Times Argus take on iBrattleboro suit | 802 Online
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Monday, December 3, 2007

Times Argus take on iBrattleboro suit

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2007 at 11:09 AM

Another twist on my last post...

Dan Barlow had an interesting article in the Times Argus yesterday about the lawsuit against iBrattleboro.

It's my understanding that iBrat is covered under the Communications Decency Act (Section 230, I think), so they should be fine legally.

But I have to agree with Traci Griffith's assessment:

"The government is still playing catch-up with the Internet in a lot ofareas, especially around speech," said Traci Griffith, an assistantprofessor of journalism and mass communications at St. Michael'sCollege in Colchester. "It's too bad we didn't have the foresight toaddress some of these issues earlier, but we are going to see newattempts to regulate the Internet in the next few years."

Will the laws change? Will websites become liable for comments posted by 3rd parties? It does seem unlikely. Can you imagine someone having to read and filter every single comment on every single web forum before it got published? That seems crazy to me.

But maybe that's because I'm one of the people who would have to do it.

I mean, I think hands-on moderation is key to hosting a healthy discussion. It's definitely smart to read comments and remove them if they violate a policy, but pre-screening seems too labor-intensive to me for a site like iBrat. And it would put up a barrier that could inhibit the community conversation that makes the site so useful.

Incidentally, what's up with the lack of links in this story? C'mon, Times Argus. How hard is it to link to iBrattleboro?

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About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

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Cathy Resmer is Seven Days' deputy publisher. She's an organizer of the Vermont Tech Jam, and compiles a weekly tech e-newsletter every Monday. She also oversees Seven Days' free monthly parenting publication, Kids VT, and is an enthusiastic wrestling mom... more

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