America Online's (AOL) chief lawyer in the UK has called for the government to clarify Internet service providers' responsibilities for dealing with libellous content on customers' Web sites. The call follows the latest action in AOL's two-year legal battle in the US with a former customer.
Kenneth Zeran sued the ISP after an unknown user posted a message on the service alleging he sold T-shirts with offensive slogans about the Oklahoma city bombing. UK ISPs rely on the 1996 Defamation Act to protect them against unintentionally libellous content. ISPs have to prove they are not the author of the defamatory material and that they took reasonable care to ensure it is not libellous.
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