Zeran v. America Online, Inc.

Zeran V. America Online, Inc.

Zeran v. America Online, Inc.

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Zeran v. America Online, Inc., 129 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 1997), The opinion of the Fourth Circuitcert. denied, 524 U.S. 937 (1998), is a case in which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals determined the immunity of Internet service providers for wrongs committed by their users under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Section 230(c)(1) of the CDA provides that "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."

The Fourth Circuit held that each of the plaintiff’s claims was barred by the CDA, holding that Section 230 "creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service." In the words of the Zeran court:


On April 25, 1995, six days after the Oklahoma City bombing, a message was anonymously posted on America Online’s (AOL) "Michigan Military Movement" bulletin board advertising items with slogans glorifying the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Opinion of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of...
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