Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1996)

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Subject: Re: AOL free accounts
From: "Gary E. Bickford" <garyb @ outlawnet . com>
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 10:31:14 -0700 (PDT)
To: list-managers-digest @ GreatCircle . COM, List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM

Legal precedent has been established (somebody vs. prodigy, and others)
As soon as you touch submissions, you're an editor.  Prodigy got off the hook
only by showing that their only involvement was an automated filter that looked
for keywords.

There are folks in Congress, I hear, who are attempting to assemble a bill that would
make it possible for a provider to make a reasonable attempt to limit bad stuff
without incurring liability for what gets through.

Your suggestion on moderation criteria is almost certainly critically important.  That
is where you set down rules that you can enforce.  Of course you then MUST enforce
them evenly, or you're exposed again.

This is a very murky area of law, without much precedent or legislation, and I'm not a lawyer.   My opinion is worth what you paid for it.

> Not to knock the original poster, but on what basis does a moderator take
> legal responsibility for the contents of such a post?
> Also, would it not be possible to (a) publish your moderating criteria
> so that it's very clear that you are not editting for content, and/or
> (b) add a disclaimer to each approved post that the views reflect those
> of the poster and not necessarily those of the moderator?  I've seen
> this in at least one newsgroup.
> Jerry Canterbury, Buckeye Consulting
> Internet: jcanterbury @
 us .
 ibm .
 com or jcanterb @
 worldweb .
> ** "It is an honor to meet the best band in the world."      **
> **  -- Dan Akroyd to the Ohio State University Marching Band **

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