Bloggers and message board administrators held not liable for comments of users

2/23/07- Universal Communication Systems, claiming it had been defamed by comments on a message board regarding the value of its stock, sued message board operator Lycos. Dismissal in favor of Internet message board operator Lycos was upheld in 1st Circuit Court, reasoning that 1) Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act grants broad immunity to entities that facilitate the speech of others on the Internet; 2) defendant was a provider of an interactive computer service; 3) the “construct and operation” of the web site which may influence the content of the postings do not remove message board postings from category of “information provided by another information content provider” ; 4) immunity extends beyond publisher liability in defamation law to cover any claim that would treat Lycos “as the publisher;” and 5) Florida anti-dilution statute inapplicable merely by using a company’s trade name to label a message board on which the company is discussed.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act 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,” and that “[n]o cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.”