Shiamili v Real Estate Group of N.Y., Inc., 17 N.Y.3d 281

According to the decision:

47 U.S.C.S. § 230 generally immunizes internet service providers from liability for third-party content wherever such liability depends on characterizing the provider as a “publisher or speaker” of objectionable material”.

Plaintiff realtor sued defendants, a competitor, the competitor’s principal, and the principal’s assistant, for defamation and unfair competition by disparagement. The trial court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, but the Appellate Division (New York) reversed, granted the motion, and dismissed the complaint. The realtor sought further review.

Comments disparaging the realtor were posted on the competitor’s website. 47 U.S.C.S. § 230 shielded the competitor from tort liability because (1) defendants, as alleged website operators, were providers of an “interactive computer service,” under 47 U.S.C.S. § 230, (2) the realtor sought to hold defendants liable as publishers and speakers, (3) it was not alleged that defendants authored the comments, (4) defendants were not content providers due to creating and running a website, (5) defendants were not “content providers” by reposting comments, as this was a traditional editorial function, and, (6) while defendants were “content providers” as to a heading, sub-heading, and illustration accompanying the reposting, that content was not defamatory as a matter of law.

The decision can be found at…