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2003 - International Communication Association Pages: 28 pages || Words: 7992 words || 
1. Herbeck, Dale. "Bad Words and Good Samaritans: Defamatory Speech in Cyberspace" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 Online <.PDF>. 2019-11-15 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper considers whether Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are legally responsible for defamatory speech posted by third parties. Toward that end, the paper begins by identifying two competing models—ISPs as distributors and ISPs as publishers—developed by the courts in Cubby v. CompuServe (1991) and Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy (1995). The second section of the paper revisits this controversy in light of the United States Court of Appeals decision in Zeran v. America Online (1997), a case involving Section 230—the so-called "Good Samaritan" clause—of the ill-fated Communications Decency Act. The final section of this paper briefly summarizes the growing scholarly criticism of Section 230 and the Zeran decision. In the final pages, the paper directly responds to this criticism, arguing that Section 230 was intended to immunize ISPs, and that Zeran was correctly decided.

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