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Court: Craigslist not responsible for racist/discriminatory rental ads November 18, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discrimination, Racism.

Craigslist is off the hook for now in a suit involving allegedly discriminatory housing ads posted to its online classifieds shop, a federal judge ruled this week.

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a public advocacy group composed of 45 law firms, had accused the popular site of running afoul of federal fair-housing rules, which prohibit shutting out interested tenants on the basis of race, gender, family status, religion or other categories.

The organization claimed to have documented more than 200 instances of discriminatory housing rental offers at Craigslist’s Chicago site, which included language such as “looking for gay latino” or “non-women of color NEED NOT APPLY.”

U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve found that under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Craigslist was not liable for the postings’ content. That law shields providers and users of “interactive computer services” from liability so long as they make “good faith efforts” to restrict access to material that is considered “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.”

The Chicago Lawyers Committee plans to appeal the ruling, according to a Chicago Tribune report (registration required).

Craigslist hailed the decision as a victory for Internet self-publishers, but some who supported the San Francisco-based company’s position quibbled with the judge’s interpretation of the law.

“This court envisioned a narrower protection, sufficient to protect against the claims at issue, but opening the door for later courts to limit Section 230’s important and necessary protections,” Kurt Opsahl, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in a recent blog entry.

C.a.r.d Source: News.com

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