Plaintiffs Seek to Overturn Section 230 Ruling Protecting Reddit in Alleged CSAM Case

PASADENA — A dismissed class-action lawsuit against Reddit, alleging that the platform “knowingly benefits from lax enforcement of its content polices, including for child pornography,” has been revived through an appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

The lawsuit, which cited FOSTA-SESTA and was filed in April by attorneys for a pseudonymous Jane Doe, was dismissed in October. At that time, U.S. District Judge James V. Selna found that Section 230 shielded Reddit from “allegations of profiting off of child pornography,” legal news site Law 360 reported last week in an article describing the late-November appeal.

The civil lawsuit was filed by class-action specialist attorneys Davida Brook, Krysta Kauble Pachman, Arun Subramanian and Steve Cohen, representing the firms Susman Godfrey LLP and Pollock Cohen LLP. Reddit successfully invoked Section 230 to counteract the lawyers’ claims that it should be liable for user-generated content uploaded by third parties — in this case, content that allegedly depicted the underage Jane Doe in sexual situations.

A String of Lawsuits Testing Section 230 Protections

As XBIZ reported back in April, after years of being targeted by religious anti-porn organization NCOSE for allowing sexual content from third-party uploaders, Reddit became the latest defendant in an orchestrated campaign of civil lawsuits attempting to challenge Section 230 protections in the name of protecting victims of sex trafficking.

Like similar lawsuits filed against Facebook, Twitter, Pornhub and WGCZ under NCOSE’s sponsorship, the Reddit lawsuit refers to an illegal video shot and uploaded by a third party. In each case, the third party is not part of the lawsuit. Instead, the plaintiff looks for a settlement from a large online platform that supposedly “promoted and monetized” the content.

This is the exact situation that Section 230 was meant to address in shielding platforms from this type of lawsuit. However, in 2018, Congress enacted FOSTA-SESTA, creating a loophole negating platform immunity in cases concerning “federal sex trafficking laws.”

The Jane Doe, according to an April report by tech site The Verge, is “seeking a class action suit representing anyone who had similar photos or videos posted on Reddit while they were under 18 years of age. She’s accusing Reddit of distributing child pornography, failing to report child sexual abuse material and violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.”

On November 29, according to Law 360, “the proposed class — composed of people identified only as Jane and John Does — filed a notice of appeal with the Ninth Circuit Monday, seeking to overturn the dismissal with prejudice. The notice included no other information about the appeal.”

Back in August, the Law 360 report continued, “the plaintiffs argued against Reddit’s motion to dismiss at the trial court level. They said that dismissing the case on Section 230 grounds would ‘impair or limit’ the enforcement of [Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act’s] civil remedy, precisely the opposite of what the statute directs.”

FOSTA-Invoking Lawyers Claim Reddit is ‘A Haven for Pedophiles’

The complaint filed in April, Law 360 reported, “claims Reddit is cognizant that it has become a haven for pedophiles looking for child porn. One of the lead plaintiffs is a woman who claims an ex-boyfriend of hers posted videos and pictures of the two having sex on subreddits. She was 16-years-old at the time the videos and images were taken and reported the posts to Reddit, her suit claims. The site was slow to take action against the posts and did not permanently ban her boyfriend, the complaint said. Reddit was much quicker to act on a copyright violation claim from the plaintiff rather than on a report that the content was illegal, the lawsuit said.”

“Reddit’s refusal to act has meant that for the past several years,” the plaintiff’s lawyers wrote, “Jane Doe has been forced to log on to Reddit and spend hours looking through some of its darkest and most disturbing subreddits so that she can locate the posts of her underage self, and then fight with Reddit to have them removed.”

Neither party has released any comment about the appeal.

Article Source : – XBIZ is the leading source for adult industry news.

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