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Re: Node 541

by footpad (Monsignor)
on Mar 08, 2001 at 04:48 UTC ( #62888=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Node 541

Personally, I think you did the right thing. While I'm normally a voice for moderation, restraint, and other niceties with regard to questionable nodes, I do not believe it's in anyone's interests to place vroom at risk.

The constitutionality or appropriateness of the the node in question is irrelevant. What is relevant is that any ambulance chasing MPAA/RIAA toady could place an injunction on the Monestary and initiate an extensive and (for vroom) expensive process that could, as merlyn suggests, lead to the closure of the site. There have been many, well-documented cases where the threat of litigation has been enough to shut folks down. The best of us may be able to code rings around their shopping carts, but we cannot hope to match the deep pockets supporting the MPAA/RIAA in their respective legal battles. These are multi-billion dollar organizations who can hire and pay for legions of lawyers without denting their war chests.

Yes, we should watch vroom's back and do our best to ensure that he's not placed at undue risk by the material presented in the site.

As far as who posted it, I don't believe that matters. As we're supposed to vote the node and not the poster, so too should we moderate and/or edit. If I, tilly, Ovid, or any other monk posted that stuff, even under the guise of an ObFu, I would expect it to get pulled.

While I don't believe the editors are liable, per se, for the content, I do believe your jobs are to help vroom keep a handle on the daily decisions that need to be made. You're not exactly janitors, but lieutenants in his service. You have certain authorizations to act within the areas under your command. Don't second guess your decisions unless there's a huge outcry over them.

Bottom line, we take few chances when defending against trolls. Why should we be less vigilant in reducing the risk of stupid attorney tricks?

If you're not sure that such a process is that expensive, read up on merlyn's experiences, who (if I'm recalling correctly) has spent a quarter of million dollars defending himself for something he thought he needed to do. I believe that much of that money still needs to be raised.

For myself, I once worked for a consultancy that let a worker go because she was essentially useless. She sued, claiming sexual discrimination. She had no evidence, no case, and no hope of winning. However, after three years of battling her ambulance chaser in court, the owners of the company finally caved and paid her off some $30K in settlement blood money. During the process, they were unable to completely focus on their deliverables. They lost employees, clients, projects, and much money. Friendships were destroyed because of the stress the owners were facing. In the end, the owner that orginally started the business finally quit. Thankfully, I was able to locate another position before they went under, but I'm convinced that had that lawsuit not been filed, that company would be in a far stronger position than it is now.

Given this, you can see why I fully support any actions designed to prevent that insanity from being visited on another.

Vroom's given us a nice place to visit, chat, learn, and share. Let's not let some troll ruin the party by stirring up the lawyers.

--f

P.S. BTW, turnstep, IIRC, the comments in the message before it was censored suggested that there was a political motive to the post.

Update: Turnstep brings up valid points in reply; however, I respectfully disagree. The post in question is, after all, little different from the warez post that got reaped a little while back. If we do not condone one illegal activity, why would we condone or appear to condone a different activity that is (currently) just as illegal?

The Unisys problem isn't quite the same, as they're not (unless they've changed their stance recently) targeting .GIF users.

The comparison to 2600 is, however, quite apt. While we generally discuss unrelated activities, there are times when we've crossed close enough to their topics that the right lawyer could make it seem we're in bed with them. This brings me back to my original point: we shouldn't take that chance.

And, for the record, I think the MDCA and MPAA are completely out of line, unfair, and unconstitutional. However, it is currently the law (in this country) and I do not wish to see vroom placed at risk because an AM decided to get political. If you want to post the code in question, do so. Feel free. Just don't do it on someone else's liability dime.


Comment on Re: Node 541
Re: Re: Node 541
by turnstep (Parson) on Mar 08, 2001 at 07:40 UTC
    The constitutionality or appropriateness of the the node in question is irrelelvant. What is relevant is that any ambulance chasing MPAA/RIAA toady could place an injunction on the Monestary and initiate an extensive and (for vroom) expensive process that could, as merlyn suggests, lead to the closure of the site. There have been many, well-documented cases where the threat of litigation has been enough to shut folks down.

    I do not agree with this - it should be the content, not the fear of litigation that prompts any censorship. Yes, we live in an imperfect world, but do you really think that this site will get closed down for posting something like this? The MPAA (or others) can send a letter from their attorney "asking" PerlMonks to remove the code, and we (TINW) would probably do so. If not, we could always keep it and enlist slashdot in our defense (PerlMonks has some friends in important places there).

    To further play Devil's Advocate, shouldn't the very links to the source code be removed as well, as the MPAA has gone after mere hyperlinks, as evidenced by the 2600 case? Shouldn't we also remove all GIFS from the Monastery, in case they were made with unlicensed GIF encoders? After all, this is another corporation that is not afraid to go after people on the web.

    My point is yes, we should draw a line, but not at this particular script. I also just noticed that the node in question still has the code in it (albeit in a "hidden" form), and if that comment afterwards was by the original poster, I concede that it was probably partly a political statement.

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