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RockNet Mission

The Rockville Community Network's mission is to build and maintain a computer-based community network that enables and promotes broad participation in civic life and enhances the community socially, culturally, educationally and economically through universal access by the people of the Rockville community to:

RockNet Management Structure and Policies

Policy is ultimately decided by the RockNet Management Team, consisting of the RockNet Web administrator and the RockNet Board of Directors.  Reference the By Laws for more information on the structure of RockNet.

Non-commercial Focus

RockNet concentrates its efforts on segments of the community and categories of information that have not yet been adequately served by the commercial sector, in much the same way that public libraries and public broadcasting stations operate. Fees or charges for use of RockNet are set by the RockNet Management Team.

Preference for Open Protocols

Where possible, RockNet will use widespread open protocols and formats (such as TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML) in preference to proprietary or locally developed protocols and formats.

Distinction Between Provider and Access Roles of RockNet

For the policies which follow, a distinction needs to be made between two RockNet roles: providing access to information and providing information itself. This is inherent in the "client/server" nature of the World Wide Web technology RockNet uses.

RockNet directly publishes information to the people of Rockville City and the Internet via a specific server machine known as "rocknet.org". This is the only information which RockNet has any direct control over, and thus the only information which RockNet can state any policy for. Information from the RockNet server will be identifiable because the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) will begin with the sequence "http://www.rocknet.org/".

Server policies and access policies are treated separately below.

Server Policies

Purpose of the RockNet Server

RockNet seeks to provide a platform for non-profit and civic organizations to provide reasonable amounts of locally-oriented information to the widest possible on-line audience.

Site Utilization

Information Providers Agree to Assume Editorial Rights and Responsibilities

In the case of both information published from the RockNet server, and information accessible via RockNet, but published from other non-RockNet systems, ultimate editorial and publishing responsibilities lie with the specific groups and organizations providing the information (the information providers). Before they are granted the privilege of publishing information on RockNet, Information Providers must sign an information provider agreement.

Providing Commercial Information

RockNet provides access to both commercial and non-commercial information. But RockNet will, at least initially, concentrate its limited server resources on information of a clearly non-profit, community-oriented nature, although we may seek out information of particular interest from other sources. We will be evaluating this issue on an ongoing basis, and reserve the right to include for-profit groups and information as deemed appropriate in the future, but we expect that their needs will be best served by other servers.

RockNet will provide hypertext references to commercial information from other servers, but will seek to do so via information aggregators, such as chambers of commerce, who agree to provide reasonably open and free access to a wide variety of organizations.

Management Team Can Deny Publishing Privileges

The Management Team reserves the right to deny RockNet publishing privileges to any group or organization that does not meet the RockNet information provider criteria.

Appeal Procedure

Information providers who disagree with a RockNet decision may appeal the decision by submitting a letter to the RockNet Web administrator. The issue will be heard by the RockNet Board of Directors which will render a decision within 60 days.

Use of RockNet Name and Information

Various other organizations may be interested in serving RockNet information via their own access points and servers. The following guidelines must be adhered to:

Information which is produced by RockNet will be subject to the following copyright notice.

Copyright (c) 2001 Rockville Community Network. All rights reserved.
URL: http://www.rocknet.org/

Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this web server and related graphics is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear. All other rights reserved.

The name of Rockville Community Network or the Rockville Community Network logo may not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of this information without specific, written prior permission from the Board of Directors.

Rockville Community Network makes no representations about the suitability of this information for any purpose. It is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty.

Information provided by other information providers is subject to whatever copyrights and restrictions they may indicate. Because of the unbounded and interactive nature of RockNet and the World Wide Web, other information access providers will not be allowed to publicize that they provide access to "RockNet" unless they provide full live World Wide Web access to the full content of the RockNet server.

In other circumstances, written permission may be granted to other information providers to use a label such as "Information Excerpted from RockNet" in their promotional material.

Interactive Communication

Initially, interactive communication via RockNet will be limited to the capability to send comments to RockNet administration and other participating community organizations. In the future, we may explore the possibility of providing "bulletin board" discussion capabilities for local issues. We would seek to do this via open protocols like netnews and in partnership with other local bulletin board providers, both not-for-profit and for-profit.

Access Policies

Concentrate on Service to Local Citizens

Our target audience is Rockville City citizens.  Our policy is to ensure that all citizens have priority access to RockNet. Since RockNet is on the Internet, those outside Rockville City can access RockNet through their Internet connection.

Priorities of Access to Various Internet Services

The Internet can be used by the general public for a wide variety of purposes. This policy statement attempts to categorize the various services that can be provided and identify priorities from a community information provider standpoint so that limited dollars can be used most effectively.  For example, we don't want people to be unable to access basic local information because lots of other people are telecommuting or using "chat" services from public kiosks.

Here are the relevant "Service Categories", in priority order:

Some of the lowest priority, least "cost effective" (information per dollar) services are the most popular: chat, bulletin boards, email. Providing these popular communications services is also most likely to duplicate services provided by the private sector.

Note also that within both the local and global web resource categories, some information (e.g. large downloadable movies) might be viewed as having lower priority than other information (e.g. bus schedules or proposed legislation).

Access to services with higher priority should not be impeded by the provision and use of services with lower priority.

Based on usage information, priorities may re-adjusted.

Preserve Privacy of Users

RockNet will seek to protect the privacy of RockNet users by not releasing possibly revealing information about usage patterns except when forced to do so by court order.

(Our gratitude to Boulder Community Network for permission to utilize their policy guidelines.)

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Copyright 2000 Rockville Community Network. All rights reserved.
Feedback: comments@rocknet.org
Last Updated: July 4, 2000