Excuse me if I'm popping into this late, but Brent passed this along to me
as a GEnie-ite and asked me to comment.
>Subject: Dealing with GEnie
>From: Michelle Dick <artemis @
>One of the members of my mailing list just made a shocking revalation.
>She said that GEnie is "archiving the Fatfree Digest on their Food &
>Wine Library". What the heck does she mean (I know nothing about
>GEnie)? I do have two members who get the digest through their GEnie
>accounts. Does GEnie operate local exploders? Is one of my members
>uploading the digest to some sort of pool? And why the heck wasn't I
>Not sure how I feel about this (especially since I don't know exactly
>what is going on). Afterall, GEnie is a for-profit system and I don't
>like the idea of them using my mailing list (which I provide for free)
>as some sort of service that they are providing for a fee (especially
>when they don't ask my permission). Individual email is one thing, an
>archive is a whole 'nother beast.
Without covering old ground again, Shannon and Andy have the format of
GEnie correct, and the general setup/philosophy.
As to the ethical/legal/permissions issues, and as to whether this is a
Good Thing, here's my thought:
If you don't have a copyright disallowing distribution, then it's probably
legal. Redistributing without your knowledge and permission is tacky as
hell, but back when I was running OtherRealms, it showed up in lots of weird
locations I found by accident (in many cases, fifth or sixth hand where
people couldn't track me down, but if it's a direct uplink by a subscriber
to your list, there's no excuse).
Now, is it a good thing, given that GEnie charges money? To be honest, I
think that's a false issue: do you refuse access to your list from
subscribers from netcom? from panix? From any of the dozens of usenet sites
that charge users for access to email and usenet? If not, what's the
difference between a netcom user paying to read it on internet and a GEnie
user paying to download it on GEnie? To me, there is none.
Other people likely disagree. There is no right answer, except for each
individual. My cut on it is that a mailing list is an information provider,
and if having it on GEnie encourages dissemination if that information,
great. I'm not LESS rich because GEnie charges to let them read it. I've
lost nothing, but gained a reader.
Ditto netcom. Panix. Name your commercial service of choice. Not everyone
has access (or is willing to track down access) to a non-subscription usenet
node. To me, restricting distribution from these services is cutting off the
nose to spite the face.
If the user chooses to spend their money to read it, that's the user's
decision. Not everyone CAN get to it for free, and commercial nodes are
popping up all over the usenet/internet, so the argument that these
'commercial' services are bad ar getting harder and harder to justify. How
many of the folks on this list have subscriber lists that are free of
commercial services? (how many have bothered to check? I know mine aren't
clean). What's the difference between a user choosing to spend a couple of
bucks to download from GEnie or $15 a month at netcom for the same data?
In my eyes, none. So I don't worry about it.
If it DOES bother you, though, you can ask your subscriber (or send to the
entire list) to please note upload to the commercial services. If that
doesn't work, I can take a message to the appropriate sysop on GEnie and ask
them to remove the archives and not allow future postings. They're generally
very cooperative, especially when the source of the material didn't give
permission, strictly legal or not.
But maybe this is a question that needs to be hashed out. Why is it 'okay'
for something like netcom to do this? While commercial services like
CompuServe or GEnie cause people to go booga-booga and look for communists
in the wainscotting? I really don't see the difference.