GoDaddy Averts Suit by 'Revenge Porn' Victim

Apr 10, 2014 11:15 AM PST

BEAUMONT, Texas — averted a legal scuffle today after a Texas appeals court ruled that a group of revenge porn victims could not sue the web host because it is not a content provider.

Hollie Toups and 16 other women had filed a breach of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence suit last year against and GoDaddy in Orange County District Court.

The plaintiffs acknowledged that GoDaddy did not have a hand in creating the offensive material, but they claimed that it knew of the content, refused to take it down and profited from it.

While the trial court refused to dismiss the claims against GoDaddy, a three-judge panel with the 9th District Court of Appeals in Beaumont reversed the decision today.

 "Allowing plaintiffs' to assert any cause of action against GoDaddy for publishing content created by a third party, or for refusing to remove content created by a third party would be squarely inconsistent with section 230" of the federal Communications Decency Act, Justice Charles Kreger wrote for the court. "Because GoDaddy acted only as an interactive computer service provider and was not an information content provider with regard to the material published on the websites, plaintiffs cannot maintain claims against GoDaddy that treat it as a publisher of that material."

Kreger added that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) grants immunity even in cases involving illegal and obscene material and that limiting its application to suits involving constitutionally protected material would “undermine its purpose.”

Toups’ request for another appeal was rejected.

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