August 1, 2016
Law360, Los Angeles (August 1, 2016, 5:09 PM ET) — User-based room rental service Airbnb has sued the city of Anaheim in California federal court, saying a new city ordinance barring short-term rentals and imposing fines on websites that do so is a violation of the First Amendment and the Communications Decency Act. The San Francisco-based company filed suit on Thursday, claiming that Anaheim’s new law, which passed on July 12 and goes into effect Aug. 11, flies in the face of the CDA since it treats online platforms such as Airbnb as the publisher of third-party content. Anaheim had previously allowed short-term rentals for homeowners with a permit but the new law bans short-term listings altogether, with permitholders receiving an 18-month grace period. “By imposing civil and criminal penalties on Airbnb for publishing and for failing to screen and remove listings that lack a permit or do not comply with other city law, the ordinance treats Airbnb as the publisher or speaker of those listings, whose content is provided by third-party hosts,” the company said in a 20-page complaint. “The ordinance therefore violates and is preempted by the CDA.” In addition, Airbnb asserts that the new law violates the First Amendment since it’s a content-based restriction on speech….