Second Circuit – GoDaddy Immune under Sec 230 For Defamation Claim

godaddy2dSecond Circuit – GoDaddy Immune under Sec 230 For Defamation Claim

The Second Circuit, for the first time addressed whether a webhost has liability for defamatory content on sites it hosts and held it enjoyed immunity under the Communications Decency Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. § 230.

In Ricci v. Teamsters Union Local 456, 2015 WL 1214476 (2d Cir. March 18, 2015), the court explained:

. . . In short, a plaintiff defamed on the internet can sue the original speaker, but typically “cannot sue the messenger.”  Chi. Lawyers’ Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. v. Craigslist, Inc., 519 F.3d 666, 672 (7th Cir. 2008).

We have never construed the immunity provisions of the Communications Decency Act, but other courts have applied the statute to a growing list of internet‐based service providers.  See, e.g., Klayman v. Zuckerberg, 753 F.3d 1354 (D.C. Cir. 2014); Doe v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F.3d 413 (5th Cir. 2008); Craigslist, 519 F.3d at 672.  That includes GoDaddy.  See Kruska v. Perverted Justice Found. Inc., No. CV 08‐0054‐PHX‐SMM, 2008 WL 2705377, at *3 (D. Ariz. July 9, 2008) (“GoDaddy, as a web host, qualifies as an interactive computer service provider under the CDA.”). We join this consensus.

The Riccis allege only that GoDaddy “refused to remove” from its web servers an allegedly defamatory newsletter that was authored by another.  These allegations do not withstand the Communications Decency Act, which shields GoDaddy from publisher liability (with respect to web content provided by others) in its capacity as a provider of an interactive computer service.