Last updated: May 13th, 2020

Section 230 of the CDA is landmark legislation involving the regulation of content on the Internet. The statute immunizes providers of interactive computer services against liability arising from content created by third parties; it provides that “[n]o provider . . . of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(c). It further provides that “[n]o cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.” Id.§ 230(e)(3).

Section 230 of the CDA was enacted, in part, to “preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(b)(2). Congress enacted Section 230, in part, as a response to a New York state court decision, Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Servs. Co., (N.Y. Sup. Ct. May 24, 1995), where an interactive computer service was held liable for defamatory comments made by one of its two million users.

To further these goals, Congress declined to extend traditional defamation law, as applied to classical information providers such as newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations to the Internet. Section 230(c)(1) shields a “provider” or “user” of an “interactive computer service” from liability when either of them publish material provided by a third-party “information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1). Section 230(e)(3) provides teeth to § 230(c)(1) by barring all state based claims “inconsistent” with the statute.

In one of the earliest cases involving the CDA, the Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit interpreted § 230(e)(3) to bar all state claims sounding in tort. Zeran v. Am. Online, Inc., 129 F.3d 327, 331 (4th Cir. 1997). The court observed that Congress did not want to “deter harmful online speech through the separate route of imposing tort liability on companies that serve as intermediaries for other parties’ potentially injurious messages.” Id. at 330-331. The reasoning of Zeran is now widely accepted by courts across the Unites States and, likewise, HolySmoke.org has been routinely recognized as falling within the Section 230’s protection.

Collecting information provides specific benefits to our website visitors and by providing this information, our staff can contact you regarding your report for verification or follow-up if necessary.

We collect information for the following purpose(s):

1- Verifying incident reports

2- Website and system administration

3- Research and development

4- Preserving social history as governed by existing law or policy

5- Users filing a Report or rebuttal may opt-in if they would be willing to be contacted by the media, a consumer advocate, lawyer, or government authority to help further their cause or to help with an investigation against the business or individual


Who has access to the information we collect?

Ourselves – Unless you opt-in as mentioned above, information is only shared with the operators of this website.

Of the information we do collect, we do not provide our visitors with access to information we collect.

If you believe that our website has collected incorrect information or if you would like to dispute any information, please contact us using the address at the top of this page.

Privacy Policy

Protecting your private information is our priority. This Statement of Privacy applies to the www.HolySmoke.org and governs data collection and usage of such data. For the purposes of this Privacy Policy, unless otherwise noted, all references to HolySmoke.org includes www.HolySmoke.org. By using the HolySmoke.org website, you consent to the data practices described in this statement.

Collection of your Personal Information

HolySmoke.org may collect personally identifiable information, including but not limited to, your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. HolySmoke.org may also collect anonymous demographic information, which is not unique to you, such as your age and gender. We may gather additional personal or non-personal information in the future.

Information about your computer/device hardware and software may be automatically collected by HolySmoke.org. This information can include: your IP address, browser type, domain names, access times and referring website addresses. This information is used for the operation of the service, to maintain quality of the service, and to provide general statistics regarding use of the HolySmoke.org website.

Please keep in mind that if you directly disclose personally identifiable information or personally sensitive data through HolySmoke.org’s public message boards, this information may be collected and used by others.

HolySmoke.org encourages you to review the privacy statements of websites you choose to link to from HolySmoke.org so that you can understand how those websites collect, use and share your information. HolySmoke.org is not responsible for the privacy statements or other content on websites outside of the HolySmoke.org website.

Use of your Personal Information

HolySmoke.org collects and uses your personal information to provide, maintain, protect and improve upon its features, updates, and the operation of its website. This includes, but is not limited to, keeping records of your communication with HolySmoke.org and using your e-mail address to inform you about upcoming changes or improvements to our services.

HolySmoke.org may keep track of the websites and pages our users visit within HolySmoke.org, in order to determine what HolySmoke.org services are the most popular. This data is used to deliver customized content within HolySmoke.org to members whose behavior indicates that they are interested in a particular subject area.

HolySmoke.org will disclose your personal information, without notice, only if required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to: (a) conform to the edicts of the law or comply with legal process served on HolySmoke.org or the site; (b) protect and defend the rights or property of HolySmoke.org; and, (c) act under exigent circumstances to protect the personal safety of users of HolySmoke.org, or the public.

 Use of Cookies

The HolySmoke.org website may use “cookies” and other technologies to help you personalize your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you.

One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature to save you time. The purpose of a cookie is to tell the web server that you have returned to a specific page. For example, if you personalize HolySmoke.org pages, or register with HolySmoke.org site or services, a cookie helps HolySmoke.org to recall your specific information on subsequent visits. This simplifies the process of recording your personal information, such as email addresses, and so on. When you return to the same HolySmoke.org website, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the HolySmoke.org features that you customized.

You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to fully experience the interactive features of the HolySmoke.org services or websites you visit.

Security of your Personal Information

HolySmoke.org secures your personal information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. When personal information (such as a credit card number) is transmitted to other websites, it is protected through the use of encryption, such as the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol.

 Children Under Thirteen

HolySmoke.org does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under the age of thirteen. If you are under the age of thirteen, you must ask your parent or guardian for permission to use this website.

 Disconnecting your HolySmoke.org Account from Third Party Websites



Our Privacy Policy applies to all of the services offered by HolySmoke.org but excludes services that have a separate privacy policy without an incorporation of this Privacy Policy. This Privacy Policy does not apply to services offered by other companies or individuals including products or sites that may be displayed to you in on HolySmoke.org or other sites linked from our services. Our Privacy Policy does not cover the information or other companies and organizations who advertise our services.

Changes to this Statement

HolySmoke.org may occasionally update this Statement of Privacy to reflect company and customer feedback. HolySmoke.org will maintain the most current version of this Statement on its website, however, because notifications of Statement changes will not be sent out, it is highly encouraged that you to periodically review this Statement to be informed of how HolySmoke.org is protecting your information.


As used herein, the term “We” or “Us” or “Our” means HolySmoke.org, and “You” or “Your” means each user of the Site.

By using the Site, You warrant and represent that You have read our entire TOS, and You accept the terms in full.  You further agree to comply with, and to be bound by, these terms. If You disagree with any part of our TOS, You must not use the Site.

You must be at least 14 years of age to use the Site.  By using the Site, You warrant and represent that You are at least 14 years of age.

The Site may use cookies.  By using the Site, You consent to our use of cookies in accordance with the terms of our Privacy Policy.



The goal of HolySmoke.org is to help empower victims and others who want to be heard and to allow our users to share their stories with the entire world.  With these goals in mind, Our rules are pretty simple:

— Be honest.  False posts are illegal and may expose You to significant personal liability.  So don’t lie.

— Be detailed.  Remember to always include the five Ws – who, what, where, why & when.  Include specific details about who was involved, what they said, where it happened, when, etc.

— Be fair.  It’s pretty rare for a dispute to be totally someone else’s fault.  Don’t try to place 100% of the blame on the other person if doing so would be unfair or misleading.  Are you partially to blame?  Then admit it.  This will carry a lot of weight for other people reading your story.

— Update as needed.  If you submit an incident report and the matter is later resolved, please come back and update your post.  Let us (and the world) know what happened.

We reserve the right to review all new submissions and to exclude or remove anything that We, in our sole editorial judgment, deem inappropriate.  If any content is removed from the Site, We will always try to publish a notice explaining the basis for the action, but We cannot always guarantee that such notices will be complete or accurate.  We also do not guarantee that all submissions will be posted.



You must comply with the following standards:

— Do not post anything that is false, defamatory, an invasion of privacy, or which is otherwise illegal

— Do not post material that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights

— Do not post nudity, pornography, or obscenity

— Do not post threats of violence/harm

— Do not post images of minor children except when relevant to the story (i.e., a kidnapping case)

— Do not post hate speech (harsh criticism is OK)

— Do not encourage others to engage in criminal acts

You must not use the Site in any way that causes, or may cause, damage to the website or impairment of the availability or accessibility of the Site; or in any way which is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful, or in connection with any unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful purpose or activity. You must not use the Site to copy, store, host, transmit, send, use, publish or distribute any material which consists of (or is linked to) any spyware, computer virus, Trojan horse, worm, keystroke logger, rootkit or other malicious computer software.

You must not conduct any systematic or automated data collection activities (including without limitation scraping, data mining, data extraction and data harvesting) on or in relation to the Site without Our express written consent. You must not use this website for any purposes related to marketing without Our express written consent.



Access to certain areas of this website may be restricted from time to time.  We reserve the right to restrict access to any areas of this website, or the entire website, at our discretion.  You must ensure that Your user ID and password are kept confidential at all times.



By posting material on the Site, You agree to assign Us, and automatically do assign, all exclusive rights including the copyright, in any and all such material You post. You understand that this assignment qualifies as a transfer of copyright ownership pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 201(d), and that Your registration for an account with the Site shall be deemed a valid electronic signature within the meaning of the e-Sign Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7001(a)(1). You further understand and agree that material You submit to the Site will not be removed once it is posted, except as otherwise provided in the Terms or pursuant to our sole editorial discretion.



We respect intellectual property rights.  Accordingly, if You believe that someone has posted material that infringes your rights, please let us know immediately.  We will expeditiously review all removal requests submitted pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”), and if we believe Your request is valid, we will remove or disable access to any infringing material.

At a minimum, DMCA notices must include at least the following things:

(1) Your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address;

(2) A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed;

(3) The exact URL or web address where the alleged infringing material is located, and a description of the work that is sufficient to permit us to locate the infringing material;

(4) A statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use has not been authorized by you, your agent, or the law;

(5) Your electronic or physical signature or the electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on your behalf (it’s OK to just type your full name at the end of your notice); and

(6) A statement by you made under penalty of perjury, that the information in your notice is accurate, that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner’s behalf.

Please email your DMCA removal request to [email protected]

Repeat Infringer Policy:  In addition to removing infringing content when appropriate, we will block access to the site (to the extent possible) by any user who we determine to be a repeat infringer.  For the purposes of this policy, a “repeat infringer” is defined as any person who is deemed to have uploaded infringing content three (3) or more times within a period of six (6) months.


7.         NO WARRANTIES

The Site is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.  We make no representations or warranties in relation to this website or the information and materials provided on this website.

We do not warrant that the Site will be constantly available, or available at all; or the information on the Site is complete, true, accurate or non-misleading.

Nothing on the Site constitutes, or is meant to constitute, advice of any kind.  If You require advice in relation to any legal, financial or medical matter You should consult an appropriate professional.



We will not be liable to You (whether under the law of contact, the law of torts or otherwise) in relation to the contents of, or use of, or otherwise in connection with Your use of the Site to the extent that the website is provided free-of-charge, for any direct loss, for any indirect, special or consequential loss; or for any business losses, loss of revenue, income, profits or anticipated savings, loss of contracts or business relationships, loss of reputation or goodwill, or loss or corruption of information or data.

These limitations of liability apply even if We have been expressly advised of the potential loss.


9.         EXCEPTIONS

Nothing in these terms will exclude or limit any warranty implied by law that it would be unlawful to exclude or limit.


10.       INDEMNITY

You hereby indemnify Us against any losses, damages, costs, liabilities and expenses incurred or suffered by Us arising out of any breach by You of any provision of these terms and conditions, or arising out of any claim that You have breached any provision of these terms and conditions.


11.       BREACH

Without prejudice to any other rights, if You breach these Terms in any way, We may take appropriate action. This may include suspending Your access to the website, prohibiting You from accessing the website, blocking computers using Your IP address from accessing the website, contacting Your internet service provider to request that they block Your access to the website and/or bringing legal proceedings against You.  We may, but are not obligated to, provide You with notice prior to taking any of these steps.


12.       ASSIGNMENT

We may transfer, sub-contract or otherwise deal with our rights and/or obligations under these terms and conditions without notifying You or obtaining Your consent.  You may not transfer, sub-contract or otherwise deal with Your rights and/or obligations under these terms and conditions.



If a provision of these terms and conditions is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other provisions will continue in effect.  If any unlawful and/or unenforceable provision would be lawful or enforceable if part of it were deleted, that part will be deemed to be deleted, and the rest of the provision will continue in effect.



These Terms constitute the sole and entire agreement between You and Us in relation to Your use of the Site. These Terms supersede all previous agreements in respect of Your use of this website.



The State of California recently passed a new “Online Eraser” law which is supposed to require websites to delete content posted by minors when asked by the original author. The new law became effective on January 1, 2015 and you can read a copy here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB568

For various different reasons, we do not believe that California’s “Online Eraser” law applies to the Site. However, until the courts have resolved this issue we are willing to consider removal requests from California residents who posted content on our site while they were under the age of 18, subject to appropriate proof.

If you would like to request removal under this law, please send an email to [email protected] and put “California Online Eraser” in the subject line. Please include a link to the page in question and a clear copy of your government issued-ID. We may also request additional information as needed to process your request.

Also, the law requires that we provide notice of the following:

Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 22581. (a) An operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application directed to minors or an operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application that has actual knowledge that a minor is using its Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application shall do all of the following:

(1) Permit a minor who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application to remove or, if the operator prefers, to request and obtain removal of, content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application by the user.

(2) Provide notice to a minor who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application that the minor may remove or, if the operator prefers, request and obtain removal of, content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application by the registered user.

(3) Provide clear instructions to a minor who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application on how the user may remove or, if the operator prefers, request and obtain the removal of content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application.

(4) Provide notice to a minor who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application that the removal described under paragraph (1) does not ensure complete or comprehensive removal of the content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application by the registered user.

We often receive requests — they sound more like demands, really — in which we’re asked to keep the content of certain communications “confidential.” While we have no idea what the basis is for attempting to impose these limitations on disclosure, where, as here, there exists no agreement between HolySmoke.org and you to treat any information, let alone your unsolicited communications, as confidential, we nevertheless do not honor such requests. In fact, because we are inclined to believe that such “gag orders” are detrimental to the free sharing of information and ideas that underscores our entire business model, we are more likely to upload these communications to our website.

Also, HolySmoke.org receives far too much mail and email to respond to everything we receive. In fact, much of what we receive goes unanswered. This often includes communications from lawyers. Despite the fact that many lawyers (or perhaps you as their client) often think we must respond to a lawyer’s letter, our own lawyers tell us we often have no obligation to do so.

“But I must first explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born.”