Craigslist Bites Back

    May 20, 2009
    Chris Crum

Craigslist has decided to sue South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster. The company is seeking declaratory relief and a restraining order regarding criminal charges McMaster has threatened the company with.

WebProNews has more on the criminal charges threatened. Jim Buckmaster writing on the Craiglist blog had this to say:

Jim BuckmasterIn addition to being unwarranted by the facts, legal experts agree that the charges threatened represent an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech, and are clearly barred by federal law (sec 230 CDA).

Interestingly, if you read Mr McMaster’s ultimatum carefully, you’ll note that the only way to definitively comply with it is to take down the craigslist sites for South Carolina in their entirety. The open architecture of craigslist, quintessential to the value it provides for users, simply does not allow for the absolute prevention of solicitation or pornography, with respect to any of its categories and functions.

Buckmaster goes on to talk about how South Carolina has been huge over the last two years in terms of Craigslist usage. Some cities have experienced 2000% growth, he says.

With numbers like that, it’s not hard to see why Craiglist would want to fight this thing tooth and nail. Craigslist states that it has been operating in full compliance with all applicable laws. Buckmaster also notes that the company has earned a reputation for being "unusually" responsive to requests from law enforcement.