Partner Gonzalo Mon and associate Andreas Becker co-authored the Leading Internet Case Law article “Kimzey v. Yelp! Inc.,” discussing the Ninth Circuit’s recent affirmation of the protection afforded to website providers and users under Section 230 of the Communications Decent Act (CDA).
Yelp was sued by Douglas Kimzey, whose locksmith business had received a bad review and rating, blaming responsibility on Yelp for creating the review and for “transforming” it into an Internet ad. The court rejected the argument, stating that Yelp was protected under Section 230, which provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an interactive computer service who publish information provided by others.
The development of content-neutral tools that use or collect user-generated input does not make a website the ‘creator’ or ‘developer’ of unlawful information. In conclusion, Yelp’s star-rating and review system were proven content-neutral and resulted in Section 230 immunity.