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Thread locked because of TOS from another site?

by dextire / April 2, 2009 2:43 PM PDT

Locking the Hulu thread, apparently because it violates *Hulu's TOS* had a major chilling effect on me.

So I was wondering if anyone can tell me what are the rules for what we can, and can't talk about. Jailbreaking the iPhone? How to put your store bought DVD on an iPod? Using a proxy to watch the BBC online? I know all of these have been discussed on various CNET shows. Are they off limits here?

I didn't read anything in *this* forum's TOS to suggest that discussing what are essentially Boxee alternatives count as a violation (except possibly piracy?). So does this mean we have to follow the TOS of every site, service, or product we talk about? Is it the case that if a company complains about a given thread, that thread is then locked?

I understand the need to lock threads. And I'm willing to go by the rules. I just would like to know what they are. As I certainly wouldn't have expected violating the TOS of another site to be a lockable offense.

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strange, because this thread is over a year old
by ktreb / April 2, 2009 5:02 PM PDT

But anyway, I usually go by if it breaks any U.S. laws (since CNET is based in the U.S.) then it could violate CNET's TOS. So, the subject of how to put store bought DVDs on an iPod could get locked. It violates the DMCA. And I've seen such threads get locked. Sometimes I skirt the issue by linking to a site like PC Magazine, which has written about software that does this. Or even iLounge, which spells this out step by step. If anyone is going to have to take down anything, I'll leave to the likes of PC Magazine and iLounge. As for the rest, I imagine what they're thinking is if it may trigger a DMCA takedown notice, they'll lock it. For whatever reason, this thread was flying under the radar for an entire year before it somehow got up to the top again. With that, a mod took notice and decided to lock it.

On that note, I do think that it's somewhat uneven as to what gets locked or not. Especially since these topics are discussed on various shows and videos. There was even a Quick Tips video done last year about how to download YouTube videos (even the ones that aren't exactly legal). It's pretty much the same thing that the Hulu thread was doing...flash video capture. I still have that video! Wink

But I don't think a lot of the mods actually listen to the podcasts. I remember one time something got locked in the Gadgettes Forum because the mod mistook a "Pink Watch" nominee for spam. And once even Tom ran afoul of the mods. I remember a thread that Tom was involved in (can't remember the subject) that got locked. And he's a CNET editor!

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by dextire / April 3, 2009 3:28 AM PDT

So even if it's discussed on the shows it could be locked? And some of the mods don't even watch/listen to the shows? Good to know.

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DMCA vs. Fair Use
by Renegade Knight / April 3, 2009 7:11 AM PDT

Funny how you can be fully within fair use and violate the DMCA. The law is broken.

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(NT) I bet this thread gets locked.
by kwahhn / April 2, 2009 11:53 PM PDT
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by Nicholas Buenk / April 3, 2009 3:37 AM PDT

They're a competitor with right? Wink I can only assume CBS has similar interests in protecting
This thread was quite old actually and only locked recently. Odd that.

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Just for clarification...
by John.Wilkinson / April 3, 2009 9:40 AM PDT

<b style = "font-weight:normal; color:gray">"I know all of these have been discussed on various CNET shows. Are they off limits here?" -dextire
"So even if it's discussed on the shows it could be locked?" -dextire</b>
-> Yes, the policies governing these forums and the BOL podcasts are different. For instance, Tom has discussed Hackintosh on BOL, but such discussion is prohibited in these forums. Thus, despite this forum being dedicated to the podcasts, some topics from the show may not be carried here, a ruling passed down by Cnet administration and fully supported by the moderation. That is a topic that has been discussed previously in this forum, at length.

<b style = "font-weight:normal; color:gray">"So does this mean we have to follow the TOS of every site, service, or product we talk about?" -dextire</b>
-> Within reason. Although not explicitly stated in the Cnet Forums TOS, the Cnet administration and moderation agreed that the Cnet forums should generally not permit discussions concerning information/actions that violate the TOS of other sites or the EULAs of other products. Both are binding agreements and should be respected, just as we would want others to respect our agreements.

This can often cross into the legal realm as well, since users are only given the right to use software/services, free or not, as long as they follow the terms and conditions. Once a violation occurs, the user may have his/her rights to use the software/service revoked, at which time network trespass, theft of service, et cetera. could be argued. I am not saying that course of action would necessarily occur, or that the company would be victorious, just that it can be argued--and has been argued successfully in the past.

<b style = "font-weight:normal; color:gray">"For whatever reason, this thread was flying under the radar for an entire year before it somehow got up to the top again." -ktreb
"This thread was quite old actually and only locked recently. Odd that." -Nicholas Buenk</b>
-> This forum was previously moderated by Santiago and Udayan, but neither is now a regular visitor. Thus, some threads may have been allowed to continue when they would have otherwise been locked long ago. Such is the case with the thread in question, which was brought to my attention by an offensive post alert submitted yesterday.

<b style = "font-weight:normal; color:gray">"Is it the case that if a company complains about a given thread, that thread is then locked?" -dextire</b>
-> Quite the opposite. We have received numerous complaints from various company representatives requesting posts/threads be deleted due to negative comments made by members. Without counting the incidents, I would say at least two-thirds have remained untouched. As alluded to above, discretion is used regarding all decisions, ensuring free speech is not unduly sacrificed.

I know there will always be disagreement regarding what topics should and should not be eligible for discussion, and that even within Cnet a unanimous agreement cannot be reached. However, I hope this helps explain, to some degree, the current policies and the locking of that thread.


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by Natronx / April 3, 2009 10:24 AM PDT

There is a difference between discussing a topic and giving detailed instructions on how exactly one can break the law, don't you agree?

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by John.Wilkinson / April 3, 2009 10:34 AM PDT
In reply to: rules

I agree. For instance, discussions about Psystar, the company's legal struggles, and which side should win are allowed. However, discussions about how to build a Hackintosh, where to find instructions, et cetera are not. In this case, the subject of the post even explicitly stated it was a "How to."


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Good to know.
by dextire / April 3, 2009 1:12 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes...

I never would of guessed that something discussed on the show would be off limits to discuss on the forums *about* the show. I wonder what makes it worse to talk about it here? And it's good to know that even when we don't violate the TOS, the thread still might get locked. Kind of a strange place you got here :). I guess if someone is unsure of the topic, they just have to post it and hope for the best.

I'm glad I asked. And thanks a lot for giving such a thought-out and detailed response.

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