That’s Declaratory Relief Against Idiocy, Right?
Oh, it’s on now.
Craigslist this morning turned the tables on South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, suing him for threatening to file criminal charges over its adult classifieds. The suit seeks declaratory relief and a restraining order against McMaster, who alleges that those classifieds often display advertisements for prostitution and graphic pornographic material.
“Despite craigslist’s legal immunity from criminal or civil liability under State law for unlawful third-party content on its Web site, and despite the numerous good-faith actions that craigslist has voluntarily taken to deter abuse of its service by third parties notwithstanding its legal immunity, McMaster has persisted in threats to criminally prosecute craigslist on the basis of third-party content appearing on the craigslist Web site,” the suit reads. “…Given Defendant McMaster‘s persistent and continuing public threats, craigslist is presently faced with the untenable choice of either completely shutting down all portions of its website that are directed at South Carolina or else putting itself and its management at risk of imminent criminal prosecution by Defendant McMaster.”
Or calling McMaster’s bluff, as craigslist has so excellently done here. And with great success, apparently. Within a few hours of the suit’s announcement, McMaster backed down, issuing a rather remarkable statement proclaiming himself victor in the spat. “The defensive legal action craigslist has taken against the solicitors and my office is good news,” he wrote. “It shows that craigslist is taking the matter seriously for the first time. More importantly, overnight they have removed the erotic services section from their website, as we asked them to do. And they are now taking responsibility for the content of their future advertisements. If they keep their word, this is a victory for law enforcement and for the people of South Carolina.”