Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

AOL Not Responsible For Usenet Postings

from the nor-should-they-be dept

Isn't it nice to see a legal judgment you agree with? Considering the number of horrible legal decisions lately concerning the internet, it's always encouraging to see a judge who (maybe, possibly) actually understands the issues at hand. Of course, the downside is that the ruling was based on the DMCA, which is otherwise a terrible law. A judge has now ruled that AOL has no liability for Usenet postings. Someone had apparently scanned and uploaded a Harlan Ellison story to a Usenet group, and because they have lots of money, Ellison's attorney's sued AOL. The person who posted the story did not use AOL to post the story, and (of course) Usenet is not owned by AOL. The judge pointed out (correctly) that AOL had no control over the matter as it really had nothing whatsoever to do with the posting.

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  1. identicon
    The Gonzo, 18 Mar 2002 @ 10:28pm


    The DMCA is horrible. It makes it illegal to do some academic work related to security of entertainment-related files (at least, to do work and then pubilsh any findings). It encourages digital rights schemes that thwart efforts to make private use copies (an act protected by federal law) and then makes it illegal to break those copy schemes.

    Bad laws made by bad lawmakers owned by bad businesses that have no clue what to do with technology but fear it.

    My fifteen cents...

    - david

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