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Old July 11th 08, 01:54 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mottershead
I wouldn't even be so sure that in a forum
that holds itself out as a venue for dues-paying members to comment on
the governance of *their* organization, that censorship of legitimate
views by moderators appointed by the "staff" and the "management" is
necessarily as legal as you suppose. It might not be a matter of
First Amendment rights, but there are other rights besides those
deriving from the Bill of Rights.

Brian Mottershead
This is of course the issue here. The USCF Issues Forum has been set
up to allow the members of this organization to discuss its
governance. Yet, the management has imposed extremely biased
moderators who strictly limit what the members are allowed to say. If
the members were allowed to say what they really think, then the tone
of this entire discussion would be completely different.

Sam Sloan
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Old July 11th 08, 03:49 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum



samsloan wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mottershead
I wouldn't even be so sure that in a forum
that holds itself out as a venue for dues-paying members to comment on
the governance of *their* organization, that censorship of legitimate
views by moderators appointed by the "staff" and the "management" is
necessarily as legal as you suppose. It might not be a matter of
First Amendment rights, but there are other rights besides those
deriving from the Bill of Rights.

Brian Mottershead

This is of course the issue here. The USCF Issues Forum has been set
up to allow the members of this organization to discuss its
governance. Yet, the management has imposed extremely biased
moderators who strictly limit what the members are allowed to say. If
the members were allowed to say what they really think, then the tone
of this entire discussion would be completely different.

Sam Sloan



Yeah, there'd be calls for your lynching again. Quit while you're
ahead.
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Old July 11th 08, 11:53 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Posts: 14,870
Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeditor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mottershead

And I wouldn't even be so sure that in a forum that holds itself out
as a venue for dues-paying members to comment on the governance of
*their* organization, that censorship of legitimate views by
moderators appointed by the "staff" and the "management" is
necessarily as legal as you suppose. It might not be a matter of
First Amendment rights, but there are other rights besides those
deriving from the Bill of Rights.

Brian Mottershead
I think that's utter nonsense, but if you can supply some statute or
case law supporting your claim, go ahead. Note that I am disputing the
first sentence, not the second. Certainly Congress or the states
could pass such laws, but, to the best of my knowledge, they
haven't. Can you offer any evidence to the contrary?

John Hillery
The USCF is a tax-exempt public corporation which exists for the
public benefit. I think there are legal questions which arise when an
extremely partisan person like Gregory Alexander is appointed as a
moderator, who deletes unfavorable references to candidates he
supports or favorable mentions of candidates he opposes.

Sam Sloan
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Old July 11th 08, 01:27 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeditor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mottershead
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeditor
I think
that's utter nonsense, but if you can supply some statute or case law
supporting your claim, go ahead. Note that I am disputing the first
sentence, not the second. Certainly Congress or the states [i]could[/
i] pass such laws, but, to the best of my knowledge, they haven't. Can
you offer any evidence to the contrary?

John Hillery
If the organization provides a forum only to members who agree with
the "management", they are effectively creating classes of members and
granting benefits to one class of members at the expense of another.
Moreover they would be excluding a class of members from participation
in the governance and deliberative process of the organization.
Consider an analogy: a corporation announces a meeting at which any
shareholder may present his views on some matter of policy, but then
turns off the microphone and escorts from the hall anybody who
disagrees with the management position.

Brian Mottershead

That's a decent argument for why it's "wrong." (I don't agree with it,
but the argument is not absurd.) It does not, however, address my
point: Can you offer any statute or case law indicating that the
corporation is legally obliged to provide an unmoderated online forum?
I think there are strong arguments to the contrary, but I see no need
to make them until and unless you make a rebuttable case.

John Hillery
Nobody is saying that the USCF Issues Forum should be completely
unmoderated. Even without a moderator on duty, any obscene word is
blocked. For example, I have not been allowed to relate the story of
the little Dutch boy who put his finger in a hole in the dyke.
However, allowing the management to appoint moderators who are known
to favor one candidate or oppose another candidate or who delete
embarrassing questions such as asking what happened to all the money
does raise legal issues. If the USCF were a publicly traded
corporation listed on the stock exchange it would be in deep trouble
for doing this in last year's election. The SEC would probably have
brought proceedings for election irregularities already. The question
is whether such rules apply to a 501(c)(4) corporation like the USCF.

Sam Sloan
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Old July 11th 08, 02:19 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum

samsloan wrote:[i]
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeditor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mottershead
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeditor
I think
that's utter nonsense, but if you can supply some statute or case law
supporting your claim, go ahead. Note that I am disputing the first
sentence, not the second. Certainly Congress or the states could[/
i] pass such laws, but, to the best of my knowledge, they haven't. Can
you offer any evidence to the contrary?

John Hillery


If the organization provides a forum only to members who agree with
the "management", they are effectively creating classes of members and
granting benefits to one class of members at the expense of another.
Moreover they would be excluding a class of members from participation
in the governance and deliberative process of the organization.
Consider an analogy: a corporation announces a meeting at which any
shareholder may present his views on some matter of policy, but then
turns off the microphone and escorts from the hall anybody who
disagrees with the management position.

Brian Mottershead



That's a decent argument for why it's "wrong." (I don't agree with it,
but the argument is not absurd.) It does not, however, address my
point: Can you offer any statute or case law indicating that the
corporation is legally obliged to provide an unmoderated online forum?
I think there are strong arguments to the contrary, but I see no need
to make them until and unless you make a rebuttable case.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeditor

As usual, Mr. Hillery misses the point. There exist in all states
corporate statutes and/or regulation regarding the conduct of the
corporation affairs. State corporate statutes and case law will not
allow one group of shareholders or members to obtain an unfair advantage
with regard to the election of directors. When an organization such as
the USCF has a member only forum for the discussion of corporate
governance issues, there are significant problems when one faction
controls that forum to it's benefit thereby affecting control of the
organization by a particular faction. Mr. Hillary will not find a
specific statute such as he alluded to above. Sometimes the law is more
subtle than than which anyone who's been to law school learns in the
first week.


John Hillery


Nobody is saying that the USCF Issues Forum should be completely
unmoderated. Even without a moderator on duty, any obscene word is
blocked. For example, I have not been allowed to relate the story of
the little Dutch boy who put his finger in a hole in the dyke.
However, allowing the management to appoint moderators who are known
to favor one candidate or oppose another candidate or who delete
embarrassing questions such as asking what happened to all the money
does raise legal issues. If the USCF were a publicly traded
corporation listed on the stock exchange it would be in deep trouble
for doing this in last year's election. The SEC would probably have
brought proceedings for election irregularities already. The question
is whether such rules apply to a 501(c)(4) corporation like the USCF.

Sam Sloan



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Old July 11th 08, 11:16 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Posts: 1,194
Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum



Brian Lafferty wrote:[i]
samsloan wrote:
[quote="rfeditor"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mottershead
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeditor
I think
that's utter nonsense, but if you can supply some statute or case law
supporting your claim, go ahead. Note that I am disputing the first
sentence, not the second. Certainly Congress or the states could[/
i] pass such laws, but, to the best of my knowledge, they haven't. Can
you offer any evidence to the contrary?

John Hillery


If the organization provides a forum only to members who agree with
the "management", they are effectively creating classes of members and
granting benefits to one class of members at the expense of another.
Moreover they would be excluding a class of members from participation
in the governance and deliberative process of the organization.
Consider an analogy: a corporation announces a meeting at which any
shareholder may present his views on some matter of policy, but then
turns off the microphone and escorts from the hall anybody who
disagrees with the management position.

Brian Mottershead



That's a decent argument for why it's "wrong." (I don't agree with it,
but the argument is not absurd.) It does not, however, address my
point: Can you offer any statute or case law indicating that the
corporation is legally obliged to provide an unmoderated online forum?
I think there are strong arguments to the contrary, but I see no need
to make them until and unless you make a rebuttable case.


As usual, Mr. Hillery misses the point. There exist in all states
corporate statutes and/or regulation regarding the conduct of the
corporation affairs. State corporate statutes and case law will not
allow one group of shareholders or members to obtain an unfair advantage
with regard to the election of directors. When an organization such as
the USCF has a member only forum for the discussion of corporate
governance issues, there are significant problems when one faction
controls that forum to it's benefit thereby affecting control of the
organization by a particular faction. Mr. Hillary will not find a
specific statute such as he alluded to above. Sometimes the law is more
subtle than than which anyone who's been to law school learns in the
first week.



Then cite some case law on point. Find a case in which a court -- any
court -- ruled that moderation of an on-line forum (not mentioned in
the corporate bylaws) constituted as "(allowing) one group of
shareholders or members to obtain an unfair advantage with regard to
the election of directors. Don't blow smoke, cite facts and law. Or
have you forgotten how?

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Old July 11th 08, 11:21 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum



Brian Lafferty wrote:
As usual, Mr. Hillery misses the point. There exist in all states
corporate statutes and/or regulation regarding the conduct of the
corporation affairs. State corporate statutes and case law will not
allow one group of shareholders or members to obtain an unfair advantage
with regard to the election of directors. When an organization such as
the USCF has a member only forum for the discussion of corporate
governance issues, there are significant problems when one faction
controls that forum to it's benefit thereby affecting control of the
organization by a particular faction. Mr. Hillary will not find a
specific statute such as he alluded to above. Sometimes the law is more
subtle than than which anyone who's been to law school learns in the
first week.



As usual, former attorney Brian Lafferty overestimates his knowledge
of the law.

SDO1 wrote:

"Since a matter like this concerned my actions as a member of the FOC
in April/May 2007, I asked my attorney if the USCF had the right to
moderate the forum as they saw fit and if the users, as members of the
USCF, had rights beyond what the USCF allowed. The short answer was
that the USCF owns the forum and that it may decide what is or is not
"proper speech" and is within its rights to allow or not allow any
post on whatever grounds it deems necessary. The entities with the
authority to govern the parameters of what is or is not allowed are
those who are responsible for managing the organization and those they
appoint.

"As I was a member of a committee that did decide the parameters of
speech in this forum, and since it seemed a possibility that matters
pertaining to a matter involving this question might go to court, my
attorneys researched and rendered this opinion with the expectation
that it would be defended in federal court.

"The firm I use is Merritt, Flebotte, Wilson, Webb & Caruso, PLLC. The
opinion was issued to me the first week of May, 2007.

"If I may extrapolate the opinion of my attorneys to this thread,
Mottershead has no ground to stand on. His argument is erroneous.
There are no "free speech" rights as he wishes to bestow here."
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Old July 12th 08, 12:50 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum

wrote:[i]

Brian Lafferty wrote:
samsloan wrote:
[quote="rfeditor"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mottershead
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeditor
I think
that's utter nonsense, but if you can supply some statute or case law
supporting your claim, go ahead. Note that I am disputing the first
sentence, not the second. Certainly Congress or the states could[/
i] pass such laws, but, to the best of my knowledge, they haven't. Can
you offer any evidence to the contrary?

John Hillery


If the organization provides a forum only to members who agree with
the "management", they are effectively creating classes of members and
granting benefits to one class of members at the expense of another.
Moreover they would be excluding a class of members from participation
in the governance and deliberative process of the organization.
Consider an analogy: a corporation announces a meeting at which any
shareholder may present his views on some matter of policy, but then
turns off the microphone and escorts from the hall anybody who
disagrees with the management position.

Brian Mottershead



That's a decent argument for why it's "wrong." (I don't agree with it,
but the argument is not absurd.) It does not, however, address my
point: Can you offer any statute or case law indicating that the
corporation is legally obliged to provide an unmoderated online forum?
I think there are strong arguments to the contrary, but I see no need
to make them until and unless you make a rebuttable case.

As usual, Mr. Hillery misses the point. There exist in all states
corporate statutes and/or regulation regarding the conduct of the
corporation affairs. State corporate statutes and case law will not
allow one group of shareholders or members to obtain an unfair advantage
with regard to the election of directors. When an organization such as
the USCF has a member only forum for the discussion of corporate
governance issues, there are significant problems when one faction
controls that forum to it's benefit thereby affecting control of the
organization by a particular faction. Mr. Hillary will not find a
specific statute such as he alluded to above. Sometimes the law is more
subtle than than which anyone who's been to law school learns in the
first week.



Then cite some case law on point. Find a case in which a court -- any
court -- ruled that moderation of an on-line forum (not mentioned in
the corporate bylaws) constituted as "(allowing) one group of
shareholders or members to obtain an unfair advantage with regard to
the election of directors. Don't blow smoke, cite facts and law. Or
have you forgotten how?


There is plenty of case law having to do with the integrity of corporate
processes leading to the seating of corporate directors and obtaining
corporate control. Any law student who has taken a corporations course
can attest to this.

From that, it would take a case with facts similar to the USCF's forum
situation to be presented to a court for determination. While there may
not yet be a case on all fours with the USCF situation (then again,
there might be), there are plenty of cases that involve unfair
communication practices in takeover battles and proxy battles that would
speak to what has happened to communication withing the USCF in the
context of the election last year and the present recall eforts.

If you'd like me to research the subject, I'd be happy to. My hourly
rate for such work is $450.00 per hour with a minimum retainer of
$7,500.00. If you're interested, PM me on the USCF forum.
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Old July 12th 08, 12:55 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum

wrote:

Brian Lafferty wrote:
As usual, Mr. Hillery misses the point. There exist in all states
corporate statutes and/or regulation regarding the conduct of the
corporation affairs. State corporate statutes and case law will not
allow one group of shareholders or members to obtain an unfair advantage
with regard to the election of directors. When an organization such as
the USCF has a member only forum for the discussion of corporate
governance issues, there are significant problems when one faction
controls that forum to it's benefit thereby affecting control of the
organization by a particular faction. Mr. Hillary will not find a
specific statute such as he alluded to above. Sometimes the law is more
subtle than than which anyone who's been to law school learns in the
first week.



As usual, former attorney Brian Lafferty overestimates his knowledge
of the law.


I hate to burst your bubble Mr. Hillary, but I'm an attorney in good
standing in the State of New York and am also admitted to practice and
in good standing in the SDNY. And where are you admitted to practice?


SDO1 wrote:

"Since a matter like this concerned my actions as a member of the FOC
in April/May 2007, I asked my attorney if the USCF had the right to
moderate the forum as they saw fit and if the users, as members of the
USCF, had rights beyond what the USCF allowed. The short answer was
that the USCF owns the forum and that it may decide what is or is not
"proper speech" and is within its rights to allow or not allow any
post on whatever grounds it deems necessary. The entities with the
authority to govern the parameters of what is or is not allowed are
those who are responsible for managing the organization and those they
appoint.

"As I was a member of a committee that did decide the parameters of
speech in this forum, and since it seemed a possibility that matters
pertaining to a matter involving this question might go to court, my
attorneys researched and rendered this opinion with the expectation
that it would be defended in federal court.

"The firm I use is Merritt, Flebotte, Wilson, Webb & Caruso, PLLC. The
opinion was issued to me the first week of May, 2007.

"If I may extrapolate the opinion of my attorneys to this thread,
Mottershead has no ground to stand on. His argument is erroneous.
There are no "free speech" rights as he wishes to bestow here."


I would like to see the opinion letter, particularly the specific legal
question was posed. I doubt that this firm was addressing the issue
raised here by Motterhead.
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Old July 12th 08, 05:02 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer,misc.legal
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Default Freedom of Speech on the USCF Issues Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdo1
The short answer was that the USCF owns the forum and
that it may decide what is or is not "proper speech" and is within its
rights to allow or not allow any post on whatever grounds it deems
necessary. The entities with the authority to govern the parameters
of what is or is not allowed are those who are responsible for
managing the organization and those they appoint.

Steve Owens
However, that is not the issue. What was going on during the election
campaign, and as far as I know you were not guilty of this but other
moderators were guilty of this, is that forum participants were not
allowed to post anything negative about certain candidates or anything
positive about certain other candidates. Certain moderators were
notoriously known to favor certain candidates. Certain questions could
not be asked of certain candidates, such as whether they were married
to each other or not. If there had been rules that were uniformly
applied to all posters, nobody would have complained. However, the
moderators appointed by management used their powers to favor certain
candidates for election.

Did the attorneys you consulted tell you that it was OK for management
to do that?

Sam Sloan
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