Editorial: A Win for Internet Speech in America

The sheriff of Cook County, Ill., grabbed headlines earlier this year when he sued Craigslist, the online classified advertising forum, for allowing posts that he said promoted prostitution. A federal judge in Chicago wisely threw out the suit last week. As Congress has recognized, if an Internet proprietor had to police every posting that a third party put up, the cost would be enormous — and it would likely stifle communications.Craigslist warns users that offers or solicitations of prostitution are prohibited. Sheriff Thomas Dart argued that its “erotic services” section still included numerous listings for paid sexual services, including some using code words. The company made voluntary changes after the suit was filed, including conducting a manual review of the listings. Late last year, before the suit was filed, it started charging for those ads in an effort to appease critics.

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