Ooooops!

David Kristofferson kristoff at net.bio.net
Tue Mar 8 20:09:37 EST 1994


>
>kristoff at net.bio.net (David Kristofferson) wrote:
>
>>>> *** I CAUTION READERS*** that libel laws *do* apply to anything that
>>>> you decide to post, so those who feel that they can say anything with
>>>> impunity on the newsgroups are seriously deluding themselves.
>
>I'm curious to know who you were refering to, Dave, since you've said
>it wasn't Steve Modena.  Please explain.

The text above says in large print "I CAUTION READERS" which, being
plural, means everyone reading the message.  It is not a reference to
an individual but a general warning to all that libel laws can apply
to postings on the net.  I am concerned in general that too many
people believe that they can shoot their mouths off without
consequence on the net and am trying to warn everyone in advance that
freedom is not unlimited.

>
>
>Kris Carroll <kcarroll at u.washington.edu> wrote:
>
>>>Politely, I disagree with this portion of your post. ... Can you
>>>provide additional information or proof?
>
>David Kristofferson <kristoff at net.bio.net> replied:
>
>>Thank you for politely disagreeing, especially when manners seem to be
>>out of fashion on the "Information Superhighway."
>>
>>This lack of knowledge about these issues is widespread unfortunately
>>and is why I posted this item in CAPS.  Legal tests have in fact been
>>made.  I refer you to "Internet World" magazine which had an article
>>by a legal expert a few months back on this very issue and cited a
>>specific case.  Unfortunately my copy of the magazine issue in
>>question is at home, not here in the office, so I can't give you the
>>precise reference.  Look in the Nov. 93 issue (plus or minus two
>>months).  I'll look it up when I get home tonight (hopefully before
>>midnight).  I wouldn't have made the statement quoted above,
>>especially not in CAPS, if I had not already read about this issue
>>which is something that obviously concerns managers of newsgroup
>>networks.
>
>This paragraph is not very informative.  For those of us who don't get
>this magazine, Dave, please give the citation you promised last week,
>and perhaps a summary of the problem it addresses?
>

I tried to find this issue that very night, but unfortunately all my
back issues are buried in one of many boxes somewhere in my garage
(had to move all my books and mags recently), and I didn't have time
to dig it out.  The article discussed an instance of a libel suit due
to postings on the net.  In particular it noted that it is the person
posting the message who is responsible, not the operators of
electronic newsgroup services, because there is no editorial approval
process involved.

For anyone who is really interested, I would suggest a trip to your
university library and scan through back issues of "Internet World"
between Aug.  - Dec. 1993.  If you don't get this magazine and are an
Internet user, I recommend it.  I also note that I have no connection
with the magazine or its publishers.

Regarding the rest of the items raised in the post to which I am
replying, I am not going to reopen an old dispute.  I could also annoy
readers by presenting, yet again, *my* side to this old little spat,
but have pledged previously not to do so because these items always
degenerated in the past into never-ending Hatfields versus McCoys-type
feuds.  This is not a constructive use of time.  I have nothing
further to say on this matter.

				Sincerely,

				Dave Kristofferson
				BIOSCI/bionet Manager

				biosci-help at net.bio.net




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