02:31 AM

New York Times censors its own news story in Britain

 William Jolitz over on The Start-up File has a good take on NYT using ad server technology to block a news article from its British audience because of British laws. He argues that courts could force other publishers to do the same.

Back when the Internet started, it was like the "wild west" - nobody really knew what you could or couldn't do. Which laws governed a transaction - where it was viewed, or where it was served, or both.

I myself did a legal paper on the subject - "Jurisdiction and the Information Superhighway", which examined a porn case that overreached across the US. At the time, the argument against self-censorship like the NY Times has chosen to do was that there would be a great cost in negotiating the rules for each readers jurisdiction, so by default the serving jurisdiction should be the only one that mattered.

Things have changed...

Now publishing (as well as other businesses) potentially can be compelled by a judge to use the same technology to require that local jurisdictions all be treated the same, in place of the serving jurisdiction. All it takes is a follow-on case where this technique is used to rewrite recent case law, and then suddenly everyone has to track and deal with local jurisdictions!

NYT moves us forward (backward)...

Truly, the NY Times has pioneered a masterpiece of regulation, and discovered new ways of limiting the use of the Internet.

Read it all:  Impact of Zoning the Internet - Should publishing self-censor to please local jurisdictions

Link to Times Withholds Web Article in Britain - New York Times

SVW: Interesting take on this issue. I've no doubt that we will have a Balkanization of the Internet in many and varied ways simply because we have the technology to do this. The Internet is not something that cannot be controlled, as popular understanding would suggest. It is something that is extremely easy to control and to track...