Industry News

Federal court to hear FSBO lawsuit

Expected to rule within a few months

A federal court today will hear motions for summary judgment in a lawsuit challenging California's licensing of Internet real estate publishers. The Institute for Justice filed the lawsuit in 2003, claiming the state's law that requires real estate advertising Web sites to obtain real estate broker's licenses to legally conduct business in the state is unfair. The Institute represents ForSaleByOwner.com, a Web-based real estate advertising company that refused to go along with the state's demand that it obtain a realty license. The court is expected to issue a ruling within a few months. The Institute for Justice is a non-profit, self-described "libertarian public interest law firm." It claims California's real estate law represents an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech and alleges the practice is invalid regulation of commercial speech that discriminates against certain companies based on the type of media they use–in this case, the Internet. "This is censorship, pure ...