ONLINE MEDIA DAILY -- Mar 17 -- In a victory for web companies that publish user-generated content, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that online classified service Craigslist
isn't liable for discriminatory housing ads placed by users. The 7th Circuit upheld a trial judge's ruling dismissing the case, holding that the federal Communications Decency Act doesn't permit people to "sue the messenger just because the message reveals a third party's plan to engage in unlawful discrimination". The lawsuit stemmed from a complaint by the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which sued Craigslist for housing ads that contained language like "no minorities" or "no children". Craigslist argued that the federal Decency Communications Act immunized it from suit based on content posted by users. A similar issue is pending in the 9th Circuit in a lawsuit against Roomates.com
. The appeals court in that case originally ruled that a lawsuit against the site could proceed to trial, but later granted re-argument. A decision in that lawsuit is expected soon.
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