Un’interessante questione (anche se in fattispecie molto particolare) si è posta presso una corte californiana.
Ancestry.com (A.) pubblica annuari (scolastici) con foto, nomi e indirizzi, donatile da soggetti da lei sollecitati. Una volta ricevutili, li carica sul proprio data base e inoltre li invia in promozione commerciale a possibili interessati , inducendoli ad acquistare una sorta di pacchetto “premium” per l’accesso a maggiori dati. Questi <<donors>> degli annuari firmano una liberatoria ad A. che non ci sono diritti di terzi sugli annuari stessi.
Alcuni cittadini californiani notano i propri dati su tale data base e si citano A. per queste quattro cauase petendi : <<(1) a violation of their right of publicity under Cal. Civ. Code § 3344, (2) unlawful and unfair business practices, in violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, (3) intrusion upon seclusion, in violation of California common law, and (4) unjust enrichment resulting from Ancestry’s selling their personal information>>
Inevitgabilmente A. solleva l’immunnità ex § 230 CDA.
Il punto è se A, certamente provider e trattato come editore (primi due requisiti), metta on line informazioni di terzi oppure proprie (terzo requisito).
Secondo la U. S. DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, San Francisco Division, 1 marzo 2021,m Case No. 20-cv-08437-LB, Callahan c. Ancestry.com inc. e altri, si tratta di informazione di terzi ,. per cui va concessa l’immunità.
Dice: <<First, Ancestry obtained the yearbook content from someone else, presumably other yearbook users.13 The plaintiffs assert that this is not enough because Ancestry did not obtain the content from the author of the content. To support this assertion, they cite two cases, “KNB Enterprises and Perfect 10[, where] the defendants copied photographs from rival websites [and] then sold access to the photos for a subscription fee.” Those defendants, the plaintiffs say, “could not have claimed the protection of § 230” “[b]ecause they did not obtain the photographs from the people who created them. . . .” They conclude that similarly, Ancestry cannot claim § 230(c)(1) immunity.14 But KNBEnterprises and Perfect 10 do not address § 230. Perfect 10, Inc. v. Talisman Commc’ns Inc., No. CV 99-10450 RAP MCX, 2000 WL 364813 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2000); KNB Enters. v. atthews, 78 Cal. App. 4th 362 (2000). Moreover, no case supports the conclusion that § 230(a)(1) immunity applies only if the website operator obtained the third-party content from the original author. To the contrary, the Act “immunizes an interactive computer service provider that ‘passively displays content that is created entirely by third parties.’” Sikhs for Justice “SFJ”, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., 144 F. Supp. 3d 1088, 1094 (N.D. Cal. 2015) (quoting Fair Hous. Council v. Roommates.com, LLC, 521 F.3d 1157, 1162) ), aff’d, 697 F. App’x 526, 526–27 (9th Cir. 2017).
Second, Ancestry extracts yearbook data (names, photographs, and yearbook date), puts the content on its webpages and in its email solicitations, adds information (such as an estimated birth year and age), and adds interactive buttons (such as a button prompting a user to upgrade to a more expensive subscription). The plaintiffs say that by these actions, Ancestry creates content. To support that contention, they cite Fraley.15 But Fraley involved the transformation of the Facebook user’s content (liking a product) into an advertisement that — without the user’s consent — suggested the user’s endorsement of the product (and resulted in a profit to Facebook by selling the ads). 830 F. Supp. 2d at 791–92, 797. In contrast to the Fraley transformation of personal likes into endorsements, Ancestry did not transform data and instead offered data in a form — a platform with different functionalities — that did not alter the content. Adding an interactive button and providing access on a different platform do not create content. They just add functionality. Kimzey v. Yelp! Inc., 836 F.3d 1263, 1270 (9th Cir. 2016) (Yelp! had § 230 immunity despite adding a star rating to reviews from other websites); Coffee v. Google, LLC, No. 5:20-cv-08437, ECF No. 56 at 13 (Google had § 230 immunity despite adding industry standards and requiring app developers to disclose the odds of winning). Instead of creating content, Ancestry — by taking information and photos from the donated yearbooks and republishing them on its website in an altered format — engaged in “a publisher’s traditional editorial functions [that]  do not transform an individual into a content provider within the meaning of § 230.” Fraley, 830 F. Supp. 2d at 802 (cleaned up); cf. Roomates.com, 521 F.3d at 1173–74 (website is immune under §230 where it “publishes  comments as written” that “come entirely from subscribers and [are] passively displayed” by the website operator). Ancestry did not contribute “materially” to the content. Roomates.com, 521 F.3d at 1167–68. In sum, Ancestry has immunity under § 230(c)(1).>>.
L’esattezza della tesi, però, non è certa.
DA un lato, è una scelta di A. quella di mettere on line: i donors non esprimono probabilmente alcuna volontà, ma solo autorizzazione, in tale senso. Quindi non c’è passive (ma semmai active) display da parte di A.
Dall’altro, è da vedere se l’aggregazione di dati trasformi o no i dati forniti (informazione iniziale) in una nuova informazione (dal punto di vista della lesività della privacy altrui), tale da escludere il legame con i donors e da ravvisarlo solo verso A.
(notizia tratta dal blog di Eric Goldman)
Vedo ora che decide in senso opposto District Court of Nevada in Sessa v. Ancestry.com , Sep 16, 2021, caso 2:20-cv-02292-GMN-BNW: <Based on the facts alleged in the Complaint, Ancestry is not immune under Section 230 because it was responsible for posting the information in its database. The Complaint alleges that Ancestry has gathered millions of persons’ personal information through individual records, including many donated yearbooks, which Ancestry has used to build its database. (Compl. ¶¶ 46-50). Accordingly, while the yearbook publishers originated the content that Ancestry used to create its database, and the yearbooks were provided by third parties, Ancestry alone is responsible for posting the material on its website after it receives the records from others. Section 230 immunity therefore does not attach.> (p. 11).