Reply 80 of 97, by Snover
Plasma: It is your choice whether to follow the guidance you’ve received from moderators or to make up your own rules “based on the existing content here”. Since you haven’t said what you are afraid might happen and have indicated you are done with this thread, I guess I can’t help alleviate that underlying fear. I can only reiterate that announcing your intent to ignore our guidance invites additional scrutiny that you don’t seem to want, and following through with your DIY plan is likely to lead to account restrictions until you agree to do what we’ve asked.
Just because you’ve seen others violating the rules from time to time doesn’t mean you get to do that too. Someone insulting you here does not entitle you to insult them back. Finding some spam here doesn’t mean you can spam. Seeing people help others to violate copyright law doesn’t mean you can too. Breaking the law is against the terms you agreed to follow when posting here, no matter how dumb the law may be, so please don’t do it.
All: US copyright law is a hot mess of international treaties, statues, and case law, and while I am not a lawyer so cannot speak definitively, I don’t think everything that has been suggested here about liability is accurate. In particular, the law includes secondary liability, which means that—depending upon a judge’s interpretation of “material contribution”—VOGONS could be liable if we have knowledge of something that increases infringement (like a post answering someone’s question about where to find some software with directions to a warez site) and then don’t do anything about it. The person who created the post could also be liable because they are knowingly and materially contributing to the infringement. Judges are also not (as a general rule) idiots; if you say ‘you can [illegally] download that by going to X’, I don’t think you will have much success arguing that there is a material distinction between X being a web site name instead of a URL.
While I agree with the assessment that practical chance of anything happening is extremely low, responding to any legal action requires time, energy, and money, and I don’t feel like accepting any unnecessary risk in that regard. I was once a cocksure child playing IP law expert and nearly got myself/VOGONS sued into oblivion, so I know first hand how things can go sideways when you think you know more than you do. I suppose if you have a couple million dollars burning a hole in your pocket that you’d be willing to put into escrow for legal defence, you can send me a PM and we can talk about adjusting risk tolerance. Otherwise, please just don’t direct others on how to download software illegally here.
Yes, it’s my fault.