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Tech industry's legal shield is feeling the heat

US law protecting website operators from liability for content posted by others said to be applied too broadly

The disputed ordinance requires Airbnb and similar services to verify that people offering short-term rentals on their sites have registered with the city. The services would face fines of US$1,000 each time they process a booking from an unregistered host.

San Francisco

WHEN San Francisco passed an ordinance this year imposing fines on home rental companies for listings by hosts not registered with the city, Airbnb sued, saying the measure runs afoul of Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act.

The case is the latest test of...

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