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Communications Decency Act - NJ

    Donato v. Moldow: New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division has held that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunized the proprietor of an online message board from liability for allegedly defamatory content posted by third-parties, despite the exercise of editorial control in the selection and editing of the messages.

    Defendant Stephen Moldow established the website, "Eye on Emerson," in late 1999. He posted information about local government activities and local elected officials. The site included a discussion forum, in which any user could post messages, either with attribution or anonymously. The contents of the discussion board included objectionable and arguably false, defamatory and harassing messages. Plaintiffs then sued Moldow for defamation.

    This matter is now on appeal from trial court, who dismissed the action, finding that Moldow was immune from liability under a provision in the Communications Decency Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C.A. § 230, and granted Moldow's motion to dismiss the complaint against him for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted

    Section 230 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." 47 U.S.C.A. § 230(c)(1).

    The purpose of this statutory immunity is not difficult to discern. Congress recognized the threat that tort-based lawsuits pose to freedom of speech in the new and burgeoning Internet medium.

    see also: Batzel v. Smith; Roskowski v. Corvallis Police Officers' Association