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LiveJournal Says Users are Responsible for Content of Links 283

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
Many of you might remember the previous story about LiveJournal erroneously deleting hundreds of users as suspected paedophiles, spurred on by pressure from the group, Warriors for innocence. Since then, they've been taking action against users hosting material on their servers that they believe to be illegal. Today, LiveJournal management have demonstrated a serious lack of understanding in how the internet works, declaring that users are responsible for the content of the webpages that they link to in their blog entries. A user points out the obvious flaw: "I get ToS'd because the link's been redirected to a page full o' porn, even though context clearly shows that when I originally put up the link that it didn't actually land on a page of porn?" One wonders how such a long-established blogging company can be so ignorant about the nature of the world wide web.
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LiveJournal Says Users are Responsible for Content of Links

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  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @10:56PM (#20407329) Homepage Journal
    This is not about "your rights online". LiveJournal is a private company, not a govenrment agency. Their web site is private property, and it is not a monopoly.
    To speak of 'rights' on their web site is sort of speaking about rights at K-Mart. You don't have any. If you don't like what K-Mart does, you leave and go to their competitor.
    If LiveJournal does something that you find intolerably stupid, then quit and go post on their competition's web site.

    • None of which... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msauve (701917) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:04PM (#20407365)
      changes the fact that they're acting like clueless noobs.
      • by martinX (672498) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:09PM (#20407399)
        You misspelled a word. It's spelled "knobs".
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:23PM (#20407497)
        These Warriors for Innocence are a bunch of bible-thumping altar-violated nazi feminist who have no idea how the internet works, and for them to have put that much pressure on LiveJournal for them to turn into them, is a freaking joke. LiveJournal will soon collapse, and they will most likely look back at how they listened to a bunch of nobodies who think they know how to protect little children.

        I went on their site, and found that their site alone was not work safe. Hypocritical bastards.
        • by adona1 (1078711) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:56PM (#20407713)
          I also seem to recall that when LJ did their first lot of journal-cuts and it was posted on /. that many people pointed out (with glee) that the Warriors for Innocence webpage attempts to install spyware and other dirty tricks. Why should anyone, LJ included, pay attention to what they have to say? That's like accepting the help of a rapist to catch drug dealers...the intention may be good, but you get dirty doing it.
        • Re:None of which... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Thursday August 30, 2007 @12:00AM (#20407747) Journal

          Someone who's overly friendly and goes out of his way to be helpful without asking for anything in return is suspicious.
          I don't know where this author is from, but I was raised with the expectation that this is normal behavior.
          • Not expectations, but habits. Expecting this from other people is silly.

          • by roman_mir (125474)
            Someone being overly friendly to you, who goes out of his/her way to be helpful without asking for anything in return is not normal behavior for most people on this planet, I was most definitely not raised to have this kind of expectations. I was raised with expectations that most people will either not be interested in me very much or will try to take advantage of me and this in fact is what happens.
        • Re:None of which... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Skreems (598317) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @12:06AM (#20407781) Homepage
          Just for the sake of irony, I submitted a "terms of service violation" complaint against the Warriors of Innocence blog. I recommend anyone else who's pissed at this behavior do the same. They're hate-mongering enough that there's a chance it'll do something. And damn, would it be funny.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PitaBred (632671)
          Jesus H. Christ, you're right. That site isn't even safe for the Internet... haven't they ever heard of, oh, I don't know... LINKS? Seriously... all content in one place. Buncha right-wing, witch-hunting, self-important, ignorant morons. You'd think that someone at LiveJournal would go to their site and say "Huh... what a group of nutters" and then proceed to block their emails/phone calls.
        • by Stormie (708)

          LiveJournal will soon collapse..

          LiveJournal is already dead man walking. A lot of my older friends have LJs, but I asked around my workplace (which is a company in an internet-related field) - most of the people here are younger than me, and not a single one of this MyFaceBookSpaceTube-generation had even heard of LiveJournal.

          • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
            I thought they were a banner ad company to be honest... and I'm 38 - you older than that?

            Facebook is pretty much everywhere now, myspace is becoming a niche product used to pubilicise new bands. There's also another one waiting in the wings I forget the name (something silly like 'boing' but not that) ready to take over if facebook dies.
          • LiveJournal used to be where all the crud on the Internet moved to from Geocities. After MySpace launched, most of the rubbish moved there, and the signal to noise ratio improved a lot. Now, I read a few peoples' LiveJournals, particularly Eric Anholt's one, which is the best indicator of DRI support in FreeBSD I've found.
        • by symbolic (11752)
          There is a very similar group on YouTube. They are of no help to anyone, but I'm sure they get a perverted sense of self-importance out of it.
    • by Rinisari (521266) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:07PM (#20407385) Homepage Journal
      Here, here. For those who find it a problem, they are free to seek other services. Those won't have no problem with the new policy will stay. If the former group is larger than the latter and LiveJournal sees mass exodus, perhaps it will regret and renege.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:13PM (#20407437)
      While it may not be government censorship, I don't see why we can't publicly decry these actions as idiotic.

      After all, who will learn from their example if no one makes an example of them?
      • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @09:27AM (#20410451)

        While it may not be government censorship, I don't see why we can't publicly decry these actions as idiotic.
        After all, who will learn from their example if no one makes an example of them?

        Anyone can be a flaming hypocritical asshat, but that won't make an example of anyone. It's more or less the same as the WoW forums (as well as EQ forums, DAoC forums and any other main-stream MMO game in it's hayday). All you get is a bunch of idiots yelling "F!U Bliztards! I KNOW GAZ!LL!ON PEOPLE WHO ARE LEAVING BEKAZ OF NEW CANGE"

        Just RTF synopsis and some of these /. asshat comments.

        Today, LiveJournal management have demonstrated a serious lack of understanding in how the internet works

        What an incredibly stupid and sensationalist remark. Yes, lets think. The people who built and manage a fairly popular website (incredibly popular compared to most of the internet sites out there) have no clue how the Internets work. It's just a series of tubes to them. Of course, I'll believe whatever you(the quoter) say and just because you(the quoter) said it! Of course, their reasoning for it is even worse.

        declaring that users are responsible for the content of the webpages that they link to in their blog entries

        Yes, more sensational bullshit. I didn't see the LJ TOS [livejournal.com] specifically say that you are responsible for the content of another website. What I did read is as follows..

        XIV.JOURNAL CONTENT

        You agree to follow the following guidelines for posting Content to your online journal:

        1. All Content posted to LiveJournal in any way, is the responsibility and property of the author. LiveJournal is committed to maintaining the Service in a manner reasonably acceptable to all audiences but is not responsible for the monitoring or filtering of any journal Content. Within the confines of international and local law, LiveJournal will generally not place a limit on the type or appropriateness of user content within journals. Those users posting material not suitable for all audiences must agree that they are fully responsible for all the Content they have posted anywhere on the Service. Should Content be deemed illegal by such law having jurisdiction over the user, you agree that LiveJournal may submit all necessary information to, and cooperate with, the proper authorities;
        2. Should any Content that you have authored be reported to LiveJournal as being offensive or inappropriate, LiveJournal might call upon you to retract, modify, or protect (by means of private and friends only settings) the Content in question within a reasonable amount of time, as determined by the LiveJournal staff. Should you fail to meet such a request from LiveJournal staff, LiveJournal may terminate your account. LiveJournal, however, is under no obligation to restrict or monitor journal Content in any way;
        3. LiveJournal claims no ownership or control over any Content posted by its users. The author retains all patent, trademark, and copyright to all Content posted within available fields, and is responsible for protecting those rights, but is not entitled to the help of the LiveJournal staff in protecting such Content. The user posting any Content represents that it has all rights necessary to post such Content (and for LiveJournal to serve such Content) without violation of any intellectual property or other rights of third parties, or any laws or regulations;

        XVI. MEMBER CONDUCT

        You understand that all Content, including without limitation, all information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages, or other materials, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, are the sole responsibility of the person from which such Content originated.{snip}

        13. [you cannot] Promote or provide instructiona

    • Yes it is. This is about livejournal caving in to a private and unaccountable group that has ruined the lives of innocent men and women for having expressed desire to have sex with teenagers. This is legal in some states out west with parental consent. First livejournal, then google, and someday the government. They don't believe in innocent until guilty. They don't believe in the distinction between fantasy and reality. According to some of the logic they employ, a 19-year old having sex with a 17 year old
    • by pclminion (145572)
      The assignment of a category to the story is Slashdot's problem -- none of the posters here had any control over it. Also, among all the news categories on Slashdot, which one would have been more appropriate? I agree that you don't really have "rights" when it comes to your interactions with private companies or individuals, but really -- what would YOU suggest?
    • Many would argue that you have a right to do whatever the hell you want as long as it doesn't harm anyone else. When people's websites are shut down by Livejournal, their ability do "whatever the hell they want" is limited, and it's quite debatable whether said people were harming anyone. Of course, it's debatable which side the rights really fall on, but that's true of any discussion. For every so-called right, it is not hard to find some person who thinks that isn't a right. Especially since Slashdot is a
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:35PM (#20407603)
      This is just a bizarre, backwards argument.

      Of course they are "rights."

      You say we "don't have any" rights when at K-Mart? This is false on its face, and anyone can see it. If you walk into K-Mart they have no right to bind and gag you, nor to handcuff you and throw darts at you for entertainment, nor to forcefully take a blood sample.

      Sure, they can legally ask you to leave when you enter wearing a t-shirt which they dislike -- but that doesn't make them ethically correct in doing so.

      Your redefinition of "rights" to include only major human/civil rights, encoded in law as actions the government may not take against individuals, is mere wordplay -- whose effect is to semantically limit those rights you'll permit people to demand for themselves. When we demand certain rights, it does not matter whether the entity infringing upon those rights is the government or not. They are rights by dint of their infringement being unethical.
    • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:45PM (#20407661) Homepage
      LJ is run like a company, but bills itself as a community. People who are members of communities tend to think of themselves as having rights, including a right to say what they think about the community's policies. If you disagree with changes in the Terms of Service, you really don't have much redress as you might with an entity that operated like a democracy.

      This is unfortunate; online communities could well operate like governments, with a concept of citizenship and taxation, rather than as business enterprises, with a concept of customer accounts and fees, but very few of them seem to any more.

      But it's very difficult to say "If you don't like the way things are run here, you can just leave." It's not easy to export a livejournal account to another service with more agreeable ToS. It's not easy to leave the friends and contacts behind when you move your blogging to another service.
      • If we believe Liz Marcs (the user mentioned in TFA) there is already a significant number of users leaving for Wordpress. I have not verified this but it sounds credible.
        We'll see if that has an effect on the policies of LJ ;-)
    • by bky1701 (979071)

      If LiveJournal does something that you find intolerably stupid, then quit and go post on their competition's web site.

      That doesn't make what they do right. Also, you can use the same argument in support of anything the government does- and many do. That doesn't make them right, why would it make you right?

      Being legally acceptable doesn't make it morally acceptable or publicly acceptable, and we shouldn't treat it as if it does, lest we instill the idea that laws = morals and morals = laws.

    • by quanticle (843097) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @12:14AM (#20407827) Homepage

      To speak of 'rights' on their web site is sort of speaking about rights at K-Mart. You don't have any.

      That's not true, per se. One does have right at K-Mart. For example, K-Mart may not turn me away even if I'm a minority or if I'm in a wheelchair. There are anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws that grant me certain rights even if I'm inside private property.

    • by coaxial (28297)

      To speak of 'rights' on their web site is sort of speaking about rights at K-Mart. You don't have any.
      You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how rights work. You do not check them all at the door. For instance, if K-Mart said, "no Irish," that's not their right, in fact, it's illegal. Is what LJ doing illegal? No. But that doesn't mean that it's not censorship, and not offensive.
    • by NMerriam (15122)

      This is not about "your rights online". LiveJournal is a private company, not a govenrment agency.


      Yes, LJ and K-Mart are private companies. Congratulations on stating the obvious. Can you please point out where anyone claimed they were acting as agents of the government?

      Back to the discussion, which is about whether or not it is appropriate, sensible or logical for LJ to implement this policy.
    • by EconomyGuy (179008) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @02:40AM (#20408487) Homepage
      Parent is mistaken if they believe that we only have rights in relation to government agencies. That's simply not how the world functions. I have the right to not be struck by moving cars, which is enforced by my right to bring a suit in torts against anyone who does strike me by a moving car. There are all manner of rights which exist between private parties. Some have existed since the first common law courts on England, others are more modern such as civil rights laws passed by Congress in the 50s and 60s. In all cases it is a right a private actor enforces against another.

      One such right is the right of LiveJournal to avoid any liability for defamatory material posted on their site by members. The law explicitly exempts LiveJournal (and other service providers) from the same liability a newspaper would carry if it printed the same materials. There is zero government involvement.

      Another, perhaps more analogous, example is that a landlord cannot put in a lease that they can evict you without cause or without notice. Sure, it's the landlords private property, but the courts have long held that as it becomes your home you have certain rights which trump the private property holder. Again, no government involvement needed.

      Which is all a way of saying that the "right" to not be deemed in violation of ToS because a link you pointed to has changed to something different is not a far-fetched right. It's just another layer of rights and regulations that form the web that is our legal framework.
    • by makomk (752139)
      Here's the backstory - after the WfI mess, LiveJournal made certain reassurances to its users. Shortly after that, there was a permanent account sale where (for one week only) people could buy "permanent" accounts for $150. Two weeks after this, they made "clarifications" that technically didn't contradict what they'd said earlier but still came as a nasty surprise to some people. Then they banned two users for stuff that they reckoned was against the rules with the new "clarifications" (specifically, Harry
      • by makomk (752139)
        Let's try that again:

        Here's the backstory - after the WfI mess, LiveJournal made certain reassurances to its users. Shortly after that, there was a permanent account sale where (for one week only) people could buy "permanent" accounts for $150. Two weeks after this, they made "clarifications" that technically didn't contradict what they'd said earlier but still came as a nasty surprise to some people. Then they banned two users for stuff that they reckoned was against the rules with the new "clarificatio
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)

      This is not about "your rights online". LiveJournal is a private company, not a govenrment agency. Their web site is private property, and it is not a monopoly.

      Can we let this meme die? If I kill you, your right to life has been infringed. If I kidnap you and lock you in a small room, your right to liberty has been infringed. If I put ducktape over your mouth, your right to free speech has been infringed. All of these are occurrences in which you have lost rights without any government intervention.

      The US constitution only protects your rights from the government, because its authors believed they were the biggest threat to your rights. This does not mean t

  • by FauxReal (653820) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @10:59PM (#20407349) Homepage
    It was started by a geeky highschool kid... a classmate of a friend of mine who definitely understood how things worked. Of course it's changed hands since then. I would chalk this up to PHB syndrome.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by monkeySauce (562927)
      It's roots mean nothing now. LiveJournal is owned by Six Apart these days (makers of Movable Type blog engine). I've never been a LiveJournal blogger, but I've suffered more than enough frustration with MT and Six Apart. In my opinion the company is poorly run. I find this type of idiocy at LiveJournal unsurprising.
  • hah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thej1nx (763573) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:10PM (#20407407)
    So you would rather that *they* take reponsibility and get shutdown for, any illegal stuff *you* put in your blog?

    I bet!

    You know, if your landlord declared tomorrow that he is not responsible for any drug trafficking you do from your rented apartment, and you yourself are responsible for your actions, it would hardly be seen as unfair(especially if there are 1000 other tenants in the high-rise, thus making it impossible to check up on all of them individually).

    Why is it anyways with America's obsession with sex on the net, while in real life, solicitations of all and any such activities run unhindered and unnoticed? A pedophile can much more easily target the kids of people he knows. Such has always been the case since they already have the advantage of being trusted. It is not like pedophiles were not there without the net.

    How hard is it to pull out the cable of your PC and hide it in a lock, when you are not using it? There are computer cases that can be locked you know... if you really think it is that big a threat. If you think internet is a threat then don't allow kids to use it unsupervised. Ask your local libraries and schools to ensure that unsupervised access to public computers is not given to minors. Are you that retarded or lazy to not see the simple solution? Or you are one those guys who couldn't be bothered to give time and attention to your own kids? In that case, you shouldn't be having kids in the first place!

    Think of the children indeed! It would be much much better for the children if they just considered merely "thinking" in the first place! Sheesh!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thej1nx (763573)
      To be fair LJ should possibly provide a tool for the users to verify the links. But yeah, links do not change that frequently all of a sudden for a porn site. And plus LJ is not a democracy. They are simply reserving the right to terminate the accounts that are more trouble than they are worth. if you are a paying customer, they would probably just warn you off first. If there is too much mass-exodus, they would possibly investigate individual cases more cautiously...

      But frankly, this is all the fault of

      • by WNight (23683) *
        They are simply reserving the right to terminate the accounts that are more trouble than they are worth. if you are a paying customer [...]

        That's just the problem, this is to paying customers. They don't have a right to terminate these accounts at all, considering their ToS changed after these users paid.

        If these were just free accounts it would be expected.
      • by anagama (611277)
        I can understand people's frustration with feeling like their freedom to express themselves is at risk, even if only from a company rather than the government, so I won't criticize the people who are upset about Live Journal's policy change. By the same token, if they are paying customers, why not say "forget that", get a $5/month hosting plan, install wordpress with a couple button clicks in Fantastico, and call it good. Then they can say whatever the hell they want (till they run into host trouble and ha
      • by jafiwam (310805)
        I think the links are a small part of what they are trying to achieve.

        For example, Google's "community sites" thing "Blogger.com" has approximately 7 out of 10 of it's profiles some sort of spam, link lists (for search rankings to other sites), thinly veiled search whitewashing, malicious program installers, and some that redirect to porn. (The last one has kept me from visiting the site at work, the pop ups and stuff work even in FireFox.)

        This policy, is a tool that can help them have a rule that lets the
    • by makomk (752139)
      The trouble is, their definition of illegal is a bit... interesting. Specifically, any sexually explicit drawings involving (in the judgement of the Abuse team) under-18s is bannable. (After the fuss kicked up when they did actually ban someone for this, they've changed it so that, when it's unclear, they'll let the person off the first time it happens - the second time is still a ban, though). If you can't see how this can be a problem, you've obviously not been spending your time on the right part of the
  • Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garett_spencley (193892) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:10PM (#20407413) Journal
    Ok, so I understand quite well how things can change and how domains can switch hands and a link one day might be about my little pony but the next day it could get redirected to porn etc.

    However, isn't it perfectly within LJ's right to protect itself and remove accounts who are linking to porn ? Is it not *your* responsibility to make sure that sites that you link to aren't something that "parent company" wouldn't object to ? Where parent company is a web host, employer or anyone else who *owns* the property (web server, domain etc.) that you are hosting your page on ?

    So the owner of the link changed the page. That means Live Journal should just sit back and say "oh well... our domain is linking to porn and our policy clearly states that we do not allow that, however, since the link was obviously changed to redirect to porn *after* the page owner linked to it we'll just leave it there and do nothing" ?

    Ok, so they could pull the link and inform / warn the user etc. But then the question is raised, who's responsibility is it to check those links ? IMO the guy who signed up for a Live Journal account and linked to the site that eventually got changed and redirected should be held responsible.

    Maybe I'm a little biased because I'm a webmaster. But I make it a point to check the links on my sites periodically because they change. I don't expect my web hosting provider to do it for me. Not that my hosting provider would terminate my account for anything short of something extremely illegal anyway. But for my own reputation and for the sake of giving my surfers a pleasant and consistent surfing experience free of anything that they would not expect or want to come across while browsing my sites I check my links every once in a while.

    And it is certainly within LJ's rights to remove pages on their servers that are violating their TOS. I don't see how it has anything to do with understanding the nature of the Internet. I haven't read their TOS but I'm assuming somewhere in there is "Don't Link To Porn Sites" and I'm also pretty sure that there is NOT an "Except unless the page you're linking to was changed afterwards" clause.
    • Re:Umm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by porcupine8 (816071) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:21PM (#20407483) Journal
      As much as it pains me to help the wankers, I should point out that there's no "No Porn" rule. The problems have been with child porn. Specifically, if you draw a picture of 16-year-old Harry Potter performing unseemly acts with 35-year-old Severus Snape, is that child porn? LJ has been somewhat inconsistent with its definitions, so now people are worried they will carry those inconsistent definitions over to this, making it hard to tell what links are OK. Personally, I think we can all just give up our Snarry porn and live happily ever after, but apparently there are MANY PEOPLE (a few dozen) to whom this is a VITAL FORM OF EXPRESSION.
      • Oh and.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by porcupine8 (816071) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:25PM (#20407515) Journal
        The other issue is that they have been yanking paid (in some cases lifetime) accounts with no warning to the owner at all and no refunds. This is what got people really pissed. At least they're starting to realize that they should give people a chance to take it down before deleting the account.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wizbit (122290)
        I'm guessing you missed the short-lived moratorium on userpics (avatars) with images of breastfeeding. LiveJournal's idea of "porn" isn't limited to the hardcore, illegal stuff.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bhalter80 (916317)
      There are 2 things at work here 1) is the case where I post something and it gets changed relatively soon in that case I can see that perhaps the user who posted the LJ entry should be responsible but there is the other case 2) where 2 years from now www.coolsite.com becomes pr0n pr0n pr0n at this point should I still be responsible for checking that my links point to the content I originally intended? Maybe LJ needs to deactivate links in posts over a certain number of days and print them as text instead
    • by Stooshie (993666)

      ... the guy who signed up for a Live Journal account ... ... should be held responsible ...

      Some people's journals have thousands of entries, which would be impossible for a user to continually check through. It would be much easier for the webmaster to have a small program that loops through the users, and their entries, does a quick check on any links to other sites (e.g. for "bad" words etc...) then emails the user with a warning (it could even keep track of how many warnings a user had been sent). It

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by makomk (752139)
      The thing is, their policy doesn't exactly "clearly state that". More specifically, they're saying they'll ban users (presumably under the clause of the ToS prohibiting the uploading and transmission of unlawful or obscene content) for content that's not uploaded to LiveJournal and not necessarily unlawful or obscene.

      Also, their statement was in a semi-obscure community [livejournal.com] that's not followed by most users - only the users who have been paying close attention know about it, and most of them probably don't h
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @11:12PM (#20407425) Journal
    Great, now I get to read LJ pedo wank on /. too. Is there no escape?

    The blog post in question states:

    If there's any good news, current policy dictates that if LJAbuse is able to determine based on the content around your link that you initially posted to a "safe" site and that link has now been redirected, you will be contacted and asked to fix the link. They will most likely not use it as a "strike" against you in their shiny new "two strikes yer out policy" if LJAbuse decides that you didn't intend to link to a site LJ/6A thinks contains ToS-able content.

    Which contradicts the comment quoted in the summary.

    Of course, as sick as I am of the "LET ME TELL YOU INTERNETS IT IS HARD TO BE AN OPPRESSED HARRY POTTER FANFICCER", I do hope that LJ isn't really going to start kicking people out for old links.

    I used to have a Barbie site that got a fair bit of traffic, and of course (this being the late 90s when a links page was a requisite for any site), I had a page of links to my other favorite Barbie sites. I once got a letter in the snail mail from a lady telling me what a horrible person I am for luring children in with Barbie stuff and then showing them porn. Sure enough, one of the doll domains had been bought out as a "doll" domain, and this lady for some reason thought that I had actually gone through the trouble of creating a site with all this info on doll collecting (and I'm sure 7-year-olds find listings of flaws discovered upon deboxing a doll fascinating) just to lure kids into a porn site. Oh, and that was the day I learned not to put my home address on my online resume.

  • One wonders how such a long-established blogging company can be so ignorant about the nature of the world wide web.

    Perhaps they are in need of some of those Alzheimer's implants referred to in another recent story.
  • LJ's own ToS [livejournal.com] contains a clause denying LJ's responsibility for external links:

    The Service, or relevant third parties, may provide links to other web sites or resources. Because LiveJournal has no control over such sites and resources, you acknowledge and agree that LiveJournal is not responsible for the availability of such external sites or resources, and does not endorse and is not responsible or liable for any content, advertising, products, or other materials on or available from such sites or resources

    • by faedle (114018)
      LiveJournal's staff has clearly stated that they believe LiveJournal's Terms of Service is not to be taken literally, and that it in no way shape or form dictates actual LJ policy [livejournal.com]. What document does state that is left as an exercise to the reader.

  • See, this is why, whenever I link to a site, I try and make sure that it's not going to be something nefarious. Granted, the occasional meme has turned up a pic of Goatse.

    What I see happening is this: LJ, with their history, will provide a warning. If it was a meme and it got goatse'd, then yeah, the blogger is technically responsible, but I'm fairly sure they won't be ToS'd because of some fuckwit's prank that they apparently think is laughable. On the other hand, if the person is posting links to chil

  • What problem? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mundocani (99058) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @12:01AM (#20407753)
    Honestly, I don't see it. How could you get ToS'd maliciously? They only said that you were responsible for sites you link directly to, not that you are responsible for every site they in turn link to. Being that it's only sites you link to yourself, I think this seems like a reasonable CYA policy. You should be responsible for sites you link to, you're the one sending your readers there. I doubt that means they'd (necessarily) throw you off the service (unless you'd linked to something really egregious, though I'm not sure what that'd even be). But if you direct people to a site that's illegal and the feds come knocking, why shouldn't you have to be the one to answer the door?
    • Re:What problem? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pclminion (145572) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @12:13AM (#20407821)

      You should be responsible for sites you link to, you're the one sending your readers there.

      How can a person be responsible for a site they link to? The content of that site could change at any time. If I was held legally responsible for the content of every site I link to, I'd never link to ANYTHING. It could change at any moment -- what if it becomes child porn? To hold people responsible for the content of the sites they link to would fundamentally destroy the web. Nobody would link to anything.

      • by JeffSh (71237)
        Your point is valid but irrelevant. The whole point of this post is about LJ deleting journals for violating TOS, specifically, linking to things that violate TOS like pedophiles and other things of that nature. LJ's actions have little or nothing to do with the aspect of direct linking you describe. I'm certain that those culled from LJ were found to be affirmitively in violation of TOS and not just accidently.
        • by pclminion (145572)

          Your point is valid but irrelevant.

          Irrelevant to the story, perhaps. But I was responding to a user comment, which claimed that we should all be responsible for the content we link to. Clearly, that's not feasible, as it would destroy the web.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mundocani (99058)
        You can be responsible for the content you link to by being accountable to your government (yeah, I'm no fan either, but there they are) if you violate a law. If you point people to a site where they can hook up with other men who like diddling kiddies and providing a link like that is illegal in your country, then I think it's reasonable for LiveJournal to say that they'll close your account if they're required to under those circumstances and that they'll probably provide your identity to your government
        • by pclminion (145572)

          You can be responsible for the content you link to by being accountable to your government (yeah, I'm no fan either, but there they are) if you violate a law. If you point people to a site where they can hook up with other men who like diddling kiddies and providing a link like that is illegal in your country, then I think it's reasonable for LiveJournal to say that they'll close your account if they're required to under those circumstances and that they'll probably provide your identity to your government

          • by Mundocani (99058)
            Yeah, but the legal system isn't actually blind, they do actually look at context. If your link is surrounded by text that says stuff like "My wife and I just had our baby and we found the cutest site! Check it out at www.cutebabies.com. Be sure to check out page 3 where you can find pictures of our little Jessica-Amber -- it's under the Oh-no-she-didn't! category!", then I bet the judge, hell even the cops will probably think "WTF? Does this guy know what's on that site?" and LJ will simply ask you to r
            • by pclminion (145572)

              Yeah, but the legal system isn't actually blind, they do actually look at context. If your link is surrounded by text that says stuff like "My wife and I just had our baby and we found the cutest site! Check it out at www.cutebabies.com. Be sure to check out page 3 where you can find pictures of our little Jessica-Amber -- it's under the Oh-no-she-didn't! category!", then I bet the judge, hell even the cops will probably think "WTF? Does this guy know what's on that site?" and LJ will simply ask you to rem

              • by Mundocani (99058)
                Why do you have to erase caches? LiveJournal would just want the links off of their own site, which you can easily comply with. This issue isn't about you being responsible for your links existence in history, it's about you being responsible for the present.
              • by Mundocani (99058)
                By the way, you must realize that if a cached copy somewhere could be used to implicate you, then a cached copy would also exonerate you as well since there would be copies of the original site that you actually linked to as well.
    • I made a steganography program once (hidden message) that hid a message in spam. It didn't and couldn't send email to anyone, but you could hide short messages in a "spam" email and copy/paste it to your friends. It got taken down as a "spam tool" even though I can't imagine it could ever be helpful to spammers.

      Anyhow, now that we've established that ToS violations can occur for stupid things, have you never heard of trolls? Apparently, all one needs to do is get someone to link to some site they control
      • by Mundocani (99058)
        I think that something like that is highly unlikely ("convince them to link to your site" just for the sake of pranking them? seriously? how does that really work out in reality). I can see that it is plausible regardless of how unlikely though. However, I don't think the outcome of a situation like that is that you get your account canceled. I think you get your account canceled when the government breathes down LJs neck, and I think that only happens if the person who pranked you put up something extrem
      • by Mundocani (99058)
        For those who prefer their reading material in story form, here's another way of looking at it:

        EvilKenny72: Hey Sheryl69, I made a cool site, link to it in your blog!

        Sheryl69: Ok strange person, I like friends!

        EvilKenny72 changes his site to an illegal movie download site

        LiveJournal: Sheryl69, we have complaints that you are providing a link to an illegal download site. If you don't remove the link immediately your account will be terminated. Thank you for using LiveJournal.

        Sheryl69: OMG! How did that h
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by CmdrGravy (645153)
          FBI: EvilKenny72, you own a website containing illegal content, we'd like to talk to you right now.

          EvilKenny72: I Russian, hah hah good lucks with your prosecutions Yankie.
  • Devil's Advocate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 30, 2007 @12:33AM (#20407927) Homepage Journal
    I'm leaving LJ personally because a bunch of their BS policies lately, but let me play devil's advocate for a moment.

    LJ will let you post most anything you want. I saw someone post a TOS violation because a guy had a user-pic of masturbating with a barbie doll. LJ didn't ban him because it wasn't his default icon.

    LJ and SixApart came under fire specifically because of journals that had varying levels of content in regards to sex with children. LJ is owned and operated within the US and has to operate in conjunction with US law. LJ admitted they over-reacted initially and deleted some communities they shouldn't have. They reinstanted said communities.

    This new policy really is only regards to illegal content, which LJ very losely regulates. There are many pirate communities on LJ, and LJ doesn't care about that. People discuss gangs, illegal drugs, and all kinds of crazy stuff. But when it comes to pedophilia, they have to cover their bases or get in big trouble with the government. When LJ said you couldn't post fan-fic anymore that featured sex and children, people got upset and started linking to it instead. If I owned Six Apart, I'd have the same policy simply to cover my ass.

    If you don't like it, blog somewhere else. Quite frankly, if they go elsewhere, LJ is better off for it. Let someone else deal with the legal problems.
    • by Sibko (1036168)

      If I owned Six Apart, I'd have the same policy simply to cover my ass.
      If I owned Six Apart, I think I'd just move the company/servers to a different country.
    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      a guy had a user-pic of masturbating with a barbie doll

      Now we know why Slashdot doesn't allow photos in user pages. Seriously though, what type of message is that supposed to send? Freedom of expression is a great thing, but who is this person trying to impress? Is it a vague demonstration of independence of thought, an obsure political statement or just an attempt to get attention? Scratch the surface and you'll find out its a troll.
      • Suddenly I'm thinking of the PennyArcade comic where they discuss the potential implications of taking pictures and posting them to XBox Live. Tycho was flooded with pics of Gabe's "man berries".
  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @12:44AM (#20407973) Journal
    Someone/something's got to be responsible for illegal content posting, and I for one don't want that person/thing to be the automated posting system, or the operators of the system. It'd be a disturbing precedent if a company is held responsible for content posted on their sites. It'd result in draconian measures to prevent inappropriate content being posted, and generally hurt the site. Personally, I'm in favour personal responsibility.
  • by wdr1 (31310) *
    One wonders how such a long-established blogging company can be so ignorant about the nature of the world wide web.

    The real wonder is how Slashdot hasn't hired them yet.

    -Bill
  • Someone please explain to me why this couldn't happen to Slashdot.
  • I had a LiveJournal, and when their terms of service changed in a way I didn't like, I closed my account (and then grew out of the "look-at-me" complex that normally fuels blogs). If you don't like what they're doing, then go somewhere else. There are plenty of other blogging services that aren't as idiotic and clueless. I'm not saying what LiveJournal is a good thing, nor am I arguing that they're right. I am saying that LiveJournal doesn't have a monopoly in the free blog world, and if you really want

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