Craigslist Shuts Down Adult Services; Says It's Being Censored

from the without-a-lawsuit-too dept

Last month, we noted that the dangerously misguided media campaign against Craigslist’s adult services section had ramped up, and it didn’t take long for various state attorneys general to grandstand against the site with a press conference and “letter” sent to the site, demanding that the adult service section be shut down. This, despite the fact that previous grandstanding attempts had resulted in not one, but two separate settlements with various state AGs, and Craigslist had lived up to the terms of both settlements.

While some had threatened, no actual lawsuit had been filed against Craigslist for this section — and for a damn good reason: Craigslist is, without a doubt, protected from liability due to Section 230. Furthermore, Craigslist seems to go out of its way to help law enforcement use the site as a tool to crack down on prostitution. Shutting that down won’t stop the prostitution. It’ll just drive it to sites that don’t work as closely with law enforcement.

And that may now be happening. Late Friday, people started noticing that Craigslist had blocked the Adult Services section and replaced it with just a line that said boldly “censored.”

craigslistcensored
Craigslist is, indeed, making quite a statement here. They were pressured to shut down a section on no actual legal basis, in a manner that won’t help anyone stop prostitution or exploitation of young women. All it does is give a few politically-minded state attorneys general a headline and a campaign bullet point, falsely claiming that they helped “fight prostitution.”

In the meantime, people are pointing out that the ads from the adult services section are already migrating elsewhere on the site and there are lots of other sites ready to pick up the slack — many of which have been much more explicit than anything on Craigslist ever was. Perhaps most ridiculous of all is that the Attorney General who has lead the grandstanding crusade against Craigslist, Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut still isn’t happy, claiming that he’s worried this is just a publicity stunt (which is kind of funny, seeing as pretty much everything Blumenthal has had to say about this case has been a publicity stunt.

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Companies: craigslist

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Comments on “Craigslist Shuts Down Adult Services; Says It's Being Censored”

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107 Comments
average_joe says:

Hey Mike, I’m still waiting for you to explain exactly how I “gleefully abuse a system for profit.”

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100902/11385710880.shtml#c528

You do realize that my considering a future career in IP litigation doesn’t mean I am currently abusing a system for profit, right? It doesn’t mean I’m going to in the future abuse a system for profit either.

You outright lied and you know it. I deserve an apology. Are you man enough to admit your mistake? I doubt it.

Berenerd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: PRE-EMPTIVE ALERT:

Actually, you can call me anything you want. See I know many things in this world, and one of those things is, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and most of them stink. You don’t like his opinion of you? Oh well, guess what, its a free country.

now go start your own blog and post what ever the hell you want on it, cause its your blog.

duffmeister (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 PRE-EMPTIVE ALERT:

Is a statement of opinion a lie? I think you are a juvenile who was coddled into a sense on entitlement as a child. Does that mean I have to apologize? I don’t think that’ll ever happen. Just relax and realize the world is a big place and that a free exchange of ideas promotes freedoms and growth for all.

duffmeister (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 PRE-EMPTIVE ALERT:

I assume her will at some point if he feels it is worth his time.

So a semantic difference of expression leads you to hijack a different thread? Also please link the offending article so i can see it in context, after all that is what makes the cases here. I’d like to see it for myself, as you have shown little restraint nor reason for me to take you at your word.

john says:

Re: Re: Re:7 PRE-EMPTIVE ALERT:

I think you need a lesson about facts and opinions if you ever hope to become a lawyer of any kind. It takes more than grammar alone to tell fact from opinion. Context, for example, is very important, like posting something in the comments section of an opinion blog.

Besides, even your grammatical analysis is incorrect. It only works if you extrapolate that “people like you” specifically means IP attorneys. In fact, it could be read just as easily that “people like you” means anyone with views similar to yours.

Mike’s not going to apologize, and he didn’t lie. Did he insult you in a fairly immature way? Sure, but you have more that trumped his immaturity, so how about you call it a day?

john says:

Re: Re: Re:5 PRE-EMPTIVE ALERT:

I will not answer your question because it has no relation to my post. I will, however, answer the question of how your behavior shows what I said it shows.

1. IMMATURITY – Your behavior shows immaturity in that you interrupt an unrelated post with your rant, demanding an apology for someone else’s opinion, and for what? Hurt feelings? If you are really concerned about setting the facts straight, you could solve it with one simple post in the relevant thread. Here, I’ll take a quick stab at it for you:

“Actually, I don’t currently work in that industry; I’m just investigating it. I think there are problems with the copyright system, and I intend to use my training to try to repair them, not profit from them. Your categorization of me is inaccurate and offensive.”

There, problem solved. Instead, you break into an unrelated conversation, waving your virtual arms like a child and demanding an apology from someone who clearly isn’t going to give it. Demanding an apology over and over does not show that you desire justice. Instead, it exposes that you have a childlike, self-centric need for attention and control, which leads you to believe that the reparation of your hurt feelings is more important than anything anyone else wants to talk about.

2. GUILTY CONSCIENCE: I did not say above that your behavior makes you guilty. I said that it makes you LOOK guilty. First, you make a public spectacle out of something that could have been solved simply and quietly, as shown above. Second, you continue to try to get the last word in on every single person who responded to you. Third, you evade questions about your previous stances, which appear support Mike’s opinion. Fourth, you try divert attention back away from yourself when the comments hit too close to home by clinging to your standby phrase, “Let Mike defend himself.” How about you go back to the original, offending post, and defend YOURself? Reply with a simple defense like I showed you above, and be done. If Mike wants to continue to press it, he can. My guess is, he’ll let his opinion stand, and you can let your defense stand after it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: PRE-EMPTIVE ALERT:

I wouldn’t call it a lie, more of a personal opinion (on an opinion blog, no less!).

He stated his opinion of your profession, nothing more. Perhaps he did it in a rather confrontation and unfair way, but that’s also opinion.

You can offer your opinion of his profession if you wish, but at this point you are basically trolling this board because your feelings were hurt. Not a great reflection of the people working in your profession.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 PRE-EMPTIVE ALERT:

It is not my profession. Mike is lying by indicating that it is. He’s also lying by indicating that I represent all that is evil in that profession. He’s wrong on both counts.

And my feelings aren’t hurt since the accusations are false. I just wonder why Mike can’t man up and admit he lied.

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:3 PRE-EMPTIVE ALERT:

“It is not my profession. Mike is lying by indicating that it is. “

Not lying, opinion. As in, “if it walks like a duck…”

“He’s also lying by indicating that I represent all that is evil in that profession. “

You do, with your viewpoint and absurd attacks. Still doesnt make it a lie, its an opinion. Your actions are LIKE THOSE who represent all that is evil etc. Just because someone (or thing) is similar to someone/thing else and someone else points that out doesnt necessarily make it a lie.

“He’s wrong on both counts.”

Maybe. I think the jury is still out on that one. Still doesnt make it lying unless he KNOWS for a FACT you are (or arent), which he cant, therefore its opinion. After all, YOU could be lying to make him SEEM like he is lying.
And my feelings aren’t hurt since the accusations are false. I just wonder why Mike can’t man up and admit he lied.

“And my feelings aren’t hurt since the accusations are false.”

Now YOU are lying. All you have been doing all day is “waa waaa mommy! Mike made me butthurt with his mean wordlies! I cant take any criticism or opinions that are bad about me! waaaa.” That is the very definition of hurt feelings.

“I just wonder why Mike can’t man up and admit he lied.”

See above. Opinions arent lies. If you want him to apologize for being a bad dirty meanie who butthurt your feelings, well then, all that does is make YOU look like the whiny little bitch that you are.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

He said he hates people like me who abuse a system for profit. This indicates that I am abusing a system for profit, which I am not.

It’s like if I said I hate people like Mike who rape little children. This means that I am saying that Mike rapes little children.

I got a good night’s rest last night. Don’t worry about me.

Why don’t you let Mike defend himself. He’s a big boy.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You should be too. Why do you need his apology if you want to be a copyright lawyer?

Get off your cross, make a bridge, get over it.

Unless you have something to say about the article, it’s poor form to come in here just because copyright litigation happens to be a successful (if unnecessary) business form.

This article is supposed to be about Craigslist, not how average_joe can’t take criticism of any kind.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I don’t need his apology. I just think it’s sad he won’t admit he lied.

I was only going to make one post off-topic. The rest of my posts have been in response to responses to that post, like yours.

It is bad form, admittedly, but so is intentionally lying about people like Mike did.

Why doesn’t he defend himself or apologize? Hmmm.

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“When you try to get someone’s attention, do you repeatedly poke them in the arm every 3 seconds if they don’t reply immediately?”

Well, you do if you are an immature abuser who has a victim complex and routinely runs around crying “waa! waa! mommy! make them stop butthurting me with their mean words! waaa!”

People like that have massive self esteem issues that need constant reinforcement, so yes, a person like that would just poke and pick CONSTANTLY, whining like a little baby, until they get the attention they need to take care of their huge personality problems.

nonanonymous says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I just wonder if Mike can admit he lied about me.

For all we know, there are a dozen people using your screen name, so there is no “you” to be talking about. Unless, you would like to reveal your real name with enough identifiers to prove to us that you are who you say you are and not just some random troll working at call center.

john says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Actually, there would be no plaintiff. The rights holder would simply send you a letter demanding several thousand dollars of payment for the illegal use of their work in your avatar in exchange for them not filing a lawsuit.

Your options would be to pay up, or to spend even more money on one of your buddies (IP attorneys) to try to save your ass with a fair use defense. Then you’d have to hope to hell that the jury doesn’t buy into blatant lies stated by the prosecution’s “expert witness,” who will get by with lying by saying that she “spoke incorrectly.”

Sounds like fun. Keep using that image for your avatar.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Ummm. Whatever.

At least we can all rest assured that although you are considering entering into the IP law field, you lack any of the appropriate skills to become a lawyer, as is evident with that eloquent rebuttal, your tween-like temper tantrum, and your severe lack of critical thinking. So, really, we have nothing to worry about.

john says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Wow. Stinging. With a counter-argument like that, it’s obvious you must be right…

In all seriousness, my last post was NOT a joke. It is, in fact, EXACTLY the process used by rights-holders today. Is it likely that they will bother to go after your avatar? No, probably not, unless they want to silence you so that you can no longer continue to undermine the credibility of their arguments, even as you attempt to support them. But if they did, it’s perfectly plausible that they will use the process I outlined.

ababa says:

Re: Re:

If someone finds a system that is broken, such as current US copyright law, and then rather than reforming the system, they are happy to simply profit off of it, I regard that as abusing the system for profit.

I think that everyone who is gleefully abusing systems doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong. The system exists and they are simply happy to profit from the brokenness of the system.

For instance, I have a wealthy friend. His house was 50k underwater. He could make the payments easily. So he bought a bigger house in the same neighborhood (housing values are down quite a bit), then he bought two cars, then he informed the bank he wasn’t paying on his old house anymore. They could eat it. That’s gleefully abusing the system. The credit score hit only lasts 7 years. He still gets his new house and cars. He got everything he wants with his good credit, and then lets the bank suffer. So housing values fall and he benefits. He’s happy, the bank isn’t. Gleeful abuse of the system.

He’s my friend, by the way, this isn’t murder, just capitalism.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So, you admit that you profit from a broken system, but you take objection to the idea that’s doing so is abusing said system?

Semantics, I suppose. Exploiting the system would probably a be better choice of phrase, but again: Mike offered his opinion on a website that’s dedicated to offering opinion.

As others have suggested, any damage done to your reputation has been done by your childish reaction to this, not Mike’s original statement.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I have never profited from a system, nor am I currently profiting from a system. I have no idea what you are talking about. It’s not opinion to state as fact that I currently abuse a system for profit. Mike lied when he did so, and he lied intentionally.

Personally, I think it reflects rather poorly on Mike that he has to lie about me in the first place, and when he’s called out on the lie, he’s not man enough to defend himself or admit it.

Think about me what you like. That’s your right.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re: Future TAM

Mike’s comment from the linked article –
You are in law school, studying how to use copyright law to your advantage. So you want this sort of abusive situation to continue such that you can profit from it.

I didn’t read anywhere that he said you were currently abusing the system. He only stated that you are currently studying how to abuse the system.

Second note. There was once a troll with the handle The Anti-Mike, now everyone calls him TAM. After this lengthy display I believe your handle will be reduced to a_j and become synonymous with trolls who make continued, illogical arguments defending IP.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Thumbing through this it seems you have vehemently fought against the tag of being a “Troll”

But all you have done is proven you are just another person with access to the internet. Why would anyone apologize to a faceless voice on the internet? Many of us are just amused at this point. So if you are doing this for the lulz… congrats! well done sir.

If you aren’t doing this for the lulz you really should calm down, step back, come back later and see what you have accomplished. This community is mostly made of people who are amused with “troll” behavior of many kinds and those that aren’t are so enamored with the authors here you are falling on deaf ears.

PaulT (profile) says:

“the ads from the adult services section are already migrating elsewhere on the site and there are lots of other sites ready to pick up the slack”

Well… durr. This is what happens when you shut down a visible target like that. Instead of everyone assembling in the same place where they can be tracked or avoided, they disperse or go underground.

Of course, this has the additional affects of making the sex ads more visible to people who might be offended and/or minors, and less easy for law enforcement to monitor and investigate. Bravo, Blumenthal et al., you morons.

V says:

And so it starts...

Let’s ban free speech first… in small ways that seem at first, to be for the greater good.

Next, I’m sure they’ll want to burn books… for the greater good, you know… because the books present ideas that the people (read: establishment) don’t care for.

And then, of course… the actual PEOPLE with the ideas will be rounded up… perhaps put into camps, where their ideas will not spread. But, of course the cost of the camps will grow prohibitive… and then… well… I believe we all know what comes next.

Such a tried and true system, good to know that politicians know their history.

V.

MAtt says:

Re: Re: old Blumy...

That’s right, the other mud-slinging fest is the gubernatorial race. Both races have had really good-but-dirty attacks, though I’m still not sure what any of the candidates plan to do. “Crotch-kicker” vs. “Ego trip” and “Business destroyer” vs. ? (I can’t remember why Malloy is bad).

Blumenthal seems more suited to governing because it plays to his ego. I think he’ll be a little fish in a big pond in the senate.

Eh, whether him or McMahon it is just another non-thinking, party line vote. We should just send to random votes to the senate so no one will ever know which way the votes will go, and they can never be bought. In fact, let all bills be passed or shot down by the flip of a coin. It couldn’t be any worse, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Did you get a look at these AG’s? The 17 and only 17 even look like right-wing holy-roller Christians and they wear their uniform proudly. They are definitely the minority. Rather than have to pay for a defense Craigslist buckled. I don’t blame them. Why become fodder for a minority with a big voice that everyone ignores.
Of course If they’d have come after me I would of said bring it on in a highly publicized trial that any Judge in Oregon (where I live) would gladly force them to move the trial(s) to my home since there are so many of them. I will take a jury of my peers in Oregon any day against those assholes. Then after I win I would sue them personally each and every one of them. It has been proven many times that the AG’s operate independently of their state government and were only elected because they bullshitted people about their true intentions.

RD says:

buh-BYE!

Buh BYE asshole. It’s been nice knowing you (not). Your inability to a) accept an explanation, b) admit defeat, and c) play by the rules means YOU caused this, so no creating a 2nd account and coming back and whining about how “unfair” you have been treated. You may not like it, it might not even be right, but you had your chance and from that point on, YOU blew it. So remember, you had it in your hand and didnt take the high road. All YOUR fault now.

Good luck with the lawyer career. I hear judges are really receptive to whiny mommy-bitches who complain incessantly about how “unfair” things are, and continually harp on the judgments and insist that they are right even in the face being told directly to STFU and stop talking about it.

You’ll go far, I predict you will pass the bar (several times a week, they call it a disease) and become a first class litigator (in some backwater in BFE where they dont bother to check the credentials).

average_ioe (profile) says:

Im still a douche, but somewhat correct

The Original Quote:

“people like you who gleefully abuse a system for profit disgust me.”

Mikes response:

“As for the comment, I did not lie. You have said that you are planning a career in copyright litigation and that you support these types of actions that are a clear abuse of the law for profit.”

–however the comment does not say “people like you who support the abuse of a system for profit” or “people like who you who are training to abuse a system for profit” – therefore it is technically incorrect – therefore not true.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Im still a douche, but somewhat correct

Joe? Sweetums? Perhaps you should take a breath and calm down.

Mike’s statement was in fact a combination of two concepts:

“people like you”

“people who gleefully abuse a system for profit”

He didn’t say you abuse a system for profit. He said people abuse a system for profit, and those people are like you.

Sure, there’s some wiggle room for interpretation. But in a previous sentence, he made it absolutely clear that you are a law student, not a lawyer, and students (like anyone else who is not directly involved in the legal system) cannot “abuse” that system.

They can, however, cheer on those who do, which you did – gleefully. That gleeful, gloating tone is what disgusted him, and he’s not alone in that opinion.

So, you may ask for his apology for being disgusted by you. But calling him a “liar” is just wrong, and frankly pretty stupid, especially when you hijack an unrelated thread to do it.

Oh, well. You and I had our differences, but I held my nose and discussed issues with you because I have less knowledge of the law, and I knew you could point me in hithero-unknown directions.

Alas, those halcyon days are behind us, since he’s going to ban you for being an ass. So, enjoy your life. Maybe go have a slice of cake. Cake is delicious.

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