The Man Behind the Mask: Defamed Without a Remedy
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Defamation law is a balance between the right of one person to speak and the right of another person to cure injuries to their reputation. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has substantially altered the careful equilibrium that is defamation law. In an effort to protect the flow of ideas and speech on the internet, Congress created a new law that upends traditional defamation law. The sweeping immunities that section 230 grants upon publishers, re-publishers, and distributors has had the effect of invalidating what were once other-wise legitimate causes of action in defamation. After the enactment of section 230, many potential plaintiffs in internet defamation actions are faced with a situation where they have no defendant because the potential defendants are either anonymous or immune. This Comment considers the prudence of a law like section 230, challenges the nature of defamation laws new and old, and asks whether the policies our laws are founded upon are policies that remain important to us.