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What you should know about the Communication Decency Act

For many readers it is hard to imagine a time before the internet existed and was readily accessible. Though few probably spend much time thinking about it, there are laws behind the scenes that regulate what can be posted. Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act is relevant to anyone who posts online.

What is the Communication Decency Act?

Two decades old and codified at 47 U.S.C. ยง 230, the CDA provides information regarding who or what can be held responsible for the information posted. Specifically it provides that there is a difference between the speaker or publisher, and the provider of the service that made it possible to post the material. This means that Twitter or Facebook cannot be held responsible for information posted by others. Likewise, any site that provides a place for people to provide a review is also protected from defamation claims.

How is this relevant to you?

If you take issue with something posted online about you or your business this means that the platform hosting the comment cannot be legally held responsible for hosting that information. This does not mean that you do not have options however. It is possible that you may be able to have the content removed from the site.

What is your first step?

A business complaint or personal rumor can be devastating for those involved in a variety of ways including financially and emotionally. Accordingly, if you find yourself or your business in this situation it is important to act aggressively. While some content hosts will work with you to have offending material removed, this is not always the case. These matters are usually complex and deserve the attention of lawyers who have experience with such matters. Attorneys at Dinn Hichman & Potter, LLC, work with parties dealing with online defamation. To learn more about how they may help you, please see their website.

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