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29 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol'y 375 (2009)
The Fair Housing Act, the Communications Decency Act, and the Right of Roommate Seekers to Discriminate Online

handle is hein.journals/wajlp29 and id is 377 raw text is: The Fair Housing Act, the Communications Decency
Act, and the Right of Roommate Seekers
to Discriminate Online
Kevin M. Wilemon*
Risking overstatement only slightly, the Internet represents a
brave new world of free speech.'
When the 90th Congress passed Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1968, it could not predict all of the contexts in which the Fair
Housing Act2 (FHA) would be applied. Just as the 90th Congress
could not have envisioned the FHA's application to cyberspace, the
104th Congress seemingly failed to foresee that the Communications
Decency Act3 (CDA) would immunize Internet service providers
(ISPs) from publishing prohibited advertisements that are patently
illegal in any    other context.4 As advertisers shift from          classified
advertising in newspapers to advertisements online5 and individuals
* J.D. (2009), Washington University in St. Louis School of Law; B.A., magna cum
laude (2004), The University of Memphis. Thanks to my mother, Michelle, and my
grandmother, Elizabeth, as well as the rest of my family, for their love and support. Special
thanks (as always) to my wife, Laura, for everything.
1. Blumenthal v. Drudge, 992 F. Supp. 44, 48 n.7 (D.D.C. 1998) (quoting Bruce W.
Sanford & Michael J. Lorenger, Teaching an Old Dog Neuw Tricks: The First Amendment in an
Online World, 28 CONN. L. REV. 1137, 1141 (1996)).
2. Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 3619 (2006).
3. Communications Decency Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. §§ 230, 560, 561 (2006).
4. Congress' failure to take the FHA into account is remarkable given that Congress
amended the FHA during the same session the CDA was passed. See Jennifer C. Chang, Note,
In Search of Fair Housing in Cyberspace: The Implications of the Communications Decency
Act for Fair Housing on the Internet, 55 STAN. L. REv. 969, 1003 (2002).
5. For example, classified advertisement site Craigslist is used by twenty-five million
people each month and receives twenty million self-published advertisements each month.
Keith McArthur, The Hippie Gets a Job; Craigslist's Free Online Classified Ads Aren't the
Route to Quick Riches, But CEO Jim Buckmaster Likes It That Way, GLOBE & MAIL (Toronto),

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