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No, as I understand it, Yahoo, AOL, etc. fall under a special class of board host that relieves them from liability as publisher. A private board might, however, be classified as a publisher -very confusing.
>French Court ruling that Yahoo
That whole French Court business is a great topic with ecommerce ramifications worth our consideration.
Extremely odd. This could, of course, be a ruling limited to the United States. Does anyone know of a case where someone in the States has tried to sue Yahoo for libel, but failed because they were not seen as responsible?
Yes, and given the strong international bent of WmW, that's an important limitation. Boards/forums/websites might easily run afoul of any particular country's legal system. Though not an anonymity issue, Yahoo certainly found that out in France.
It isn't Yahoo, but I know of two people who have a very good cause for complaint agains some online community that has strict prohibition against anything potentially libelous or slanderous in their terms of service, and has knowingly left some very public message board posts up that are very damaging to the character of the two people in question. And both of those people have extensive documentation of exactly what happened that led to the posts being made. All parties, and the site, are in the U.S.