Reply to post: Re: It's all about the money

Section 230 supporters turn on it, its critics rely on it. Up is down, black is white in the crazy world of US law

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's all about the money

"They're having difficulties suing the actual originator of the objectionable content so they're going after the common carriers."

In that case there needs to be a clear distinction between a common carrier and a publisher.

A common carrier would be someone who provides a service which is charged for. Material delivered to the carrier is delivered to its destination for a fee. There is no means to look at the content. That would include and ISP who simply takes packets from the subscribers and routes them on for transmission to their destination and takes packets from the net addresses to their subscribers and delivers them. It also applies to mail service providers who accept mail and pass it on. It also applies to hosting; in fact with the ISP it's usually the customer who starts by sending some packets out and eventually the ISP gets to deliver the replies and with hosting the packets arrive from the net first and it's the customer's system that send out the replies. All the above is done blind - the carrier only looks at the routing and only in so far as it's necessary to route the message.

As soon as the business starts to look at content or display the content publicly they become a publisher and have responsibility for the content. Arguably this would also apply to free MSPs such a gmail if they look at the content and base other services on that or, indeed on anyone who monetises routing information.

It means that there can be a clean-cut distinction. You provide a point-to-point service blind, either for a fee, as a charity or even as some sort of loss-leader and you're a common carrier. If you look at content - or even routing information to monetise it in some other way - you assume a degree of responsibility.

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