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Commerical Posts

Kevin O'Donnell odonnell at sasa.gov.uk
Tue Jun 4 05:53:52 EST 1996

A reminder of the Biosci/Bionet policy on commercial content of posts 
(taken from the Biosci FAQ at 

What are the restrictions on commercial activities in the
BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups?

BIOSCI is funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF)
which supports the Internet in the U.S. with U.S. taxpayer dollars.
NSF is responsible for setting Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for the the
NSFNet backbone section of the Internet of which BIOSCI makes
extensive use.  Because of these reasons, BIOSCI users should adhere
to the following guidelines. 

Commercial activities on BIOSCI are in general prohibited except as
noted below.  People at for-profit organizations are free to read all
postings made to the BIOSCI/bionet newsgroups, but must ensure that
their postings to the newsgroups do not violate our guidelines. 

Commercial organizations may post job openings on
EMPLOYMENT/bionet.jobs subject to the format restrictions for that
group.  Commercial job posting format restrictions for the
EMPLOYMENT/bionet.jobs newsgroup are described above under the
question "Where should I post my messages?"  Users who violate these
format restrictions consciously risk losing their network access. 

BIOSCI readers without any financial connections to a company or a
product may discuss and/or post endorsements of a commercial product.
However, it is standard Internet practice to include in the posting a
disclaimer of any financial interest in the product/company.  Note
that postings to newsgroups are subject to libel laws.  BIOSCI advises
readers to think twice before taking potshots at products that they do
not like. 

BIOSCI users often post general questions about problems that might be
solved through the use of a commercial product.  It is EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT, however, that such general questions not be 
answered by
people affiliated with the product or company that might stand to gain
a sale as a result.  For example, user X may ask, "Is there a product
that will allow me to separate protein A from protein B given the
following properties ...?", but, if user Y works at company Z which
sells a product that can accomplish this task, user Y does 
NOT have permission to respond to the question.  Responses can only be
by other scientists who might have experience in solving the problem
in question and who do not stand to gain financially by promoting the
product in question, i.e., they are not employees, consultants, or
connected to the company via other financial ties.  As noted above,
postings endorsing commercial products should contain a customary
disclaimer stating the absence of financial ties of the poster to the

Commercial companies MAY RESPOND to a public BIOSCI newsgroup if a
BIOSCI user asks a question directly about one of their products,
e.g., mentions it by name.  The response should be limited to a
factual answer of the question posed and should avoid any hint of
advertising hype.  Comparisons with competitors' products should be
avoided completely. 

Finally, as a general rule, if you are unsure about the
appropriateness of your posting, before you post anything please send
a copy of what you propose to post to the BIOSCI adminstrator at
biosci-help at net.bio.net for review. 

BIOSCI will takes steps to terminate network access to any reader who
willfully violates our commercial use policies. 

Extract from FAQ ends.

Dr Kevin O'Donnell                          "I'm happy, I'm happy
Diagnostics and Molecular Biology    and I'll punch the man that says I'm not"
SASA                                                   - Ivor Cutler

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