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March 17, 2008

Win on Appeal for Craigslist Over Housing Discrimination Case

Craigslist won an appeal at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in a suit that charged the company with housing discrimination by allowing posters to submit ads for housing that were illegal under section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act.  The suit was brought by the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.  The District Court (461 F.Supp2d 681 (N.D. Ill. 2006)) gave summary judgment to Craigslist by applying the CDA section 230 safe harbor identifying  Craigslist as an ISP rather than as a publisher.  The plaintiffs, on appeal, argued that Congress had not considered exempting an ISP from liability when it passed section 230.  The Appeals Court stated that Congress was not required to "traipse" through the U.S. Code to look for exceptions when it passed a general statute.  Bottom line: ISPs are treated differently from other content publishers.  The plaintiffs can identify individual posters and go after them instead.  Google and Viacom take note.

The slip opinion is available at the Seventh Circuit web site using docket number 07-1101 as a search key.  The docket list with pleadings and other documents for the District Court case is available at Justia.

March 17, 2008 | Permalink

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Comments

Here is the direct link to the opinion:

http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/fdocs/docs.fwx?submit=showbr&shofile=07-1101_021.pdf

Posted by: David Raeker-Jordan | Mar 17, 2008 1:45:26 PM

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