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April 4, 2008

Ninth Circuit Says No to CDA Safe Harbour to Roommates.con in Housing Case

Roommates.com has lost an appeal in the Ninth Circuit over whether questions asked in creating a profile of its users violates the Fair Housing Act.  The case was brought by the Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley and the Fair Housing Council of San Diego.  The District Court granted summary judgment to Roommates on the basis of the company falling into the Safe Harbor provision of the Communications Decency Act.  The Ninth Circuit disagreed because questions such as gender, sexual preference, and others, developed by Roommates and required by the site for its users turned them into a publisher rather than an ISP.  Roommates effectively became responsible for the content.  The Court distinguished the Craigslist case from the Seventh Circuit where that site escaped liability as it merely republished postings without edits.

The Ninth Circuit opinion is here.  The Seventh Circuit opinion in Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. v. Craigslist, Inc. (docket number 07-1101) is here.

April 4, 2008 | Permalink

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