Industry News scores lawsuit victory

Federal court declares California online real estate licensing law unconstitutional

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A federal judge in Sacramento last week ruled in favor of Web publisher and the Institute for Justice in a First Amendment lawsuit challenging California's demand that Web sites obtain a real estate broker's license to publish real estate advertising and information. The court concluded that the law, which requires Web sites to obtain a license but exempts newspapers that publish the same information, was "wholly arbitrary" and violated the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and freedom of the press. "The First Amendment rights of Internet publishers have taken a big step forward," said Steve Simpson, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents for free. "States will now think twice before concluding that the Internet is a second-class citizen to traditional media." Tom Pool, a spokesman for the California Department of Real Estate couldn't comment on whether the state would appeal the decision, saying the outcome ...