Friday, March 12, 2021

Communications Decency Act Allows Video Hosting Site To Ban Conversion Therapy Promoter

In Domen v. Vimeo, Inc., (2d Cir., March 11, 2021), the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals held that Section 230 of the federal  Communications Decency Act immunizes the video sharing platform Vimeo from a lawsuit alleging religious and sexual orientation discrimination under California law. The suit was filed by Church United and its founder after Vimeo deleted their account because plaintiffs had uploaded videos that promote sexual orientation change therapy. The court said in part:

A broad provision [in Section 230], subsection (c)(2) immunizes interactive computer service providers from liability for “any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” 12 U.S.C § 230(c)(2). Notably, the provision explicitly provides protection for restricting access to content that providers “consider[] . . . objectionable,” ... granting significant subjective discretion.... Therefore, Vimeo is statutorily entitled to consider SOCE content objectionable and may restrict access to that content as it sees fit.

Bloomberg Equality reports on the decision.