Can't take down pornographic siteA state judge in New Mexico has ruled that an online website that was allegedly used to coordinate prostitution across multiple state lines, was legal.

The case involves a former President of the University of New Mexico and a physics professor, who purportedly worked together to create a website called "Southwest Companions." According to investigators, the site had a membership of around 14,000 individuals, including some 200 prostitutes.  While prices ranged from $200 for a sex act to $1,000 for a full hour, according to police, the prostitutes were paid with cash, not through the website. Thus, it appears as though the website was more of a social networking site for illegal activity.

The ruling stated that the online message board did not constitute a "house of prostitution," and that it further was not a, "place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed."

Apparently, most of the laws on the books regarding the subject focus in on the physical brothels or, alternatively, criminalize conduct related to child pornography. Laws regarding prostitution on the internet, therefore, are resoundingly lacking.

According to a professor who writes about the interface of technology and prostitution, Craigslist's decision to remove the "Erotic Services" section of its website was due solely to negative publicity, rather than any force of law.