Rules For The Revolution: The Podcast

Answering your questions about podcasting, new media and the law.

Episode 009: Section 230 – a powerful code for free speech

Click on this link to listen to Episode 009 or subscribe and listen through iTunes


Host: Colette Vogele

Guest: Kurt Opsahl, Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Opsahl interview

Kurt’s work at the EFF focuses on civil liberties, free speech and privacy law. Before joining EFF, Opsahl worked at Perkins Coie, where he represented technology clients with respect to intellectual property, privacy, defamation, and other online liability matters. Kurt also has past affiliations as research fellow to Professor Pamela Samuelson at the U.C. Berkeley School of Information Management & Systems. Kurt also co-authored the Electronic Media and Privacy Law Handbook.

Topics for Episode 009: In today’s episode, we discuss with Kurt Opsahl the background of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Kurt describes the congressional goals of the the CDA, a piece of the lengthly telecom legislation passed in 1996. Since its passage, other sections of the CDA have been struck down under constitutional challenges. Section 230, however, thrives today by providing fairly broad protection for intermediaries of content on the internet, which often includes podcasters (as well as eBay, Google, Yahoo!, and many more…).

Links for this Episode

  • CDA sectin 230
  • ACLU v. Reno case materials
  • EFF’s blogger’s FAQ on section 230
  • EFF’s FAQ on on-line defamation
  • EFF’s case archive re: section 230 casees
  • As always, you can reference the The Podcasting Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution for more information on legal questions related to podcasting.

    Credits: Benjamin A. Costa, Legal and Production Intern. Music for this episode is licensed from Magnatune. (Artist: Burnshee Thornside; Album: The Art Of Not Blending In; Song: Can I Be A Star.) Special thanks to Creative Commons and Alex Roberts for the logo design, and to Bill Streeter for getting this site designed and rolling for us.

    Feedback: We would very much like to hear from you and get your feedback on this new podcast series. Things you like, don’t like, or questions you have that you’d like answered in a future episode are welcome. Please send us your feedback and questions by emailing us at colette [at] rulesfortherevolution [dot] com or by calling our listener comment line at 206-350-5738.

    The original content of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to “Colette Vogele, Rules for the Revolution: The Podcast”.
    Creative Commons License


    4 Comments so far

    1. dane April 6th, 2007 3:31 pm

      Hi Colette, great paudcast. (I spell it that way in protest of apple’s DRM)

      Please, Please, Please have Ben use the free Levelator by GigaVox to equal out your audio.
      It will give everyone a better listening experience.

      Keep up the good work.


    2. Colette Vogele April 7th, 2007 11:42 am

      Hi Dane,
      I think Ben is using Levelator. We’ll double check and see what we can do to improve the audio. Thanks for listening!

    3. dane April 8th, 2007 6:06 am

      You are right, he is.
      I had just recently found your paudcasts and had only listened to the first few, which were unlevelated, when I made my complaint. I should have looked into it more before I opened my big fat keyboard. (sorry about that Ben)
      I recommend Levelating your past shows, If Ben can find the time. I too edit out mmms and uhs and cu cu cut out the stutterings, and know that editing an especially bad one hour file can take four or five hours to make it sound flawless. He does a great job for you.

      thanks again

    4. Colette Vogele April 8th, 2007 6:34 pm

      Ahhh. True. We had some sound difficulties in that first interview w/ Mia Garlick (which makes up episodes 1-3). I blame it on “operatator [me] error”. I had set the mic on the table between us (lodged in a kleenex box, to be exact) and we just did the interview across the table. I later realized that my mic (an RE 150) needs to be *directly* in front of the mouth of the person speaking or it won’t pick up the sound (I recognize this is a desireble characteristic for a mic). So, Ben did his best to bring up the volume and make it at least audible.