Judge: Craigslist Doesn't Kill People, Guns Do

by , Jun 18, 2009, 1:15 PM
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gunA federal judge in New York has added to the growing number of rulings absolving sites like Craigslist of responsibility for crimes committed by users.

This week, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman dismissed a $10 million lawsuit against Craigslist stemming from a gun sale arranged through the site.

New York resident Calvin Gibson sued the site for negligence after suffering serious injuries as a result of gunshot wounds. The shooter, who allegedly has a long history of mental illness, reportedly purchased the gun from someone who advertised on Craigslist.

Gibson called the site "a robber baron of the 21st century" in his legal papers. "Guns, drugs, sex and stolen merchandise are being sold on defendant's website," he argued. "For public policy concerns, it must be immediately regulated or shut down."

But Berman found that Gibson's legal claims were barred by the Communications Decency Act, which says that Web sites are typically immune from liability for posts made by users (except for posts that infringe on copyright or trademark.)

Berman's ruling is consistent with a host of other decisions saying that Craigslist, MySpace and other sites aren't liable when people use the platforms to facilitate crime.

Last year, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Craigslist can't be sued for housing ads that discriminate. In addition, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit against MySpace by the parents of a teen girl who was assaulted by someone she met through the site.

2 comments on "Judge: Craigslist Doesn't Kill People, Guns Do".

  1. Jack Hodgkin, jr. from iEntry Network
    commented on: June 19, 2009 at 10:35 a.m.

    Correct ruling by the judge but I'm not following your report in regards to the judge's opinion that guns kill people. Looks more like the writer's opinion which is irrelevant as far as Judges Berman ruling...and also misleading.

  2. John Capone from MediaPost
    commented on: June 19, 2009 at 1:28 p.m.

    Jack, Thanks for your feedback. To be clear, we took liberties with the headline as a play on a familiar phrase. It's not meant to be a part of the writer's report. This was not a gun control issue, nor is it the writer's opinion that it is one.

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