November 8, 2013 | News, Press Releases

The Internet Association Files Amicus Brief To Quash the NYAG Subpoena Against Airbnb

The Internet Association, a nonprofit trade organization representing the leading Internet companies, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in the County of Albany in support of quashing the subpoena against Airbnb by the New York Attorney General’s office. Airbnb is a member of The Internet Association.

The amicus brief argues that that the NYAG has exceeded the limits of his power by filing a subpoena without any explanation to seek information concerning all of Airbnb’s hosts in New York. It points out that although law enforcement authorities need to be able to investigate bad actors, government officials should not be using a meat cleaver where a scalpel is available – especially in a way that unduly imposes unreasonable burdens on law-abiding citizens.

“Should the Court require Airbnb to comply with the subpoena in its current form, it would set a dangerous and harmful precedent,” the brief states. The brief notes that as a general matter, “if the NYAG’s power to engage in such a fishing expedition were upheld, it would have enormous implications for the Internet.” It reminds the court that because government authorities have broad powers, “courts should be especially vigilant” to ensure those powers are used properly, and points out that “the NYAG subpoena fails that test.”

Michael Beckerman, President and CEO at The Internet Association said, “Airbnb is being unfairly targeted. Telling Airbnb that New York City is “closed for business” will have a chilling effect throughout the startup economy, and we will fight this tooth and nail.”

“Airbnb is doing good, causing no harm, providing more options to consumers, and contributing to the local economy,” Beckerman continued. “Rules ensuring safety, preventing fraud and deterring abuse are all in the public interest, but regulations should not come at the expense of the consumer. This defining fight of the sharing economy puts New York’s reputation as a startup-friendly destination at stake; its leaders must ensure that laws and regulation keep pace with 21st century innovation.”

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Calling to End New York AG’s Reckless Fishing Expedition Targeting Airbnb

“The New York Attorney General’s government-sponsored fishing expedition targeting Airbnb is unwarranted, unjust, and is unfairly harming ordinary New Yorkers. Airbnb generates positive economic returns for cities around the world, adds millions of dollars to local economies, and brings more people to New York. Airbnb should be welcomed by business and government leaders hungry for a boost in local tourism, not pushed out by politicians seeking to protect incumbents and special interests.”

The Internet Association and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz Highlight Internet Innovation Empowering South Florida Small Businesses

Today, The Internet Association stopped in Hollywood, Florida for a small business crawl to highlight local entrepreneurs who are using the Internet in innovative ways to grow their businesses, create jobs, and attract new customers. The walking tour included stops at four unique businesses: Hollywood Antique Center, Presence Community Acupuncture, Hispanic Unity of Florida, and Gino’s Market.

INTERNET ASSOCIATION URGES SENATE TO BRING STRONG PATENT LEGISLATION TO THE FLOOR

“The Internet Association continues to work with the Senate Judiciary Committee to bring strong patent legislation to the floor. We agree with Chairman Leahy that it is not enough simply to get any bill through the Committee. To be effective, legislation must target the mechanisms that patent trolls use to skew the odds in their favor and to shield themselves from responsibility for misuse of our patent system. At a minimum, strong fee shifting and discovery provisions must be part of that package.”

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“The New York Attorney General’s government-sponsored fishing expedition targeting Airbnb is unwarranted, unjust, and is unfairly harming ordinary New Yorkers. Airbnb generates positive economic returns for cities around the world, adds millions of dollars to local economies, and brings more people to New York. Airbnb should be welcomed by business and government leaders hungry for a boost in local tourism, not pushed out by politicians seeking to protect incumbents and special interests.”

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