View Full Version : Sponsors, Facts, and Fancies

Herman J. Woltring
05-08-1991, 03:16 AM
Dear Biomch-L readers,

Under EARN/BITNET rules, commercial advertising is not allowed, as mentioned
before on Biomch-L . Of course, there are gradations between blatant
advertising and providing factual information, and usually this has been
without problems on this list. Other networks are less stringent, but with
LISTSERV@HEARN predominantly an EARN/BITNET/NETNORTH list (even though that
particular server is also known as LISTSERV@NIC.SURFNET.NL), this is a rule
to be respected lest your moderators will have to change this unmoderated
forum into a moderated one. None of us would relish that.

A special problem is that of announcements in which a commercial sponsor may
seem to figure too predominantly and/or too often. At this moment, we may
have such a case at hand. Rather than "talking like a Dutch uncle" (even
though I happen to be one), I should like to say that such advertising does
not seem to be in the interest of the sponsor because he may appear too
aggressive. In my mind, it is much more in his/her interest to appear in
the `small print', as just one of the sponsors of any meeting in our field.

It may be difficult to be really neutral in matters of this kind since many
of us have relationships with particular vendors, if only because of equipment
bought, leased, hired or even on loan from them. This applies also to myself,
with two commercial parties in the CAMARC consortium mentioned on this list at
various occasions. The final interpretation and judgment is, therefore, with
the readership.

Herman J. Woltring, Eindhoven/NL

Under the Dutch Constitution, Freedom of Opinion and the Press does not
apply to commercial advertising. I believe that a similar interpreta-
tion exists for the First Amendment in the USA.