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Computer Law/deleted comments


My question is: Is it a criminal offense to attempt to use a deleted message to prosecute someone? And how do I educate myself on this issue so that I do not find myself at another hearing defending my civil liberties with a deleted message?
My name is Cindy and I live in Pennsylvania. I have a joint account with Vic on a campground message board that was set up to provide a place for members to ask questions and receive reply's. On August 31st 2012 I was informed of a comment made and signed by Vic and told that it was inappropriate. So being a firm believer in our constitution and our civil liberty of freedom of speech. I agreed that if Vic wasn't back to remove/delete it in 10 minutes I would, however I preferred that he decided to do that himself. He did come back in which time I read the comment and did not find it to be anything but an opinion and appropriate to the issue being discussed, however we both agreed to delete it anyway, since it was questionable to the other party that did reply with his opinion as well. We believed that to be the end of the situation, however on September 30th 2012, a month later the email that Vic deleted was resurrected from the delete pile and passed out to at least all 12 of our board members and we were sent a major offense that would be on our record here within our campground membership for three years and a 100 dollar fine. I was outraged at the fact that I was also included and did not even personally type the message, however we asked for a hearing and that hearing took place October 21st 2012 and we were found innocent and given our access back to the message board, however we do not want to be any part of that message board.


A private campground operator can set its own rules regarding what is written on its message boards.  First Amendment rights do not apply in this setting.  If they want to use a delete message to enforce their own policies/rules, they are free to do so, but presumably they have terms and conditions on the message board which describe their rights and your obligations.  I would recommend you review those, and on any other website or message board for which you use.

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Dan Pepper


I can answer questions regarding all forms of Internet, technology, and multimedia law. Specific areas may include: website terms and conditions, privacy policies, copyright, trademark, domain name disputes, software and technology licensing, and website and software development agreements. More information can be found at


I've practiced law since 1994, representing dozens of ecommerce, Internet, and software companies.

NJ State Bar Association PA State Bar Association American Bar Association American Corporate Counsel Association Internet & Computer Law Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association Somerset County Business Partnership Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Licensing Executives Society Free Speech Coalition Board of Advisors, Stevens Institute of Technology Communications

BA, Political Science; JD.

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