Supreme Court of California

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Barrett v. Rosenthal, S122953

In the context of defamation, the Communications Decency Act of 1996, codified at 47 U.S.C. section 230, prohibits "distributor" liability for Internet publications. Further, section 230(c)(1) immunizes individual "users" of interactive computer services, and no practical or principled distinction can be drawn between active and passive use.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 11/20/2006
  • Published 11/21/2006




  • Supreme Court of California


  • For Appellant:
  • Law Offices of Christopher E. Grell, Christopher E. Grell, Richard R. Rescho, Oakland, and Ian P. Dillon, San Francisco, for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

  • For Appellees:
  • Mark Goldowitz, Berkeley, Jesper Rasmussen, Oakland;  Piper Rudnick, Roger Myers, Lisa Sitkin, Emeryville, and Katherine Keating, San Francisco, for Defendant and Respondent., Lee Tien, San Francisco, and Kurt Opsahl for Electronic Frontier Foundation as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Respondent., Ann Brick, San Francisco, for American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Respondent., Cooley Godward, Michael G. Rhodes, San Diego, Lori R. E. Ploeger, Palo Alto, and Laura C. Pirri, Redwood Shores, for eBay Inc. as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Respondent., Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Patrick J. Carome, Samir Jain, Washington, DC, and C. Colin Rushing for, Inc., America Online, Inc., eBay Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Yahoo!   Inc., ABC, Inc., Ask Jeeves, Inc., Cable News Network LP, LLLP, Compuserve Interactive Services, Inc., Earthlink, Inc., ESPN, Inc., Netscape Communications Corporation, SBC Internet Services, Time Warner Cable Inc., The Washington Post Company, Association for Competitive Technology, California Newspaper Publishers Association, Information Technology Association of America, Internet Alliance, Internet Commerce Coalition, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Netchoice, Netcoalition Newspaper Association of America, Online News Association, Online Publishers Association, TechNet and United States Internet Service Provider Association as Amici Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Respondent., Deidre K. Mulligan for Law Professors with Expertise in Internet Law as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Respondent.

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