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CED Digest Posting Guidelines


January 16, 1999:

A review of legal matters concerning mailing lists has prompted me to institute the following limitation regarding acceptable submissions to CED Digest:

Submissions that allege swindle, defame the character of individuals, or make other pejorative references will not be posted to the digest.

To understand the reason for this, consider the dictionary definition of LIBEL:

1. A written, printed, or pictorial statement that unjustly damages a person's reputation.

2. The action or crime of presenting such a statement to the public.

There have been a small number of submissions to CED Digest stating that particular individuals received payment for CED's, but never shipped the discs. While these claims may be true, CED Digest is not an investigative entity and has no means of verifying the validity of such claims. If a person is accused of swindle and subsequently ships the discs, then swindle in fact did not occur and the original claim of such constitutes libel. I regularly purchase items through the mail myself and have sometimes believed that I have been swindled because of the incredible length of time and incessant reminders required to get the items shipped, but I've never taken the step of publicly accusing the parties involved of swindle. Making a public pronouncement of swindle may be an effective means to cajole a procrastinator, but it also entails legal risks.

Internet service providers were exonerated from libel charges according to definition (2) above in the landmark Cubby vs. CompuServe case. The court's conclusions in this case were that issues of expediency and privacy took precedence, as CompuServe personnel would otherwise have to read and evaluate every message sent through their system. The legal issues associated with mailing lists distributed from private email accounts like CED Digest are still evaluated on a case-by-case basis, hence the institution of this posting policy.

For more information on legal matters concerning the internet, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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