Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Sheri Wardwell


In 2008, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released interpretive guidelines regarding antifraud liability for statements and disclosures made on company Web sites. The SEC noted that a company may incur both criminal and civil liability under section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 for hyperlinks to third-party content. However, the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230(c), expressly preempts civil liability for interactive computer service providers that post hyperlinks to third-party content on their Web sites. This Article examines whether section 230 immunizes companies from civil liability for hyperlinks to third-party content despite the SEC’s interpretive guidelines imposing antifraud liability. This Article concludes that companies would likely be considered information content providers under section 230 and therefore outside the scope of the safe harbor provision for interactive computer service providers.

First Page