Dutch Protest: A provisional report
a.r.s., September 25, 1995
Subject: DUTCH PROTEST: a provisional report
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 1995 01:42:57 GMT
You may have heard of the protests against CoS going on in Holland. Many people have asked what is going on exactly. I will try to summarize.
- Things started when CoS raided XS4ALL. Fonss - who was at the time the only Dutch user who had the document on his homepage - removed the Fishman Affidavit from his homepage (leaving the other material from the FactNet zipkit there).
The indignation was quite immense. Newspapers covered the issue extensively, there were some items on television and many Dutch Usenet-newsgroups debated the issue. Most people were truly outraged.
- Johanw, another XS4ALL-account, soon put up another copy of the document on his homepage and announced this. This triggered lots of response. D'VanGeely put the document on his homepage too, at DDS (a free Internet provider), and somebody put a copy on a University provider (TUE). When Johanw received e-mail by someone declaring himself to be a CoS-lawyer, he posted a message telling so. This again caused some commotion.
- I took an account at Hollands biggest commercial provider (Planet Internet, which is half-owned by Dutch Telecom [name corrected; got it wrong at first] and announced a new Fishman-page. I did so because I wanted to clarify that this was not just a fight between CoS and XS4ALL, but between CoS and Internet. Planet Internet is familiar with common carrier issues and has more lawyer-backup than XS4ALL.
I am more or less a public person (I am a writer and have made several television-appearances), and I happily made use of this.
- More reactions were triggered. Other people made use of their accounts at other providers. Astrolab put a copy on his DDS-homepage, Newkid put one on his at Cistron and turned it into a really smashing page on CoS. Nice logos, too! Do take a look.
By now, Astrolab, Cistron and I have received e-mails from someone stating to be Helena Kobrin, lawyer on behalf of RTC.
- A call for action started circulating. [I now feel free to say that I was the one who sent it; see my e-mail of Sept. 22] Many people received e-mails explaining what was going on and asking them to participate. The idea is to put up as many homepages containing the F.A. as possible, in order to make things more difficult for the CoS.
- Oussama Cherribi, a Dutch Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party (VVD), decided to put a copy on his homepage too. We phoned (we have met before) and I asked him what made him decide to do so. He explained that he'd heard about the case, was somehow reminded of the Rushdie-affaire, got really mad and acted on instinct. When asked if he would bow under pressure, he said he was probably prepared to see this thing through if others would as well.
BTW: the VVD is one of the parties represented in the Government.
- Last week, a Member of Parliament for the Social-Democrats (PvdA), Marjet van Zuylen, questioned the Dutch Government on the matter. The PvdA is also represented in our Government. Such questions and answers are usually dealt with on paper; however, urgent questions are sometimes replied to verbally during a meeting of Parliament. As of yet, we do not know what questions were asked, nor how or when they'll be answered. As soon as we know more, we'll post the questions and answers here.
- Meanwhile, new homepages have accumulated, due to both Cherribi's action and the e-mailed request. At present, there are 19 homepages that include the Fishman Affidavit. The list is included at the end of this posting.
[Deleted for brevity's sake.]
- Last thing I read is that a Dutch Network (the TROS), who have a site at http://www.omroep.nl, wants to put the Fishman Affidavit on their homepage as well. People working at another Public Broadcasting Service, the VPRO, will debate whether they will do so as well at their next employee meeting, coming Tuesday.
Copyright Karin Spaink.
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