I Blame the Dutch (mpoetess) wrote,
I Blame the Dutch

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Oh, LJ, no. (Part the godknowswhich)

LJ...just... dudes. (Link gacked from 47_trek_47)

I've seen previous references today and yesterday to LJ staff having said that even linking to objectionable content could result in suspension, but when I followed the quotes back to the source, the actual discussion was about using an LJ post to display an image hosted elsewhere. Like this.

The image itself is displaying on my LJ, though it's stored on my own webspace, not in LJ's scrapbook. I could see why LJ could reasonably consider that to fall under "hosting" - LJ is still displaying the picture - it's acting as a picture-frame.

That's embedding or "remote loading." It's not the same as a text link, and I sighed and wished the users who'd discussed it had read more carefully or had better understanding of html. Not because I don't think 6Apart are being idiots - but because people who are attempting to change things really really need to know what they're talking about, and give that impression to both 6A and the public.

But now they really have answered that even links to offsite material could be grounds for suspension. "Linking to specific offsite content which would violate LiveJournal's Terms of Service can still be considered a violation of LiveJournal's Terms of Service in most situations." {From the official response to a support request}

What does that mean in practical terms? That if I were to link to, for example, the picture that got one of the HP fanartists suspended -- even if I linked it in the context of a nonpartisan report on the situation -- my journal could be considered just as much in violation of the TOS as if I'd re-posted the picture on my front page.

LJ's Terms of Service give them legal carte blanche to delete anybody for anything; I'm not sure there's anybody out there even attempting to argue otherwise, anymore. But the public relations and customer service hole they are digging themselves into just gets deeper and deeper. Adding restriction of offsite hyperlinks to the list seriously damages any claims that their actions are about protecting the company legally.

LJ/6Apart is really, really reminding me of an argument-pattern (clearly paraphrased here) that's been noted with anti-fanfic folks:

    Anti: "It's illegal!"

    Pro: "That hasn't been well-tested in court yet. It might be fair use; it might not be."

    Anti: "It's not. Plus you're not a real writer/artist if you can't come up with your own characters and settings. You have no creativity."

    Pro: "So what about those licensed spinoff novels you write? Do those mean you're not a real writer?"

    Anti: "Those are legal!"

    Pro: "...and therefore more creative?"

etc. In other words, the constant track-jump to the unrelated argument whenever the other person in the discussion appears to have the logical upper hand.

    LJ: It's child porn!

    Users: Um, no. Child porn has to involve real children, in the US.

    LJ: Okay, you're right, but it's still obscene! Therefore illegal!

    Users: Um, no. The standards for obscenity are very hard to prove, and have to be decided in court. Which this is not.

    LJ: It might be obscene, though, and that gives us legal liability!

    Users: Really doubtful.

    LJ: We're not taking the chance. Plus, there's also stuff we just morally don't want to host.

    Users: Okay, fair enough. But you have to define what exactly that is, if you want to be seen as a good business.

    LJ: No illegal stuff!

    Users: .....Plz see above? But okay, okay, whatever, say you find the material objectionable for whatever reason - why can't you ask the user to remove it instead of permanently suspending them?

    LJ: Because then we'd be legally liable! Even hosting such content for as long as it takes for the user to respond would make us liable.

    Users: ..................... But we thought this was about morali-- Gah, ok whatever. Then why can't you delete the offending material, without suspending the user's entire account and every other account they have?

    LJ: *is silent, pretty much, as far as I can tell*

    Users: So okay, what about just hyperlinking to material hosted elsewhere? You're not hosting that.

    LJ: Nope, just as bad!

    Users: *use up all the ellipses in the world*
Tags: illogic loops, lj, oh lj no, psindianastopbeinganoven
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