A recent Seventh Circuit Ruling highlights the blending of civil rights, employment, and copyright matters for online publishers. Recently, there was an attempt to sue craigslists under the Fair Housing Act for permitting posts with “no minorities” or “no children”. Craigslist was sued under 47 USC 3604 (c) for publishing discriminatory advertisements.
However, in Chicago Lawyer’s Committe for Civil Rights under Law Inc. v. Craigslist Inc., a majority of the panel stated that Craigslist cannot be treated as a speaker or publisher of content posted by someone else under 230 (c) (1). The panel stated that just because the message reveals a third party’s plan to engage in unlawful discrimination, it does not mean you can sue the messenger.
The ruling seems similar to many cases involving allegations of copyright infringement and the notice and take down procedures provided for Internet Service Providers. The internet continues to blur the lines between what were thought to be two varying areas of law.