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E360insight, LLC v. Comcast Corp., 546 F.Supp.2d 605 (N.D. Ill. 2008) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
Plaintiff e360Insight, LLC is a marketer who sends e-mail solicitations and advertisements, for a fee, to millions of e-mail users. More than a few of those users are subscribers to Comcast, an Internet service provider, and many e-mail users do not want to see the messages sent by e360. Comcast uses filters to control the volume of its e-mail and to block e-mails its users don’t want to receive. Comcast used these filters to block unsolicited e-mail advertisements sent by plaintiff.
The plaintiff sued Comcast, alleging that it violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, its free speech rights under the First Amendment, a state law claim for tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, and the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act. Defendant argued that the Communications Decency Act protects Comcast from these claims even if they would otherwise be valid.
Trial Court Proceedings Edit
Specifically, the defendant provider contended that it was entitled to a judgment on the pleadings because of the Good Samaritan provision of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Section 230(c)(2), and the court agreed. Section 230(c)(2) broadly protects ISPs for actions that it voluntarily undertakes, in good faith, to restrict the availability of material that the provider considered objectionable.
Comcast could deem the plaintiff company’s unsolicited and bulk e-mails to be objectionable communications. The plaintiff failed to show that Comcast did not act in good faith in filtering or blocking the e-mails. Therefore, plaintiff failed to show that Section 230(c)(2) did not apply to protect the defendant against this suit. Furthermore, Section 230(e) preempted all state and local claims inconsistent with the grant of immunity and Comcast did not have any legal obligation to honor the plaintiff company’s commercial free speech rights. The court granted judgment on the pleadings.