Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Courts: Search Engines Not Liable for Fake Map Points

Must read

The FTC, CBD and the Law During Covid19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of cannabis companies that advertised CBD products as effective in preventing or treating COVID-19 without obtaining...

FTC Settles Another Health Claim Action

“Treats Chronic Pain… Clinically Proven… Smart Device… Approved by the FDA…” These are all claims the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says defendants...

OfferGlobe and Steve Mandes Illegal Spammers and Scammers Review.

OfferGlobe is an offshore advertising company with multiple registered addressees both in the UK and seemingly in the tax haven of Seychelles. They...

What Marketers Must Know About CBD Ads

An increasing number of celebrities and social media personalities are endorsing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products through social media. Many of...
Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattinhttp://pacevegas.com
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo were protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which immunizes websites that publish third-party content. The National Law Journal and the Technology & Marketing Law Blog covered the June 7 decision, while How Appealing linked to additional coverage.

Judge Merrick Garland, wrote the opinion for the three-judge panel.

The plaintiffs had claimed that the Communications Decency Act didn’t apply because the search engines enhanced the third-party content by creating map pinpoints.

The 14 plaintiffs, who described themselves as “ ‘legitimate’ locksmiths,” had claimed that the search engines conspired to flood the market of online search results with information from websites of scam locksmiths to get ad revenue from businesses wanting to distinguish themselves.

The plaintiffs said consumers typically search for locksmiths who are closest to them. The scam locksmiths lead consumers to think they are brick-and-mortar operations by creating websites that appear to be local, using call centers with local numbers, and using fictitious addresses or not listing an exact address.

The plaintiffs’ suit against the search engines had alleged false advertising, abuse of monopoly power, restraint of trade, fraud, interference with economic advantage, unfair competition, conspiracy and breach of contract.

A federal judge had tossed all but the contract claim, and the D.C. Circuit affirmed.

Translating address information from the scam locksmiths’ webpages into map pinpoints does not take the defendants beyond the immunity provided by the Communications Decency Act, Garland said. That holds true even when websites do not provide exact addresses, he wrote.

The search engines use a neutral algorithm when converting website information into pictorial form, Garland said.

“Because the defendants employ a ‘neutral means’ and an ‘automated editorial act’ to convert third-party location and area-code information into map pinpoints, those pinpoints come within the protection” of Section 230, Garland said.

Garland cautioned that Section 230 immunity “is not limitless. In this vein, we reject the defendants’ remarkable suggestion at oral argument that they would enjoy immunity even if they did in fact entirely fabricate locksmith addresses.”

Garland’s opinion was joined by Judges Patricia Millett and Harry Edwards.

- Advertisement -

More articles

1 Comment

What's your opinion?

- Advertisement -

Latest article

The FTC, CBD and the Law During Covid19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of cannabis companies that advertised CBD products as effective in preventing or treating COVID-19 without obtaining...

FTC Settles Another Health Claim Action

“Treats Chronic Pain… Clinically Proven… Smart Device… Approved by the FDA…” These are all claims the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says defendants...

OfferGlobe and Steve Mandes Illegal Spammers and Scammers Review.

OfferGlobe is an offshore advertising company with multiple registered addressees both in the UK and seemingly in the tax haven of Seychelles. They...

What Marketers Must Know About CBD Ads

An increasing number of celebrities and social media personalities are endorsing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products through social media. Many of...

Affiliate Scammers Michael Giannulis and Michael Williams Named by Feds for $300 Million in Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cracked down a group of affiliate marketers who ensnared consumers into a fraud business coaching program called...