Geeks get a grip

YET ANOTHER Internet Service Provider (ISP) has tried it on over its users' rights in their words and pictures, and burned its fingers. In May CIX, which has a formidable reputation as the UK's major nest of geeks, issued all its users with an ultimatum: sign these here Terms and Conditions by 30 June, or be booted off the system.

As a user wrote very soon afterwards: "After some 5000 msgs since Thursday, management seem to be realising that they may have made a horrible mistake. On Friday, a management suggestion that people should accept the new T&Cs provisionally, with the promise of review, was torn to shreds."

The proposed terms gave CIX the right to republish everything posted on its machines for profit. It's trying to relaunch itself as a service provider for businesses and professionals, so this was A Bad Thing. Consider the plight of photographers and writers who posted samples of their work on a website which lived on a CIX machine...

Several users also obtained legal advice that if they, as directors of companies or charities, were to sign up to CIX's unlimited liability clauses, they would be committing an offence. It seems that the new document may have been a ham-fisted defensive move, following settlement of a case in which Demon, another ISP, was sued as publisher of a libel.

A dozen CIX users are now thrashing out what the terms of use should be, in a consultation process with management. This was expected to take several weeks. Meanwhile the ultimatum has been lifted.

June    2000
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