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Old 04-23-2002, 08:52 PM   #1
Maarken
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I have a question for you all.

Currently, I have several players on my Mud using it as a forum to talk to each other regarding the sale of drugs -- how much to sell to each other, costs, different types.

Currently, we have no rules regarding illegal activity, but we are in the middle of creating rules to discourage this behavior. With all of the different mediums available today, surely there is no need to have talk of how much weed/coke/acid to sell and for how much to your friends.


Has anyone else had this problem, and what type of policy did you enact to counter it?

Thanks,

M
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Old 04-23-2002, 09:11 PM   #2
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I don't have much experience, but I'd suggest simply silencing anyone who wishes to discuss things like this. It could lead to problems for your MUD, and potentially even you personally.

If they really MUST do this, they should do it through another medium, if you mind them doing it.

Anyway, hope everything works out for you.
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Old 04-23-2002, 09:54 PM   #3
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just kill them, or beat them half to death with a dull spoon
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Old 04-23-2002, 10:21 PM   #4
Mason
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Courts are slowly placing more responsibility upon ISPs and newsgroups for the content within. It would certainly be wise at this point to inform your drug dealing mudders that such discussions will not be tolerated. Violations of your warnings should be dealt with accordingly.

Now, are you actually likely to get in trouble because of the conversations? Probably not. However, in these sorts of instances it is certainly best to choose the safe path, which is to disallow such conversations on your mud.
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Old 04-24-2002, 12:33 AM   #5
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It is truely a sad day when MUDs become a medium for illegal activities. I believe this is a serious issue and Admins have a moral and legal obligation to act on it.

If an "conspiracy" to commit a crime takes place on a MUD and an Admin knows about the conspiracy, the Admin reluctently becomes a party to the crime. Which isn't a bad thing, but could be if the Admin does nothing to prevent the crime from happening.

Some people may argue, logs, snoops and cameras are a violation of a persons right to privacy - point them to the Constitution again. A person's right to privacy pertains to their protection from the Government. Secondly, a MUD is not considered a "safe haven" from ears that listen.

It would be in the best intrest of a MUD and their Admin to report this crime to the Local Police Department and the player's IP.

This is an issue I would like to explore more, if there are others out there, and I know you are there, who are skilled in cyber-law weigh in on this topic. I'm considering doing a piece on it and would like to pen something for the masses.

-C...
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Old 04-24-2002, 02:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cougar Khan @ April 24 2002,12:33 am)
It is truely a sad day when MUDs become a medium for illegal activities. I believe this is a serious issue and Admins have a moral and legal obligation to act on it.

If an "conspiracy" to commit a crime takes place on a MUD and an Admin knows about the conspiracy, the Admin reluctently becomes a party to the crime. Which isn't a bad thing, but could be if the Admin does nothing to prevent the crime from happening.

Some people may argue, logs, snoops and cameras are a violation of a persons right to privacy - point them to the Constitution again. A person's right to privacy pertains to their protection from the Government. Secondly, a MUD is not considered a "safe haven" from ears that listen.

It would be in the best intrest of a MUD and their Admin to report this crime to the Local Police Department and the player's IP.

This is an issue I would like to explore more, if there are others out there, and I know you are there, who are skilled in cyber-law weigh in on this topic. I'm considering doing a piece on it and would like to pen something for the masses.

-C...
A. Definition of “conspiracy”: The common-law crime of conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more persons to do either an unlawful act or a lawful act by unlawful means. At common law, the prosecution must show the following:

1. Agreement: An agreement between two or more persons;

2. Objective: To carry out an act which is either unlawful or which is lawful but to be accomplished by unlawful means; and

3. Mens rea: A culpable intent on the part of the defendant.

Therefore, simply allowing a discussion to take place does not make the IMP a conspirator. A prosecutor would not be able to establish an mens rea requirement upon the IMP as they never agreed to partake in any conspiracy. Moreover, merely discussing the prices of drugs is not a conspiracy, as there is no agreement to engage in a future illegal activity.

Privacy rights are also protected from interference from other people. Though not on point, the Omnibus Crime Control & Safe Streets Act is clearly an example of the Federal Legislature enacting a statute preventing private citizens from violating other's privacy rights vis-a-vis wiretapping.
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Old 04-24-2002, 03:37 AM   #7
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Cool

I would have to agree that this is a definite issue that needs adressing. Using a MUD as a medium for drug tafficking is rather..lame. The players should probably be reprimanded and/or told to leave the MUD and take their discussion(s) with them.
~Grey@SoA
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Old 04-24-2002, 03:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Mason @ April 24 2002,04:21 am)
Now, are you actually likely to get in trouble because of the conversations?  Probably not.  However, in these sorts of instances it is certainly best to choose the safe path, which is to disallow such conversations on your mud.
I wouldn't be so certain about this, though. AFAIK, the governing law is 47 USC § 230, which defines immunity for the provider of a communication medium (ISP or in this case MUD imp, admin or host). However, this law also specifically mentions that criminal law is not impacted by this immunity.

IMHO, if it could be demonstrated that an admin had knowledge of criminal activities and failed to act upon it, the admin could be in trouble. Altough the very limited jurisprudence has so far kept upholding immunity even in criminal cases, the minority opinion of Jane Doe v. AOL (by the Supreme Court of Florida, 4 to 3 ruling IIRC) merits closer scrutiny.

As Mason said, better be safe than sorry, and ban these guys after a single warning.
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Old 04-24-2002, 03:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cougar Khan @ April 24 2002,06:33 am)
This is an issue I would like to explore more, if there are others out there, and I know you are there, who are skilled in cyber-law weigh in on this topic. I'm considering doing a piece on it and would like to pen something for the masses.
I did some research on this subject a while ago:

Here it is

HTH
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Old 04-24-2002, 06:40 AM   #10
Cougar Khan
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18 U.S.C. Sec. 4. - Misprision of felony

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Elements of the crime:

  The subject:

     1.  has knowledge of the commission of a felony,
     2.  conceals or does not report the crime, to the proper
             authorities.

Alistair brings up some good points in the document he links too. The main problem is, this area is new and case law changes on a daily basis. I do believe, without sounding like an alarmist, Admins can be held partially responsible for actions on their MUDs.

Besides the legal aspect of observing the crime, I believe there is a moral obligation to society. If an Admin knows a crime is being committed or about to be committed, he should report it to the proper authorities.  It is easy to look the other way and let nothing happen to the people, it is harder to make the actual report. As a good friend of mine said, on this topic, “Would you turn away and do nothing if a crime was happening in front of you?”

-C…
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Old 04-24-2002, 07:22 AM   #11
Maarken
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Thank you everyone for your help!

I appreciate the input, and the parties in question have been dealt with in what I feel is a responsible manner -- they've been removed, and site banned so they can not log in again. This has made several players angry because they do not know the facts of WHY they were removed, and we now have the wonderful position of reading reviews on this site from one of the players in question, slamming the mud.

But thank you for the help and advice, I really appreciate it a lot!


-M
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Old 04-24-2002, 12:10 PM   #12
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I wonder, considering there are allot of people on a MUD of all different ages. Now, let's assume a normal 19 year old male MUDder. Perfectly good player and all, nothing illegal. He meets a girl on the MUD, who claims she is 17. I think everyone here agrees a 17 and a 19 year old together is perfectly acceptable.

Okay, so things go on and nature and hormones do their work on these two. Both are hopelessly in love with eachother untill one day the police arrests the 19 year old guy for attempted child molesting. Why? His girlfriend turned out to be 13, not 17 at all. Her parents caught her talking to the 19 year old and sent the police at him, not knowing their daughter told him she was 17.

Could the 19 year old be prosecuted? The parents are pressings charges at him for attempted child molest of their daughter, which is perfectly legal considering they are her legal guardians. What legal responsibility does the MUD have in this case? Remember the girl told EVERYONE she was 17. What would be the consequences of all this?
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Old 04-24-2002, 01:10 PM   #13
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With an attempt, there needs to be some "movement" to furthering the crime. I don't think a MUD could be held resposible for this. AOL has had this problem with their teen chat rooms.

Outside of the Internet, this problem is also common, especially in college towns, where High School girls hang out at the bars, parties, etc... It always falls on the adult to prove if they knew, or had the ability to know, if the other person was "of-age."

My rule is - if they have a curfew, then they are probably not legal!

-C...
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Old 04-24-2002, 01:22 PM   #14
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Here's an unpopular way of looking at this: why were you snooping these players anyway? If they were conversing in tells about something that they may or may NOT actually do in real life, what does it tell the players of your mud that you prosecuted them about their conversation?

I'd be very hesitant to play a mud where players are snooped in such a fashion, and then nuked without explanation.

Dub.
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Old 04-24-2002, 01:38 PM   #15
Mason
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cougar Khan @ April 24 2002,06:40 am)
18 U.S.C. Sec. 4. - Misprision of felony

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Elements of the crime:

  The subject:

     1.  has knowledge of the commission of a felony,
     2.  conceals or does not report the crime, to the proper
             authorities.

Alistair brings up some good points in the document he links too. The main problem is, this area is new and case law changes on a daily basis. I do believe, without sounding like an alarmist, Admins can be held partially responsible for actions on their MUDs.

Besides the legal aspect of observing the crime, I believe there is a moral obligation to society. If an Admin knows a crime is being committed or about to be committed, he should report it to the proper authorities.  It is easy to look the other way and let nothing happen to the people, it is harder to make the actual report. As a good friend of mine said, on this topic, “Would you turn away and do nothing if a crime was happening in front of you?”

-C…
While you certainly looked up the proper statute, you have not looked at it closely enough. An examination of the annotated code would have shown your "elements" to be a misapplication of the law. You should fully examine the law before making assumptions based upon a reading.

"An essential element of the offense of misprision of felony is concealment, and mere failure to report a felony is not sufficient to constitute a violation under this section." U. S. v. Johnson, C.A.5 (Tex.) 1977, 546 F.2d 1225.

"Mere failure to report a felony is not sufficient to sustain conviction for misprision of felony; violation of this section additionally requires some positive act designed to conceal from authorities fact that felony has been committed." U.S. v. Davila, C.A.5 (Tex.) 1983, 698 F.2d 715, rehearing denied 703 F.2d 557.

Therefore, "conceal" is not merely inaction but requires some action (actus rea) upon the defendant. Your statement that "or does not report the crime" is an element of 18 U.S.C. §4 is entirely incorrect.
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Old 04-24-2002, 01:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Seth @ April 24 2002,12:10 pm)
I wonder, considering there are allot of people on a MUD of all different ages. Now, let's assume a normal 19 year old male MUDder. Perfectly good player and all, nothing illegal. He meets a girl on the MUD, who claims she is 17. I think everyone here agrees a 17 and a 19 year old together is perfectly acceptable.

Okay, so things go on and nature and hormones do their work on these two. Both are hopelessly in love with eachother untill one day the police arrests the 19 year old guy for attempted child molesting. Why? His girlfriend turned out to be 13, not 17 at all. Her parents caught her talking to the 19 year old and sent the police at him, not knowing their daughter told him she was 17.

Could the 19 year old be prosecuted? The parents are pressings charges at him for attempted child molest of their daughter, which is perfectly legal considering they are her legal guardians. What legal responsibility does the MUD have in this case? Remember the girl told EVERYONE she was 17. What would be the consequences of all this?
If the 19 and 13 year olds had sex he would be guilty of statutory rape as it is a strict liability crime and therefore there is no intent requirement needed to prosecute.  This is a well settled point of law.  Courts have even held 20 year olds with down syndrome with the "mental age" of 13 to be quilty of statutory rape when they engaged in sex with a minor.  Sounds harsh?  Bitch at your legislature, not me.

If the 19 and 13 year old had only had chatted in the room and developed affectionate feelings for each other it would be inappropriate to file attempted child molestation charges.  Simply falling in love with a 13 year old girl, no matter how objectionable it may be to some, is not a crime.
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Old 04-24-2002, 01:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alastair @ April 24 2002,03:50 am)
IMHO, if it could be demonstrated that an admin had knowledge of criminal activities and failed to act upon it, the admin could be in trouble. Altough the very limited jurisprudence has so far kept upholding immunity even in criminal cases, the minority opinion of Jane Doe v. AOL (by the Supreme Court of Florida, 4 to 3 ruling IIRC) merits closer scrutiny.
Please see my above post regarding the elements of concealment.
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Old 04-24-2002, 02:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cougar Khan @ April 24 2002,12:40 pm)
Alistair brings up some good points in the document he links too. The main problem is, this area is new and case law changes on a daily basis.
Actually, no, the jurisprudence is really scarce on 47 USC 230 - to my knowledge, there have been no more than 4 (perhaps 5) rulings on this issue so far.

This, however, means that any court ruling on immunity case will quite likely examine all the existing rulings - and if criminal law is involved, the dissenting opinion in Jane Doe v. AOL might actually prevail in the next court.
More so since, IMO, it does actually make more sense than the majority opinion in that context.

I think Maarken did the most sensible thing in this context. To deal with the aftermath, I'd do the following:
If #### happens on the MUD, more specifically if there are any newsboard posts, I'd simply post a note after a player critic that the players were removed due to abuse, which will not be discussed with other players. Then, a few days later, without actually mentionning this situation, post an update of the rules and policies. No other explanation given, or else you'll have arguments until the end of time, or rather, until the MUD's empty.
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Old 04-24-2002, 02:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Mason @ April 24 2002,7:48 pm)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alastair @ April 24 2002,03:50 am)
IMHO, if it could be demonstrated that an admin had knowledge of criminal activities and failed to act upon it, the admin could be in trouble. Altough the very limited jurisprudence has so far kept upholding immunity even in criminal cases, the minority opinion of Jane Doe v. AOL (by the Supreme Court of Florida, 4 to 3 ruling IIRC) merits closer scrutiny.
Please see my above post regarding the elements of concealment.
OK, small clarification:

Even if there's no real case, an admin of a free MUD spending even one day in court fits my definition of trouble in this context.

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Old 04-24-2002, 02:09 PM   #20
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2 pm-->
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alastair @ April 24 2002,2[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]2 pm)]

I think Maarken did the most sensible thing in this context. To deal with the aftermath, I'd do the following:
If #### happens on the MUD, more specifically if there are any newsboard posts, I'd simply post a note after a player critic that the players were removed due to abuse, which will not be discussed with other players. Then, a few days later, without actually mentionning this situation, post an update of the rules and policies. No other explanation given, or else you'll have arguments until the end of time, or rather, until the MUD's empty.
Unfortunately, the Admin already stated that the players did not break any existing rules.  This is purely a reflexive CYA.
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