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May 10, 2003 02:15pm
Hotmail Terminates Account Over Poetry
Source: Letters to the Editor
by: Alexander the Poet

(EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Hotmail Terminates a Poet's Account - Claims Poetry is "Objectionable Material" that Violated Their Service. Poet Feels Hotmail has Violated his First Amendment Right To Express.

Alexander the Poet, a poet residing in East Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, that has his poems broadcast nightly on KSEXradio.com and published all over the web, suddenly found himself in an awkward situation one morning. Alexander has been emailing his poems via Hotmail service using AlexanderThePoet@Hotmail.com, for roughly 5 years. But recently, Alexander had his Hotmail account terminated without warning. He is claiming that what Hotmail has done is unconstitutional and violated his First Amendment right to express himself.

When Alexander tried emailing Hotmail customer support numerous times, the following is what a Hotmail representative responded with:

"Alexander, I understand that you are experiencing difficulty accessing your Hotmail account. I look forward to providing you with assistance today.

I would like to inform you that, We have closed the account in question because of a violation of our Terms of Use (ToU). It is a strict violation of the Tou for our members to send objectionable material of any kind or nature using our service.

You can read our Tou at: Privacy.MSN.com/tou/default.asp

For additional and any further assistance, please do feel free to email us again.

Alexander, remember that MSN Hotmail also has comprehensive online help available--just click Help in the upper right corner.

Sincerely,

Jane

MSN Hotmail Customer Support Representative"

Alexander took offense to Hotmail's wording of "objectionable material". The only reasonable assumption Alexander could make was that Hotmail terminated his account over his poetry.

When Alexander tried to further find out what specific "objectionable material" they meant, Hotmail representatives couldn't tell him, due to security reasons.

The following comments come from Alexander the Poet's website, AlexanderThePoet.net:

"On the morning of Friday, May 9, 2003, I arrive at work and about to log on to Hotmail to check email as I religiously do. Except when I try to sign in, I get this message: "Hotmail Account Closed. Access Denied."

Why? Why was my account closed?

I know I did not send out more than 100 emails in a 24hr period. I know I never sent out any offensive/hate mail.

Although granted, my poems that I email may be borderline obscene, but hey, I been doing it for 5 years with no problem! So why shut it down now?

It is dumbfounded for Hotmail to terminate my account for poetry that they label "objectionable material". I am a poet that emails poems. Hotmail has violated my freedom of expression. I will not stand for such nonsense. I've had a Hotmail account for 5 years now. In those 5 years, I have never used Hotmail to send out spam or hatemail. Hotmail shut down my account on grounds of what they deem to be "objectionable material". They don't give me any straight answers as to what specifically was "objectionable" or who made the complaint. The "objectionable material" that Hotmail refers to could only be my poetry. That is the only thing I email people that may be considered "objectionable". But even with that, what grounds did Hotmail have to terminate my account???"

At this time, Alexander the Poet is filing a complaint with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) branch in New Jersey.

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