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Al Jazeera decision cited as precedent for further Internet regulation

News | 09/17/2004 4:00 am EDT

The CRTC’s decision to grant Al Jazeera carriage in Canada but at the same time require TV distributors to ensure no derogatory comments are broadcast on the station could serve as the legal basis for holding ISPs accountable for illegal material transmitted through their lines. Mark Goldberg, a prominent telecom and broadcast consultant, tells Canadian NEW MEDIA that he has been involved in early discussions around the formation of an industry self-regulatory body that would block access to sites hosting illegal content, with the threat that ISPs might be held liable for hate and kiddie porn crimes if they are made aware of illegal material and continue to allow subscribers to access it. Goldberg says the Al Jazeera ruling makes it clear that carriers can be held responsible for content, and hopes the principle will be applied to the interactive environment, as well.

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