Material issues of fact concerning an advertiser's role in the creation of user-generated videos submitted in an online contest preclude a grant of summary judgment on the issuer's defense under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a district court ruled. The case involved a lawsuit brought by a franchisor against a competitive franchisor alleging false and deceptive advertising, among other things, and claiming that the competitive franchisor was responsible for unfair comparisons between the products of the two franchisors that were made in the user-generated videos submitted during the online contest. The court concluded that it was unclear at the pre-trial stage of litigation whether the competitive franchisor went beyond the traditional role of a publisher with respect to the contest videos and actively participated in creating or developing the third-party content; the question of whether the competitive franchisor was an “information content provider” not entitled to the protection of Section 230 was a question for the jury.

Doctor's Associates v. QIP Holder LLC, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14687 (D. Conn. Feb. 19, 2010). Download PDF

Editor's Note: Shortly after the ruling was issued, the parties notified the court that the case had been settled. This case is discussed on the Proskauer New Media and Technology Law blog.