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22 Mar 2023
CDA Section 230 has been called ``The 26 Words that Created the Internet''. While it is obvious how Sec 230 protects the World Wide Web, it is equally important for e-mail.
A recent Pennsylvania court case emphasizes this point. Dr. Thomas, a professor at the Univeristy of Pennysylvania forwarded an article about another professor Dr. Monge to an online e-mail discussion list. Dr. Monge claimed the article was defamatory and sued Dr Thomas, the university, and many others. But since neither Dr Thomas, nor the university were the author of the article, under Sec 230 they were quickly dismissed from the case. This is good news for anyone who (like me) runs mailing lists for other people. If we were legally responsible for everything anyone said on a list, the number of lists would be a whole lot smaller.But Sec 230 doesn't just protect mailing lists. It also protect spam filtering, and on the modern Internet, mail without filtering would be unusable.
11 Jan 2023
We hear that the widely touted ChatGPT can do a respectable job writing high school essays, malware ransom notes, and the like. When it writes a document, who owns the copyright?An acquaintance asked ChatGPT for its advice and unsurprisingly it suggested updating copyright law to give special recognition to material written by AI software. (Tomorrow I plan to ask an herbalist if I should use more herbs.)
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