Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

WhoIs.Userland.Com and Network Solutions

Author:Matthew R. Wilson
Posted:7/8/1999; 9:45:44 AM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 7/4/99
Msg #:8341 (In response to 8322)
Prev/Next:8340 / 8342

A couple of thoughts about the deactivation (extremely temporary, I hope!) of

First, you said that you turned it off "in protest and paranoia." I can understand the paranoia part, nobody wants lawyers breathing down their throats. But in protest does not agree with me. The protest should be against Network Solutions. In this case, turning off the whois lookups at UserLand hurts the productivity of Userland customers, not Network Solutions.

Second, this issue was discussed some time ago on Slashdot, when the more compact, less threatening copyright notice appeared at the bottom of whois lookups. An interesting point was raised. This "contract" is being presented to the user _after_ they submit their whois query. If I go to a Unix prompt, type "whois" and let it fly, I get both the copyright notice and the information that I was looking for. The flaw here is that the "contract" appears after the user has already submitted the query that binds them to the contract.

I am not a lawyer, but from what I have come to understand a couple months ago reading the Slashdot conversation, for a contract to become binding, there are two components: The offer and the acceptance. I say "if you sign here, you will be bound by the contract." You say "I agree. I will sign here and now I am bound by the terms of the contract." However, this whois contract presented by Network Solutions comes after the query submission, this making the contract process backward. You do not even know that you are agreeing to these terms until after you theoretically indicate your acceptance...

That's my two cents!

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