amendment Fellow and taught in the First Amendment Lab & the First Amendment Clinic, where his advocacy focused on free speech, free press, and government transparency issues. Blake Reid studies, teaches, and practices at the intersection of law, policy, and technology. He's a Clinical Professor at Colorado Law, where he serves as the Director of the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic (TLPC) and the Director of the Telecom and Platforms Initiative at the Silicon Flatirons Center. Danielle Blunt (she/her) is a NYC-based Dominatrix and sex worker rights and anti-traffiking advocate. She has her Masters in Public Health and researches the intersection of sex work and equitable access to tech. Blunt is on the advisory board of NYC's Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP) and Berkman Klein's Initiative for a Representative First Amendment (IfRFA). She enjoys redistributing money from institutions, watching her community thrive and making men cry. Lorelei Lee (they/them) is a sex worker activist, writer, recent law school graduate, and 2020 Justice Catalyst Fellow. Their adult film work has been nominated for multiple AVN awards and won a 2015 XRCO award. Their essays, fiction, and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in The Establishment, Denver Quarterly, $pread Magazine, Salon, Buzzfeed, n+1, WIRED, The Believer, and elsewhere. They are a contributor to the anthologies Coming Out Like a Porn Star, The Feminist Porn Book, Hustling Verse, and others. They were a founding member of Survivors Against SESTA, are a researcher and analyst with Hacking//Hustling, and serve on the steering committee of Red Canary Song.
Communications Decency Act, section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, online speech, internet and free speech
CWRU School of Law Virtual Event
Case Western Reserve University School of Law, "Communications Decency Act Section 230 and the Future of Online Speech" (2020). Conferences and Symposia. 82.