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US speaker Nancy Pelosi warns tech firms could lose Section 230 protection


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With the European Copyright Directive having made it through its approval vote in the European Parliament, could attention be about to switch to the US in the arguments over safe harbour? Maybe not straight away, but an interview with the US speaker Nancy Pelosi by tech site Recode is worth a read. In it, she’s asked about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which dictates that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” – safe harbour.

As part of a wider conversation about how technology companies are protected by it, Pelosi said that “230 is a gift to them… It is a gift to them and I don’t think that they are treating it with the respect that they should, and so I think that that could be a question mark and in jeopardy”. She continued: “When we come to 230, you really get their attention. But I do think that for the privilege of 230, there has to be a bigger sense of responsibility on it. And it is not out of the question that that could be removed.”

The interview was focusing on all kinds of regulation and anti-competition policy, rather than copyright issues. But the US music industry will have noted this warning shot.

Stuart Dredge

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