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Author Topic: why haven't charges against Ross Ulbricht been dismissed yet?  (Read 591 times)
lenny_
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January 19, 2017, 02:50:22 AM
 #1

Recently the CEO of Backpage was arrested for 'pimping' because escorts posted ads for sex on his site.

A judge in California DISMISSED those charges, saying that 'a federal law grants website operators immunity from being prosecuted over user-posted content.'

What's the difference between ads for sex and ads for drugs?  Shouldn't that same law protect Ulbricht from prosecution?  Seems like according to this law, he shouldn't be held responsible for the content users posted on his site.

what do you think?

reference: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/calif-judge-rejects-pimping-charges-backpage-ceo-article-1.2876175

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January 19, 2017, 04:01:42 AM
 #2

Backpage was not created with the intent to facilitate illegal activity.
Silkroad was created with the intent to facilitate illegal activity.

Under the law, those two websites couldn't be more different.

Backpage is only facilitating lawful escorting, in this particular situation.
If the ads specifically stated they were prostitutes and provided the fees for
certain acts, then Backpage and their owners would be liable in willful
facilitation of illegal activity.

If Backpage began facilitating illegal drug and illegal weapon sales, then
Backpage's owners would potentially be in the same boat as Ross.


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January 19, 2017, 04:42:42 AM
 #3

I think a lot of people forget he started Silk Road by selling his own home grown magic mushrooms. He was a drug dealer first then a website sysop.

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January 19, 2017, 05:49:08 AM
 #4

The answer the OP's question is that Ross Ulbricht has already been convicted, so it is too late for the charges to be dismissed.

Backpage was not created with the intent to facilitate illegal activity.
Silkroad was created with the intent to facilitate illegal activity.
Under the law, those two websites couldn't be more different.
Backpage is only facilitating lawful escorting, in this particular situation.
If the ads specifically stated they were prostitutes and provided the fees for
certain acts, then Backpage and their owners would be liable in willful
facilitation of illegal activity.
If Backpage began facilitating illegal drug and illegal weapon sales, then
Backpage's owners would potentially be in the same boat as Ross.

I think it less to do with that and more to do with the personal beliefs and agendas of the judges.


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January 19, 2017, 06:11:32 AM
 #5

The answer the OP's question is that Ross Ulbricht has already been convicted, so it is too late for the charges to be dismissed.

Backpage was not created with the intent to facilitate illegal activity.
Silkroad was created with the intent to facilitate illegal activity.
Under the law, those two websites couldn't be more different.
Backpage is only facilitating lawful escorting, in this particular situation.
If the ads specifically stated they were prostitutes and provided the fees for
certain acts, then Backpage and their owners would be liable in willful
facilitation of illegal activity.
If Backpage began facilitating illegal drug and illegal weapon sales, then
Backpage's owners would potentially be in the same boat as Ross.

I think it less to do with that and more to do with the personal beliefs and agendas of the judges.



Can they not start a appeal process, based on this court's decision or would he have to wait for a pardon from Trump, to have any chance of not spending all those years in jail? So the website has no obligation to moderate illegal activities, if it is reported to them?

Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, OK apart from farming. ^smile^ 

Ross and his mother is fighting a losing battle with this one. You cannot expect a good outcome, when you go up against the government, because they fight you with tax payers money.

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January 19, 2017, 09:05:54 AM
 #6

The corporate state wants a legal precedent whereby they can prosecute software and media pirating sites for the content published on them by others.

Craigslist used to have prostitutes publish advertisements all the time, it was never a major problem.

I think its only an issue now because of the DRM/DCMA/copyright issues and some warez pirates being tough to prosecute for having streamling links and warez posted on their websites by others.

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January 19, 2017, 02:23:18 PM
 #7

With Silk Road even if all those products being sold were legal the tax evasion alone would be enough for putting him away for long time.

Ross Ulbricht facilitated deals way beyond just making a website, Safe Harbor does not apply here.

He knew the risks, he knew what he was doing and chose to continue, that was his choice.

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January 19, 2017, 03:14:19 PM
 #8

The sentence Ulbricht received was overly harsh imo but he did know what he was doing & profited very handsomely whilst he was running Silk Road.

What he did was completely different to the other guy mentioned in the OP.

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January 19, 2017, 04:08:54 PM
 #9

" This Site provides links and pointers to Web sites maintained by other organizations. The Site provides these links as a convenience to users, but it does not operate, control or endorse such sites. The Site also disclaims any responsibility for the information on those sites and any products or services offered there, and cannot vouch for the privacy policies of such sites. The Site does not make any warranties or representations that any linked sites (or even this Site) will function without error or interruption, that defects will be corrected, or that the sites and their servers are free of viruses and other problems that can harm your computer. "

http://www.backpage.com/classifieds/PrivacyPolicy

They made this clear from the start, but I still think they should have been responsible to manage access to illegal activities. When credit card

companies withdraw their support for backpage classifieds linked to child/human trafficking, they should have listened. The government just

found another way to pinch them.  Roll Eyes



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January 19, 2017, 05:13:17 PM
 #10

Of course, the US government is pushing for unfairly harsh charges, since they want to make an example of him to whoever is messing around on the dakr web at the moment.
But I find it strange that people are rallying around this guy. His mother herself said something like he was naive, but that's ridiculous! There's a difference between being naive and ordering hits on people as well as the selling of "hard" drugs which no doubt killed many.
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January 19, 2017, 06:52:05 PM
 #11

I know nothing about laws, but I assume that Ulbricht involvement with the community of it's own website played a big role in this. As far as I remember reading back then, he even had at some point a health professional that was paid to post on their forums and aid with harm reduction and safe drug use habits.

Looking at things from a black or white perspective, yes, Ulbricht is as culpable as Backpage or torrent site operators, they're not the ones providing direct access to illegal goods. However, we shouldn't always apply this perspective. Life often has an immense palette of colors between black and white and obviously not everything is publicly known about these cases, so... In some cases, the law also has it's flaws, or the absence of laws leaves things to be interpreted by the judges who are on the cases.
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