Craigslist Blamed Yet Again For Something It Didn't Do

from the just-can't-help-it,-huh? dept

Weren't we just pointing out that everyone seems to want to blame Craigslist for things that it has no responsibility for? The latest is Connecticut's Attorney General, who has attacked Craigslist for allowing ads for prostitution. This is hardly a new charge. Last summer, the mayor of Atlanta lobbed similar charges at Craigslist. But, of course, just like that time, the blame is misplaced. Craigslist is the tool provider, not the content provider. To blame Craigslist isn't just wrong, when it comes to illegal acts like prostitution, it's downright backwards. Why? Because as some police have realized, Craigslist is actually a really useful tool for police to track down and arrest people breaking the law.

So not only is it placing the blame on the wrong party, it's doing so in a way that would only drive the prostitution further underground, making it harder for the police (and the Attorney General's office) to do their job. How smart is that? But it sure does generate headlines... The Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, had this to say in a letter to Craigslist:
"I am astonished and appalled by Craigslist's refusal to recognize the reality of prostitution on its Web site -- despite advertisements containing graphic photographs and hourly rates, and widespread public reports of prostitutes using the site."
To which I can only reply: I am astonished and appalled by Richard Blumenthal's refusal to recognize the reality of liability and section 230 safe harbors -- despite it being the law of the land and widely known and discussed in legal circles.

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  1. identicon
    DanC, 30 Mar 2008 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Be Careful...

    Similar suits have been brought against eBay and other online stores, all of which have resulted in the courts claiming that online sites are not free from the responsibility to ensure that what is posted on their site is within the realms of legality.

    eBay was the target of a class action lawsuit that accused the auction site of selling inauthentic sports memorabilia. The court found that eBay was not responsible for assuring the authenticity of the items.

    A similar lawsuit involving bootlegged movies being listed on eBay ended in the same fashion.

    So, in fact, it has been repeatedly upheld that eBay is not legally responsible for the items listed by its users.

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