CafePress is stirring up trouble again with its anti-Mexican products. But this time, the merchandise photos were not on CafePress.com, but instead posted as a prominent advertisement on The Daily Kos.
Thanks to the screenshots taken by the Latino blog, we have proof of the anti-Mexican merchandise shown in the CafePress ad.
The ad’s most obvious anti-Mexican remark was a bumper sticker with the derogatory term "Spics."
Most ads are channeled through online ad services, such as Google AdSense. The ads are generated automatically and fed to a multitude of hosts based on each site’s preferences or type of content. This means that host sites, such as The Daily Kos, do not usually filter their ad content. After all, it’s third party content, for which interactive computer services are protected under the Communications Decency Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996.
So the question is, where does the responsibility lie?
Not with Google, the company argued in a case against Rosetta Stone in 2010. "Advertisers are responsible for the content of their ads, not Google," company attorneys wrote in a motion for summary judgment, according to Bloomberg.
The federal judge sided with Google on the multiple counts regarding Rosetta Stone's claim that Google actively assisted third party advertisers to mislead customers, the memorandum opinion stated.
So, that only leaves one culpable source: the advertisers who create the ads.
CafePress shop owners -- the users who create and design merchandise to be sold on the site -- can promote their products on CafePress’ site through ad services. Though shop owners must adhere to certain restrictions about advertising software and branding, none apply to the content of the ad. That's covered under CafePress' own prohibited content quality, which, as we’ve seen, is not strictly enforced.
Though Google does not take responsibility for the ad content, it does strive to remove undesirable ads when they are brought to the ad service provider's attention.