Infographic: Most Important Law Protecting Internet Speech
Posted on August 23rd, 2012 by Craig Newmark
Folks, there's this law called CDA 230 which is a major free speech protection on the Internet. It also protects much of the business on the Net, which involves engagement with regular people. It's a really big deal. Maybe the most important law protecting Internet speech.
My team and I worked with the good folks at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to create an infographic explaining how CDA 230 really protects Internet speech.
A general theme might be that we do need some law in some areas, but it's really hard to get it done right in Washington, maybe just not possible during an election year. But it's still important to let people know about important laws like CDA 230. This affects both individuals and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including bloggers – protecting them from liability for what their customers say while using their services.
“Congress got it fundamentally right in passing CDA 230,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. “Speech should not be left vulnerable to collateral threats aimed at providers who allow millions of people to speak and obtain information online. Providing strong legal safeguards for Internet platforms ensures that as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate online.”
Here's what it's about, according to the hardworking folks at EFF: Section 230 refers to Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code (47 USC § 230). It was passed as part of the Communication Decency Act of 1996. Many aspects of the CDA were unconstitutional restrictions of freedom of speech (and, with EFF's help, were struck down by the Supreme Court), but this section survived and has been a valuable defense for people who run websites ever since.
If we lost this law it would probably destroy the Web as we know it. CDA 230’s made a huge contribution to the explosion of innovation and expression online, and we need it.