1991 1992 1993 - 1994 - 1995 1996 1997
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
  • January 7 - Mark Abene, alias Phiber Optik begins serving a 10 month sentence at the Schuylkill federal prison in Pennsylvania. Emmanuel Goldstein accompanies him to drop him off and records the event for his documentary Freedom Downtime.
  • January 10 - Robert and Carleen Thomas, sysops of the Amateur Action BBS in Milpitas, California, are arrested by the U.S. Postal Service via federal agents on 6 counts of transporting obscene material and one count of receiving of child pornography. So begins the "Thomas Case" or "Amateur Action Case", wherein it is revealed that the Thomases have been arrested in California based on community standards in Tennessee. Over the next half-decade, the Thomases will fight their case, ultimately ending up in prison for several years.
  • January 25 - A federal grand jury for the Western District of Tennessee returns a twelve-count endictment against Robert and Carleen Thomas of the Amateur Action BBS for conspiracy to violate federal obscenity laws, shipping obscene materials via UPS, and one count of causing the transportation of materials depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
  • April 7 - The United States District Court, District of Massachusetts brings an indictment against MIT student David LaMacchia, indicating that under the handles of "John Gaunt" and "Grimjack", he committed software piracy using MIT servers. This is the first use of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud statues in a bulletin board case. The indictment is for a single count, usually unheard of in federal cases.
  • August 31 - Richard D. Kenadek, sysop of the Davy Jones Locker BBS is arrested by the FBI, two years after his BBS was seized in a raid, and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraid and criminal copyright infringement.
  • September - In Lincoln County, Oregon, election results are delivered via BBS, outstripping local newspapers by several days. The successful experiment was set up by Mark C. Nasstrom of the Oregon Coast Rural Information Service Cooperative.
  • September 8 - Richard D. Kenadek, sysop of the Davy Jones Locker BBS, pleads not guilty to software piracy.
  • September 30 - The defense attorneys of David LaMacchia ask the US District Court of Massachusetts to dismiss the case against him. LaMacchia is accused of running a Piracy BBS on MIT Servers and has been indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, a first of its kind.
  • October - The US Secret Service returns the hardware of the RIPCO BBS, seized four years earlier, to the SysOp, Dr. Ripco. As a condition, the hard drives are erased of all data.
  • October 24 - The US Attorneys in the David LaMacchia "Cynosure" BBS Piracy case respond to the defense's motion to dismiss. They argue that the case should be continued.
  • October 31 - QuantumLink (Q-Link), an online service for using games and programs on Commodore 64 and 128 computers, announces that it is getting out of the Commodore business. Subscribers are offered memberships on the now-growing America Online service.
  • November 4 - The defense attorneys for David LaMacchia respond to the government's replies to their defense.
  • November 18 - Oral arguments are heard in the David LaMacchia BBS Piracy Case, where LaMacchia is accused of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud by running a pirate BBS ("Cynosure") at MIT.
  • December 2 - Robert and Carleen Thomas, sysops of the Amateur Action BBS of Milpitas, CA, are sentenced to 37 and 30 months, respectively, in Memphis, TN. Under federal sentencing rules, both are required to serve the full terms. This is the first case of a BBS owner being prosecuted for the content of their BBS based on the standards of a community in a different state. Robert and Carleen Thomas are sentenced in Memphis in the "Amateur Action BBS Case", where their California-based BBS was found guilty by Tennessee obscenity standards. Robert receives a 37 month sentence and Carleen receives 30 months.
  • December 29 - Judge Stearns dismisses the case against David LaMacchia in the Cynosure Piracy case, wherein LaMacchia, an MIT student, is accused of using MIT servers to run a piracy BBS.

Source Edit

  • Scott, Jason. The TEXTFILES.COM BBS Timeline. [1]