To make these rules easy to read the terms we (us, our, etc), and you (your, etc.) , are used as per our terms and conditions.
Using the Internet requires that certain rules are followed. These rules are not laws (which must also be obeyed), but conventions that have developed throughout the Internet to ensure everything runs smoothly. These rules are often informal, and are usually managed by the users themselves (for example, in news groups). However, the Internet only works if the people using it co-operate to use the Internet sensibly. Sometimes the rules change as new exploits or problems occur in the Internet.
This Acceptable Use Policy defines the main rules which are sensible to follow, but is by no means a complete list. If these rules are broken, the offending account can be suspended and/or terminated.
At the end of the day, it is not about breaking specific rules - it is about being a nusiance on the Internet to the extent that you affect the service we can offer, directly or indirectly.
If you continue to be a nuisance on the Internet we can opt not to renew your contract and so terminate your service. This may seem harsh, but remember that you can choose not to renew your service at any point you like, and you don't have to give us a reason at all. The agreement works both ways.
These rules are part of the terms and conditions.
Permanently connected customers that provide their own web servers, email servers, news servers or any other type of servers are totally responsible for those servers and their content. You should ensure that you are aware of any laws regarding the material you are providing, including copyright laws. If you are breaking the law we will co-operate with the authorities, and may also disconnect your service.
Please also note that the service is a shared service. In fact the whole internet is a shared service. The internet is commercially viable because links are shared. You are expected to make responsible use of the service in light of the fact that it is shared with other users and your actions affect others. You are expected to pick the right tariff for your usage and try and stick within it on average. Having different tariffs for different usage levels allows us to purchase sufficient capacity. Where there are unmetered periods in the tariff, please just be sensible. At the end of the day, we can choose not to provide service to you.
It is not really our concern what you do with your internet connection any more than it is the concern of the power company what you do with the electricity they supply. Indeed, we have mere conduit status which means we are not liable for what you do. However, we ask that you do not use the service for anything illegal. This includes some aspects of copyright infringement.
We require you not to do anything that could affect the service we offer to other customers generally, which could include copyright violation if it means any copyright holders try and take action against us.
Having said that, there is a due legal process for anyone that believes one of our customers has violated their copyright. It involves the courts and (for criminal breaches) the police. It does not involve us other than where we have to comply with a request from the court or police to give them information.
So if you are a copyright holder and believe one of our customers has breached your copyright, it is up to you to follow the correct legal process to take civil and/or criminal action against that person. Please do not contact us on the matter as we are neither the police nor a court.
We will be developing a policy on the handling of CIRs once the relevant legislation is completed. However, at present they do not apply to us.
Whilst any applicable laws must be obeyed, we do not restrict what you say or how you use the Internet. It is not a breach of our AUP for you to be sent abusive, defamatory or offensive material via email or news - this is a matter between you and the sender. As we do not provide a news service, we do not consider ourselves liable under the Defamation Act for any news postings you make or collect. Our role in such matters is (as much as the law permits) much like the post office, who do not accept liability for an abusive personal letter sent via the post. As a customer you must accept that we are carriers of information with no responsibility for its content whether stored in transit or not. If we are found to be liable for anything you do using the service, you must indemnify us in full. If you are not happy with this arrangement, then please do not take the service. We expect you to take responsibility for your actions.
As such, abuse on the Internet is not in itself a reason for suspension of service. However abuse of the Internet is unacceptable. Abuse of the Internet means anything that could affect the operation of the internet, affect the service we can offer to our customers or affect a large number of internet users. This includes any action that could cause our internet feed to be disconnected or restricted, including breaking the acceptable use policy of our peers or causing any sanctions to be made against us.
We will, wherever possibly, give you reasonable warning of any problems, and a reasonable time to rectify problems before we consider any action (such as suspension of service). In exceptional circumstances this may not be possible. If you have a machine causing problems we will expect you to sort the problem or disconnect the machine within a working day.
Usenet news used to be quite a common thing when we started as an ISP, hence it being in this AUP. However, it is a lot less common now, so do not worry if you have no clue what it is.
Every news group, and in some cases whole hierarchies, have their own rules. It is important to look at the last week or so of postings to a group to find out how it works before you post something yourself. You will often find a weekly FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) posted in a group - please read it. Also, it is well worth checking news search engines to see if the question you have has been asked before.
This applies particularly to bulk posting of adverts, either individually or cross posted to multiple groups. Please note that get rich schemes are generally illegal.
You should only ever post binaries (i.e. anything other than plain text) to a newsgroup if it has binaries in the name, and only then if the name does not have .d on the end. Do not post in HTML unless the group specifically permits this.
You should use a valid email address on any postings you send.
You should use your email address on all email you send.
There are no limits on email sent or received, but bulk emailing of unsolicited advertisements is not acceptable. Recent UK legislation may also affect this practice, and if you are in doubt, check with a solicitor specialising in the field.
You are responsible for anything emailed from any of your machines.
When sending email or news postings or accessing services or social media, etc, it is important not to simply make up email addresses. Generally, you should use a valid email address that you own. In some cases such as mailing lists you may not wish to use your normal email address as this could lead to spam or junk mail being sent, and this is a valid concern. In such cases you should use an alternative email address which you own. We used to provide a UK domain with every broadband line, and we can sell you a domain and email now, which allows unlimited email addresses. You can set mail filters to reject email to specific addresses if you like, and use one of these.
One trick may be to change your address that you use on news postings or a forum every month and allow email only for the current address. This is more polite as it does allow people to email replies to your postings but also allows you to cut down on junk mail.
If you really want to post using a completely invalid email address, then use something ending in .invalid (as per RFC 2606). A good ploy may be to use your normal email address with .invalid added to the end - but that lets a person see the actual email address to use. Remember that your posting will have a trace of the IP addresses used, and so using a made up email address will not make you untraceable.
You must never use someone else's email address without their permission or any address that may be someone else's in the future - so essentially, don't make up email addresses.
Why? Obviously you should not use an address that may be someone else's, but there are other reasons not to make up addresses which may be less obvious. Whenever a made up address is used, a name server will be queried, and for an address which is completely made up this could query the top level name servers. There are only a few dozen of these, and all valid queries result in caching of answers. Invalid queries will cause the top level name servers to be asked every time and put a lot of load on them. Everything you do on the Internet relies on these name servers, so it is best to ensure they keep running smoothly.
Web pages held on our servers must not contain anything which is illegal. Any such information, including copyright material illegally copied, that is brought to our attention may be deleted. Repeated violations will result in suspension of web page service. It is also unacceptable to promote illegal activities. Note that your web pages can be read all over the world and laws vary from country to country.
Web space on our servers is provided for use as part of a set of web pages, and not as a general repository for data. Files may be deleted if we believe that they do not form part of your web site (e.g. using our web space as a backup file store).
Any legitimate complaint we receive will be considered and may cause suspension of any account at our sole discretion. When considering a complaint, the effect on the Internet and to our ability to provide services to all our customers is considered. Abuse in this context is abuse of the Internet and not abuse on the Internet, so don't bother complaining to us because someone calls you a rude word in email or on a newsgroup (although, feel free to complain to the sender - but this does not usually help). If you have any complaint about any other customer, please use our on-line abuse report form at http://abuse.aa.net.uk
Some things to watch out for...