3/16/2008

China Blocks YouTube Over Tibet Videos

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Internet users in China were blocked from seeing YouTube.com on Sunday after dozens of videos about protests in Tibet appeared on the popular U.S. video Web site.

The blocking added to the communist government’s efforts to control what the public saw and heard about protests that erupted Friday in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, against Chinese rule.

Access to YouTube.com, usually readily available in China, was blocked after videos appeared on the site Saturday showing foreign news reports about the Lhasa demonstrations, montages of photos and scenes from Tibet-related protests abroad.

There were no protest scenes posted on China-based video Web sites such as 56.com, youku.com and tudou.com.

The Chinese government has not commented on its move to prevent access to YouTube. Internet users trying to call up the Web site were presented with a blank screen.

Craigslist not liable for illegal ads, court says

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Craigslist is not liable for discriminatory housing ads posted on its Web site, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The decision is a victory for the Internet bulletin board where every month more than 30 million people post offers to buy, sell or rent goods and services, including housing, free of charge.

A group of Chicago lawyers sued the Web site in 2006 because some of its housing notices illegally discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion and ethnicity.

Various ads say “no minorities” or “no children.” Declaring such preferences violates the U.S. Fair Housing Act and would be illegal in a newspaper.

But a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday found that Craigslist is not the publisher of these ads, as a newspaper would be.

Instead, the Web site is more like an intermediary carrying information from one person to another and, therefore, not liable for its content, the panel said in a ruling that upholds a lower court decision.

The attorneys “cannot sue the messenger just because the message reveals a third party’s plan to engage in unlawful discrimination,” Judge Frank Easterbrook concluded.

He suggested the attorneys instead use Craigslist to find landlords with discriminatory ads, then forward their names to the state’s attorney general for prosecution.

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