Catholic University Law Review


Section 230 has come under scrutiny from academics and politicians, leading to calls on lawmakers to limit, or even end, Section 230’s immunity for Internet corporations; however, less attention has been given to the effects of Section 230 on the legal landscape in local, off-line communities. Online providers of short-term rental (STR) services such as Airbnb have used Section 230’s protection to shift the burden of complying with local laws and lease agreements onto the users listing STRs. By wielding Section 230 as both a sword and shield in litigation over their listings that violate local laws and lease agreements, these providers leave landlords and local governments seemingly without recourse. The PLAN Act (the Bill for Protecting Local Authority and Neighborhoods Act), proposed in the House in the 117th Congress in 2021, would remedy this overlooked and unjust result of Section 230’s protection. This article seeks to demonstrate why the PLAN Act must be passed to prevent further unfair application of Section 230.