Online liability laws conflict with federal ruling

August 25, 2020Media Mention
Daily Journal

Greenberg Glusker attorneys, Doug Mirell and Josh Geller, provide insight on the topic of the legal liability of online services in the article, "Online liability laws conflict with federal ruling," published by the Daily Journal on August 25, 2020.


"The issue really is to what extent platforms like Craigslist or YouTube or any other social media sites that rely upon user generated content ... are immune from liability for the content that people post," Douglas E. Mirell, a partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, said of last week's federal ruling. "The significance of this decision to me is that Congress ... didn't do a terribly comprehensive job in terms of limiting the immunity that these platforms have been given."

Josh Geller, counsel at Greenberg Glusker who regularly works with content creators, noted the case is one of the first clarifying how FOSTA-SESTA would interact with Section 230. But last week's ruling "raises the question of what, exactly, is FOSTA doing here to change the scope of the CDA," said Geller, who suggested Congress may need to throw out the entire framework of the 1996 law to achieve FOSTA's stated goal.

The way FOSTA-SESTA introduces liability for only sex trafficking incidents is an ad hoc approach, Geller said, adding the federal ruling is "indicative of why the Communications Decency Act requires a more holistic reexamination."

The full article is available to Daily Journal subscribers on the Daily Journal website.