Feeds

The ISP liability Demon invoked again

Legal threats override free speech?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

The issue of ISP liability for user postings has cropped up again on a newsgroup for software company Gipsy Media. And, sadly, it involves Demon Internet again. The saga has been extensively covered by Meejahor.com and revolves around a so-called beta tester, Andy Mabbett, and his criticisms of the TV listings program DigiGuide.

DigiGuide is owned by Gipsy Media, and it wasn't too chuffed when Andy posted comments on its Web site saying that the company hadn't been completely honest over the add-on TimeSink "advertising solution". Basically, TimeSink (from Conducent) is another one of these programs that uses IP information to build profiles.

This has become a big issue recently, with people crying "privacy invasion" left, right and centre. Mr Mabbett said that the use of TimeSink hadn't been fully explained to those upgrading to the latest version of DigiGuide.

Gipsy Media was understandably not too happy about this and started removing Andy's comments. Andy was eventually informed by staff member Russ Freeman: "Your attitude is unwelcome on Gipsy Media web sites, your rights to access our web sites and our products is now revoked. Make the visit to read this your last and make no more posts." There's no love lost between the two. Freeman, for his part, feels he is getting a raw deal from the "antagonistic little sod". "We have solved the problems - as soon as possible - but he still went around calling everyone a liar. I don't think that's very fair."

Several days later Andy posted a message on a different newsgroup accusing Gipsy Media of being dishonest. Things escalated from there. Suddenly Andy's ISP, Demon Internet received an official compliant about his postings, asking it to look at his so-called defamatory postings. Gipsy Media won't say it was them that complained.

Andy may also be pulled up for abusing copyright because he continued to use text from Gipsy's forum to make points on other newsgroups and his own Web site. This is all getting out of hand you say. Well, Andy has also received warning from Demon that he should "not publish such material in future using [his] Demon service".

This may seem heavy handed, but then you can't really blame Demon. It was bitten last year when it was forced to pay UK scientist Laurence Godfrey £15,000 plus cover court costs of around £250,000 because of libellous comments made about him on a Demon server. We asked Russ Freeman whether this fact prompted him to complain about Mabbett's behaviour. He said no. "I don't particularly follow the news and I hadn't followed this case about Godfrey. I don't really care what someone else has done, if someone is copying our content then you would complain."

It's a fair point. All ISPs must be receiving similar requests but are either holding firm or have never been unfortunate enough to have the media watching the situation closely. Was Demon in the wrong place at the wrong time again or are we guilty of playing it up because of Demon's recent history? Bit of both probably.

Anyways, if you're interested in this case, visit Meejahor.com, which has pushed the boat out on this one, including substantial links to the original material.

Related Links

Meejahor article on the saga
The plot thickens

Related Stories

Demon coughs up damages in Godfrey libel case
UK Court rules on ISP liability

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.