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BBC publishes site-gaggers guide

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The Register tips its beak to the BBC for publishing a step-by-step guide on how to get a Web site gagged - and at worst, land some poor sod in court. Gagging the Net in Three Easy Steps sets out in plain English exactly how to use and abuse the current legal flux which suggests that ISPs in Britain are liable for what is published on their servers. Not only does it expose the folly of the current legal vacuuum left in the wake of the Laurence Godfrey vs Demon case, it also tells people exactly how to go about it. Interestingly, most of the ISPs canvassed by BBC News Online's Giles Wilson say they would close down a Web site if a complaint were made. Yet one legal expert told The Register that since this whole business has yet to be heard in a court of law (Demon settled the libel action out of court) it couldn't be regarded as a precedent. While it tipped the balance in favour of litigant and against ISPs on this issue, it did not set this in the stone of law, he said. He also blamed media hot air and hype for fanning the flames of the story. Even so, it's also easy to why ISPs would be so concerned. So, The Register has its own little exercise to see how easy it is to gag a Web site. One Read the BBC's guide to gagging the net in three easy steps. Two Instead of setting up your own Web site to make offensive remarks about someone, publish them instead on a public bulletin board or forum, for example, at Speaker's Corner, one of the British Government's sites. Please note, the BBC does have a feedback section but - and here's the clever part - it vets all contributions before they are published. Shame really, because it would have been really nice if this exercise could have worked on the BBC, but there you go. Three Get the person you defamed (of course, that could be you under a different name) to contact Downing Street and insist they take down the offensive remarks, or the Web site as a whole... or you'll sue. ® Related Stories Anti-censorship site censored! Demon coughs up damages in Godfrey libel case

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