This report is also available as an Acrobat file.
A federal district court in Florida has held that a BBS operator is liable for infringing Playboy's copyright distribution and display rights by making available Playboy pictures in machine readable format. The interesting part is that the operator alleged that a subscriber had uploaded the files without the operator's knowledge, and the files had been removed as soon as the operator was aware of their presence. See Playboy Enterprises, Inc. v. Frena, No. 93- 489-Civ-J-20 (D.C. M.Fla. 12/9/93).
See 'Computer libel wins academic $40 000' M.Lang, The West Australian, 2 April 1994
Notably that state and federal enforcement agencies had brought actions against SCI as result of their direct mailing practices.
It should be noted that the suit against Meeks was filed in Ohio.
For example Opportunity Makes a Thief: An Analysis of Computer Abuse, the fifth triannual report of the Audit Commission on the extent of computer abuse and fraud in the UK (1994, HMSO Publications).
s43 Improper use of public telecommunication system
- A person who-
- sends, by means of a public telecommunication system, a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or
- sends by those means, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, a message that he knows to be false or persistently makes use for that purpose of a public telecommunication system, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary convictiol1 to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the
standard scale. [...]
And there seems to be no end to the number of articles like the one run by The Guardian, 24 August 1994 somewhat unoriginally entitled 'Computer going down' which noted that a University of Wales computer was put out of action for two days
due to an overload caused by a student downloading pornography from the US.
'Industry focuses on cleaning up its act' The Guardian 27 September 1994 at 8.
And, it must be said, apparently due to massive overloads on the machines concerned as individuals attempted to access the pictures.
Although there have been interesting developments with regard to 'jurisdiction hopping' by law enforcement agencies, see a recent US case reported last year (28 July 1994) on the cyberia-l mailing list
"Jury Convicts Couple in Computer-Porn Trial" MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)
-- A federal jury convicted a California couple today of transmitting obscene pictures
over a computer bulletin board. The case has raised questions, in this age of international
computer networks, about a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that defines obscenity by local
community standards. Prosecutor Dan Newsom, an assistant U.S. attorney, said the trial
was the first he knows of for computer bulletin board operators charged under federal
law with transmitting pornography featuring sex by adults. Robert and Carleen Thomas,
both 38, of Milpitas, Calif., were convicted of transmitting sexually obscene pictures
through interstate phone lines via their members-only Amateur Action Bulletin
Board System. The Thomases were convicted on 11 criminal counts, each carrying maximum
sentences of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Thomas was acquitted on a
charge of accepting child pornography mailed to him by an undercover postal inspector.
The Thomases refused to comment after the verdict.
They remain free on $20,000 bond to await sentencing, for which no date was set. Defense
lawyer Richard Williams said his clients will appeal, arguing the jury was wrongly
instructed on how to apply the Supreme Court's standard on obscenity. The trial raised
questions of how to apply First Amendment free-speech protections to "cyberspace," the
emerging community of millions of Americans who use computes and modems to share pictures
and words on every imaginable topic. Williams argued unsuccessfully before trial that
prosecutors sought out a city for the trial where a conservative jury might be found.
"This case would never have gone to trial in California," he said. During the
weeklong trial jurors were shown photographs carried over the Thomases bulletin board
featuring scenes of bestiality and other sexual fetishes. Their conviction also
covers videotapes they sent to Memphis via United Parcel Service. The videotapes were
advertised over the bulletin board.
 The book packaging agreement, based on the Book Packagers Association standard contract for Packager/Publisher Agreements is omitted as nominal consideration must be made to the BPA for its use.
Virtual Environments Visualisation