Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hollywood lobbies hard to hold service providers responsible for downstream liability in the Backpage-Section 230 controversy


Today, the Cato Institute held a day-long symposium in Washington DC, “The Future of the First Amendment”.

Most of the remarks about Section 230  and the recent Backpage controversy are on the “BillBoushka” blog entry.


But in a private conversation after the event, and executive from Cloudflare said that the law regarding sex trafficking already worked the same was as the law does for child pornography. That is (as Volokh suggested at lunch), intermediaries need report violations only when they know about them; they don’t have to go looking for them in advance.
  
He also suggested that Hollywood had been lobbying the Backpage issue deliberately to weaken Section 230, even though in the copyright world Hollywood has the benefit of a similarly structured DMCA Safe Harbor,,  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

S.O. registry even has to be made available to real estate purchases in some states



There is an interesting quirk in the way sex offender registries are handled, with Megan’s Law.    In Virginia, there is a tricky rule that realtors must disclose Megan’s law information to certain home purchasers, and it leads to a lot of convoluted advice to realtors. 

The law is designed to assist purchases with any concern about already stigmatized sex offenders in an area;  it does no pertain to the purchasers. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Some fear the "Backpage" bill could lead to almost universal requirement for age verification by most websites


Today, I posted a brief summary of an Ars Technica article by Tim Lee on my main “BillBoushka” blog about the possible effects of the bills in Congress to weaken Section 230 with regard to downsteam liability for sex trafficking ads.on some commercial websites, with less clarity of exposure for shared hosting services.

SiteLock had expressed concern about this in a private phone conversation with me last spring.

One speculative concern is the idea that websites that allow user logon to sell anything could be forced by future state laws to offer adult-id validation.  This was a fight we already had with COPA, with the decision finally reached in Philadelphia in 2007 to strike it down (I attended some of the testimony in October 2006 when I heard the judge make an interesting comment about “implicit content”).  

However VidAngel, itself controversial in terms of copyright issues, may have helped introduce technology to make adult screening more practical.