Post removal update

Discussion in 'Events' started by Baron, May 28, 2001.

  1. Baron

    Baron ET Founder

    My thanks goes out to those of you who have been waiting patiently for a explanation from me regarding some threads that were deleted recently.

    Up until now, I have been somewhat ignorant as to what liabilities Elite Trader has, if any, as a provider of interactive services such as our message board and broker ratings system. My ignorance in this area was due primarily to the fact that we never had any major problems with any of the posts on our site until last week, when Ken Calhoun from Daytrading University alleged that certain messages posted to this site by certain users contained defamatory material about him and/or his company.

    In good faith, I deleted questionable threads that were brought to my attention by Ken until I could find out exactly what the law is and how it pertains to this matter. In retrospect, I still feel like deleting those threads was the right thing to do at the time for Ken, for Elite Trader, and for any posters that participated in those discussions, given my limited knowledge of the legal aspects of the situation.

    Now that I have received counsel from several prominent legal experts in the areas of Internet Law, I would like to share my findings with all interested parties:

    Elite Trader is an “interactive computer service”, clearly defined and protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Specifically, Section 230 makes a distinct separation between a service provider such as Elite Trader, and an “information content provider”, which is any person or entity that creates and submits content to an interactive computer service such as ours.

    More importantly, section 230(c)(1) clearly states that “no provider of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Therefore, as an interactive computer service, we are provided immunity by Congress in section 230 from being held responsible for material published to our site by anonymous users.

    As Chief Judge Wilkinson recently wrote for the Fourth Circuit:

    “By its plain language, section 230 creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service. Specifically, section 230 precludes courts from entertaining claims that would place a computer service provider in a publisher's role.”

    Although a user can exercise his freedom of speech by posting content to this web site, that user is solely liable for the material that he or she publishes. We do not screen submissions before they are made public, and we have no role in the creation or development of material posted to this site by users of our service.

    Elite Trader conducts business from the State of Florida. Precedence has already been set by the Florida Supreme Court in Doe v. AOL with regards to the liability of service providers for unlawful material posted by users. On March 8, 2001, the court, like every other court to consider this question since the Communications Decency Act of 1996 was enacted, correctly held that interactive service providers are immune from such liability as a matter of federal statutory law. The court also concluded that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 preempts state law.

    Although we are given the right by the United States Congress to remove material posted to this web site, we will no longer remove posts or threads at the request of a third party unless it is obvious that those messages contain unlawful material. Posts that may contain objectionable or legally questionable material, which includes, but is not limited to, libel, defamation, or slander, are not easily identified as being unlawful, due to the myriad of factors that must be carefully considered. Therefore, consistent with the policies of other interactive service providers such as Silicon Investor, Yahoo, and America Online, we reserve the right to refuse the removal of arguably objectionable messages at the request of a third party until a court has determined that the posted material is indeed unlawful. Plaintiffs must demonstrate that they have viable legal claims before compelling the removal of any objectionable posted messages from our web site. Judicial injunctions that are presented to Elite Trader ordering the removal of posted material will be acted upon promptly.

    Baron Robertson
    Elite Trader

  2. Baron - thanks. EOM
  3. def

    def Sponsor

    baron, thanks for the info. I believe you have arrived at the correct conclusion.
  4. Ken_DTU


    Dear Baron and the Elite Trader Forum,

    I wish to take this opportunity and express my regret over how I handled some of my responses to the recent posts that were made. I most likely came off as intolerant to criticism/arrogant/pain in the butt... lol... not my intent. Let's take a look at it, there's two sides, I want you to understand the big picture, here goes:

    I hope that you will all give me a fair opportunity to explain to you exactly what happened in this forum, so that you may understand my position. You are probably not all aware of the whole story.

    First, I have always welcomed honest, constructive feedback on ways to improve my site. I've made dozens of site improvements based on the suggestions that my traders have made over the years, and these continue to be welcome. :)

    Second, several posts were made at which were both false (regarding alleged errors at my site, eg trinq, bid/ask info) and misleading. Whether this poster is actually a competitor trying to make my site look bad (unlikely but possible), or simply a new DTU member who didn't understand the content, is not known to me.

    Also, another false post mis-identifying me with another person, a Kent Calhoun in Texas, was made. This caused me great concern. (think of how would you feel?)

    Third, I definitely should have simply pursued correction of these false posts with Baron and the posters offline, rather than posting public responses, so that these errors could be corrected.

    Please realize that my site is my life's work and that I have been working very hard to provide top of the line content to my subscribers. I'm a UCLA alum, had a long corporate career (Ford, Rockwell, Boeing etc) prior to getting into trading, and have solid credentials. Over 140 businesses here in Hawaii have trusted me to be a trainer for them as well (Sheraton, Outrigger, Polynesian Cultural Center, and I've taught MBA courses at local universities here etc).

    Rather than seeing some of the other posts that were made as criticism from a positive side, I took it as disapproval of all the hard work I have done over the last three years. I have learned my lesson from this, and will continue to respond to constructive criticism in a positive way. I have hundreds of positive trader emails, yet I reacted defensively to a few other posts, which I shouldn't have.

    Traders, this last week taught me very important lessons, and I promise that I will continue to make every effort to provide solid customer service in the future. I will take all constructive criticism as an educational tool.

    The only time you'll see my "feathers get ruffled", as in this last week's incident, is when false or misleading posts are made. Making mature, honest, thoughtful and sincere comments and criticisms is *always welcome*. I listen and respond. In the case of some of the posts here, I listened and over-reacted, and in a way that may have offended some.

    I do sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone by the way in which I responded.

    If you want to post "hey I like xyz's services better than dtu's because xyz has better coverage of swingtrading", or "I like the charts better at xyz" or whatever, types of things, that's fine of course. Making false statements about who I am, or about the content I provide, is not. Fair enough? I do need to protect my business from false statements that are made in a public forum, as many of you would also do in similar situations.

    Folks, I do express my regret for the public way in which these things were discussed, in hindsight it may have been more appropriate to simply talk with Baron about this.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long post, I hope it clarifies things. People, myself included, tend to rush to make responses, especially in this message board format.

    All the best,

    Ken Calhoun

    p.s. I think all of us, myself included, would do well to give thoughtful consideration to what we say on message boards before we say it. At least, can I ask for honest posts? That's all... hope it's a reasonable request, folks. Thanks all, and good trading. :)
  5. Ken

    much better post than your others.

    Can we please move on from this now?

  6. I'm glad to see that everything worked out between you two :cool:. I didn't become a member until after the post removals so I don't exactly know what was said about him, but I think I have a pretty good idea.

    From reading Ken's posts, he seems like an open-minded indivisual that is trying to learn how to accept and respond to negative feedback :confused:. Anyone running a fee-based educational system better be ready to accept any criticism that may come their way and be able to respond accordingly in a professional manner, which I think he learned the hard way.

    I agree with Ken that untruthful remarks about someone or their site is unacceptable :mad:. If you're going to criticize, make sure you can "back it up" with a strong analysis of why the pros are outweighed by the cons.

    Baron probably lost a few nights of sleep over this unfortunate incident but I think it was a great educational experience for him as well. If it weren't for this situation he probably wouldn't have learned about the intricacies of internet law ;).