Since this is a legal seminar, I thought it would be appropriate to begin with a case. There is a person in Los Angeles who has been operating an electronic bulletin board on his personal computer. What that means is that he has memory attached to his computer, and it is possible for anyone else in the country with a computer to dial into that bulletin board and leave a message automatically in the memory. That message can then be accessed by anyone else who dials in.
This person does not exercise any control over the messages that are put in. It is open to anyone who wants to put a message in there. Somebody put into that bulletin board the telephone credit card number of a rich person. Subsequently, many other people dialed into the bulletin board, got the telephone credit card number and charged phone calls to that person. No one knows where the number came from. The board operator was prosecuted under a criminal charge. The question is, is he liable?