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House Republican introduces resolution to protect ISPs
January 5, 2001 10:31 AM   Subscribe

House Republican introduces resolution to protect ISPs from criminal liability for third party content. Californian David Dreier's proposal isn't an actual bill but would put the House on record as supporting such protections.
posted by thescoop (9 comments total)

 
It has long been a central piece to GOP thinking that business ought not be liable for anything bad which may occur in the process of making money. Thus, companies ought not be liable for faulty products etc.---or at least there should be caps on how much they should pay in fines if a court dtermines they (the compnay)_ are at fault.
A general suggestion though means little in a court of law. Though, again the Supreme Court has indicated that justice when it serves a useful purpose can let slip its blinders and wink at a litigant. No names hereafter mentioned.
posted by Postroad at 10:42 AM on January 5, 2001


Probably has more to do with big business supporting Republicans and trial lawyers supporting Democrats.
posted by gyc at 4:51 PM on January 5, 2001


Wow, can't the Republicans do anything right without it automatically making them a tool of big business?
posted by cCranium at 5:26 PM on January 5, 2001


I don't see why it's even an issue. If I post a Web site, I'm responsible for the content of the site. Not the host I use. Are people really trying to hold ISPs responsible for content their users post? That's asinine, and it has nothing to do with siding with business. People want free speech, but want to leave someone else with the consequences when they abuse their freedom? Screw that.
posted by kindall at 5:30 PM on January 5, 2001


Kindall, yeah, they are.

One of the more controversial (and publicised) cases was just over a year ago when people started posting the EULA and schemes to get around the "copy protection" (from what I remember, a zip file) for Microsoft's Kerebos specs over on Slashdot.

Microsoft was pursuing Andover.net (then /.'s owners) as being responsible for what was happening on /.

It's not quite the same thing, but there have also been instances of ISPs getting in legal trouble for questionable content sites built by people using their free web space.

It's why most hosting companies won't let you do it anymore. Well, at the very least it's why most hosting companies put the "We don't like porn on our servers, we'll remove it if you put it there" disclaimers in hosting agreements. It protects them from the courts.
posted by cCranium at 5:53 PM on January 5, 2001


This issue is as old as Cubby v. Compuserve (1991) -- who ironically provided the extreme example at the other end, the German conviction of Felix Somm (subsequently overturned on appeal), a Compuserve official.

The general theory is that if ISPs are legally blameless, then they won't be in the position of imposing prior restraint on their customers.
posted by dhartung at 7:31 PM on January 5, 2001


[gyc] Probably has more to do with big business supporting Republicans and trial lawyers supporting Democrats.

Well, one could just as well say that big business supports Republicans because of their pro-business viewpoint and that trail lawyers support Democrats because of their adamant defense for civil rights rather than the other way around.

[cCranium] at the very least it's why most hosting companies put the "We don't like porn on our servers, we'll remove it if you put it there" disclaimers in hosting agreements. It protects them from the courts

That and the massive bandwidth problems porn sites cause for hosting providers.

posted by daveadams at 2:49 PM on January 6, 2001


Hrm. Good point.

A lot of ISPs usually do have a bandwidth cap though, go over it and they'll ask you to move your page or start paying per-megabit transfer rates.
posted by cCranium at 6:13 PM on January 6, 2001


...and that trail lawyers support Democrats because of their adamant defense for civil rights rather than the other way around.

Generally, when people speak of "trial lawyers" they don't just mean lawyers in general (and certainly not civil rights lawyers specifically), but rather lawyers that specialize in suing individuals and corporations for cash, from which proceeds they get huge chunks of cash. And who only occasionally do what they do because of personal morals. The reason trial lawyers are for Democrats is because Democrats are against tort reform, which would prevent any of them from ever becoming rich.
posted by aaron at 9:51 PM on January 6, 2001



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