CHALLENGING SESTA/FOSTA

Woodhull Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging FOSTA

The future of the internet as we know it is under threat from FOSTA-SESTA. But what, exactly, is that?

In April 2018, the Senate’s Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and the House’s Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act became law, together known as FOSTA-SESTA. The bill was sold to legislators as a way to stop sex trafficking. That was a lie.

There are so many things wrong with and dangerous about this law – and that’s why Woodhull Freedom Foundation stepped forward as the lead plaintiff on a lawsuit that calls out the lies and challenges the constitutionality of the law itself.

Why is this important to you?

Because this bill put into effect the most broadly-based censorship of Internet speech since 1996, effectively driving large swaths of constitutionally-protected speech off the Internet. Even the Department of Justice warned Congress about the overreaching provisions of the law before it was passed. Specifically, FOSTA:

  • makes online platforms responsible for speech and content posted by users if the material might be seen as in violation of the law,
  • applies to speech that occurred even before FOSTA was enacted.
  • creates new criminal and civil liability for website operators who host third-party content that “promotes or facilitates prostitution of another person,”
  • expands criminal and civil liability such that any online platform can be held responsible for sex trafficking if its users abuse the platform for purposes of engaging in sex trafficking.

We’ve already seen Craigslist remove its Personals section, CityVibe shut down altogether, Reddit banned multiple subreddits, Google began reviewing and deleting content directly off the Drive accounts of several of its users, and Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr have banned all sexually oriented content.. Not only has FOSTA caused massive censorship of protected speech, it has created a far more dangerous environment for consensual sex workers. Read more here.

Efforts to repeal FOSTA have failed, and our lawsuit represents the only chance to recover a free and open Internet. Woodhull is prepared to take this all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States if necessary and we would sure appreciate your support for the expenses that accompany a lawsuit of this magnitude.

Support the SESTA/FOSTA Lawsuit

More Information

Audio of Oral Arguments

Court Filings

Our Legal Team

We are proud to be represented by a team of some of the best First Amendment attorneys in this country. The team is led by Bob Corn-Revere. with Ronnie London and the law firm of David Wright Tremaine, Lawrence G. Walters, with the Walters Law Group, Daphne Keller, and various attorneys from EFF.