Home > News > 7th Circuit Orders Cook County Sheriff to Back Off Backpage.com • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

7th Circuit Orders Cook County Sheriff to Back Off Backpage.com

7th Circuit Orders Cook County Sheriff to Back Off Backpage.com
Get XBIZ News
Nov 18, 2015 3:01 PM PST    Text size: 

CHICAGO — A federal appeals court this week ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to halt lobbying major credit card companies that do business with Backpage.com.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart was sued by Backpage in July after he successfully placed pressure on Visa and MasterCard to stop processing credit card transactions for Backpage. Dart said the the pressure was necessitated by “years of growth in the ... sex trade.”

In its order, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a ruling forbidding Dart's office from "taking any actions to formally or informally request, direct, persuade, coerce, or threaten credit card companies" to get them to terminate relationships with Backpage.

The appellate ruling does not affect Backpage's ongoing federal suit against Dart that seeks damages for what the online classifieds ads site claims was a crippling financial blow.

Industry attorney Larry Walters of Walters Law Group said the ruling by the 7th Circuit establishes important legal precedent in the field of "intermediary liability." 

“The court recognized that a sheriff must be very careful in what he says, when acting in his official position,” Walters told XBIZ. “By forcing the credit card companies to bend to his will, the sheriff engaged in an extra-judicial censorship campaign which is forbidden by the First Amendment. 

“At the hearing on this matter, Judge Posner — the author of the opinion — openly questioned the government's view that Backpage facilitated the ‘violent industry’ of sex trafficking:  ‘Is phone sex violent? What about all the old men who would like to be seen with a young woman on their arm? It’s not all sex. Even if Backpage abandons escorts and body rubs and so on … it’s really just a dating service…. I think it’s outrageous that it’s violence, and so forth.’”

Walters said that as state and federal agencies jump on the “prosecution bandwagon” against online advertising networks, this week’s decision raises important questions about the legitimacy of the targets. 

“Holding an online service provider responsible for the postings of a third party user threatens the very functionality of the internet,” Walters said. “Fortunately, the 7th Circuit made the right call in this politically charged environment.” 

Backpage was joined by other non-party groups in separate friend-of-the court briefs in Backpage's appeal at the 7th Circuit. Those groups included The Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, CATO and Reason.

   

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

OPINIONS & VIEWS

Expanding Your Mastermind Group Should Be a Game Plan

After a decade of selling an automation software product for managing websites, it’s been interesting to follow the trends of our customers throughout the past year. At the end of every year, we... More »

‘Anything Interactive’ Will Be in Industry’s Future

With the new year upon us, many people focus on resolutions and 92 percent of those who make them don’t succeed in keeping them. Others look towards the future. Looking back to the early years of... More »

Focusing, Again, on Tradeshow Etiquette

I’m very excited to have been asked by XBIZ World to write the third part of my ongoing series of articles on tradeshow etiquette. In Part I of the series, I discussed business cards, substance... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ Premiere magazine, the industry's leading adult retail trade publications, delivering the most timely and comprehensive business news and information to producers and retailers of adult products.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Everything To Do With Sex Show

Jan 27 - Jan 29
Halifax, Nova Scotia

The European Summit

Mar 04 - Mar 07
Barcelona-Sitges, Spain

The TEA Show

Mar 05 - Mar 06
Hollywood, CA

Phoenix Forum 2017

Mar 23 - Mar 26
Tempe, Arizona
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!