We regularly highlight comments that have made an impression on us. Today’s comes from user Martinned responding to Brian Pellot’s discussion piece on the Innocence of Muslims controversy.
Responding to Brian Pellot’s article on Google preemptively censoring the Innocence of Muslims video in Egypt and Libya, user Martinned wrote:
“I think the best way to think about this to analogise from the law on on-line torts. Most countries have so-called “safe-harbour” provisions that protect internet service providers and other companies, including Youtube, from getting sued, as long as they respond to valid takedown notices and – and this is important here – as long as they have no actual control over their content. The more the website shapes what people write, the more likely it is that they can be sued. (There is a famous case about discrimination on Craigslist, in the housing section.)
This is an approach that makes sense. If a company voluntarily takes on the task to censor and shape what is written on its website, people should be able to sue it, but they should be able to opt-out of that responsibility in those cases where the volume of traffic, etc. is such that they cannot reasonably be asked to filter everything that is written/posted.
The result of this approach is that in most cases websites like Youtube and Facebook will become public fora where people can post what they like. And that is all the better. We need such places on the internet. Given that such content is only found by people who actively go looking for it, I really don’t see the problem.”
To read other comments on the Innocence of Muslims controversy and respond to Martinned, click here.