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CMLP: Craigslist Dropping 'Erotic Services' Section

From the Citizen Media Law Project blog:

The Associated Press is reporting that Craigslist has decided to replace the "erotic services" section of its site with a new adult category that will be reviewed by Craigslist staff (Craigslist just issued a statement confirming the change). The decision follows several months of pressure from officials in a number of states who have been trying to force the online classified site to drop its "erotic services" section, claiming that the ads facilitate prostitution.

As we and others have noted (see here, here, and here), Craigslist is entitled to broad immunity under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act ("Section 230"), the federal statute that protects operators of websites and other interactive computer services from liability for publishing the statements of third parties. Section 230's protection is not limited to civil liability. And while it does not apply to federal criminal law, see 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(1), the most plausible reading of the statute's language is that it preempts state criminal actions inconsistent with it.

But this hasn't stopped state officials from trying to bully the site's operators into removing sexually explicit postings (and photographs) from the site, which carries over 30 million new ads each month, according to the BNA...

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Digital Media Law Project

Founded in 2007 as the "Citizen Media Law Project," the Digital Media Law Project (DMLP) works to ensure that individuals and organizations involved in online journalism and… More