Lawsuit threat against RBL users

Owen DeLong owen at DeLong.SJ.CA.US
Thu Dec 3 18:48:37 UTC 1998

> I wonder if you'll be so cavalier when the blubbering-mother-of-the-week is busy
> suing your arse off for not protection her little kid from:
> a)  pedophiles
> b)  bomb-making instructions
> c)  satanic song lyrics
> d)  pork (the other white meat)
> e)  Chevrolet
> f)  anything else deemed offensive.
Give me a break...

> Tell me, what would you "choose" to do should one of your customers send back,
> stapled to their usage contract, a list of content they find objectionable and
> ask you to filter it?  Suppose you can't, don't, or won't?  How about if you
> screw it up and some gets through?
Send back a registered letter which explains exactly what filtering we do
and don't provide WRT SPAM, our AUP, and possibly where that does and does
not intersect with their request.  Clarify that any other filtering is not
available and is not part of our contract.  Offer to cheerfuly refund their
money and disconnect their account if those terms are not acceptable to

> Power comes with responsibility.  Responsibility carries with it liability.  Are
> you prepared to assume the liability that comes with "choosing" to selectively
> block content?
Paul doesn't block content at all.  Not selectively, not otherwise.  Paul
maintains a list of addresses known to have generated a specific type of
content.  It is offered as is, without warranty, express or implied, and
is merely a list of digital identifiers.  Some ISPs have AUPs for their
networks which prohibit the use of their infrastructure to carry content
of the type which can earn one a position on Paul's list.  Some ISPs further
choose to use Paul's list as a list of known sources of AUP violation,
and therefore block ALL traffic from those sources.  Not selectively,
all traffic or all email traffic at least.

I haven't seen a single person implement the RBL in such a way that it
does any filtering based on content.  It simply filters based on origin.

That simple fact seems to break most, if not all, of your argument, including
the precedent you seem to claim it sets.


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