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    NevOn is the archive weblog of Neville Hobson, a British business communicator based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a record of commentary and conversations from December 2002 until 22 February 2006. This site is no longer updated - please visit www.nevillehobson.com.
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    For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report - A bi-weekly podcast for professional communicators from Neville Hobson, ABC, and Shel Holtz, ABC.

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« Yahoo! hammered by users over poor successor to Konfabulator | Main | The Hobson and Holtz Report - Podcast #94: December 15, 2005 »

15 December 2005


Prof. Jonathan Ezor, Touro Law Center

Thanks for calling attention to the FT article in which I was quoted, Neville. My answer to your question (at least under U.S. law) is that this type of freedom of speech doesn't add any cost, so the "price" is zero. It's the alternative approach, holding site owners responsible for every post, that would be the pricey one.

Only those who truly don't understand how Web sites are operated would put any more responsibility on site owners to police the *truth* of what others post than is placed on bookstore owners or librarians under the law. What's even better about the U.S. law in question is that it *permits* site owners to monitor and even edit 3rd party posts without assuming the liability of an editor for defamation. This enables responsible Web site management, without the paranoia of potential legal responsibility and the accompanying obligation of research.

This blog and its comments feature is a prime example. Neville, if I said in this comment that (DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT TRUE TO MY KNOWLEDGE, NOR IS IT MEANT TO BE CONSIDERED TRUE, NOR DO I EVEN KNOW IF SUCH A PERSON EXISTS! :) ) Fred Smith of Duluth, MN was fathered by an ear of corn, you don't need to check into his paternity records to either decide to let this go through to the Web or reject as false or just plain silly. You can choose to post the comment based on your own sense of what makes for good blog comments. If the mythical Mr. Smith should choose to pursue me for defamation, he hasn't lost any rights to do so.

The "safe harbor" which frustrated Mr. Seigenthaler so when he looked to Wikipedia for redress is one of the first examples when the U.S. Congress actually "got" the Internet, in both its potential and its limitations. {Prof. Jonathan}

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