Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 19th Feb 2012 12:02 UTC
Internet & Networking "The federal government has been paying lip service to the idea that it wants to encourage new businesses and startups in the US. And this is truly important to the economy, as studies have shown that almost all of the net job growth in this country is coming from internet startups. Thankfully some politicians recognize this, but the federal government seems to be going in the other direction. With the JotForm situation unfolding, where the US government shut down an entire website with no notice or explanation, people are beginning to recognize that the US is not safe for internet startups." Not an issue today per se, but if the US government keeps this up, they do run a risk of lobotomising their technology sector.
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Safe harbor
by WorknMan on Sun 19th Feb 2012 20:35 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

I don't know much about Jotform, but it appears the site was taken down when it shouldn't have been, and I believe there will be some fallout as a result.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Megaupload and The Pirate Bay. There are some situations where the safe harbor cannot and should not protect you. If you KNOW your users are doing bad things and you ENCOURAGE the behavior, you're going to get owned by the Funk Soul Brothas. If you don't understand the difference between these two sites, let me illustrate the difference:

It's kind of like one of those seedy Asian Massage Parlors that spring up in my town every so often. Sure, you can go in there and get a massage, so the places are legit on the surface. But if you put enough money on the table and follow the right protocol, you can get a whole lot more than a massage ;) Of course, the owners know about this activity, and even advertise the fact in Craigslist and Backpage. And I for one think that prostitution should be legal in the US as it is in other countries, but I am never surprised when one of these places get raided, nor do I ever hear the owners try to argue 'We're just like every other massage parlor in town!', when indeed they're not. Although there may be other massage parlors in town where the girls provide extras, they would most certainly be fired immediately if somebody complained to the owners about it.

And THAT, my friends, is the difference. There's something to be said about INTENT. Are you running a legit operation where some of your users just happen to do bad things? Or are you running a seedy operation where most of your users do bad things, and there just happens to be legit activity in the process?

Obviously, there should be warrants and stuff, with proper procedures being followed, which looks like it didn't happen in the case of Jotform. But it's kind of naive to assume you can just throw up a site and assume you're immune by the safe harbor in every single case.

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