SLAPP014 – Interaction Between the Communications Decency Act and Anti-SLAPP Motions

California SLAPP Law Podcast

In Episode 14 of the California SLAPP Law Podcast, we begin with a discussion of the interplay between anti-SLAPP motions and the Communications Decency Act.

The topic came up because of another anti-SLAPP victory we enjoyed this week at Morris & Stone. The anti-SLAPP motion we brought on behalf of our client had nothing to do with the Communications Decency Act, but the Plaintiff was also suing Yelp and RipOffReport in the same action, and they both disposed of the action with anti-SLAPP motions based on the CDA.

I would have thought this had been put to bed long ago, but I still see attorneys suing websites for content posted by third parties, so I thought we’d discuss that a little.

Our anti-SLAPP motion was granted by Judge Jeffrey Glass in the Orange County Superior Court. Take a listen for my (favorable) impressions of Judge Glass, based on the cases I have had in front of him.

In one such case, I represented a defendant who had created a spam filter, and was sued by a company because his spam filter determined that this company was sending out spam emails. In that case, Judge Glass used the “fuzzy bunny test” to determine if the CDA only protects content based spam filters. Listen to Episode 14 to learn the details of this important test.

Here’s what the CDA says about spam filters:

Section 230(c)(2) provides that “[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of … any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.”

Next, we review the CDA and third party content. We discuss the case of Global Royalties, Ltd v. Xcentric Ventures, where the plaintiff argued that the CDA did not protect information published by a third party on a website, since the website encouraged defamatory speech.

We also discuss the case of Batzel v. Smith, where an individual sent a defamatory letter to an organization, and that organization liked the letter so much, it posted it on its website. In that case, the court found that the website was not protected by the CDA, because the person who sent the letter had not intended for it to be published.

We conclude with a discussion of the Santa Monica 11, who sought to block a ballot measure, and are now on the hook for $31,000 in attorney fees following a successful anti-SLAPP motion

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Aaron Morris, Attorney
Aaron Morris
Morris & Stone, LLP

Orchard Technology Park
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Lake Forest, CA 92630

(714) 954-0700

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