Three laws that help the sharing Web thrive: DMCA, CDA 230 and Anti-SLAPP laws

Technology, Tips & how-to

The following originally appeared on the Real Self blog.

Eight years ago, in 2006, the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project surveyed the Internet habits of Americans. In what was then the very early days of social media, Pew’s researchers concluded that 48 million, or over one-third, of all Americans had contributed user-generated content, or UGC, online. There hasn’t been a subsequent survey because the question has become moot.

Thanks to social media and online review sites like RealSelf and Avvo, UGC has exploded. Nearly every Internet user in America now creates some form of UGC. From snarky commentary on Twitter to cat photos on Facebook to plastic surgeon reviews on RealSelf, Americans are sharing their thoughts, opinions and creative works in an unprecedented fashion.

As the General Counsel for Avvo, a website that provides a forum for consumers to leave reviews of lawyers, I’m often asked about the laws that relate to UGC. Several weeks ago, I wrote for Real Self about the considerations for those leaving negative reviews of doctors. Today, let’s expand the scope and look at three of the primary legal areas that apply to UGC.

  1. Someone else posts your UGC: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act
  2. Don’t bother suing an online forum: Communications Decency Act, Section 230
  3. Protecting your right to free speech: Anti-SLAPP laws

Read the full article at the Real Self blog.