Rod Beck Rod.Beck at
Wed Jun 24 22:12:13 UTC 2009

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven M. Bellovin [mailto:smb at]
Sent: Wed 6/24/2009 11:01 PM
To: trelane at
Cc: NANOG list
Subject: Re: tor
On Wed, 24 Jun 2009 17:48:58 -0400
Andrew D Kirch <trelane at> wrote:

> Richard A Steenbergen wrote:
> > On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 12:43:15PM -0700, Randy Bush wrote:
> >   
> >> sadly, naively turning up tor to help folk who wish to be
> >> anonymous in hard times gets one a lot of assertive email from
> >> self-important people who wear formal clothes.
> >>
> >> folk who learn this the hard way may find a pointer passed to me
> >> by smb helpful, <>.
> >>     
> >
> > If bittorrent of copyrighted material is the most illegal thing you
> > helped facilitate while running tor, and all you got was an
> > assertive e-mail because of it, you should consider yourself
> > extremely lucky. 
> >
> > Anonymity against privacy invasion and for political causes sure
> > sounds like a great concept, but in reality it presents too
> > tempting a target for abuse. If you choose to open up your internet
> > connection to anyone who wants to use it, you should be prepared to
> > be held accountable for what those anonymous people do with it. I'm
> > sure you don't just sell transit to any spammer who comes along
> > without researching them a little first, why should this be any
> > different.
> You might also consider asserting your right to common carrier
> immunity under 47USC230. 
OK -- I looked at that part of the US Code
(  Apart from the fact
that the phrase "common carrier" does not occur in that section,
subparagraph (f)(2) says:

	Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or expand
	any law pertaining to intellectual property.

Perhaps you're referring to the law exempting ISPs from liability for
user-created content?  (I don't have the citation handy.)  If so,
remember that that law requires response to take-down notices.

		--Steve Bellovin,

Well, let's push a little harder. If I transfer stolen intellectual property over the Internet using simple file transfer, I don't believe any court is going to accept that the ISP has liability. 

So what is the underlying principle? Mind you the law is ad hoc most of the time. This whole area is fuzzy to the point of being a pea soup fog ...

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