Ben Edelman from the Harvard Business School and I recently finished a paper that we hope will spark an interesting debate among scholars and lawmakers about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The darling of tech law scholars and the law that has been credited with creating the Internet.
Here's a link to the full paper and you can find the abstract below:
Online marketplaces have transformed how we shop, travel, and interact with the world. Yet, their unique innovations also present a panoply of challenges for communities and states. Surprisingly, federal laws are chief among those challenges despite the fact that online marketplaces facilitate transactions traditionally regulated at the local level. In this Article, we survey the federal laws that frame the situation, especially §230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), a 1996 law largely meant to protect online platforms from defamation lawsuits. The CDA has been stretched beyond recognition to prevent all manner of prudent regulation. We offer specific suggestions to correct this misinterpretation to assure that state and local governments can appropriately respond to the digital activities which impact physical realities.