ZDNet reports that a federal judge has ruled that America Online is not liable
for posting of unauthorized e-books on its Web servers. Harlan Ellison sued
AOL, the newsgroup host, and the fan who scanned his stuff, Stephen Robertson.
Ellison settled with Usenet and Robertson, leaving AOL as the only defendant.
The judge ruled that AOL is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
It protects ISPs from guilt if they remove questionable material when informed
of it. The story says that the judge granted AOL's "request to reject Ellison's
allegations, saying the company, which provides Usenet servers, 'did not induce
or encourage Robertson to directly infringe Ellison's work.' " In plain
terms, AOL didn't tell him to scan Harlan's stuff, so it's not their fault.
The story says Ellison "did not immediately return requests for comment,"
but it noted that he can appeal the decision.
Boy, if we thought Harlan had unleashed blithering streams of rage before,
just imagine now...