Linked by David Adams on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:19 UTC, submitted by fran
Legal Britain's Attorney General has said that website owners should be made legally responsible for comments made by visitors. According to a report on Out-law.com, Dominic Grieve told members of the Criminal Bar Association that the spiralling number of internet news web sites meant it was becoming more and more difficult for courts to ensure that trials were fair, and that juries were not exposed to material that could prejudice a hearing.
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v Comment by eml.nu
by eml.nu on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:56 UTC
v Comment by n.l.o
by n.l.o on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:43 UTC
Comment by motang
by motang on Mon 18th Oct 2010 18:57 UTC
motang
Member since:
2008-03-27

NO!

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by motang
by flanque on Tue 19th Oct 2010 01:13 UTC in reply to "Comment by motang"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Are we sure about this? If someone says something defamatory at some other public speaking opportunity we could consider legal action.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by motang
by phoenix on Tue 19th Oct 2010 04:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by motang"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Against the person making the comments, not the person holding the event.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by motang
by another_sam on Tue 19th Oct 2010 17:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by motang"
another_sam Member since:
2009-08-19

i can't even understand how this can be questioned. I take a spray and I write/draw offending content on the blind of a shop and it is the shop owner who has to affront legal consequences?

I think with websites the approach is the same: if they have enough resources to erase offending user-generated content that, furthermore, has been found by others, ok: they rather should erase it. otherwise, not only is potentially unfeasible (nice oxymoron or something here), but deeply unfair.

Reply Score: 1

Fascist State 1, Consumers 0
by tomcat on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:14 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

The government doesn't like it when you bite the hand that feeds...

Ergo, stop feeding it. Cut off its funding.

Reply Score: 6

Dark Ages Incoming...
by jgagnon on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:24 UTC
jgagnon
Member since:
2008-06-24

Seriously. The net result of all of these relatively recent laws is an age of darkness where it will be illegal to transmit any information not approved by your government.

Bring on the revolution.

Reply Score: 9

Of course.
by Shannara on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:30 UTC
Shannara
Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes they should be. Any honest sites have TOS, AUPs, and enforces them. The key is the enforcing part. Most sites refuse to enforce their rules, thus should be held accountable to every single comment.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Of course.
by sorpigal on Tue 19th Oct 2010 11:58 UTC in reply to "Of course."
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

You are in no way correct.

Some sites have terms of service and acceptable use policies, mostly because they think that without those things they won't be able to delete stuff they don't like and that without those things customers will be driven off. Maybe they're right, maybe not, but adopting policies like that and enforcing them are both their options. Of those sites that have such policies, some enforce then.

To characterize this as a mere formalization of what "most sites" do anyway is inaccurate to the point of being dishonest.

Not all sites agree on what is acceptable and what isn't. Some places I won't mention begin and end acceptable use with "no child pornography" whereas some go so far as to censor or delete any post that so much as says "damn" or "fuck."

What you're saying here is that you want there to be a national standard of what is polite and hold site operators responsible for not enforcing that standard, even if they don't agree to it and even if there is no practical way for them to police it. What this means is that most site operators would not be able to allow comments by the public at all. Do you hold that this is a good thing? I find that "You can comment on everything" has become a basic feature of the web and when I find a news site where comments are not allowed I react negatively and usually do not return.

Maybe I reply to an article by a Microsoft fan and call him a liar. Is he liable for slander against himself? Perhaps I reply to a news story about political corruption and name some names of who is involved. Is the journalist now in trouble for outing sources?

Are you honestly saying that you want to be sued because some jackass posted something inflammatory in a comment to one of your blog posts and you didn't happen to notice it?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Of course.
by Shannara on Tue 19th Oct 2010 16:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Of course."
Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

I guess I need to go through this, paragraph by paragraph:

1. Incorrect.

2. Partially. I agree that my use of "most" is debatable, but so is your reasoning for teh reason why some sites do this.

3. Same for you ;)

4. I agree

5. Incorrect, please read my post. What I am saying is that sites should do their job. If they do not like it, or claim they "do not have the man power" then they are in the wrong line of business.

6. This does not relate to my comment.

7. This does not relate to my comment.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Of course.
by sorpigal on Tue 19th Oct 2010 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Of course."
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I agree that my use of "most" is debatable, but so is your reasoning for teh reason why some sites do this.

Your use of "most" is just plain incorrect, not debatable. My characterization of the sites that self-censor is irrelevant speculation designed to impress the reader with a negative opinion of such sites, or at least that I have a negative opinion of them, and to suggest that there is nothing important about the fact that they self-censor. I think this was effective and thus it is irrelevant whether or not this 'reasoning' is correct in all cases.

Same for you

If you can't be bothered to explain how my statement is inaccurate to the point of being dishonest then I must presume that there is no reason and that it isn't. "Nuh-uh" is not a valid argument.

I agree

I'm glad you do not dispute factual statements that are easily proven.

Incorrect, please read my post.

Please don't insult me by suggesting that I did not read your post. If I disagree with your ridiculous 'opinions' it is because they are wrong, not because I didn't carefully read what you wrote. If you find this offensive please complain to OSNews, I am not responsible.

What I am saying is that sites should do their job. If they do not like it, or claim they "do not have the man power" then they are in the wrong line of business.

What do you mean by "do their job"? Why is it suddenly my job to control and be responsible for what other people say just because I allow comments on my blog? Why should my ability to communicate online be dependent on my being in the "right line of business"?

This does not relate to my comment.

Yes, it does. Illustrative examples of the kind of thing that will result if the kind of law we're discussing here, and with which you have expressed agreement, is passed. You might like to think that all the world is bright colors and smiling faces and that unfortunate things do not happen if there are good intentions, but in the reality that I and everyone else lives in we have to deal with the negative consequences of naive actors every day. If you don't support the scenarios I suggested and your dismissed as unrelated then you are in fact against holding sites liable for things posted by commenters.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Of course.
by Shannara on Tue 19th Oct 2010 18:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Of course."
Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

Why are you not responding to some of the pieces you quote, and in other cases, go off on a different subject?

It's pretty hard to reply to you when you haven't even read what you replied to.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Of course.
by sorpigal on Thu 21st Oct 2010 20:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Of course."
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I don't see even one case in my second reply where I go off on a different subject. I'd like you to cite one and specify exactly how it is unrelated to what I quoted. Having just re-read my previous post I see a direct correlation between what I quoted and what I said.

I did read everything you wrote and I read the entire post at least twice. I can only presume that you are attempting to discredit my points by suggesting that I am attempting to derail the conversation, the old tactic where you accuse your opponent of doing what you're doing yourself. I notice that you didn't even attempt to refute anything I said, which I take as tacit confirmation of everything I said, especially the parts that were unnecessarily harsh.

Either put up a fight (don't forget to bring your facts, figures and contradictory opinions) or admit that you're wrong. Don't try stifle debate by attempting to attack non-substantial things, like style, or by making back-handed character attacks. If you want to *also* do those things you are welcome (I would) but to do so without even pretending that you're actually defending an argument is a bit silly--and, I think, suggests that you were trolling all along.

Reply Score: 2

There is real danger in this....
by obsidian on Mon 18th Oct 2010 20:29 UTC
obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

This would be a very big blow to free speech if it is implemented.

Just look at the huge amount of "political correctness" in the UK, for example. It is at the point where it doesn't matter if your comment is true - if it does not fit into the current "PC template", it risks being removed.

You can guarantee that sites will err on the side of caution, so freedom will lose out to safety.

There is no better example of this than the criticism of Islam. You can be as true as you like, mentioning violence and so on, but the provider may say "oh, you're hurting people's feelings" and delete your comments. Or, of course, the provider will be fearful of a backlash (even if what you say is 100% true).
Either way - goodbye free speech and truth.

Edited 2010-10-18 20:31 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: There is real danger in this....
by n.l.o on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:05 UTC in reply to "There is real danger in this...."
n.l.o Member since:
2009-09-14

There is no better example of this than the criticism of Israel. You can be as true as you like, mentioning violence and so on, but the provider may say "oh, you're hurting people's feelings" and delete your comments. Or, of course, the provider will be fearful of a backlash (even if what you say is 100% true).
Either way - goodbye free speech and truth.

Reply Score: 1

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

There is no better example of this than the criticism of anyone. You can be as true as you like, mentioning how they piss you off and so on, but the provider may say "oh, you're hurting people's feelings" and delete your comments. Or, of course, the provider will be fearful of a backlash (even if what you say is 100% true).
Either way - goodbye free speech and truth.


** There we go, now it's true for everyone. ;)

Reply Score: 6

n.l.o Member since:
2009-09-14

If I could mod you up I would. ;)

Reply Score: 1

The good news!
by fretinator on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:20 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

This would create 20-30,000 new jobs just for supervising the comments at Slashdot!

Reply Score: 3

Very dangerous
by darknexus on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:38 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

Saying web site owners should be responsible for user's posting is like saying bartenders should be responsible for what their patrons say, or that car manufacturers should be responsible if someone crashes into a sign and destroys it. Ridiculous. Only one person should be responsible for what they say, and that is the one who has said it.

Reply Score: 8

How about they first enforce this...
by mrhasbean on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:31 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

...with "legitimate" articles and media commentary. The amount of unadulterated crap that's published in the popular press under the protection of "freedom of the press" is astounding. If they're going to make sites responsible for users comments they first need to hold so-called legitimate media outlets responsible for the poorly researched half truths (at best) that they often publish.

Reply Score: 5

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

...with "legitimate" articles and media commentary. The amount of unadulterated crap that's published in the popular press under the protection of "freedom of the press" is astounding.


+100. I'd mod you up if I hadn't already posted. I'd like to see Bill O'reily or Glenn Beck be held responsible for what the people say on their shows, for example. Of course those are US media personalities, but I'm sure if the UK passes something like this we won't be too far behind them in trying it ourselves.

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Or, you ignore media you don't like.

Everyone is free to publish anything. Even idiots (look at OSNews). ;)

Reply Score: 3

no!
by broken_symlink on Mon 18th Oct 2010 23:34 UTC
broken_symlink
Member since:
2005-07-06

I hope to god that Dominic Grieve has a blog and that people are allowed to post comments on it.

Reply Score: 2

This approach just seems heavy-handed
by obsidian on Tue 19th Oct 2010 01:01 UTC
obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

It just seems like a "sledgehammer cracking a walnut" approach.

With all of the news-sites, blogs and so on, it is quite unrealistic to expect that jurors won't (or can't be) exposed to material that could influence them in some way - whether by comments on websites or whatever. Jurors (like anyone else) don't live in a vacuum - especially nowadays when you can even browse the net on cellphones.

Would it be a better approach to ensure that (rather than being paranoid about "prejudice") - that jurors were *well-informed* about an issue? That could be a more realistic goal. Maybe even more useful too.

If you really know about an issue inside-out, then "prejudice" would seem to be less of a problem.

Reply Score: 4

Crimes by comments
by soulrebel123 on Tue 19th Oct 2010 05:20 UTC
soulrebel123
Member since:
2009-05-13

Well if a comment on a website steals, murders or rapes, then yes, the website owner is responsible.
Other than that, innocuous strings of text should be ok.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Neolander
by Neolander on Tue 19th Oct 2010 05:39 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Good. Now Engadget will be able to legitimate mass comment censorship when they are wrong.

Edited 2010-10-19 05:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

The real danger
by spudley99 on Tue 19th Oct 2010 13:23 UTC
spudley99
Member since:
2009-03-25

The real danger here is that it would become very easy for someone who disliked a particular web site to poison-post; ie to deliberately make posts that would cause the site to be in violation of the law, and thus get the site into trouble.

Reply Score: 1

Freedom of Speech?
by Vinegar Joe on Tue 19th Oct 2010 14:47 UTC
Vinegar Joe
Member since:
2006-08-16

"Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value." - Dean Steacy, Canadian Human Rights Commission

http://canadianhumanrightscommission.blogspot.com/2008/03/dean-stea...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Human_Rights_Commission_free_...

Reply Score: 1

This won't go anywhere...
by Tuishimi on Tue 19th Oct 2010 17:08 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...just some more hot air, some political rhetoric. What's good about this is that he's being vocal about it... if he tried to sneak it past somehow (back room dealing, quiet, buried proposals, etc.) that might have worked... but not like this.

Reply Score: 2

pica
Member since:
2005-07-10

a moderated forum. The moderator has to read all comments and has to either accept or reject them.

The com. ... .compiler newsgroup I joined a few years ago was (is ?) a moderated forum. I did not use it much, because even small discussions took weeks :-(

No, a site should not be liable for user comments.

pica

Reply Score: 1