Airbnb’s New Legal Strategy: Compliance With Local Laws Is Not Our Problem

Image courtesy of OuiShare

When you buy a bootleg T-shirt on eBay or some phony concert tickets on StubHub, those businesses aren’t responsible: the seller is. What if that principle also applied to sharing economy businesses like Airbnb? That’s what the company is experimenting with, starting in its home city of San Francisco.

The problem in San Francisco: a law that requires the company to make sure hosts are registered with the city before letting them rent out any spaces. While this seems reasonable enough, the company doesn’t want to deal with a patchwork of regulations, tax requirements, and host regulation schemes.

The company has sued San Francisco and is threatening to sue New York, arguing that as an online business it’s protected by the Communications Decency Act, and has a right to free speech. Is that true? Well… experts aren’t really sure who is in the right here.

What we do know is that the majority of hosts in San Francisco haven’t bothered to register, and Airbnb continues to say that is not its problem.

Airbnb’s San Francisco Showdown May Set Rules for Gig Economy [Bloomberg Markets]

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