Internet Immunity and the Freedom to Code

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 62, pages 22-24 (2019)

5 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2019

See all articles by Eric Goldman

Eric Goldman

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: September 2019

Abstract

The Internet’s freedom to code is in jeopardy. In 1996, Congress enacted 47 U.S.C. § 230, which says Internet services aren’t liable for third-party content in many cases. In practice, for over two decades, Section 230 has legally immunized coders’ decisions about how to gather, organize, and publish third party content.

Section 230 has become a political target by all sides, but reforming it will impair coding freedom. This essay explains how Section 230 came into existence, the effects it has had, and why technologists should rally behind it to preserve their ability to build the next generation of Internet services.

Keywords: free speech, section 230, 47 usc 230, communications decency act, cda, freedom, innovation

JEL Classification: k20, K4, O3

Suggested Citation

Goldman, Eric, Internet Immunity and the Freedom to Code (September 2019). Communications of the ACM, Vol. 62, pages 22-24 (2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3443976

Eric Goldman (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408-554-4369 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ericgoldman.org

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