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Case 2:19-cv-04034-JMY Document 46-1 Filed 02/10/20 Page 1 of 16

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

KAREN HEPP,

Plaintiff,
Case No. 2:19-cv-04034-JMY
v.
FACEBOOK, INC., IMGUR, INC.,
REDDIT, INC., GIPHY, INC., WGCZ
S.R.O. and DOES 1-10,

Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OF LAW BY DEFENDANT REDDIT, INC. IN SUPPORT OF ITS


MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT

Dated: February 10, 2020 HANGLEY ARONCHICK SEGAL


PUDLIN & SCHILLER
Bonnie M. Hoffman
Thomas N. Brown
One Logan Square, 27th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

DURIE TANGRI LLP


Vera Ranieri (Pro Hac Vice)
Joseph C. Gratz (Pro Hac Vice)
Aditya V. Kamdar (Pro Hac Vice)
217 Leidesdorff Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

Attorneys for Defendant REDDIT, INC.


Case 2:19-cv-04034-JMY Document 46-1 Filed 02/10/20 Page 2 of 16

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page

I. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 1

II. PLAINTIFF’S FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS RELATING TO REDDIT’S ALLEGEDLY


TORTIOUS CONDUCT ...................................................................................................... 1

III. ARGUMENT ........................................................................................................................ 2

A. This Court Lacks Personal Jurisdiction Over Reddit................................................ 2

B. Plaintiff Has Failed to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted ............. 5

1. Plaintiff’s Claims Are Barred by the Applicable Statute of Limitations ...... 6

2. Plaintiff’s Claims Are Barred by Section 230 of the Communications


Decency Act .................................................................................................. 9

IV. CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................... 11

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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

Page(s)

Cases

Ackourey v. Sonellas Custom Tailors,


573 Fed. App’x. 208 (3d Cir. 2014)...........................................................................................4

Asahi Metal Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Superior Court,


480 U.S. 102 (1987) ...................................................................................................................3

Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662 (2009) ...................................................................................................................6

Calder v. Jones,
465 U.S. 783 (1984) ...............................................................................................................3, 4

Daimler AG v. Bauman,
571 U.S. 117 (2014) ...................................................................................................................3

DiMeo v. Max,
433 F. Supp. 2d 523 (E.D. Pa. 2006), aff’d, 248 F. App’x 280 (3d Cir. 2007) .........................9

Facenda v. N.F.L. Films, Inc.,


488 F. Supp. 2d 491 (E.D. Pa. 2007), aff’d in part and vacated in part, 541
F.3d 1007 (3d Cir. 2008)............................................................................................................6

Green v. America Online,


318 F.3d 465 (3d Cir. 2003).......................................................................................................9

IMO Indus., Inc. v. Kiekert AG,


155 F.3d 254 (3d Cir. 1998).......................................................................................................4

Lewis v. Marriott Int’l, Inc.,


527 F. Supp. 2d 422 (E.D. Pa. 2007) .........................................................................................6

Lutz v. Rakuten,
376 F. Supp. 3d 455 (E.D. Pa. 2019) .....................................................................................3, 5

Marten v. Godwin,
499 F.3d 290 (3d Cir. 2007).......................................................................................................3

Metcalfe v. Renaissance Marine, Inc.,


566 F.3d 324 (3d Cir. 2009).......................................................................................................2

Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc.,


591 F.3d 250 (4th Cir. 2009) .....................................................................................................9

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O’Connor v. Sandy Lane Hotel Co., Ltd.,


496 F.3d 312 (3d Cir. 2007)...............................................................................................2, 3, 5

Parker v. PayPal, Inc.,


No. 16-4786, 2017 WL 3508759 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 16, 2017) ....................................................10

Pearce v. Karpeles,
No. 18-306, 2019 WL 3409495 (E.D. Pa. July 26, 2019) .........................................................4

Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc.,


998 F.2d 1192 (3d Cir. 1993).....................................................................................................6

Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC,


488 F.3d 1102 (9th Cir. 2007) ...........................................................................................10, 11

In re Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC,


690 F.3d 161 (3d Cir. 2012).......................................................................................................8

Rifai v. CMS Medical Care Corp.,


Civ. No. 15-1395, 2016 WL 739279 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 25, 2016) .........................................6, 7, 8

Schmidt v. Skolas,
770 F.3d 241 (3d Cir. 2014).......................................................................................................9

Slozer v. Slattery,
No. 2566 EDA 2014, 2015 WL 7282971 (Sup. Ct. Pa. Nov. 18, 2015)....................................8

The Choice Is Yours, Inc. v. The Choice Is Yours,


No. 2:14-cv-01804, 2015 WL 5584302 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 21, 2015) ............................................6

Toys “R” Us, Inc. v. Step Two, S.A.,


318 F.3d 446 (3d Cir. 2003).......................................................................................................5

Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc.,


952 F. Supp. 1119 (W.D. Pa. 1997) .......................................................................................4, 5

Statutes

Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5322(b) .................................................................................................................2

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5523 .................................................................................................................6

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5524(7) ............................................................................................................6

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8316 .............................................................................................................1, 6

47 U.S.C. § 230 ........................................................................................................................10, 11

Communications Decency Act Section 230 .......................................................................... passim

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Other Authorities

Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(k)(1)(A) ................................................................................................................2

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2)................................................................................................................1, 2

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)................................................................................................................1, 6

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I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant Reddit, Inc. (“Reddit”) moves to dismiss the two causes of action Plaintiff

Karen Hepp has brought against Reddit under Pennsylvania law: a statutory claim for violating

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8316 and a common-law claim for violating the right of publicity. Reddit

moves under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6), for lack of personal

jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim, respectively.

As a threshold matter, this Court does not have personal jurisdiction over Reddit, which

operates a website (located at https://www.reddit.com) where users around the world post and

comment on links and content within user-managed communities generally organized around

their interests. Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient minimum contacts with Pennsylvania relating

to her claims against Reddit that would allow this Court to exercise jurisdiction over Reddit.

Even if this Court were to find Reddit is appropriately haled into this Court, Plaintiff’s

claims should be dismissed. As can be seen from the allegations in Plaintiff’s complaint,

Plaintiff’s claims against Reddit for violating Pennsylvania’s statutory and common law rights of

publicity are barred by the applicable statute of limitations and preempted by Section 230 of the

Communications Decency Act.

II. PLAINTIFF’S FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS RELATING TO REDDIT’S


ALLEGEDLY TORTIOUS CONDUCT

As alleged in the Complaint, Plaintiff Karen Hepp lives and works in Philadelphia,

Pennsylvania. Compl. ¶¶ 6, 18. Defendant Reddit, Inc. is a corporation organized under the

laws of Delaware. Compl. ¶ 11.

Plaintiff alleges that approximately two years ago, Plaintiff realized a photograph of her

taken in a convenience store located in New York City had been posted in several places online,

including on the website Imgur, which is not operated by Reddit. Compl. ¶ 24, 26, 28. She

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alleges that the photograph on Imgur is located at the URL https://i.imgur.com/0lulkf2.jpg, and

she attaches a printout of that page to her Complaint. Compl. ¶ 28, Ex. C. Exhibit C does not

identify Plaintiff by name. Id. at Ex. C.

Plaintiff also alleges that a user named pepsi_next posted a hyperlink on Reddit in a

subgroup on Reddit called r/obsf that linked to the Imgur page included as Exhibit C. Compl.

¶ 29. The Reddit post was located at the URL

https://www.reddit.com/r/obsf/comments/5owd59/amazing/dcnh8wj/. Compl. ¶ 29. Although

the Complaint alleges that “[a] true and correct copy of said photograph within the Reddit

website is attached hereto” as Exhibit D, Exhibit D does not show Plaintiff’s photograph on

Reddit’s website. Compl., Ex. D. Exhibit D does not identify Plaintiff. Id.

Plaintiff filed her complaint on September 4, 2019. Compl. at 1.

III. ARGUMENT

A. This Court Lacks Personal Jurisdiction Over Reddit

Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that this Court has personal jurisdiction over

Reddit. O’Connor v. Sandy Lane Hotel Co., Ltd., 496 F.3d 312, 316 (3d Cir. 2007). In deciding

Reddit’s Rule 12(b)(2) motion, Plaintiff’s allegations are taken as true, and all factual disputes

are drawn in Plaintiff’s favor. Id.

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k)(1)(A), this Court exercises personal

jurisdiction as allowed by Pennsylvania law. Id. Pennsylvania’s long-arm statute, which

provides for the bases of personal jurisdiction over nonresidents, allows for personal jurisdiction

“based on the most minimum contact with th[e] Commonwealth allowed under the Constitution

of the United States.” 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5322(b). “Minimum contacts can be analyzed in the

context of general jurisdiction or specific jurisdiction.” Metcalfe v. Renaissance Marine, Inc.,

566 F.3d 324, 334 (3d Cir. 2009).

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In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges this Court has specific jurisdiction 1 over Reddit. As a

result, the burden is on Plaintiff to show that Reddit’s contacts with Pennsylvania—if any—

“give rise or relate to the plaintiff’s claim[s].” O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 321. Due process requires

that Reddit have “certain minimum contacts with . . . [Pennsylvania] such that the maintenance

of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” O’Connor,

496 F.3d at 316 (alteration in original) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Int’l Shoe Co.

v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). A defendant has “minimum contacts” with a state

when the defendant “purposely avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the

forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.” Asahi Metal Indus. Co., Ltd.

v. Superior Court, 480 U.S. 102, 109 (1987) (citation omitted).

Where, as here, the claims relate to an intentional tort, courts traditionally apply the

Calder effects test. Lutz v. Rakuten, 376 F. Supp. 3d 455, 466 (E.D. Pa. 2019) (citing Calder v.

Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984)). Under Calder, the burden is on Plaintiff to establish personal

jurisdiction by showing: (1) Reddit committed an intentional tort; (2) Plaintiff felt the brunt of

the harm in the forum such that the forum can be said to be the focal point of the harm suffered

by Plaintiff as a result of that tort; (3) Reddit expressly aimed the tortious conduct at the forum

such that the forum can be said to be the focal point of the tortious activity. Marten v. Godwin,

499 F.3d 290, 297 (3d Cir. 2007). “Only if the ‘expressly aimed’ element of the effects test is

met [do courts] consider the other two elements.” Id. (citing IMO Indus., Inc. v. Kiekert AG, 155

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In her statement of jurisdiction, Plaintiff has not alleged general jurisdiction over Reddit, see
Compl. ¶ 4, presumably because she knows it would not be successful. For this Court to have
general jurisdiction over Reddit, Reddit’s contacts with Pennsylvania need to be “so continuous
and systematic as to render [it] essentially at home in” Pennsylvania. Daimler AG v. Bauman,
571 U.S. 117, 127 (2014) (cleaned up). For a nonresident corporation like Reddit, the
“paradigm” forums for general jurisdiction are its place of incorporation or its principal place of
business. Id. at 137. Reddit is a Delaware corporation, see Compl. ¶ 11, and its principal place
of business is in California.

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F.3d 254, 266 (3d Cir. 1998)). Plaintiff must demonstrate that Reddit “knew that the plaintiff

would suffer the brunt of the harm caused by the tortious conduct in the forum, and point to

specific activity indicating that the defendant expressly aimed its tortious conduct at the forum.”

IMO Indus., 155 F.3d at 266.

Here, Plaintiff has not alleged that Reddit knew that she would suffer harm in

Pennsylvania, and has not alleged that Reddit expressly aimed any tortious activity at

Pennsylvania. The only Pennsylvania connections alleged in the Complaint are to where

Plaintiff lives and works. See Compl., ¶¶ 18, 19, see also Compl. ¶¶ 21-23, 34. There are no

allegations that Reddit knew where Plaintiff lives and works. See generally, Compl. That is,

there are no allegations that Reddit expressly aimed the alleged tortious conduct at Pennsylvania.

While Plaintiff may have discovered the photograph when in Pennsylvania, the “mere

allegation that the plaintiff feels the effect of the defendant’s tortious conduct in the forum

because the plaintiff is located there is insufficient to satisfy Calder.” IMO Industries, 155 F.3d

at 263. Here, Plaintiff does not allege that the user who posted the link nor the part of Reddit

where the link was posted have any connection with Pennsylvania at all. Plaintiff only states that

“Defendants are engaged in tortious conduct within Pennsylvania and in this District, including

by using Plaintiff’s image without her authorization.” Compl. ¶ 4. This is insufficient.

When determining whether internet-based corporations have sufficient minimum contacts

with a forum, courts in the Third Circuit and in this district have also looked to the sliding-scale

test first laid out in Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc., 952 F. Supp. 1119, 1123–

24 (W.D. Pa. 1997) (“Zippo”). See, e.g., Ackourey v. Sonellas Custom Tailors, 573 Fed. App’x.

208, 211 (3d Cir. 2014); Pearce v. Karpeles, No. 18-306, 2019 WL 3409495, at *5 (E.D. Pa.

July 26, 2019). The Zippo test looks to the “level of interactivity and commercial nature of the

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exchange of information that occurs on the Web site” to determine whether personal jurisdiction

exists. Zippo, 952 F. Supp. at 1124. Further, “there must be evidence that the [website]

‘purposely availed’ itself of conducting activity in the forum state.” Toys “R” Us, Inc. v. Step

Two, S.A., 318 F.3d 446, 454 (3d Cir. 2003). Even a highly interactive, commercial website does

not necessarily confer personal jurisdiction unless the website “specifically intended [its]

interaction with residents of the forum state.” Id. at 452.

Yet even under the Zippo test, for a court to exercise specific personal jurisdiction “the

litigation must ‘arise out of or relate to’ at least one of those activities” that was purposefully

directed at the forum. See O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 317 (quoting Helicopteros Nacionales de

Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 (1984)); Zippo, 952 F. Supp. at 1122, 23, 27 (noting

that the claim must arise out of the forum contacts, and applying that standard to the allegations).

Reddit does not deny that its website includes some user-generated material related to

Pennsylvania. 2 However, Plaintiff does not allege any Pennsylvania-focused acts by Reddit

relating to Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff’s allegations that she lives and works in Pennsylvania,

without more, does not show that allegedly tortious acts by Reddit were “purposefully directed”

at Pennsylvania. Plaintiff has thus failed to show this Court has jurisdiction over Reddit. See

Lutz, 376 F. Supp. 3d at 465-66 (finding no jurisdiction where there were no allegations or facts

in the record suggesting claims arose out of defendant’s contact with the forum).

B. Plaintiff Has Failed to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted

Even if this Court were to find that it had personal jurisdiction over Reddit, Plaintiff’s

2
For example, users can visit the user-created and user-moderated Reddit subgroup
r/Philadelphia, located at https://www.reddit.com/r/philadelphia, where Reddit users often post
links relevant to Reddit users in Philadelphia. Whether this would be sufficient contact with
Pennsylvania so as to assert jurisdiction over Reddit for claims related to material located at this
address is not before this Court and does not form part of Plaintiff’s claims.

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claims against Reddit should be dismissed as she has failed to state a claim. See Fed. R. Civ. P.

12(b)(6). In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, this Court may “generally consider only the

allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public

record.” Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir.

1993). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,

accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible in its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556

U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A

complaint does not suffice if it “tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement.”

Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557) (cleaned up).

Under this standard, Plaintiff fails to state a claim at least because Plaintiff’s claims are

barred by the applicable statute of limitations and Reddit is immunized from Plaintiff’s claims by

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“Section 230”). 47 U.S.C. § 230.

1. Plaintiff’s Claims Are Barred by the Applicable Statute of Limitations

A claim for a violation of the right of publicity in Pennsylvania, 3 whether under statute or

common law, is subject to at most 4 a two-year statute of limitations. See Rifai v. CMS Medical

Care Corp., Civ. No. 15-1395, 2016 WL 739279, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 25, 2016) (citing 42 Pa.

3
Reddit assumes, for purposes of this motion to dismiss only, that Pennsylvania’s common law
right of publicity is a separate claim from Pennsylvania’s statutory right of publicity, 42 Pa.
Cons. Stat. § 8316. Courts are split as to whether the statutory right of publicity “subsumed” the
common law cause of action. Compare Facenda v. N.F.L. Films, Inc., 488 F. Supp. 2d 491, 514
(E.D. Pa. 2007), aff’d in part and vacated in part, 541 F.3d 1007 (3d Cir. 2008) and Facenda,
541 F.3d at 1013 n.2 (concurring in dicta) with Lewis v. Marriott Int’l, Inc., 527 F. Supp. 2d 422,
429 (E.D. Pa. 2007) (concluding the opposite).
4
For purposes of deciding this motion to dismiss, this Court does not need to decide whether the
two causes of actions are governed by the one-year invasion of privacy limitations, 42 Pa. Cons.
Stat. § 5523, see The Choice Is Yours, Inc. v. The Choice Is Yours, No. 2:14-cv-01804, 2015 WL
5584302, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 21, 2015), or the two-year tort limitation, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat.
§ 5524(7), Rifai v. CMS Medical Care Corp., Civ. No. 15-1395, 2016 WL 739279, at *2 (E.D.
Pa. Feb. 25, 2016). The statute of limitations is at most two years.

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Cons. Stat. § 5524(7), the catchall statute of limitations).

The statute of limitations for both of Plaintiff’s claims began to run on December 13,

2015, when the photograph in question was uploaded to Imgur. Compl. ¶ 28; id. Ex. C. Exhibit

C, attached to the Complaint and therefore appropriately considered, on its face includes a date

of upload, shown below in an annotated excerpt:

Compl., Ex. C (annotated, excerpted). The two-year statute of limitations thus ran out on

December 13, 2017. Plaintiff’s Complaint was filed on September 4, 2019, long after the

expiration of the limitations period. See Compl. at 1.

Plaintiff cannot allege more recent circulation constitutes a separate publication that

restarts the statute of limitation period. Pennsylvania has adopted the “single publication rule,”

which holds that the original publication “and not the circulation of it” results in the cause of

action—and triggers the applicable statute of limitations. Rifai, 2016 WL 739269, at *2 (quoting

In re Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC, 690 F.3d 161, 174 (3d Cir. 2012)) (applying single

publication rule to right of publicity claim). In Rifai, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s right of

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publicity claim when it was filed over two years after the original publication, despite the fact

that the publication had circulated again more recently. Id. at *3.

The statute of limitations also does not restart each time a party links to publicly

accessible material previously published on the internet. See In re Philadelphia Newspapers,

690 F.3d at 174; see also Slozer v. Slattery, No. 2566 EDA 2014, 2015 WL 7282971, at *6 (Sup.

Ct. Pa. Nov. 18, 2015) (agreeing with Third Circuit’s application of Pennsylvania law). The

Third Circuit has held that online linking is not republication. In re Philadelphia Newspapers,

690 F.3d. at 175. “If each link . . . were an act of republication, the statute of limitations would

be retriggered endlessly and its effectiveness essentially eliminated . . . .” Id. Plaintiff’s

complaint alleges a Reddit user linked to an Imgur post. Compl. ¶ 29. As shown below in an

annotated version of Exhibit D, this is the same Imgur post that was published outside the statute

of limitations period:

Compl., Ex. D (annotated); compare with Compl. at ¶ 28 (alleging that the Imgur post is found at

i.imgur.com/0lulkf2.jpg).

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Because Plaintiff’s Complaint shows both her claims are time-barred, dismissal on the

pleadings is appropriate. Schmidt v. Skolas, 770 F.3d 241, 249 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Robinson

v. Johnson, 313 F.3d 128, 134-35 (3d Cir. 2002)) (further citation omitted) (holding it is

appropriate to consider a statute of limitations defense on a motion to dismiss where “the time

alleged in the statement of a claim shows that the cause of action has not been brought within the

statute of limitations.”). The Reddit link did not republish the original publication, made nearly

four years before the Complaint was filed, and thus the statute of limitations for Plaintiff’s right

of publicity claims has run.

2. Plaintiff’s Claims Are Barred by Section 230 of the Communications


Decency Act

Plaintiff’s right of publicity claims—founded in state law—are preempted by Section 230

of the Communications Decency Act (“Section 230”). 47 U.S.C. § 230. Section 230 provides

immunity to online services, including websites like Reddit, for content originating from a third

party. Green v. America Online, 318 F.3d 465, 471 (3d Cir. 2003) (affirming dismissal after

finding America Online immune from claims arising from third-party content). It is appropriate

to consider this defense on the pleadings, as Courts “aim to resolve the question of § 230

immunity at the earliest possible stage of the case because that immunity protects websites not

only from the ‘ultimate liability,’ but also from ‘having to fight costly and protracted legal

battles.’” Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 255 (4th Cir. 2009)

(quoting Fair Hous. Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com, LLC, 521 F.3d 1157,

1175 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc)).

Section 230 preempts actions brought under state law that seek to “treat the defendant as

a publisher or speaker of information” provided by another. DiMeo v. Max, 433 F. Supp. 2d 523,

529 (E.D. Pa. 2006), aff’d, 248 F. App’x 280 (3d Cir. 2007) (dismissing complaint after finding

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website immune from defamation claim arising out of third-party content). The statute

immunizes a (1) “provider or user of an interactive computer service” (2) that a plaintiff aims to

“treat[] as the publisher or speaker” (3) “of any information provided by another information

content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1). “No cause of action may be brought and no liability

may be imposed under any State or local law” where these three elements are met. 47 U.S.C.

§ 230(e)(3).

All three elements are met here. Reddit, as a website, is a provider of an interactive

computer service under the statute. 47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(2). Plaintiff, treating Reddit as a

publisher or speaker, claims that Reddit “appropriated” and “used” Plaintiff’s likeness in

violation of Pennsylvania’s statutory and common law rights of publicity. Compl. ¶¶ 36, 44.

Finally, the link to the photograph with Plaintiff’s likeness was posted by a Reddit user—an

“information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(3); Compl. ¶ 29. Section 230 thus bars both

of Plaintiff’s state law claims. See Parker v. PayPal, Inc., No. 16-4786, 2017 WL 3508759, at

*7 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 16, 2017) (dismissing plaintiff’s claims of misappropriation of likeness under

California’s right of publicity law and Pennsylvania’s right to privacy law as “clearly preempted

and prohibited” by Section 230).

This result would not change were Pennsylvania’s right of publicity laws characterized as

intellectual property laws. Section 230 states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit

or expand any law pertaining to intellectual property.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(2). The Ninth

Circuit, the only federal appellate court to rule definitively on Section 230’s application to the

right of publicity, construed the term “intellectual property” in the statute to mean “federal

intellectual property.” Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC, 488 F.3d 1102, 1119 (9th Cir. 2007)

(finding that Section 230 provided immunity against right of publicity claims). The court’s

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rationale for doing so was clear—the purpose of Section 230 is to prevent online service

providers, like Reddit, from being subject to a patchwork of contradictory state laws:

While the scope of federal intellectual property law is relatively


well-established, state laws protecting ‘intellectual property,’
however defined, are by no means uniform. Such laws may bear
various names, provide for varying causes of action and remedies,
and have varying purposes and policy goals. Because material on
a website may be viewed across the Internet, and thus in more than
one state at a time, permitting the reach of any particular state’s
definition of intellectual property to dictate the contours of this
federal immunity would be contrary to Congress’s expressed goal
of insulating the development of the Internet from the various
state-law regimes.

Id. at 1118. To allow Plaintiff to bring claims against Reddit based on content posted by a third

party would contravene Congress’s intent to foster online services “unfettered by . . . State

regulation.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(b)(2). As a result, Section 230 immunizes Reddit from Plaintiff’s

claims, and her Complaint should be dismissed.

IV. CONCLUSION

For the above stated reasons, Defendant Reddit, Inc. respectfully requests the Court grant

its Motion to Dismiss with prejudice.

Dated: February 10, 2020 HANGLEY ARONCHICK SEGAL


PUDLIN & SCHILLER

By: s/ Thomas N. Brown


Bonnie M. Hoffman
Thomas N. Brown
One Logan Square, 27th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

DURIE TANGRI LLP


Vera Ranieri (Pro Hac Vice)
Joseph C. Gratz (Pro Hac Vice)
Aditya V. Kamdar (Pro Hac Vice)
217 Leidesdorff Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

Attorneys for Defendant REDDIT INC.

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