I've always wanted to take acid at Disneyland. I'd get a set of mouse-ears with "Satan" embroidered on the hat-part, and wear them with a big, stupid, evil grin on my face. Then I'd go ride Mr. Toad's Wild Ride again and again, even though it isn't there anymore. -- Enigma
The Internet is supposedly an unrestricted medium available
to anyone who wants to express him/herself. You can put a
Web site up and talk about blaw blaw blaw, and instantly it
will be available to millions of people. Nobody can censor
what you have to say... That's the mythology anyway.
The sick reality of things is that if someone big enough doesn't like what you
have to say, more than likely, your service provider will wack your account
faster than you can say, "Help! Help! My service provider has a back like a
We've chronicled Art Bell's alleged behavior towards Internet Web sites he
takes exception to -- supposedly pressuring service providers to nuke the
accounts of his critics. The details may change, but sites with controversial
material are being tossed off the net in the same way all the time.
Mother Jones Magazine's Mojo Wire has a story about a parody site, which made
fun of Mirimax's new Talk Magazine. The site got booted from uber-ISP
Earthlink (www.earthlink.com), one of the nation's largest service providers,
when Mirimax's lawyers demanded that the site be taken down because of
trademark violations. Earthlink caved without even a wimper.
Fortunately, somehow the New York Times got wind of the story and thought it
worth publishing, at which point Earthlink's PR department and Mirimax's
lawyers went into "full-tilt backpedal."
According to the Mojo Wire, Talk's PR director told the corporate lawyers to
retract their claim of trademark violation, and stated that she found the site
to be "damn funny." Earthlink apologized and reinstated the Talk parody site,
tossing in several months of free service as a sop.
So everything worked our real nice like.
But would the Talk parody site still be around if it weren't for the New York
Times? The moral of the story seems to be, if something like this happens to
you, yell like HELL, and hope the New York Times is listening...
The crazy thing is that Internet service providers seem to want their cake and
eat it to. They claim to be common carriers like the postal service or the
telephone company, and thus not responsible for the information that's hosted
on their servers. But, if a nasty lawyer calls -- or the webmaster of a
popular site threatens to inconvenience them -- they fall back on their
draconian "Acceptable Use," or "Terms of Service" policies, which usually state
something to the effect that an account can be summarily deleted at the service
provider's sole discretion.