Court Says Anti-Malware Software Maker Immune From Lawsuit From Zango

from the thank-you-section-230 dept

Infamous adware maker Zango may finally be dead, but its lawsuits live on. You may recall a few years back Zango sued security software maker Kaspersky for calling its product "spyware." A court found that Kaspersky has every right to label the software as it feels is appropriate, noting that it's immune from complaints from Zango under section 230 of the CDA.

Zango appealed, claiming that Kaspersky shouldn't be immune because the CDA was only supposed to apply to websites, not software makers. The 9th circuit appeals court clearly disagrees and points out that this is exactly the sort of thing Section 230 should protect. It's always nice to see courts reaffirm the immunity granted by Section 230 -- especially since those protections have been under attack lately. Update: Eric Goldman has more.
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Filed Under: section 230, spyware
Companies: kaspersky, zango


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It creates a safe harbor of sorts for ISPs and hosting providers who remove content, without in theory turning them into publishers (although it does have significant limits)."

    I disagree, I do not think the law should be intended to protect people who censor information from the public (especially potentially valuable information). That would be against the public good. If it is referring to such things then the law should be changed.

    "This act was passed to specifically enhance service providers' ability to delete or otherwise monitor content without themselves becoming publishers"

    You found this quote here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act

    For all I know, you could have wrote that. No where does the act itself specify "service provider" it says "provider"

    http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2009/06/antispyware_com.htm

    As far as the court using the word "service provider" notice the reason.

    "Faced with potential liability for each message republished by their services, interactive computer service providers might choose to severely restrict the number and type of messages posted. Congress considered the weight of the speech interests implicated and chose to immunize service providers to avoid any such restrictive effect."

    Even the court itself does not use the word ISP's. The exact purpose of the bill is to prevent the restriction of "the number and type of messages posted."

    An ISP censoring information from its users does NOT serve this purpose. Taking out a bunch of irrelevant sights to a search query (perhaps because someone "google bombed" it or whatever) without facing liability does. It does not censor the site itself, for I can still find it through other means (ie: someone can post it via a message board or even here on techdirt, I can go to another search engine, or I can find another search term).

    The act also allows a provider to filter "content" that is considered "objectionable". If Kaspersky considers spyware objectionable they have a right to have their software filter it. The point here is that if I don't like Kaspersky filtering it I can choose a different antivirus. So the purpose of the bill is not defeated. If an ISP does it it would defeat the purpose of the bill because censoring info at the ISP level (especially since there is VERY LITTLE ISP competition in the U.S.) would "severely restrict the number and type of messages posted." Doing so at the search engine level or at the level of an antivirus does no such ting since people have relatively little to lose by switching antiviruses or search engines in comparison to ISP's.

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