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. icon
    Mike (profile), 18 Mar 2002 @ 11:04pm

    Re: DMCA

    Beyond what David said, the DMCA makes it illegal to do a ton of things that should never be considered illegal... for instance simply linking to a page that has information that breaks the DMCA is suddenly illegal.

    Figuring out where the weakenesses in a security system even if you're trying to make it better is illegal.

    Creating certain new programs even becomes illegal.

    It criminalizes a large number of things that should never be criminalized.

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