Craigslist Not Liable For Illegal Ads, Court Says

March 18, 2008
Craigslist is not liable for discriminatory housing ads posted on its Web site, a federal appeals court has ruled.
     The decision is a victory for the Internet bulletin board where every month more than 30 million people post offers to buy, sell or rent goods and services, including housing, free of charge.
     A group of Chicago lawyers sued the Web site in 2006 because some of its housing notices illegally discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion and ethnicity.
     Various ads say "no minorities" or "no children." Declaring such preferences violates the U.S. Fair Housing Act and would be illegal in a newspaper.
     But a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday found that Craigslist is not the publisher of these ads, as a newspaper would be.