CompuServe Plans To Make "Adult" Material Available Outside Germany

Maybe if they saw this drawing by Coop, those German officials, not to mention the CompuServe brain trust, might lighten up.

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.