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Steffi Graf Wins Case Vs. Microsoft 461

scaramush writes: "The AP is reporting that Steffi Graf has won her lawsuit against Microsoft for hosting nude doctored photos of her. Although Microsoft had removed the images when they appeared in June, MS declined to sign a formal agreement that they would not appear again. This is the second loss for MS in this case. Scary precedent."
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Steffi Graf Wins Case Vs. Microsoft

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  • When do we get to see doctored nude photos of Bill Gates...

    ...never mind

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:21PM (#3596935)
    Don't know what to think... Microsoft evil... yet... Microsoft right... too much... head pain...

    • Ladies and Gentlemen of this supposed jury, Microsoft would certainly want you to believe my client is wrong in suing them, and they make a good case. Hell, I almost felt pity myself. But Ladies and Gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider.

      Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk who carried a gun and ran from the mob. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it. That does not make sense. Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot-tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor with a bunch of two-foot-tall Ewoks. That does not make sense.

      But more important, you have to ask yourself what does this have to do with this case. Nothing. Ladies and Gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case. It does not make sense. Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a poor, victimized woman and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca. Does that make sense? Ladies and Gentlemen I am not making any sense. None of this makes sense.

      And so you have to remember when you're in that jury room deliberating and conjugating the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No. Ladies and Gentlemen of this supposed jury it does not make sense. If Chewbacca lives on Endor you must award my client lots of money.

      I know it seems wrong. But ladies and gentlemen this is Chewbacca. Now think about that for one minute. That does not make sense. Why am I talking about Chewbacca when a woman's dignity is on the line? Why? I'll tell you why. I don't know. It doesn't make sense. If Chewbacca does not make sense you must find in our favor. Here look at the monkey , look at the silly monkey.

      The defense rests.
  • by dzym ( 544085 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:24PM (#3596961) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft, as an ISP, hosting someone's pictures, is successfully sued for hosting those images. The point is not that it's Microsoft, the point is that an ISP has lost the case. Although it's definitely of interest that even Microsoft is not immune to this sort of suit. This case is a set-back to ISPs everywhere.
    • by Misch ( 158807 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:32PM (#3597056) Homepage
      This [] is exactly [] what whackos [] like the "Church" of Scientology [] need to sue the internet out of existance []
    • Point taken (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LittleGuy ( 267282 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:34PM (#3597070)
      This is a worst defeat for ISPs than you can consider *because* it goes against a big giant like M$. And if M$.com can be liable, who knows what could happen to the mom-and-pop ISPs with the deep pockets or the legend of lawyers.

      That loud SLAPPing sound in the background is getting closer.
    • by sterno ( 16320 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:34PM (#3597080) Homepage
      The set back here happened in Germany, which continues to bring into question the legitimacy of national courts in the international medium of the Internet. Micrsoft does business in Germany and will, of course, comply with the verdict to avoid pissing the Germans off. What if Microsoft had no direct dealings with Germany though?

      Eventually a court case will come up in some major venue (the US, or a major eurpoean country I'd guess) that will be promptly ignored by the party involved because they don't operate under that country's jurisdiction. Then who knows what will happen.
    • The person missing the point is you. I don't see where this story singles out Microsoft as anything but the defendant in this case. There's no Microsoft bashing going on here.

      Besides, it's worse then you let on. Microsoft removed the images. They lost the lawsuit because they wouldn't agree to police their servers and remove all images of that type in the future. That is a burden that no ISP should carry. Honestly, I'm having a hard time seeing how the images were illegal in the first place; I mean, sure it's wrong, but I don't know what law would enforce that. Even then, the defendant should be the creator and owner of the content, not the ISP. This is like going after the phone company because someone used their home line to make a death threat.
      • The web server is the "paper" that stuff is published on. The publisher is the person that uses that "paper" to put their material on public show.

        So like you wouldn't sue the paper manufacturer for something illegal/libellous/slanderous/defamatory that appeared in a newspaper printed on said paper, even though the paper made it possible in the first place, you shouldn't be able to sue the company providing the web server.

        So if a user X puts material on the web via their ISP, X is the publisher, not the ISP. You cannot get the ISP to veto every "sheet of paper made" after their customer has "printed on that sheet" - that would be ... highly illogical and time consuming, making paper (i.e., web hosting) cost about 500 times the amount it does currently.

        And yes, Microsoft are free to use this argument if they want to, as are any other ISP who gets into a similar dilemma. Of course, there are probably a load of holes in the argument, but hey, there is always the Chewbacca argument.

    • I agree, everyone would like to cheer since microsoft lost a court case, but the fact here is that they are an isp and the lost a somewhat major case about what they were hosting, hopefully this doesn't open up smiliar court cases against isp's everywhere.
    • Ahh, no. Microsoft as an ISP who claims the rights to everything that is put on their site (at least at the time when this all happened) has lost the case. IOW MS lost because they are evil .
  • Why this case? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:24PM (#3596962) Homepage
    Of all the cases I wanted Microsoft to lose, this is not one of them. ISP's cannot promise that their users will never upload a given photo, unless they get in the business of reviewing each and every upload. And that would be a monstrous slap in the face of free speech, as well as creating a huge workload for ISP's (and raising costs accordingly.)

    Not to flog the dead horse, but it's more evidence of ways in which the private sector is quite happy to cramp civil liberties for its own purposes, using civil law.

    • Not to flog the dead horse, but it's more evidence of ways in which the private sector is quite happy to cramp civil liberties for its own purposes, using civil law.

      I am going to flame myself and note that this case demonstrates nothing of the kind. My bad, my bad.

  • by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew.thekerrs@ca> on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:27PM (#3596989) Homepage
    As much as I dislike MS most of the time, this is one time they should have won in court. They did take the pictures down, but lets face it, there's no way to make sure it doesn't happen again unless you have people sitting there 24 hours reloading the webpages ready to delete any picture that shows up. Or you could disallow pictures all together. I dislike forum sites that all images in sigs, but I think people able to post images to a forum is fine. Of course the individuals who actually posted the pics are the ones that should have been in court, but that's besides the point.

    Once compaines are afraid to let communities post pics, its not that far to stop posting of comments as well (its a bit of a slippery slope I know). I'm all for the open expression of opinion and beliefs, and I do believe that once contacted, the webmaster/admin should remove the pics, but they shouldn't be fine because the pics were there.

  • by flatrock ( 79357 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:27PM (#3596992)
    How do they expect board operators to control what someone might post. I can understand the board operators being forced to remove these pictures, but it's nearly impossible for them to prevent doctored pictures don't show up. I keep being more and more amazed at the narrow mindedness of courts all over the world.
    • How do they expect board operators to control what someone might post

      Well for web site operators and not ISPs:

      1. Don't allow people to post at all. Almost every ISP provides a personal website, people can post stuff on their own site rather than yours.

      2. Require positive identification of posters. As in people you know in the real world, who you trust, etc. Or perhaps people who have given you personal identification that can be verified like name, address, phone, driver's license. The sort of stuff you need to verify a personal check. Removing anonymity and passing along legal accountibility may provide enough cover-your-ass and may encourage posters to behave. This route may not provide complete ass coverage, coverage varies with jurisdiction.

      And yes the above sucks and merely passes the problem to someone else, but you only asked how an operator may protect their site. How to stop stupid lawsuits is too difficult a problem for me to solve.
  • the charges Microsoft was pressing in which Slashdot was responsible for people who posted some document covered by an NDA. I'd have to agree on Microsoft's side this time, they are true in that the way that this ruling does inhibit some online speech, for example posting on Slashdot. I could see in the future where posts are simply removed because they might infringe on the DMCA or other laws.
    • I could see in the future where posts are simply removed because they might infringe on the DMCA or other laws.

      Actually, the DMCA is exactly the reason why this ruling would never hold up in the U.S.

  • by hkhanna ( 559514 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:28PM (#3597011) Journal
    Wow, I took one look at this article and thought, "Hurray! Microsoft lost a legal battle. Chalk one more up for Open Source!" Yeah, then I clicked the link only to find they lost a case dealing with the openness and freeness of the internet. Just think of the precedent this sets if a web site's owner is responsible for the content other, perhaps anonymous users post on his/her website. Wouldn't that make CmdrTaco liable if I posted the source to DeCSS in one of the comments? (just an example, folks)

    Well that brings up the interesting case of conflicting /. views. Think about it: Well, we generally hate Microsoft, but we also hate censorship on the internet. Here, Microsoft and censorship are on opposite sides. Where does that leave us? Oof, good question.

    Bottom line: scary precedent.

    • Think about it: Well, we generally hate Microsoft, but we also hate censorship on the internet. Here, Microsoft and censorship are on opposite sides. Where does that leave us?

      Being a large group of individuals, it leaves those of us that are issue oriented being ticked off at the German court. It still leaves us with plenty of issues to be ticked off at MS about. Some of us even hate anti-trust so we do not fault MS for those violations, but do draw the line at some of their other business practices.

      Now, for those that are not issue oriented, it *should* leave them happy that their big monster M$ was defeated.

      This leaves the hypocrites, who can choose whatever side they wish.

      See? Plenty of fences to sit around on ;-)
    • The real question is who is the greater enemy, take them out first. Personally the German Court seems to be a greater threat. Bad companies come and go, within years or decades. Bad laws live for centuries.

      I recall when IBM was the great-satan that Microsoft is today. Then one day they become a partner with Apple to make PowerPC chips. Steve's reality distortion field gets a little tweaking, Mac users quickly readjust. Slashdot will readjust as well when Microsoft is no longer it's personification of evil. Or another way to look at it, Slashdot is highly political and political allies can easily change.
    • In this case, it's simple. You are either for free speech, or not.
      If you are opposed to free speech for your enemies you are not for free speech.

      I think Voltaire said it best a few hundred years ago:
      "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:29PM (#3597014) Homepage
    Its not the criminals fault, its the gun's
    Its not the pirates fault, it's Napster's
    Its not the poster's fault, it's the ISP's

    noboby is guilty of anything, its the tool's fault... doesnt that make everyone feel better about themselves?
    • Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people.
      • Actually, it's usually a lack of oxygen to the brain that kills people, usually precipitated by heart failure caused by the gaping wound in their chest from the bullet, fired by a gun, controlled by a man.

        If you want to get pedantic about it of course.
        • Cardiac arrest kills people. You can be brain dead and still alive. I believe that doctors are no longer allowed to list cardiac arrest as cause of death, since in the end, that's the cause of everyone's death. (Death = heart no longer functioning) The end result of all other causes of death is that your heart stops.
          • Ah sorry. I was using my own definition of life as opposed to the medical definition.

            Mostly because people value life so diligently I consider their definitions of life to be the medical definition of human conciousness which imo is more amazing than the medical definition of life.
          • You can be brain dead and still alive. I believe that doctors are no longer allowed to list cardiac arrest as cause of death

            You are incorrect on both counts. I know this because my wife is a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins (just like Dr Hibbert). Brain death == dead. Heart death is usually dead too, but with stuff like LVAD sometimes you get lucky.
            • by carlcmc ( 322350 )
              Your wife may be a cardiologist, but I am a PA at the Mayo Clinic in the Cardiac Surgery division. The body most certainly can be alive while the brain is dead. The body being alive=oxygenated blood reaching the cells and profusing them allowing the to complete their normal homestatic mechanisms.

              And NOOOO, a LVAD will not keep a dead heart alive. As I said, I work in cardiac surgery. A LVAD (left ventricular assist device) or RVAD or BiVAD will only help if the heart is still alive. The key word being ASSIST in "left ventricular assist device".

              Now, if you wish to argue the definition of alive, but according the definition that we have used in this discussion, what he said was fairly correct.

    • by Erasmus Darwin ( 183180 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:53PM (#3597212)
      "Its not the pirates fault, it's Napster's"

      I agree that there are parallel's to the Napster case, but I believe that this case is actually slightly worse (and, depending on your perspective, on the opposite side of right vs. wrong).

      With Napster, they created a service that was intended, from day 1, for heavy trafficking in copyrighted material. From what I understand, Napster went as far as to advertise the prevalence of popular artists on their service. Such knowledge is a key part of charging them with indirect copyright infringement (either contributory or vicarious -- I'm not up to date on the details).

      With Microsoft, on the other hand, they apparently had a service that was no different from your standard message board with image attachments turned on. While there's no mention in the article of the theme of the board, there's nothing to imply an intent to profit off the indirect sharing of libelous material. That makes them (arguably) more innocent.

      So even if you disagree with whether or not Napster's intent (or alleged intent if you disagree on the intent itself) pushes them into the guilt zone, it seems that Microsoft was standing in a less ambiguous position when they got nabbed. And that really worries me, simply because it implies that a court decision has crossed the invisible line (at least in my own mind) the stands between "Oh well." and "Uh oh."

    • the US will beat up the terrorists and the countries that host them. :/
    • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @05:15PM (#3597782) Homepage
      Its not the criminals fault, its the gun's

      This is more of a gray area than people realize. Certainly, it's the criminal's *fault*, but there is a logical argument to restrict the enabling technology if the result of its use is particularly destructive.

      For instance, if you wanted to carry a nuclear weapon in a backpack around NYC, you could theoretically use the same argument: so long as the radioactive material is properly shielded, there's no harm done to anyone unless you detonate the bomb. However, the consequences of you using it are catastrophic, so it's illegal for you to possess such a device (at least I sure hope it is!).

      Now, gun control seems like such a divided issue because people are divided over the severity of what happens when they are used. Many people do actually choose to use weapons in harmful ways, and yes, it is THEIR fault. However, since you can't easily stop someone from shooting you if they already have a gun in their hand, the idea of gun control is to eliminate the risk by not giving you the opportunity.

      Certainly, there are lots of arguments on both sides, including one of feasibility... supposedly there are more guns in the U.S. than there are people, and you aren't going to just tell people to turn them in and expect them to do it. That wouldn't work.

      Getting back on topic, this article is kind of the same: force the ISP to check all content before it goes online. This prevents a malicious user from posting malicious content, but seems to put blame on the ISP, when we know it should be put on the user him/herself. Again, we need to assess the risk of damage caused by a malicious user, and compare it with the cost to all the non-malicious users.

      Personally, I'm pulling for the free speech side here, but I'm just a silly Canadian, so don't mind me. ;^)
  • Does this mean I could sue /. everytime an AC calls me a linux-loving fag []?

  • by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:30PM (#3597031)

    This is a case in Germany, under German law, against the German division of Microsoft. From the article:
    • "...Steffi Graf won a court case against Microsoft Germany..." (my emphasis)
    Frightening though it may be, this isn't about any of the draconian US laws.
    • Yes until such treaties such as the Hague convention are ratified where companies can be sued in any foriegn jurisdiction with out any sort of contacts. Or until Yahoo and the like start losing cases and can be held liable in France for actions that they filter out for french specific sites ( The future of lowest common denominator is not too far off, and that should be alarming whether you are concerned about USA exporting the DMCA or Europeans exporting bans on all "racist and xenophobic" speech (as they are currently attempting to do in the Council of Europe), or this!
  • Slashdot the site by making the link out of the "nude doctored photos" part of the text. I wonder if MS submitted the story that way to ensure that no one who doesn't already hate MS sees the site?

    I can't figure out if the desire to trash MS will win out over the anti-DMCA urge. It'll be interesting to see which way the knee-jerks go with this one.
  • If the pictures are fake, then what's the problem? Having legal ramifications for running a public, uncensored community that can post whatever they want is one thing, I mean we don't want kiddie porn to happen, but come on, there's no harm in a little Gimping around the 'net. I mean damn, look at the Mr. T Vs. Series... that's some serious laughter inducing stuff. People need to take it easy.
  • by 1984 ( 56406 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:34PM (#3597069)
    This is a good thing because it's a bad thing (yes, yes, I realise that's pompous). The precedent set is disquieting. But it was always going to happen; in either large chunks or small bites (perhaps both) the responsibility of ISPs was always going to be defined this way. People suing because they don't like what they see, and ISPs saying "but we're a common carrier, it's not our fault" in court cases.

    So anyway, this is good because it's not a mom and pop ISP. This is someone who can afford to press a point, if it's worth it to them. Thus it opens the potential for a real debate on these issues. If it were an easily-trampled minnow, that wouldn't happen.

    In this case, be happy it's Microsoft. Your enemy's enemy and all that...

  • Dazed and confused Slashdot readers everywhere were found siding with Microsoft today...
  • This is one case which we would want Microsoft to win. Microsoft didn't put up the photos themselves, the pictures were put up by users of the website presumably just like we post comments. Microsoft also took down the pictures upon request, the problem came when MS refused to sign an agreement that the pictures would never appear again. In addition

    The company would have to pay a fine if similar photos emerge on the site in future, court spokesman Christian Grueneberg said.

    From my understanding this would be roughly equivalent to /. having to pay up every time links to or any other sites of that nature were put up, I don't see how this is even enforcable on MS's part. This is a very disturbing preceden and I hope that there are some significant additional facts that the article is ignoring. Then again if you want to cost MS some $$ you know what to do!!
  • by tps12 ( 105590 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:35PM (#3597094) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has a weak backhand.

    Okay, who was the wise guy who posted this under "The Courts"? Ha ha.
  • The photos - computer manipulations that put Graf's head on a nude body - appeared last year on the site operated by Microsoft Germany where users could post pictures and texts to share with others.

    The photos were taken down in June at Graf's request, but the company declined to sign a formal agreement that they wouldn't appear again, and Graf sued.

    You know, I would be seriously pissed if some guy broke into my house, stole my rifle, used it to shoot and kill a cop, and the police arrested me for owning the murder weapon.

    When is our judicial system going to get it through their heads that ISPs cannot control the actions of their users, just like I cannot control who might break into my house. I'm sure Microsoft Germany had no intention of putting nude photos on their website, just like I have no intention of killing someone with my rifle, but I cannot guarantee that it won't happen.

  • If read the story, you'll see that, much to the chagrin of myself and others who decry Microsoft's behavior in many other venues, Microsoft deserved to win this one.

    They are merely permitting users to post. Like Slashdot.

    The principle here is exactly the same one that would apply if Slashdot were sued because someone posted links to sites critical of the Church of Scientology, or to places where they could download DeCSS.

    I think the best thing here would be if the public provider only agreed to investigate allegations of slander if they are submitted in writing, with no obligation to remove any postings if they are not found to be libelous of individuals.

    Postings are expressions of their respective authors only!

  • by CaffeineAddict2001 ( 518485 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:40PM (#3597126)
    Bea Arthur is outraged that they put steffi graff's head on her body.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:48PM (#3597179)
    from what i remember i read about it there was an eula to access/post images/write stuff that you had to agree with before getting you login data.
    it happens that in this eula there was a part that said something along the lines of "all content postet/written goes over into microsofts ownership".
    so when the pics were postet microsoft got ownership and so microsoft was sued because hosting said pictures that they claimed ownership for through their eula.
    the eula was changed shortly after.

    so there.. read it up before coming up with german/nazi like acusations.
  • by el_nino ( 4271 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @03:49PM (#3597190) Homepage Journal
    This is how you use this precedent to MAKE MONEY FAST from home, AND hurt big bad Microsoft to boot:

    1. Find nudie pics on the internet. If you fail this, kill yourself immediately.
    2. Put pictures of your own head on the naked bodies.
    3. From an internet cafe, create an account with a fake name on Microsoft Germanies photo sharing/whatever site. Upload the pictures to this site.
    4. Sue Microsoft Germany for posting fake nude images of you on the net. Tell them to sign a formal agreement that they will not appear again. If they won't, you get money. If they do sign, post the images again and sue them for breach of contact, and get money.
    5. Repeat until rich.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The real reason why Microsoft lost this case is simply their greediness.

    The judge actually said this: "In their EULA for the (German) MSN service they grant themselfes all the rights for the contents of their users. Also the user pages are embedded into frames of MSN and look like geniue MSN content. This is why Microsoft Germany is responible for this content." (my translation).

    The original Text can be found here: href=" url=/newsticker/data/cgl-07.12.01-000/default.shtm l&words=Steffi []

    So this means it's still safe for ISPs to host their users content as long as you don't want to have all rights to your users content.

    It's simply Microsofts fault and their greediness which dug their own grave.

    • by happyclam ( 564118 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @04:33PM (#3597514)

      And here's what's current "photos" agreement says:

      MSN Photos In addition to the warranty and representation set forth in these Terms of Use, by Posting a Submission that contain images, photographs, pictures or that are otherwise graphical in whole or in part ("Pictures"), you warrant and represent that (a) you are the copyright owner of such Picture, or that the copyright owner of such Picture has granted you permission to use such Picture or any content and/or images contained in such Picture consistent with the manner and purpose of your use and as otherwise permitted by these Terms of Use and the MSN Site/Services, (b) you have the rights necessary to grant the licenses and sublicenses described in these Terms of Use, and (c) that each person depicted in such Picture, if any, has provided consent to the use of the Picture as set forth in these Terms of Use, including, by way of example, and not as a limitation, the distribution, public display and reproduction of such Picture. By Posting a Picture, you are granting (a) to all members of your private community (for each such Picture available to members of such private community), (b) to the general public (for each such Picture available anywhere on the MSN Web Site, other than a private community), and/or (c) to any person with whom whom you share Pictures through e-mail using the MSN Site/Services, permission to use your Picture in connection with the use, as permitted by these Terms of Use, of any MSN Site/Service, (including, by way of example, and not as a limitation, downloading, printing and making prints and gift items which include such Picture), and including, without limitation, a non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free license to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Picture without having your name attached to such Picture, and the right to sublicense such rights to any supplier of such MSN Site/Service. The licenses granted in the preceding sentences for a Picture will terminate at the time you completely remove such Picture from the MSN Web Site, provided that, such termination shall not affect any licenses granted in connection with such Picture prior to the time you completely remove such Picture. No compensation will be paid with respect to the use of your Picture."

      Not only are they conceding that the poster has the liability, but they are granting everyone else in the world the right to edit and re-publish your photo without your consent!

      CYA has become a new art form in the Redmond law offices, I guess.

  • Please choose one of the pages:
    - Windows 2000/XP
    - Bill Gates
    - Steffi Graf's nude pics
    - MS Office XP
    - Developer tools
    - Fun & learning (see also #3)
  • Nothing new here. (Score:3, Informative)

    by RelliK ( 4466 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @04:34PM (#3597529)
    AOL has been busted with the same suit, also in Germany. Some AOLuser posted porn on their private web space and AOL was found liable. That case was 2-3 years old. As much as I despise AOL, I think the ruling is ridiculous. There is simply no way an ISP can monitor everything its lusers do.

    Well, at least with this ruling Microsoft might be able to buy some polititians to get the law changed. But then I would have expected AOL to do that a long time ago. Any Germans care to comment?
  • MS declined to sign a formal agreement that they would not appear again.
    So, why couldn't they just compare the MD5 of every new picture uploaded against the MD5 of the picture that was taken down. Sure, if anyone changes the picture just a little it'll work, but that picture will not be posted again. I don't know exactly what the agreement was, that might not have been enough, but depending on the wording it may have been. And if that would have taken care of it, it would have prevented a case that could possibly cause a lot of headaches for a lot of ISP's.
  • by ehiris ( 214677 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @04:37PM (#3597560) Homepage
    She won the Gerichtsprozess.

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @04:46PM (#3597615) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to opine that this is something that Microsoft richly deserves, and it likely won't be much of a precendent at all.

    We've read several news stories about MSN's TOS that gives them ownership of everything on customers' web sites. We've read the stories about their lifting images from customers' web sites and using them in ads. Microsoft's attitude all along has been that they own everything on their machines.

    So it's not at all odd that they should be held legally responsible for images that they claim to own.

    Lawyers have been pointing out for some time that the way out of this is for ISPs to simply declare that they are merely "carriers" and aren't responsible for the contents of customers' files or communications. A century of precendent with services like the phone system supports the idea that a common carrier can't be made to police the communications over its lines. The communications are the property of the customers, not the company.

    Similarly, the corporations (mostly governmental) that maintain the streets and highways aren't responsible for the legality of cargo carried by users' vehicles.

    It's likely that the real outcome of this will be to stop Microsoft's attempts to claim ownership of everything produced by their customers. If they persist in making such claims, they will be held liable for the contents of their files, and will be forced to hire staff to examine each and every file on every customer's web site. This will be so expensive that they'll have to either give up the ISP business or declare that they don't own customers' files.

    What we want is a situation where we can all put whatever we want on our web sites, and the ISPs can't interfere. Legality should be strictly between a site's owner and the local governments. We want the ISPs to keep their noses out of our content.

    Microsoft has just had its nose slapped.

  • Ok. The linked article lacks relevant information. Here's a slightly longer version []. You might want to translate it from German, using the fish [].

    The written reasoning of this judgement will only be released in two days. But when those images were posted, the old version of the MSN EULA was active. It stated that the copyright of any material posted via MSN would be transferred to MS.

    If MS has the copyright on the material, they are IMO partly responsible for whether or where it is published. The same is not true for a normal ISP. MS can't have it both ways. (Although I kind of wonder whether an EULA like that is really enforceable in Germany.)
  • Most of the arguments I've read here have been along the lines of "This is bad because it hurts the Internet". While it does indeed hurt the internet, the above reasoning is flawed. It is reasonable to place some blame on ISPs for the contents of the sites that they host. Before you flame, think about it. If I'm the Mayor of a city and crime rates jump by 300% while I'm in office, the criminals are to blame. But voters will hold me responsible and I'll lose my job. If I'm a banker and all my clients are mobsters, I don't have to break the law to lose my good name and be rejected by society. If I'm 17 and home with my 6 year old sibling, and he jumps out of the second story window, my parents will get really mad at me, and place the responsibiliy on me. I didn't do anything but I'm still to blame.

    My point is, just because a lot of things won't work in conjunction with this ruling doesn't mean it's bad. There have been countless /. posts blaming the Music Industry for trying to enforce an obsolete business Model and for being out of touch with the way things are. Sites and ISPs will just have to work with this ruling, not against it.

  • There are lots of worse things that being naked.

    Would a picture of her head grafted onto some poor innocent donkey's ass make her happier?

    Would some video of her proclaiming violent death to California otters make her any happier?

    She's a pubic, uh, public figure. If she doesn't want to be fantasized about, let her shed the little white outfits (in private of course,) and wear a "chador."

    That might excuse her fading game but it still wouldn't stop the abuse of her image. Some people fantasize about fucking mud. She a cut above that. (I could make some really crude comments about first and second seed here...)

    Get used to it. Bee-atch.
  • They should completely get rid of Internet access to Germany.

    Send a message to these kangaroo courts: enforce ridiculous regulations and we will just leave.

    Instead of getting an environment where online services are warm and fuzzy, they'll just get an environment without online services.

    Then they will have to decide, as a country, what is more important, keeping the (assinine) regulations or getting back access to the Internet.

    Losing access to the Internet WILL hurt them economically and general quality of life.

    Yes, it hurts Microsoft economically, but so will them paying (possibly monsterous) fines for activities they can not control (unless they pre-approve every posting - and someone could always embed the forbidden photos using steganography - which could possibly also result in a fine). Pre-approving posting is very time consuming, it costs the ISP a lot, and it means images or posts will not appear until the ISP approves them. That kills any chance of having a smooth running board where people can respond in a timely manner.

    They need to be taught in the only language they understand.

  • by __aawsxp7741 ( 78632 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2002 @08:24PM (#3599042)
    This ruling does not actually apply to all forums. For instance, Slashdot would not be affected. The court's explanation [] (google translation []) clearly states that the decision was based on the fact that Microsoft has "acquired" the posted information by closely integrating it into their site and, more importantly, by claiming rights to it.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson