Personal Computing: Stuck? Consider a Computer User Group

March 1999
by Reid Goldsborough

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Linking to someone else’s Web site by placing its content inside a frame at your own Web site can get you in trouble for copyright infringement. Putting another company’s trademark in the “metatag” for your Web site as a way of attracting visitors is a trademark violation. If you send e-mail at work, your employer can legally intercept and read it. Or if you send out unsolicited bulk e-mail, or “spam,” your Internet service provider has the legal right to cut off your service. These were among the pieces of advice offered by a lawyer who specializes in information technology law, Mark A. Murtha, at a recent meeting of the Philadelphia Area Computer Society (PACS). PACS is one of hundreds of computer user groups — volunteer nonprofit organizations whose members meet to further their knowledge of computers, help one another with computer problems, and socialize.

User Groups in Today’s World Computer user groups are as old as computers themselves but, ironically, as computers in recent years have become more popular and easier to use, user groups have hit hard times. Membership in many groups is down considerably from a peak period in the late 1980s, and the number of groups has decreased. Two years ago, the Boston Computer Society, once the world’s largest computer user group, folded. The Internet is partly responsible for the decline in user groups, since you can now obtain information and advice as easily as firing up your Web browser. So is there still a place for us…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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