Industry News

Judges hear arguments in craigslist lawsuit

Group charges site has liability for language in housing ads

During a lively court hearing Friday that included fire alarm interruptions and discussions about a hired hit man, bank robbers and a Buddhist temple, lawyers presented arguments (listen here) about the application of fair housing law to online community site craigslist.org and the extent of federal protections available to the site through the U.S. Communications Decency Act. A three-judge panel for the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is considering whether craigslist is protected from liability for online postings by site users that violate the Fair Housing Act. The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Inc., a nonprofit group that advocates for affordable housing and compliance with fair housing law, among other issues, filed its appeal in January 2007 following a November ruling by a U.S. District Court judge who found that craigslist is an "interactive computer service" under federal law and is not considered a publisher. As such, that court found that craigs...