The Instigator
argumentum
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
tkubok
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points

Web sites should be culpable for the illegal activity of their users

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argumentum
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,213 times Debate No: 8930
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

argumentum

Con

this is from my argument:http://arg.umentum.com...
If you aren't the one who accepts this debate here, you can make your arguments there and I will respond..

Legally speaking, it is the Users of a product service who are responsible for illegal activity conducted through it. For example, should Sears be held responsible if someone used a Sears knife to commit a murder? This extends to internet properties through the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which explicitly protects Web site owners from culpability for criminal activity perpetrated by third parties. People in general should be held responsible for their OWN actions only. Additionally, the internet is a medium in which only information can be exchanged. This makes any culpability for illegal activity a Free Speech issue as well. The 1st amendment guarantees your right to say "meet me at 6pm on the corner of 5th and Main for some dope," or to convey this message through other informational mediums. This right exists above and beyond any mere law which might criminalize the actual transfer or use of marijuana.

Summary:
Web sites are mediums of information, nothing more. Any attempt to limit information transfer threatens Free Speech. In addition, other businesses do not have to deal with this problem(Sears in the example above).. why make an exception for websites?
tkubok

Pro

Okay, thanks for making this debate, although this debate is really short i promise you.

I start a website that hosts pictures. Someone comes and posts a bunch of Child Pornography photos. I dont bother deleting them.

Two weeks later, the cops come at my door. They say that unless i take down the photographs, i will be charged as an accomplice to child pornography.

There. The website is culpable for the illegal activity of the user.

Not to mention, people can then file lawsuits against the site owner for keeping it up so long.

The point? If someone comes here and spams Child porn pictures, it is the websites owners responsibility to manage the site, and delete such pictures. Much like how it would be my responsibility to kick out my friend who would come to my house to grow Weed.
Debate Round No. 1
argumentum

Con

"Two weeks later, the cops come at my door. They say that unless i take down the photographs, i will be charged as an accomplice to child pornography."

Knowledgeable possession or transmission of child pornography is illegal, however you cannot be held as an accomplice for the posting(which is the illegal activity(transmission)) itself. According to the law, you may be subpoenaed for the IP address, email and other user information, and failure to provide it (if it is reasonable to expect that you can do so). Once the cops come to your door, your ability to plead ignorance ends, since they inform you of the posting. If you continue to keep the material, it is YOU that is violating the law (in addition to the user). Therefore you are NOT being held culpable for the illegal activity of the USER, but your own activity.

On what basis can people file such lawsuits? Can you name ONE successful lawsuit of this kind?

"websites owners responsibility to manage the site, and delete such pictures."
As I mentioned before, the Communications Decency Act of 1996, states that owners are NOT responsible, since they are attempting to provide a public good. If your friends secretly uses part of your lawn to grow Marijuana, you aren't responsible. Only if you knowingly permit him to grow it on your property. Website owners can claim ignorance due to the size of their communities, and the difficulty in managing them. (See the various failed lawsuits against craiglist)
tkubok

Pro

"Knowledgeable possession or transmission of child pornography is illegal, however you cannot be held as an accomplice for the posting(which is the illegal activity(transmission)) itself. According to the law, you may be subpoenaed for the IP address, email and other user information, and failure to provide it (if it is reasonable to expect that you can do so). Once the cops come to your door, your ability to plead ignorance ends, since they inform you of the posting. If you continue to keep the material, it is YOU that is violating the law (in addition to the user). Therefore you are NOT being held culpable for the illegal activity of the USER, but your own activity."

Actually you can. If the site is not specifically aimed at an adult audience, then criminal sanctions can be imposed on the website owner. This is exactly the reason why every porn site must ask whether the visitor is over or under the age of 18.

"As I mentioned before, the Communications Decency Act of 1996, states that owners are NOT responsible, since they are attempting to provide a public good. If your friends secretly uses part of your lawn to grow Marijuana, you aren't responsible. Only if you knowingly permit him to grow it on your property. Website owners can claim ignorance due to the size of their communities, and the difficulty in managing them. (See the various failed lawsuits against craiglist)"

My original analogy with the house and the marijuana, stated no such thing. If your friend uses your law to grow marijuana, AND you knew about it, you ARE culpible.

And please point me to the craiglist lawsuit which include pornographic pictures posted in the toys section that was not deleted and left there by Craiglist.
Debate Round No. 2
argumentum

Con

argumentum forfeited this round.
tkubok

Pro

Not sure where my opponent went, or if he simply gave up because i presented proof as to how someone is culpable for the illegal activity of their users. Since my opponent has not brought anything new, i suppose this debate is over.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
RFD: CON
(1) I agreed with Con at the beginning and so does the law.
(2) I agreed with Co at the end and so does the law.
(3) Pro had better conduct. Red forfeit = bad.
(4) Tie.
(5) Con. Even with the forfeit, Pro's argument failed to take into account that such age requirements are only relevant if you are the one posting such content to your site, not if others using your site do so. The resolution requires analysis of the propriety of holding a site owner accountable for a user's activity, not a site owner accountable for his or her own activity.
(6) Tie. No sources cited, unless you count "various lawsuits" as sources. I do not.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
argumentumtkubokTied
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Total points awarded:31