General Ethical Guideline for Running Online Services

February 16, 1996
Electronic Network Consortium


This guideline is prepared for the healthy growth and development of online services to domestic online service providers and sponsors (hereafter called online service providers) regardless of management priciples, company size, or management styles so that libel, defamation, or problems with public order, morals, and ethics will not occur.

Basic Principles

Online service providers should observe the following basic principles, recognizing the large potential of the network society for bringing tremendous innovations to the general society. The wise utilization of the network society can contribute to the future development of the general society and welfare.

1. In the online society, observe freedom of speech, protect human rights, and abide by the Constitution of Japan.

2. In the online society, observe laws, the customs of society, and public order and morals.

3. Protect all people from suffering damage concerning the following items;

4. Promote good manners in the online network society.

5. Foster the spirit of tolerance in the online network society.

Guideline for Running Online Services

In order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, online service providers should comply with the following guideline:

1. Preparation of Membership Clauses

An online service provider, regardless of the differences in contract styles, should prepare clauses (hereafter called the membership clauses) to describe the duties, prohibitions, and sanctions to be taken.

1-1. An online service provider should make efforts to ensure that members comply with the membership clauses. If there is change to the clauses the provider should notify their members by means of a notice on a bulletin board or other methods.

1-2. In the membership clauses, the following should be clearly stated: duties to observe as a member and forbidden conducts and counter- measures in case prohibitions are violated.

2. Setup of a Help Desk and Completion of a Management System

An online service provider should set up a help desk to take care of requests from members and complete the management system.

2-1. An online service provider should set up and publicly announce a help desk to take care of requests from members. The member requests forwarded to the help desk should be taken care of as quickly as possible.

2-2. An online service provider should prepare internal producers for dealing with different cases and making sure that the same action should be done by all employees.

3. Complete Implementation of Development Activities

An online service provider should try hard to implement rules and manners for their members so that the online network society can develop in a healthy manner. Also, difficult-to-understand portions of membership clauses should contain concrete examples and detailed explanations.

4. Complete Maintenace of Various Computer Systems and Clear Counter- measures for Possible Service Troubles

An online service provider, to prevent possible online network-related troubles, should maintain various computer systems and try hard to define and publicize countermeasures for possible service troubles.

Go to index
e-mail address