Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ninth Circuit's Roommates.com ruling

While I have not yet reviewed the opinion, the Ninth Circuit has issued its decision in the Roommates.com case. Eric Goldman's very thoughtful and timely discussion of the opinion can be found here.

The Court determined that Section 230 "does not immunize Roommate for all of the content on its website and in its email newsletters." The Court remanded the case to the district court to ascertain whether Roommates.com's "non-immune publication and distribution of information violates the [Fair Housing Act]." The Court also vacated the dismissal of certain state law claims, thereby permitting the district court to reconsider whether to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction in light of" today's ruling on the federal claims.

I believe this is the first Court of Appeals to rule on the intersection of Section 230 (part of the C0mmunications Decency Act passed by Congress in 1996) and the Fair Housing Act. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Craigslist case which is presently pending before the 7th Circuit. There have not been any oral arguments yet, and the latest docket entry suggests that briefing has been suspended.

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