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Internet bigs defend Craigslist
Who's on Craig's list? Amazon.com, AOL, eBay, Google, and Yahoo, for starters. The five Internet giants signed an amicus brief in a housing-discrimination case filed against Craigslist in Chicago, Law.com reports. Craigslist, a classifieds-listing site founded by software programmer Craig Newmark, has been accused of discrimination because of listings posted by users on its site looking for, among other characteristics, "gay Latino" or "Christian" roommates. A variety of local and federal housing laws prohibit most kinds of discrimination in housing ads. But the federal Communications Decency Act passed in 1996, Craigslist's online allies argue, protect websites from liability for content posted by their users.

For Craigslist's allies, the issue goes way beyond roommate-wanted ads. Amazon and eBay et al. don't want to be liable for users' postings, since that would put a major crimp on their plans to rely on user-generated content for more and more of their Web traffic. It's no wonder that online publishers want to protect this legal privilege, since they enjoy an enviable position compared with other media. While newspapers might get sued for publishing such ads, Craigslist is in a different legal position thanks to the 1996 law, notes Eric Goldman in his Technology & Marketing Law Blog.
Posted by Owen Thomas 11:06 AM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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