This week NCAC signed on to a letter from the Center on Democracy & Technology opposing legislation that would hold publishers responsible for content generated by a third party.
Congress is once again considering legislation–known as the SAVE Act (Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation) in the House– that seeks to punish child trafficking. But the SAVE Act would represent a radical departure from existing communications law, since it would hold publishers legally liable for content– especially advertising–that they did not create.As CDT’s Emma Llanso explained, “When faced with potential federal criminal liability for their users’ content, online platforms will censor as a self-defense mechanism…. rather than risk the immense expense of mounting a criminal defense, website operators will take down a much broader array of constitutionally protected speech than what’s targeted by these bills.”
As the CDT letter explained:
the legislative proposals to create new federal criminal liability for online content hosts and publishers are overbroad, counterproductive, and would place unconstitutional burdens on the free speech and privacy rights of millions of Americans.
The letter closes by noting that “holding hosts of third-party content criminally responsible for content they did not create…would significantly curtail individuals’ opportunities to create, share information, and express themselves online.” Read more about the issue here.