Don’t Blame the Messenger
Intermediary liability and protecting Internet platforms
Protecting intermediaries from liability is critical to preserving the Internet as an instrument for free expression and access to information, and thus as an engine of innovation and economic development.
When an Italian court held Google liable for a video uploaded by a third party to one of the Internet giant’s Web sites, it offered a stunning example of intermediary liability. Google, the platform host, was the intermediary between the content creator who made the video clip and the content consumers who viewed it. Other intermediaries include Internet service providers (ISPs), e-commerce platforms, and social media platforms like Orkut, Facebook, and YouTube. These services provide valuable open forums for user-generated content that are often free of charge and require minimal technical knowledge to use.