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Craigslist Fights Back, Sues SC Atty General

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the wouldn't-have-happened-to-a-nicer-guy dept.

Censorship 286

FredMastro writes "Craigslist has now stepped past just asking for an apology. The Wall Street Journal and CNet report that Craigslist is fighting back. 'Craigslist said it has sued South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, in the latest escalation of a battle over adult-oriented ads on the company's site. Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist's chief executive, said in a blog post that the company filed its suit in federal court in South Carolina. ...'" Unfortunately, the WSJ's piece requires a subscription, but reader Locke2005 adds a link to coverage in the San Jose Business Journal.

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286 comments

Good. (4, Interesting)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028441)

People trying to make Craigslist into this big bad fraud sex site is getting old. It's about 2% of US internet traffic, no duh it's got a few hookers on it.

Re:Good. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28028553)

True, a few hookers posting cryptic, discreet ads is inevitable. But Craigslist had an entire section devoted to it and allowed it. Try to post an ad with a racist word or offer drugs for sale, somehow craigs list manages to get it offline in minutes, outright offers of prostitution are ok. Sorry, but this isn't a free speech issue, Craigslist has in fact been participating in facilitating an illegal act. You simply can't pretend otherwise.

Re:Good. (4, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028623)

Sufficient demand for a service will create a market. Maybe, instead of trying to plug the extraordinarily leaky dike holding back vice, we should embrace, tax, and regulate it [nytimes.com] . Craigslist prostitution ads aren't a problem per se: they merely constitute another signal telling us it's time to re-examine some of our old prejudices.

Re:Good. (5, Interesting)

princessproton (1362559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029085)

Very good point. There is an organization called Coyote [coyotela.org] that argues that "prostitution businesses such as brothels, massage parlors and escort services, should be operated like any other business in the community, [and] such businesses should be subject only to the same business and civil regulations which are imposed on other businesses in the area." The member base of this group is composed of social services personnel, researchers, feminists, sex workers, and others, all working in tandem to decriminalize prostitution and remove the social stigma attached to sex work.

Obviously there are a number of dangers associated with sex work, including coerced participation, abusive "management" and clients, STDS, poor working conditions, and the need to balance the impact of the trade with the needs of the community, all of which could be addressed with proper recognition and regulation. Although people tend to cry out that prostitution is demeaning to women, it is really interesting to read the firsthand accounts of sex workers and see that this is not necessarily the case. There are those who actually enjoy their jobs, feel empowered by them, and wish that they could be recognized as having legitimate professional skills and receive the respect they deserve for their services. Additionally, many point out that the aspects of these services that ARE demeaning to women could actually be addressed by proper regulation of the profession as a trade, rather than criminalization that results in abuse going unreported and unchecked.

So, yes, the demand is there, and maybe it's time to realize that the supply is not necessarily just a group of women (and men) under duress (and that those that are under duress need support, not stigmatization). Personally, I don't have a strong position on these issues, but I think the most important point, as the parent post mentions, is that there is merit to examining exactly why some things are stigmatized and outlawed, and doing a reality check as to whether those ethics / moral qualms are still appropriate for contemporary society.

Re:Good. (2, Funny)

I'm just joshin (633449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029143)

| plug the extraordinarily leaky dike Isn't 'plugging the dike' exactly what the whole kerfuffle is about? -J

Re:Good. (4, Funny)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029181)

I'd say that leaky dikes are problem, actually.

Re:Good. (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028783)

Henry McMaster, we all know that's you.

Only some fundie hick attorney would believe that all people looking for sex are in it for the money.

Re:Good. (1)

Cryophallion (1129715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028863)

I disagree.
  This is no different from the newspapers posting the same type of ads. Or do you think the newspaper companies should all be fined for doing the same thing since their inception?

Re:Good. (5, Insightful)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029117)

So my phone book has an entire section for 'escorts'. Is he going to take the phone company(s) to court as well.

Re:Good. (1)

Romancer (19668) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029241)

In a statement, Mr. McMaster called Craigslist's legal action "good news" because "it shows that Craigslist is taking the matter seriously for the first time."

He added: "Unfortunately, we had to inform them of possible state criminal violations concerning their past practices to produce a serious response. We trust they will now adhere to the higher standards they have promised," he said. He added that his office would continue to monitor the site.

So a serious reaction is to sue someone? Very adult. Rather than reason with others or come to understand that there is a bit more politics and social baggage in the discussion because of the issue, just sue someone.

Come on. In Nevada it's legal to operate a brothel and at least half of the billboards in the state solicit gentlemans clubs with erotic pictures. The cabs in Reno are as likely to have an add for the Bunny ranch as any of the casinos. Prostitution is one of the oldest professions since it would have been invented as part of procreation and the furthering of the species.

Just because some people don't immediately stop doing something that you say is illegal (but is legal in some states) does not mean they are not taking you seriously. It means that they disagree. If they try and explain to you that there is a demand, likely abuse of the intended system to offer these services, you should at least look at their argument rather than wait till your threats cause them to have to sue you to stop and unplug your ears.

Re:Good. (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029529)

maybe you should read the FAQ on why Craigslist had such a section in the first place. I am fairly certain the same rationale applies to weekly papers, newspapers, phone books and other places that have the same kind of ads. but Craigslist does have a somewhat hippie attitude too, so it doesn't surprise me that they look the other way on sex ads.

Re:Good. (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028651)

It's about 2% of US internet traffic, no duh it's got a few hookers on it. How true! About 80% of internet traffic is porn, no doubt it's got a few hookers in it too!

Re:Good. (4, Insightful)

evilkasper (1292798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028821)

I still don't understand why prostitution is illegal. Regulate it, slap a sin tax on it. You create jobs(referring to the oversight of the industry), and you help prevent the spread of disease by enforcing health standards, crime is cut down and the Police can go take care of violent crimes. But most importantly we'll stop hearing about this Craiglist BS.

Re:Good. (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028923)

The conservatives would destroy any politician who suggested it and the democrats don't want logic enough to fight the conservatives on this battle.

Re:Good. (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029129)

The conservatives would destroy any politician who suggested it and the democrats don't want logic enough to fight the conservatives on this battle.

Oh, please. The liberals are equally likely to pitch a fit about the moneyed objectification of women or something similar.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28029047)

Prostitution is illegal because if we could time share all the hot girls then the ugly ones would never get any lovin'.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28029107)

To be honest, the only reason that I don't hire prostitutes is that most of them insist on using a condom. I realize that they're for everyone's protection, but I just can't get off that way.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28029335)

I wear two all day, so when I take one off, I feel like a wild man.

                          - Dennis Miller

George Carlin Quote (5, Funny)

dankstick (788385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029115)

Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't selling fucking legal? You know, why should it be illegal to sell something that's perfectly legal to give away. I can't follow the logic on that at all. -George Carlin, Napalm & Silly Putty

Sin tax? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029161)

What are you, the Pope? It's already got a name, luxury tax baby!

Re:Good. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28029411)

As a 30-something y.o. divorced type who was married for most of my prime years, I'd pretty much guarantee that if it were legalized and regulated (STD testing, etc,) I'd stop dating -- and I suspect many men would as well, and this might be the fundamental reason why there is incentive to keep it in the dark.

I never want to settle down with a woman again, and I figure I pay more to date a quality woman enough times to get down her pants.. Romantic relationships are about leverage, control, and compromise. It's just not worth it.

Re:Good. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28029479)

>I still don't understand why prostitution is illegal.

In the days before effective birth control (only a single generation before my own), a consequence of prostitution was unwanted children, who create a burden on the state.

Re:Good. (4, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029495)

I still don't understand why prostitution is illegal. Regulate it, slap a sin tax on it.

I agree completely as a matter of policy, but in practice there will still be plenty of illegal and unregulated prostitution going on (which is still, IMO, a problem). First and foremost, many hookers will try to avoid taxes (they already get paid in cash, which means every dollar they make is like $1.35 in taxed salary) and pimps who rely on drug-addicted (or otherwise abused) hookers will want to stay off the radar. Girls that don't meet health standards will still turn to the black/gray market to make ends meet. Nevada's experiment with legal prostitution shows that, unless legal prostitution can compete on price with illegal prostitution, you still get plenty of street walkers. Your average working-class John cannot afford to pay for the regulatory overhead (hehehe) and taxes that it would take to legalize it and turns to the street.

After all that noise, Craigslist will still be vilified for helping prostitutes meet Johns outside the regulatory framework. Look the furor in Chicago regarding the discriminatory housing posts, which you see all the fucking time on Craigslist because many people have preferences that are illegal to advertise (not illegal to have though, in a bizarre twist of law). Many folks (thankfully not the courts) thought that Craigslist was responsible for the users that were using a legal service in a manner that violates housing advertising regulations. Think about the howls when Craigslist is advertising for sexual services that don't meet regulations.

Like I said, I agree totally from a policy point of view, but I'm just a lot more cynical about the results when that policy hits the real world.

Re:Good. (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029555)

Not that I think it should be illegal, but I believe what's left of the legal rationale revolves around exploitation of women.

Re:Good. (4, Funny)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028989)

I had no idea I was generating that much traffic. I'll try to cut back.

It's about time (4, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028455)

It's about time someone stood up for free speech. Intimidation and coercion need to be met with even more force to keep our rights intact.

that and I like Craigslist.

Re:It's about time (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028761)

Mr. big politician might have made a fatal mistake here. Not a smart move, what kind of gain from/of voters he expects from this?

Re:It's about time (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028883)

He should gain respect from all of the people who think their spouse/child should be free of temptation while using the internet.

Im not debating that this is possible, or useful, or wanted, but I do think there are quite a few people in SC that would enjoy forcing beliefs on the world.

Re:It's about time (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029389)

Freedom > selfish interests

I would rather have a free choice then bunch of restrictions, prohibitions, police/nany state.

Re:It's about time (3, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029465)

As a SC resident, I can say that I'll most certainly be voting against him when he makes his bid for the Governer's office. Not everyone here is backwoods redneck. Hell we have our hookers on the internet!

How to get around the wsj sub wall (5, Informative)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028473)

1) Copy and paste the url http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124283370260739663.html [wsj.com]

2) Copy and paste into google, resulting in a link like this [google.com]

Click link and read page.

Not pasting full text of article though, so you're gonna have to do it yourself.

Re:How to get around the wsj sub wall (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028501)

Or use BugMeNot.com for an anonymous login.

Re:How to get around the wsj sub wall (1)

rpj1288 (698823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028555)

BugMeNot has blocked the site, so the google trick is your best bet right now.

Re:How to get around the wsj sub wall (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028615)

BugMeNot has blocked the site, so the google trick is your best bet right now.

Ah, good call. I couldn't get on because SmartFilter (I work at a school) classifies it as "Hacking."

Re:How to get around the wsj sub wall (1)

Bourbonium (454366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029519)

But a clear waste of time. The WSJ article is only four paragraphs long and hasn't been updated since it was originally posted. The CNET article from the main /. post has lots more detail, includes complete quotes from both the SC AG and Craigslist CEO, and shows that it was updated with new information twice just this morning.

Go to the CNET story and save yourself a lot of trouble.

Let's Each Post A Word... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28028733)

and claim fair use. I'll start.

The

It's "good news" all over (1)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028475)

From the article:

McMaster called the suit "good news" in a Wednesday statement. "It shows that Craigslist is taking the matter seriously for the first time."

Shyeah. Good news for someone trying to justify a job as A.G.

Suppy & Demand (2, Insightful)

Spice Consumer (1367497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028483)

Even if they do manage to get this portion of Craigslist shutdown, how quickly will it be until another one of these sites pop up?

Anyone else seeing a pattern here? I mean they made a big deal about Napster, had their 15 minutes of fame but that hasn't really stopped anything. I don't recall ever hearing about court cases, for Kazza, Frostwire, LimeWire, Edonkey ect.

Re:Suppy & Demand (1)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028659)

It would never come to that. Craigslist's karma is too high.

Good news! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28028513)

"My daddy ate my eyes."

A civil case? (2, Interesting)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028545)

They are filing a civil case against a state's attorney general (which will make it a federal hearing) - alleging what?

That his sidebar remarks that Craiglist executives could have criminal charges filed against them cost them revenue? Affected their listings?

McMaster is an asshole, no doubt. He may as well have said that Hugh Hefner was going to go to jail for publishing that salacious playboy magazine all these years. He is just looking to grandstand, possibly because he thinks he's going to run for governor someday.

I'd like to see Craigslist attorneys hand that douche a slapdown, but I'm not holding my breath that the actual tort here won't get tossed.

Re:A civil case? (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028705)

He improperly used his office to personally threaten Craigslist into doing what he wanted. He also publicly and improperly stated that the operators of Craigslist were criminally responsible for prostitution, essentially calling them pimps in the national media. I'm not saying they're going to win, but I believe that those two issues are the basis for their case.

Re:A civil case? (1)

fubar1971 (641721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029091)

They are not suing for money. From TFA:

"...Craigslist says it is "seeking declaratory relief and a restraining order"..."

Re:A civil case? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029347)

They are filing a civil case against a state's attorney general (which will make it a federal hearing) - alleging what?

Its not a federal case because its against a state's attorney general, as that is not a basis for federal jurisdiction. It is a federal case because it is alleging an violateions of both the federal Constitution and federal statute law through a prior restraint on free speech.

(Which also answers the "alleging what?" question -- the suit is alleging an illegal prior restraint on free speech.)

The suit does not seek damages, it seeks declaratory relief (essentially, a finding by the court establishing the legal rights of the parties) and a restraining order preventing the threatened criminal action.

Re:A civil case? (1)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029449)

They are filing a civil case against a state's attorney general (which will make it a federal hearing) - alleging what?

Alleging that they are not doing anything wrong. A declaratory judgment only states what is and is not legal/required in a particular case. So, Craigslist wants the court to state that what they are doing is legal. A restraining order prevents someone from doing something. Here, Craigslist wants the court to tell the AG to stop threatening criminal proceedings. Basically, Craigslist wants the court to say to the AG, "They're right, you're wrong, stop harassing them."

How to fix all of this (1, Troll)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028547)

Make it so that incorporated entities cannot be sued. Why should a company, union or government bear responsibility for what individuals did? If a cop beats you relentlessly, the PD should have full immunity, and the cop none. If a CEO orders subordinates to break the law, sue the CEO, not the company. If a politician uses state power illegally to grandstand, make them liable and not the state (and don't allow them to use state resources to defend themselves).

This AG wouldn't have been nearly so ballsy if he knew he'd go it alone if Craigslist were to sue him personally.

Re:How to fix all of this (5, Insightful)

Notabadguy (961343) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028645)

That's a horrible idea.

And what happens when all the frivolous lawsuits that people love tossing around get used like a DoS attack against unpopular people, or people that someone has a vendetta against?

What happens when 10,000 anti-war activists all file individual suits against the president? He's supposed to put out of pocket to defend himself?

And if I'm the CEO of Apple, and someone doesn't like their iPhone and can't get a refund because they're past the purchase date allowance, if they sue me because they feel wronged, do I pay for it myself?

Unreasonable plan.

Re:How to fix all of this (1)

Brad Mace (624801) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028847)

YOu and GP both have valid points. Perhaps we could merge the two and allow judges to rule where responsibility for an offense falls. They should be able to look at the evidence and determine whether the person was blatantly violating rules (and should personally be responsible) or whether they were attempting to follow the entity's rules (and the company/city/whatever retains the blame).

Re:How to fix all of this (2, Interesting)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028799)

Of course the CEO of Craigslist may never have allowed the erotic services section in the first place if he thought he would be personally taken to court over it. His statement in one of the linked articles was that to truly prevent erotic advertisements in the way the AG wants is to not serve ads to the state of South Carolina. I wonder if he'd take the job if it meant he was on the hook personally for anything potentially illegal that is advertised on the website. Theoretically the court exists to determine if it was the corporation or the individual who was breaking the law or causing harm and to divy the punishment accordingly.

Re:How to fix all of this (3, Informative)

fubar1971 (641721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029183)

The main part of the argument is that Craigslist has done nothing wrong to begin with.

They are protected by section 230. [cdt.org] The threats and allegations are unconstitutional and IMHO slanderous.

You and the other poster missed my point (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029207)

I wonder if he'd take the job if it meant he was on the hook personally for anything potentially illegal that is advertised on the website.

The CEO of craigslist would not be liable under that scenario, the manager who decided to post it would be liable. Why should a whole company be punished for the actions of a single person? If you run an escort service, and you KNOW your girls are having sex for money with your clients AND you never stop it, you are already liable in most jurisdictions.

Frivolous lawsuits can already be handled by laws regulating who has standing, punishing lawyers for taking blatantly frivolous cases, etc. For example, to use the other poster's anti-war example, that could be solved simply by Congress passing a law stating that no private citizen has legal standing in a federal court to sue the President if he prosecutes an armed conflict that has been approved by Congress.

If you want to make the frivolous lawsuit issue so extreme that it becomes the hot reform topic, then this would be a bold step toward making America less litigious.

Re:How to fix all of this (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028911)

Perfect. You've just provided absolute protection under the law for people who knowingly break the law. And you've contradicted yourself in the process.
Cop: "I beat that man because my Seargent told me that anyone that argues deserves it."
- Can't prosecute the cop. He just did what he was told.

By your reasoning, the heads of Blackwater Security could make it corporate policy for their agents to use deadly force in any and all conflict. And not one of the agents could ever be held accountable in US court. Individuals have a choice to act, regardless of who tells them to do what. If they choose to break the law rather than confront someone preasuring them to commit a crime, then they are a coward or comfortable being a criminal.

Every person as the RESPONSIBILITY to do the right thing. Not the right to wiggle out of that responsibility through poorly implemented legislation.

Corruption? (5, Interesting)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028551)

Disclaimer: This is total speculation. I have no facts to back this up:

I'm wondering if there are some power printing/publishing interests lobbying the state government to hamstring Craiglists because of the thread that site represents to print advertising.

Consider this section of TFA:

The attorney general, Buckmaster said, "has persisted with his threats despite the fact that craigslist:"

        â is operating in full compliance with all applicable laws
        â has earned a reputation for being unusually responsive to requests from law enforcement
        â has eliminated its "erotic services" category for all US cities
        â has adopted screening measures far stricter than those Mr McMaster himself personally endorsed with his signature just 6 months ago
â has far fewer and far tamer adult service ads than many mainstream print and online venues operating in South Carolina ...

Emphasis mine.

If it weren't for the thread that craigslist represents to print media advertising, I would have concluded that this was just another puritan witch hunt. However, the fact that craigslist has fewer adult services ads than mainstream publishers in the state leads me to speculate that this is about smacking down "unfair competition" from an outsider.

Re:Corruption? (1, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028685)

You mean it's difficult to compete with "free"?!? Microsoft doesn't think so...

Re:Corruption? (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029407)

Who modded this off topic? Insightful would of been more appropriate. What he is trying to do is make an analogy of Craigslist vs Newspapers and Linux Distros vs Microsoft. It's not a great analogy but its good enough for a +5 Slashdot comment.

Essentially, you don't have to pay to get craigslist, just like you don't have to pay to get Linux. Both are available wherever you have an Internet connection. Your alternative is to go pay money for a different service (eg buy Windows or buy a Newspaper) or pay to have it delivered to you (shipping vs store == paper boy vs a gas station or something). In theory, the one you pay for should be "better" but is turning out not to be in many many ways.

In both cases, the people running the company that sells a product has way too much focus on what other companies are doing rather than figuring out how he should be adapting his own.

Okay, so its a better analogy than I thought, so again why is this "offtopic".

Re:Corruption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28029045)

No corruption. Normal US politics.

Re:Corruption? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28029057)

You misspelled "threat" twice. Another fine product of the American Public School System, ladies and gentlemen!

Re:Corruption? (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029423)

Another thing to consider that both the state and Federal governments are attempting to define their ability to legislate issues in "cyberspace". This might be another step down that road. The state government is claiming that they have the jurisdiction over Craiglist is just a first step. If Craigslist caves, then they can leap frog from there to jurisdiction over any site that people in South Carolina can access. Of course, they also want to generate tax revenue online.

Doesn't anyone read the warnings? (2, Interesting)

boshi (612264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028559)

Seriously, there are quite clear click-through warnings on the site, if you don't want to see adult advertising, don't go into that section. As for illegal activity, it's a public forum so you can expect a certain amount of that sort of thing.

This is the sort of thing that is going to go on regardless of the existence of craigslist. Now at least there is some kind of paper trail if something bad goes down ( kidnapping, murder, etc ) since most people don't secure delete their emails, but if we make sure this all keeps out on the street corner at night, it just makes it all that much more dangerous.

Re:Doesn't anyone read the warnings? (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028591)

As for illegal activity, it's a public forum so you can expect a certain amount of that sort of thing.

When I read about this several days ago, Craigslist admitted that it was going to spend more time manually checking the sex related ads rather than relying on the community to flag "inappropriate" content.

Craigslist makes money and regardless of my feelings on free speech, it shouldn't be profiting from illegal activity.

Re:Doesn't anyone read the warnings? (4, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028709)

Craigslist makes money and regardless of my feelings on free speech, it shouldn't be profiting from illegal activity.

Are you implying that your opposition to illegal activity is stronger than your commitment to free speech? That's the sentiment evil men use to create nightmare police states.

Re:Doesn't anyone read the warnings? (1, Troll)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029005)

Are you implying that your opposition to illegal activity is stronger than your commitment to free speech? That's the sentiment evil men use to create nightmare police states.

My opposition to profiteering from illegal activity is stronger than my belief that it falls under free speech.

Re:Doesn't anyone read the warnings? (1, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029353)

My opposition to profiteering from illegal activity is stronger than my belief that it falls under free speech.

How far of a jump is it to go from preventing two consensual adults acting in a manner that will not harm them, their children, my children, me or anyone else to a point where they also prevent two consensual adults from *speaking* in a manner that will not harm them, their children, my children, me or anyone else?

Re:Doesn't anyone read the warnings? (4, Interesting)

boshi (612264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028803)

I admit there is a fine line between condoning such activity and trying to make it safer for the parties involved. You could say the same for groups that give out clean needles and groups that feed illegal aliens. Certainly these are activities that shouldn't be going on in the first place, but by keeping them out of sight you make them many times more dangerous.

I'm not sure... (1, Troll)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028609)

I don't know how the adult/erotic services was ever allowed. I figure they are facilitating a crime, and illegal industry, whether explicitly knowing or not.

Now, that is not to say that I think the government is in the right. I think it is futile that states prohibit the worlds oldest profession. I personally don't think states should bar women from making ends meet. If you are unmarried and not spreading disease, who are you doing wrong? It is about as logic as banning marijuana. If you have them

I also don't know why CL just doesn't turn off the offending sections in cities/states that take offense.

That being said, I did try to use the service once to find adult services for a friend's birthday party (adult oriented, but completely within the law). But I was not successful. A lot of what I saw advertised was blatantly illegal in my locality.

Can someone please fill in in on 1) how its not a crime to carry prostitute's ads, and 2) if there is some Safe Harbor provision?

Re:I'm not sure... (0, Troll)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028675)

If you have them [rest of sentence missing]

I was going to say, if you have them sign a waiver and record it, then you're making a film and still paying them, which is not illegal. Which id odd, because then you have to film yourself with a prostitute to make the act legal.

Its exactly like why felons do not need to register their guns with the government. Since it is illegal for a felon to have a gun, the registration would violate his 5th amendment rights. Hence, criminals get more protection than law-abiding citizens.

Re:I'm not sure... (2, Informative)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028795)

If you believe the Straight Dope columns, a third party has to pay for it to be legal. So get your buddy to be the producer, director and cameraman, and you can be the screenwriter and star.

Re:I'm not sure... (-1, Flamebait)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028839)

Its exactly like why felons do not need to register their guns with the government

Because THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE THEM, They're not registering it because IT'S ILLEGAL FOR THEM TO POSSESS IT

Hence, criminals get more protection than law-abiding citizens.

That's a really retarded conclusion based on a really retarded analysis from a really retarded person.

gawd you're the very embodiment of a gun-nutter

why is it the people i trust with guns the least are the ones that want them the most.....

Re:I'm not sure... (1)

justwill (132777) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029029)

Of course - all criminals are law abiding and politely decline to acquire any weapons from the black market.

Because all the criminals are now disarmed and in compliance with the law, of course they pose no threat to law-abiding citizens - so it's totally OK to disarm them... they can sleep secure in the knowledge that the police are the only ones who have any guns.

Wait... what? *Criminal* means someone who ignores laws and does what they want anyway? But then my entire argument falls apart!

Re:I'm not sure... (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029551)

Could you please explain how in the hell your post relates even remotely to the parent? Parent said that it would be silly for felons to register their guns since possession is illegal. You launch into a knee-jerk rant pointing out that criminals can still acquire weapons. I'm sure there's a connection somewhere, but it seems to me that you're just being a douche.

Back on topic, I've got to agree with at least the first half of scorp1us's comment - Why in the world is prostitution illegal when shooting porn isn't? We've got a serious double standard here. Either legalize it or don't, but playing stupid games around it is just dumb. Why should I have to ask for an "erotic massage" when I want a hand-job?

Re:I'm not sure... (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029557)

Luckily we don't have to rely on your trust mechanism. Just like we don't have to rely on Jack Thomspon's.

Re:I'm not sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28028679)

Why unmarried? Why should the state care about that?

Re:I'm not sure... (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028805)

I don't know how the adult/erotic services was ever allowed. I figure they are facilitating a crime, and illegal industry, whether explicitly knowing or not.Where ads are free, if they don't have an explicit categories for whores to advertise, then the whores will spam all the other categories! Finding ads for sex services in the dating section is considerably more annoying then finding them in section where you have to be explicitly looking for whores to be viewing the first place. Sorta like being propositioned in church, it is somewhat disturbing! Giving the sex services their own place actually minimizes the impact on craigslist customers, and minimizes minors accidentally stumbling upon the material.

Re:I'm not sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28028885)

Finding ads for sex services in the dating section is considerably more annoying then finding them in section where you have to be explicitly looking for whores to be viewing the first place.

Have you seen the w4m section lately? It's useless. (I'm not talking about Casual Encounters, but the dating section.)

Re:I'm not sure... (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028959)

I check the w4m section very rarely, and then only to make sure my wife isn't placing any ads. ;-) If you are saying it has gone to hell after Craigslist shut down the "adult" section, then all I can say is that I am not surprised.

Re:I'm not sure... (1, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028893)

I personally don't think states should bar women from making ends meet. If you are unmarried and not spreading disease, who are you doing wrong? The wives and girlfriends of your customers? I agree, it should be legal, but only if it is a matter of public record who the sex service customers are. If you don't care who knows you are paying for it, and nobody else cares, then I don't see any problem in a consensual business transaction. Take away the stigma of criminality, and the workers would be much more likely to report coercion, thus less exploitation would occur.

Re:I'm not sure... (0)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028907)

> I don't know how the adult/erotic services was ever allowed. I figure they are facilitating a crime, and illegal industry, whether explicitly knowing or not.
> I think it is futile that states prohibit the worlds oldest profession. I personally don't think states should bar women from making ends meet.

Exactly. What 2 other people do in the bedroom, is not my or your fucking business.

> Can someone please fill in in on 1) how its not a crime to carry prostitute's ads,

Free Speech.

Masters of PR (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028621)

When will McMaster and Buckmaster stop baiting each other?

You gotta fight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28028631)

for your right, to PARTY!!!

well it should just be legalised anyway (0, Redundant)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028635)

nuff said

Parties (5, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028647)

So this is an argument between Mr. Buckmaster and Mr. McMaster?

So this is all just a bunch of Master-debating?

-Peter

Re:Parties (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028917)

I keep thinking of Buckminster Fuller(inventor of Bucky Balls - fullerene molecules [wikipedia.org] ) and McMaster-Carr [mcmaster.com] one of the most awesome sites on the internet, where you can find nearly anything.

Re:Parties (1, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029095)

Hey, you misspelled "master-bating". No "de". Hm... Yep. That's all.

Why shut it down (1, Interesting)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028649)

So Craigslist has become the defacto goto site for cutthroats and ner-do-wells all over the Internet. Why would the SC AG want to shut it down? With Craigslist, if they want to find the criminals, then there they are. Without Craigslist, you'd have to burn up some shoe leather pounding the pavement looking for these people.

Monitoring the site (5, Funny)

daveywest (937112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028691)

I find it ironic that the SC AG's office promises to monitor Craigs. I can just see it now:

"Jimmy, you need to go troll an adult oriented web site all afternoon to see if they have taken down the dirty pictures yet."

"Yes sir!"

Pathetically slanted article (5, Interesting)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028707)

A bit off-topic: I applaud Craigslist, but I noticed this article is arguably more about McMaster than it is about Craigslist.

The bias is not hostile or obvious, as one might expect from stereotyped hostile reporting source, which is not to say that the SJ Business Journal is such. Mostly it is an imbalance in coverage styles and content.

Most paragraphs describe what McMaster did, what he thinks, what he has to say, etc. He is often quoted with his reactions to the suit. His position is explained in detail.

Craigslist, on the other hand, gets comparatively little verbiage in its own words. Craigslist's reaction to McMaster's assertions are stated in broad terms, without McMaster's sense of specificity and precision.

The reader is left with a good idea of McMaster's position and less of Craigslist's. This is a great article for students of propaganda studies to cite when looking for media bias in the news, either deliberate or incidental.

Just a note.

Tie him to a dynamo (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028775)

In a statement, Mr. McMaster called Craigslist's legal action "good news" because "it shows that Craigslist is taking the matter seriously for the first time."

The logical disconnect is astounding, like if McBride claimed to be glad that Novell was suing because is demonstrates their serious intent.

And what about every other medium utilized? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28028779)

So, who is going to get criminal charges brought against them for all the hookers on the streets and sidewalks?

Hey, let's throw hotel management in jail, too -- I heard hookers do things there.

Wait, wait - they do it in cars, also. We're gonna need to get those automakers in here. Holy crap, I just thought of something, the UAW has been giving it deep to the automakers for decades - it's a massive conspiracy for prostitution!

Reasonable cop/prosecutor (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028813)

What does a reasonable cop/prosecutor do when they come across an area labelled "Erotic Services"
  • Set up cameras
  • Set up stings
  • Thank the kind gentleman that segregated the illegal services, making it easier to do their job.

What do lazy fools that cares more about appearances than actually reducing illegal activies

  • Yell at them to take down that label in the moronic belief that removing a label will stop the illegal services.
  • When the coperate, yet for some reason the illegal services continue (but now harder to find - making the cops' work harder.), blame the property owners.
  • Demand they do the cop's jobs job instead of doing it themselves.

It doesn't matter whether the area is in the meat packing district of a city or online, the response is the same.

Frankly, the prosecutors/cops are acting look a lot like Chief Wiggum, not Elliot Ness. If I were their boss I would fire them for a combination of lazyness, stupidity, and waste.

A Very Stupid Prosecutor (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028897)

The best prosecutor is all bite and no bark.

Threatening in the media is just an attempt to influence public opinion--including potential jury members.

This is also a public official trying to stigmatize a person with a crime without any crime even being charged.

This reminds me of Nifong and the lacrosse players. This prosecutor is bad and should not be reelected. He places his own selfish need for publicity above the defendant's right to its day in court.

newspapers are worse than craigslist (1)

skathe (1504519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28028955)

There are no parental controls or disclaimers" on personal ads in newspapers, and some of those are even less discreet than the "erotic services" ads.

I need to move out of this state. (1)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029033)

We have so many other more serious problems than prostitution in this state. I'm watching roads fall apart, companies lay off people everyday, I had a guy come into work today that was in his mid 40s that couldn't write us a check because he doesn't know how to read or write, this list goes on. Out of the thousands of people I've met in my life I know of one that hired a prostitute. I don't really judge him for it because he's in a wheel chair and is not attractive at all. He wanted to experience sex. I'm sure not everyone I'd meet would tell me if they hire hookers, but the things is that one out of thousands have told me about it and how can that be morally degrading to our society?

SC Adult Industry (3, Informative)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029077)

Just drive down I-85 or I-95 and see how many nudie bars are advertising on billboards all the way down the corridor.

The hypocracy of this guy is illuminated in Buckmaster's request for an apology, summarized by Cnet:

The attorney general, Buckmaster said, "has persisted with his threats despite the fact that craigslist:

  • is operating in full compliance with all applicable laws
  • has earned a reputation for being unusually responsive to requests from law enforcement
  • has eliminated its "erotic services" category for all US cities
  • has adopted screening measures far stricter than those Mr McMaster himself personally endorsed with his signature just 6 months ago
  • has far fewer and far tamer adult service ads than many mainstream print and online venues operating in South Carolina
  • has made its representatives available to hear Mr McMaster's concerns in person
  • has politely asked Mr McMaster to retract and apologize for his unreasonable threats

http://blog.craigslist.org/2009/05/an-apology-is-in-order/ [craigslist.org]

Re:SC Adult Industry (1)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029229)

Exactly!

Re:SC Adult Industry (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029441)

Most likely he'll end up in private practice again or become like Jack Thompson, a incensed crazed freak hell bent on enforcing his morals on everyone.

Implied illegal purpose of Adult Section (3, Interesting)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029185)

It seems likes there's a purposeful implication that the Adult Section of Craig's List is that it's meant to be for prostitution. It's not.

The Adult Section is just like any of hundreds of online and print services meant to match people of similar interests. It's like Match.com, or Cupid.com for people who really intend to get physical. Often these people do not want a relationship and desire only one time meet-ups. Obviously a desire to do so goes against some conventions, and success in looking for that can be difficult. But there's nothing at all illegal about it.

One might suggest that a purposefully misleading portrait of the Adult Section as an intended service to promote prostitution is an agenda to aid in policing morality. That would be extremely dangerous precedent for a State's AG to pursue.

Interesting.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28029201)

Has anyone noticed the URL of the South Carolina Attorney? http://www.scattorneygeneral.org/ [scattorneygeneral.org] Maybe a complaint that such a "Disgusting" and "Offensive" term is clearly visible in the URL of such a person would be interesting. I mean a Scat Tourney? That's just horrible! ;)

Craigslist always took these matters seriously (2, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28029333)

This guy in SC is a real bozo. He claims this is the first time they have taken the matter seriously. He's being a idiot. He's making idiotic statements.

Craigslist was always in the right. They were protecting freedom of speech and to be able to conduct business without the interference if right wing politicians bent on making a name for themselves while seeking higher office.

These SC residents need to vote this guy out of office and he needs to pay some with is personal income for violation of the constitution by trying to enforce prior restraint against free speech.

He's incompetent.

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