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Internet Free Speech Lawsuit to Proceed Against Real Estate Commission….Did California Set Precedent in 2004?

In a case that closely mirrors a 2004 California lawsuit, New Hampshire has a law requiring anyone or any business running real estate ads on the web for New Hampshire homes to be a real estate broker. An internet listing service ZeroBrokerFees.com sued the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission and the state attorney general last year challenging the constitutionality of the law.

The Real Estate Commission failed in their attempt to have the suit dismissed. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge James Muirhead ruled on Tuesday March 13 that the lawsuit presents important free speech questions that can and should be resolved in court.

ZeroBrokerFees.com argued that it provides advertising services similar to newspapers that publish Real Estate ads online and in print.

In late 2004, California lost a similar case when Sacramento U.S. District Court Judge Morrison C. England Jr. ruled that ForSaleByOwner.com did not need a RE Broker’s license to publish paid ads listing properties for sale any more than any print publication.

In my opinion, it seems that a great deal of taxpayer money is being wasted making sure that internet companies enjoy the same free speech rights as newspapers.