Connecticut Appellate Court Waxes Nostalgic For Early Days of Internet (Kind Of)

Let us direct your attention to Vazquez v. Buhl, — A.3d —-, No. 35319 (Conn. Ct. App. May 13, 2014).

As you can tell from the citation, that opinion is to be released tomorrow, technically making it jurisprudence from the future. (Technically, that’s how they roll in Connecticut.).

In that case, the court “confront[ed] Congress’ restrictions on defamation claims arising out of the Internet.” Essentially, as the court described them, the issues presented were these:

The plaintiff, Mitchell Vazquez, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered after the granting of the motion brought by the defendant NBCUniversal Inc ., to strike counts two (defamation), three (false light), and four (negligent infliction of emotional distress) of the plaintiff’s complaint. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that a motion to strike is not the proper procedural vehicle to decide the applicability of § 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996(CDA), 47 U.S.C. § 230 et seq. The plaintiff further claims that the trial court improperly granted the motion to strike because it incorrectly interpreted the “provided by another information content provider” language of § 230(c)(1).

We suspect that you’ll be able to find a full analysis of the case on the tech law blog in the days to come. However, we did want to direct your attention to our favorite sentence of the opinion:

Congress, in 1996, likely could not have anticipated the advent and popularity of Twitter, Facebook or eBay, the shift from print to online news, the proliferation of search engines, or the myriad other developments of the Internet.

Indeed, although we should note we here at Abnormal Use were using Yahoo, Lycos, AltaVista, and Wired Magazine‘s HotBot as search engines back in 1996. We didn’t make it onto eBay until 1998, though.

Whatever the case, it’s nice to see some nostalgia for the early days of the Internet in today’s court opinions.


  1. Teri Buhl is an excellent journalist. It’s refreshing to see the court stand up for speech. I remember this story and thought Mitch Vazquez had to withdraw his suit against the reporter (Buhl) last year. Carney and Buhl have written together before the The Atlantic so it would make sense he’d follow a story of hers. I believe Vazquez also tried a temporary injunction against Buhl to stop her speech before she printed another story on his actions in his forex broker dealer and had to withdraw that also. It looks like traders with money can’t use the courts to try and silence journalist who report on their likely illegal behavior.