Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Government The Courts The Media United States News

Craigslist Fights Back, Sues SC Atty General 286

Posted by timothy
from the wouldn't-have-happened-to-a-nicer-guy dept.
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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Craigslist Fights Back, Sues SC Atty General

Comments Filter:
  • Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Devout_IPUite (1284636) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @01:55PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:07PM (#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. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by princessproton (1362559) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:40PM (#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: (Score:2, Funny)

          | plug the extraordinarily leaky dike Isn't 'plugging the dike' exactly what the whole kerfuffle is about? -J
        • Re:Good. (Score:5, Funny)

          by Steauengeglase (512315) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:46PM (#28029181)

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

      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by arthurpaliden (939626) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:41PM (#28029117)
        So my phone book has an entire section for 'escorts'. Is he going to take the phone company(s) to court as well.
      • by Romancer (19668)

        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

      • by rainmayun (842754)
        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by moxley (895517)

        Bullshit - They didn't have a "hooker" or "buy sex here" section.

        What they had is an "Erotic Services" section, which doesn't necessarily mean prostitution. I can see the replies right now asking me "oh, so then what is an erotic service if not prostitution?" It would be things like Tantric workshops, sensual massage, and many other things that aren't just code for prostitution. Certainly sensual massage can be, but isn't always.

        You cannot just say that all of these ads are fronts for hookers, because they

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      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. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by evilkasper (1292798) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:20PM (#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.
      • 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. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:42PM (#28029129) Homepage Journal

          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: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Lemmy Caution (8378)

            In general, the liberals will pitch a fit, yet defend your right to do it. That's why the ACLU protects Nazi marches.

        • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by lgw (121541) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @03:29PM (#28029795) Journal

          Last I checked the federal government, the Democrats don't need the Republicans' permission to do anything. Perhaps the Democrats need to become liberal? For damn sure the Republicans need to become conservative!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            The United States has neither liberal nor conservative parties in power, and hasn't in a very long time (not that this observation should be interpreted as one of those meaningless "you get the same thing with either party" comments, either - the parties are different, even if there is overlap). I agree, though, that pandering to the Reality Makes Us Feel Icky crowd is a flaw common to both major parties, so prostitution is likely to remain illegal in most states in order to "keep us safe," and to "uphold
      • by dankstick (788385) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:41PM (#28029115) Homepage
        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
      • What are you, the Pope? It's already got a name, luxury tax baby!
      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @03:07PM (#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. (Score:5, Informative)

          by bogjobber (880402) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @03:38PM (#28029941)

          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.

          No Nevada city that has legalized prostitution has any significant amount of street walkers or off-the-books prostitutes. I grew up there and know the normal type of people that would have those connections (drug dealers, ex-cons, etc.) and have never heard of anything of the like. Maybe it would be different in a city large enough to matter (it's illegal in both Washoe and Clark counties), but I don't think there's any reason to believe that it would be a huge social problem like it is now. And I think you will find that prices with illegal prostitutes are pretty comparable with legal ones. The risk associated with performing an illegal activity costs just as much or more as "regulatory overhead."

          Legalized prostitution in Nevada is better for johns (safety, both from dealing with criminals and possible VD), better for the prostitutes (better working conditions, access to legal solutions in case of abuse, generally better pay, legally legitimate), and society (they get to regulate where brothels are located, brothels can't advertize so there's not tacky ads on all the taxis, cops have more time to deal with real crimes). The only people who don't benefit are pimps. I really don't understand why this is still an issue in our country. Legalize it already.

      • by rainmayun (842754)
        Not that I think it should be illegal, but I believe what's left of the legal rationale revolves around exploitation of women.
        • by iamhigh (1252742)
          There are no male hookers?

          But the real reason it is illegal is because Americans have the annoying habit to want to make anything they find morally wrong illegal. Simple as that. If they don't like it, don't want to do it, and don't want their kids to do it, they will try to make it illegal.
          • by oneTheory (1194569)
            Laws like this seem like parents that suck at parenting. Any behavior in your kids you wish to modify you have the choice to try to teach what they should be doing and why or simply mandate that they act according to your wishes.

            It's so much easier to mandate than to teach or try to convince.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by inviolet (797804)

        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.

        Prostitution cannot be made legal after womens' suffrage. Women dislike the competition, and because they vote in greater numbers than men, they will neve

        • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:13PM (#28032337)

          Prostitution cannot be made legal after womens' suffrage. Women dislike the competition, and because they vote in greater numbers than men, they will never allow prostitution to be legalized.

          There are so many counter examples to your claims that it is ridiculous.

          Start with all the places prostitution is legal in one form or another. Like, Rhode Island, for example. Or Canada. Or most countries in Europe. All these places have the exact same set of marital problems as all the uptight places do.

          Then look at SE asia - notorious for the cheap and easy sex trade which, while illegal, is pretty much condoned in countries like Thailand and the Philippines where it is also regulated and flourishes. So, if your theory about "lowering the asking price" were correct, with all the cheap sex available in SE asia even the "good girls" would be extreme sluts. While non-prostitutes in those countries aren't known for being "cold fish," they certainly have a lot of what most westerners would consider "old fashioned values" like being chaperoned on your first few dates.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by powerlinekid (442532)

        The funny part is as long as someone video tapes it or takes photos during, it is legal as pornography.

        That always seemed like a loophole to me that could be exploited if a brothel just called itself a "Porn Studio" instead.

    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Funny)

      by scorp1us (235526) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:32PM (#28028989) Journal

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

    • by devloop (983641)

      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=%2Bescort+%2B%22south+carolina%22&btnG=Search [google.com]

      this returns :
              Results 1 - 10 of about 2,490,000 for +escort +"south carolina". (0.20 seconds)

      far more than craigslist.

  • It's about time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @01:56PM (#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.
  • by TinBromide (921574) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @01:58PM (#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.
    • Or use BugMeNot.com for an anonymous login.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      and claim fair use. I'll start.

      The

    • Or click on this link [thestate.com] to read the brief in a South Carolina newspaper.
  • A civil case? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GPLDAN (732269) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:02PM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:13PM (#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? (Score:5, Informative)

      by iamhigh (1252742) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:20PM (#28028817)
    • by fubar1971 (641721)
      They are not suing for money. From TFA:

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

      • by corbettw (214229)

        No, it's a Federal case because it involves parties in two different jurisdictions (one in SC, one in CA). If Craigslist had offices in SC they could've easily filed suit in that state's superior court with the same allegations.

        • Re:A civil case? (Score:4, Informative)

          by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:10PM (#28030479)

          No, it's a Federal case because it involves parties in two different jurisdictions (one in SC, one in CA).

          Certainly, diversity jurisdiction is one of the bases on which federal jurisdiction could be established here, but so is federal question jurisdiction.

          If Craigslist had offices in SC they could've easily filed suit in that state's superior court with the same allegations.

          Assuming that the federal statute under which the statutory claim is raised (I believe its the Communications Decency Act) doesn't provide for exclusive federal jurisdiction (which I don't know off the top of my head), they could have filed it in SC courts even given the diversity of citizenship. Neither federal question nor diversity of citizenship generally requires a case to be filed in federal court, they just provide a basis for federal court jurisdiction, giving the plaintiff the opportunity to file in federal court, and, failing that, the defendant the opportunity to seek to have the case moved to federal court.

    • by againjj (1132651)

      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."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sandbags (964742)

      Bingo. This DA has gotten SC in hot water more than once. This nationally publicized attack of something that even SC judges have been mumbling over whether is technically even illegal or not (in many places, including outside Vegas, prostitution IS legal, so who's to say how Craigslist was to validate the geographic location of both the poster and searcher to see if they could both conduct that kind of transaction leggally or not?) is just a play at TV time so he can position himself for a job with a mas

  • Corruption? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by javacowboy (222023) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:03PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      You mean it's difficult to compete with "free"?!? Microsoft doesn't think so...
      • by Cowmonaut (989226)

        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

    • by dave562 (969951)
      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.
  • 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 th
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573)

      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.

      • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:13PM (#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: (Score:2, Troll)

          by garcia (6573)

          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: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by iamhigh (1252742)

            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?

      • by boshi (612264) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:19PM (#28028803) Homepage
        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 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

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

      by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:19PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      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 l
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MBGMorden (803437)

        The wives and girlfriends of your customers?

        That's not really a matter for the government to decide. I don't have forced public records showing how often I eat at Arbys, or how often and what movies I'm renting from Blockbuster. Or for a more similarly themed venue, I don't have to show public records detailing how often I go to or how much money I spend in a strip club.

        As well, any activity that one wishes to partake in they can choose to either keep secret from their significant other or to divulge it. If the other finds out then they have their

  • When will McMaster and Buckmaster stop baiting each other?
  • Parties (Score:5, Funny)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:10PM (#28028647) Homepage Journal

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

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

    -Peter

    • by scorp1us (235526)

      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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by oldhack (1037484)
      Hey, you misspelled "master-bating". No "de". Hm... Yep. That's all.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      At this point they both have a hand in this. One side has a bone to pick, the other wants to be seen as carrying a big stick. Either way, I think we'll just get a big mess in the end.
  • by daveywest (937112) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:12PM (#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!"

  • by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:13PM (#28028707) Homepage

    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.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:17PM (#28028775) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • 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
  • 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.

  • SC Adult Industry (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fantom42 (174630) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:39PM (#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]

    • 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.

  • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:46PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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! ;)
  • by HermMunster (972336) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @02:55PM (#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.

  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @03:34PM (#28029875) Journal

    In the US, there are (at least) two types of prostitution, and two main groups of opposition.

    Some prostitutes choose to be prostitutes, because it offers them the best income per unit time: they're just doing business. That's what many Americans, particularly libertarians, think of, when they advocate legalizing prostitution. In many countries, this has been the model they've taken.

    Some prostitutes are not willing prostitutes -- they've been forced into it. This is primarily seen in the US with child prostitution, where we don't recognize the child's right to choose that particular profession, but in much of the world there is a large market for what is essentially sexual slavery.

    Now, for the opposition: religious conservatives don't like the idea of sex outside marriage for a number of reasons. They're actively opposed to legalizing prostitution. Many other people are passively opposed to prostitution because they mentally model it as scabs crossing a union line called marriage, and dragging down the value of sex, to get all economic about it. This general group is going to oppose *any* type of prostitution, whether by choice or coercion.

    The second type of opposition: many people oppose prostitution because either they're worried that even if it's primarily voluntary, it'll lead to a rise in involuntary/coerced prostitution, or they have decided that *any* prostitution is involuntary. (See Andrea Dworkin's work, for instance, where she generalizes to claim that any heterosexual act is essentially coercive. I don't agree, but it's unquestionably an influence.) So while this group -- typically on the left/liberal side -- might consider voluntary prostitution okay, they're still uncomfortable with the whole idea.

    A lot of European countries have legalized prostitution while making pimping illegal and heavily prosecuted, which would tend (on first inspection) to select for only voluntary prostitution: just business. The problem with this is two-fold. Prostitutes find they make more money, and are safer, when they have someone to back them up in the case of a dispute with a client. One work-around is collectives, or unions, where prostitutes work with each other, but there's a fine line between that and pimping.

    So it's not as simple as just saying 'legalize it'.

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison

Working...