Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1995)

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Subject: Re: legal issues
From: Bob Snyder <rsnyder @ janet . advsys . com>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 1995 11:16:19 -0400
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: Your message of "Wed, 28 Jun 1995 05:23:42 EDT." <>


>>>>> "Leigh" == Leigh Melton <> writes:

    Leigh> The latest case is a gentleman who has taken things a bit
    Leigh> far in his anger and frustration from being removed from
    Leigh> one of the collector's lists.  He is threatening to have
    Leigh> the "FBI and the other proper authorities" contact me as a
    Leigh> party in his dispute with another list member over a
    Leigh> business deal gone wrong, a deal which took place before
    Leigh> either was a subscriber to my list and did not even
    Leigh> originate on the Internet.

    Leigh> All of this is completely preposterous, along the lines of
    Leigh> being sued for "liable" by C&S (who once threatened to sue
    Leigh> me under the name of "postmaster" as they had no other).
    Leigh> It did raise in my mind though a concern regarding yet
    Leigh> ANOTHER disclaimer I might have to add to either the
    Leigh> welcome message or each individual message, the same sort
    Leigh> of disclaimer that a newspaper uses on its classified ad
    Leigh> section, perhaps along the lines of "we're not responsible
    Leigh> for the outcome of business transactions conducted via this
    Leigh> list" or some such thing.


    Leigh> In general the legal issues relating to running a list of
    Leigh> any sort are of a concern to me, and in specific the issues
    Leigh> which relate to business deals done as a result of contact
    Leigh> between parties via the list.  I am going to assume for the
    Leigh> moment that a "common-carrier" like protection extends to
    Leigh> mailing lists, but I'm not certain.  If and when a real
    Leigh> instance of something like this pops up, I'd like to be
    Leigh> informed.

A good source of law knowledge when it comes to the net is Netlaw, by
Lance Rose, new this year and published by Osborne/McGraw Hill.

Assuming you aren't moderating your list, and maintaining editorial
control on it, you should be reasonably safe, given Cubby
v. Compuserve, where Compuserve was held to not be responsible for the
content of a newsletter posted to it that supposed defamed someone.
If you are moderating your list, you may be held liable as you are
exercising editorial control over the content.  I believe Prodigy is
fighting such a lawsuit right now, and I think Cubby v. Compuserve was
held not to apply because of Prodigy's censoring of messages.


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