The Communications Decency Act of 1996: Why § 230 is Outdated and Publisher Liability for Defamation Should be Reinstated Against Internet Service Providers

Matthew G. Jeweler



When Congress enacted § 230 of the Communications Decency Act ("CDA")1 it changed the landscape of defamation law on the Internet. In the eleven years since Congress passed § 230, courts have interpreted it broadly, giving seemingly complete immunity to internet service providers ("ISPs") and website operators in third-party claims for defamation committed on the Internet.2 This essay argues that today, with the Internet being the dominant medium that it is, the CDA is outdated and unfair, and should be amended or repealed in favor of the common law framework for publisher liability in defamation.3

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