Reacting to criticism of it's decision to curtail access
to more than 200 newsgroups and bulletin boards that deal in so-called "adult"
content, CompuServe now says it plans to restore access to that content in all
parts of the world except Germany. German officials had requested the ban.
According to CompuServe officials, it is going to be possible to limit the ban
to only Germany. Is this a good idea? No. Imagine the nightmare if every
content provider has to customize content for every country. "Pretty soon,
CompuServe could become quite the censor," Shari Steele, an attorney at the
Electronic Frontier Foundation told the Wall Street Journal yesterday.
Additionally, this suggests that on-line services be responsible for content
that does not exist in their service, but which is simply on the Net somewhere
and accessible through their service. Lots of bad precedents being set by the
CompuServe brain trust.