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Telecommunications Act

Overview#

Telecommunications Act is a 1996 Act of Congress was the first significant overhaul of telecommunications law in more than sixty years, amending the Communications Act of 1934.

Telecommunications Act Section 230 is a landmark piece of Internet legislation in the United States, codified at 47 U.S.C. ยง 230. Section 230(c)(1) provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an "interactive computer service" who publish information provided by third-party users:
"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

In analyzing the availability of the immunity offered by this provision, courts generally apply a three-prong test. A defendant must satisfy each of the three prongs to gain the benefit of the immunity:

  • The defendant must be a "provider or user" of an "interactive computer service."
  • The cause of action asserted by the plaintiff must treat the defendant as the "publisher or speaker" of the harmful information at issue.
  • The information must be "provided by another information content provider," i.e., the defendant must not be the "information content provider" of the harmful information at issue.

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