December 01, 2018 GPSolo | Best of ABA Sections

Airbnb and Local Control of Land Use

By Stephen R. Miller and Jamila Jefferson-Jones

This article examines the tension between local regulatory control of land use and “Internet exceptionalism,” the notion that it is “justify[able] to treat[] regulation of information dissemination through the Internet differently from regulation of such dissemination through nineteenth- and twentieth-century media, such as print, radio, and television” (Mark Tushnet, “Internet Exceptionalism: An Overview from General Constitutional Law,” Wm. & Mary L. Rev. vol. 56 (2015), at 1637, 1638). In particular, the authors of this article focus on suits brought by Airbnb against San Francisco and New York, cities seeking to regulate land use in a manner Airbnb argued was counter to prevailing norms of Internet exceptionalism, as codified in the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The tensions highlighted by these suits speak to the need for land use lawyers to understand the regulatory environment of the Internet.

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