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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:15 pm
Posts: 136
Location: Germany
My final thoughts on this subject:

Anyone who has enough experience with the internet, and I certainly have, knows that the internet is just called a "world wide web" and "international net", but it doesn't have any international laws actually to secure the rights of everyone. People usually believe that, but it's an illusion none of the less. That's because every nation and every privately-owned forum, blog and website sees itself as a place with its own terms of use.

For example, posting anti-chinese material on a server located in China, may result in instant censorship. Chinese Internet is surely a prime example for a totalitarian internet. And the previous sentence I've just made would probably get me banned if this was a forum located on a server in China. Posting the same anti-chinese material on a server located in North America may result in no censorship at all. And doing the same on a server located in Germany may result in a different reaction aswell.

This privately-owned forum, as most other forums on the internet, is bound to the laws of the nation which the server, on which this forum runs on, is located. Thus it can be regarded as privately-owned "land". The terms of an internet forum usually incorporate basic laws from the nation its server is located on and adds own set of rules to the terms. It morphs from a government-run internet forum to a privately-owned forum.

A good example of privately-owned "land" or "space" is the Area 51 military installation in Nevada. Actually they have the clearest terms one can ever imagine. Every kid knows the famous Area 51 signs. See this picture.

It reads: "Warning! Restricted Area. It is unlawful to enter this area without the written permission of the Installation Commander. Use of deadly force authorized. No trespassing! Photography of this area is prohibited."

It's clear and simple. No misunderstandings here. The man in this YouTube video demonstrates in a very skilled way how to behave when being at the entrance of privately-owned space. For example, he shows that photography is allowed as long as you don't pass the warning signs.

Why is that, one might ask? That's because the signs state nothing about prohibited photography of the signs itself. They only state that photography INSIDE the installation is prohibited. But since he has not entered the installation or set foot on it, he has not violated any of the rules of the Area 51 Installation Commander. At the end of the video you can see that the cammo dudes don't interfere when he drives his truck in front of the Area 51 signs and returns, while clearly filming that event. His camera is not being seized by the cammo dudes at all.

So you can see, this method applies to privately-owned internet forums aswell. You are allowed to do whatever you want on such private forums unless it is explicitly prohibited in a written form by the owner of the private forum.

Let's say I make a trip with a few friends to the location of Area 51 installation in Nevada, Texas. Let's assume that my friends and I are located outside the Area 51 installation and we photograph a UFO ascending from the Groomlake Mountains. Since we have a) not entered their private property and b) they have not stated that photography outside Area 51 was prohibited, they can't stop us from doing so unless we photographed the UFO on their public land, even if the UFO was located in Area 51. This may sound weird to some people, but this is how private laws work. Ofcourse it may be possible that the Area 51 military installation has special laws given by the American government which extend outside the area. Let's hope not or thousands of UFO hunters and photographers will be doomed in a second. ;)

Same here. A post has been made inside the private forum and I quoted the post. If I quoted the post outside this private forum I could do it anyway without prohibition. I quoted the post while being inside this private forum though. HOWEVER, since the board administrator/moderator ("The Area 51 installation Commander" ;) ) has not prohibited quotation (which is a form of photography, if you will) on this forum by clearly stating it in a written form in his Terms of Use I have done nothing illegal. The administrator may officially change the rules while I'm being on his private forum and play a little trick on me in order to have the right to confiscate my camera, although I am not a lawyer, so I can't say if such a operation is even legal within private property. But if he doesn't do it then the owner of the private land is acting illegally!

Privately-owned space is not anarchy, you know. If you don't state your private terms in a written form, so people who enter your forum know how to behave and what to expect, they can do whatever they want unless they don't violate your terms. Like it or not.

Emilian K.

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"An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define... or destroy you."
INCEPTION Soundtrack - Dream is Collapsing


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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:25 pm
Posts: 440
Location: Sweden
Retro wrote:
You are allowed to do whatever you want on such private forums unless it is explicitly prohibited in a written form by the owner of the private forum.


Why does it have to be a big sign? Surely the default should be to try and behave nicely regardless, and so on.

Yes, some official rules may be good, I don't know, but the risk with having detailed rules is that some people will start to nitpick them and say "that's not in the rules, so I behave however I want". (There's a reason language of laws and layers is strange and complex.)


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