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WSN Censorship - some legal considerations

Regardless of what the WSN's user agreement states, only YOU are agreeing to those terms. A prospective "injured third party" hasn't agreed to them at all. When you then consider that case law regarding liability is lacking, because of the relatively new status of message boards, blogs, etc, it's indeed arguable that the WSN could be sued for facilitating injury by simply allowing a post that in some way (real or imagined) injured that third party. An example that exists in the periphery of Internet Law is that of Kazaa. While it of course pertains primarily to Copyright Law rather than libel or slander, the underlying principle of the courts' findings may hold true across the entire spectrum. In all of the suits filed against Kazaa, their defense was basically, "We just provide the forum - what people do with it up to them." That defense was uniformly rejected by every court, which found that if you provide a an Internet service that, by its very nature, allows people to commit illegal activity, you are part and parcel of that activity and face exposure to criminal or civil charges if you don't monitor that service to prevent (or at least minimize) that activity. I'm not saying that any posts were slanderous or approached libel, I'm simply saying that the WSN is simply playing it safe. Even settling a lawsuit would cost them a bundle, yet would likely be far cheaper than trying to defend against it. Any service that provides message boards or public blogs has to walk a fine line between censorship and possible liability exposure. It's very hard to do, as one man's common sense caution is another man's censorship.


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