A Web site operator's assertion of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in response to a demand that allegedly defamatory third-party content be removed from its consumer complaint site does not constitute an extortionate threat under California law, a district court ruled. The court stated that it had found no authority holding that a threat to defend against a lawsuit brought by another person is extortionate. The court also noted that a threat to take legal action is not extortionate under California law unless the threat was made with knowledge that the threatened claim was false and without merit. The court took judicial notice of the fact that, to the contrary, the Web site operator has prevailed in numerous prior lawsuits seeking to impose liability for alleged defamatory statements in third-party content posted on the site.

Asia Economic Institute v. Xcentric Ventures LLC, 2:10-cv-01360-SVW-PJW (C.D. Cal. July 17, 2010) Download PDF