Pro se plaintiff Walter Viola didn’t care too much for The History Channel’s “Beyond the Da Vinci Code” which aired in December 2005. He disliked it so much that he filed a federal lawsuit against A&E Networks, claiming that it had defamed the Catholic church, and that Internet content promoting the show violated both Section 223 of the Communications Decency Act and the Children’s Online Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. §231.
The court easily dismissed Viola’s suit. Judge McVerry of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, in adopting the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Hay, held that neither the CDA nor COPA provide for a private cause of action. “[T]he authority to enforce the CDA lies with the proper government authorities and not with a private citizen such as plaintiff.”
Viola v. A&E Televison Networks, — F.Supp.2d —-, 2006 WL 1549703 (W.D. Pa., June 7, 2006).