Judge issues TRO in Craigslist case against South Carolina

A South Carolina judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state's Attorney General from pursuing criminal charges against Craigslist, according to press reports.Until the court rules on the merits of craigslist's claims, defendants and their attorneys and staffs shall refrain from initiating or pursuing any prosecution against craigslist or its officers and employees in relation to content posted by third parties on craigslist's website.

A South Carolina judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state's Attorney General from pursuing criminal charges against Craigslist, according to press reports.

Until the court rules on the merits of craigslist's claims, defendants and their attorneys and staffs shall refrain from initiating or pursuing any prosecution against craigslist or its officers and employees in relation to content posted by third parties on craigslist's website.

That doesn't mean Craigslist ultimately wins its lawsuit against South Carolina; a TRO in this case is fairly standard procedure to "preserve the status quo." Nothing could be more status quo than not being prosecuted.

Under the Communications Decency Act's section 230, a website can't be held criminally or civilly liable for the postings of its users. While it seems that Craigslist has pretty clear protections under the law's safe harbors, there are limits and perhaps the AG has a theory that would allow him to go forward.

CL had made changes to its adult services section under pressure from AG Henry McMaster, but they didn't satisfy the Man, who demanded a complete and total ban on all whorish postings. Craigslist sued for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.