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Carafano v. Metrosplash.com, Inc. - 339 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2003)

Rule:

Reviewing courts have treated 47 U.S.C.S. § 230(c) immunity as quite robust, adopting a relatively expansive definition of "interactive computer service" and a relatively restrictive definition of "information content provider." Under the statutory scheme, an "interactive computer service" qualifies for immunity so long as it does not also function as an "information content provider" for the portion of the statement or publication at issue.

Facts:

A third-party created a matchmaking profile on Matchmaker.com using the victim's name, address, personal information, and pictures. Christianne Carafano discovered the identity theft when she began receiving sexual and threatening emails and voicemails. Carafano brought suit against Matchmaker, but the district court granted summary judgment for the matchmaker. Carafano appealed.

Issue:

Was Matchmaker.com statutorily immune from Carafano’s suit?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The grant of summary judgment was affirmed because the appellate court found that under 47 U.S.C.S. § 230(c)(1), Matchmaker.com was statutorily immune from Carafano’s suit. Matchmaker.com was not an information content provider because none of its matchmaking profiles had any content until a user actively created it. Matchmaker.com simply published a profile that was created by a third-party, and the fact that some of the content was formulated in response to Matchmaker.com's questionnaire did not alter the fact that Matchmaker.com did not play a significant role in creating, developing or transforming the relevant information.

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