This prohibition is accompanied by a ban on that state a preference with respect to any of the protected classes. It is illegal. The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, on behalf of its members, contends in this suit that craigslist, which provides an electronic meeting place for those who want to buy, sell, or rent housing and many other goods and servicesis violating this statute.
Many who offer housing for sale or rent satisfy 42 U. See, e. United States, U. Coors Brewing Co. Youngs Drug Products Corp.
Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc. But lots of notices posted on craigslist concern apartment buildings, condominiums, and single-family homes owned by someone who has a portfolio of four or more rental properties. Section c applies to these without constitutional cavil. Courts regularly enforce the statute against newspapers and other publishers.
Hunter, F. Ridley, F. Ragin v. New York Times Co. Ditto courier services such as FedEx and UPS, which do not read the documents inside packages and do not make or publish any of the customers' material. Web sites are not common carriers, but screening, though lawful, is hard. Every month more than 30 million notices are posted to the craigslist system.
Fewer than 30 people, all based in California, operate the system, which offers classifieds and forums for cities. It would be necessary to increase that staff and the expense that users must bear substantially to conduct the sort of editorial review that the Lawyers' Committee demands-and even then errors would be frequent.
According to craigslist, the effort is unnecessary. It relies on 47 U. This subsection provides:. No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
See Zeran v. America Online, Inc. America Online, F. Smith, F. Lycos, Inc. GTE Corp. Neither side's argument finds much support in the statutory text.
Section c 2 tackles this problem [of potential liability for hosting pornographic pictures] not with a sword but with a safety net. A web host that does filter out offensive material is not liable to the censored customer. Removing the risk of civil liability may induce web hosts and other informational intermediaries to take more care to protect the privacy and sensibilities of third parties.
Why should a law deed to eliminate ISPs' liability to the creators of offensive material end up defeating claims by the victims of tortious or criminal conduct? True, a statute's caption must yield to its text when the two conflict, see Trainmen v. See Carlisle v. Grokster, Ltd. Yet subsection c 2 does not deal with the liability of speakers and publishers, the subject of subsection c 1.
We read each to do exactly what it says. So did the district court.
Section c 1 is general. Once the legislative process gets rolling, interest groups seek and often obtain other provisions. Doubtless craigslist plays a causal role in the sense that no one could post a discriminatory ad if craigslist did not offer a forum. That is not, however, a useful definition of cause. That's the sense in which a non-publisher can cause a discriminatory ad, while one who causes the forbidden content may not be a publisher.
Using the remarkably candid postings on craigslist, the Lawyers' Committee can identify many targets to investigate. It can dispatch testers and collect damages from any landlord or owner who engages in discrimination. See Havens Realty Corp. Coleman, U. Bellwood, U. It can assemble a list of names to send to the Attorney General for prosecution.
Explore Resources For Practice Management. Legal Technology. Corporate Counsel. Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select. Reset A A Font size: Print. Stephen D. Eric D. John P. It is illegal [t]o make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.
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