Table of Contents
Very few observers of the Internet believe that it can be regulated sensibly by traditional Intellectual Property law. Some think that the current forms of intellectual-property protection are woefully inadequate. The Internet, they point out, functions as an inexpensive global copying machine. Although many uses of that machine are illegal, the current systems for detecting and punishing those uses are hopelessly out of date, and thus online "theft" of information is rampant. What should be done? Opinions vary. Some members of this group advocate tightening intellectual-property laws. Others advocate replacing (or supplementing) intellectual-property protections with alternative legal or technological shields for online information.
Other observers think that intellectual-property law as applied to the Internet is already too tight. Instead of reinforcing impediments to the use and reproduction of information in cyberspace, they argue, we should be looking for ways to reduce those barriers. More broadly, they claim, we must lower our expectations concerning the protections that the developers of ideas and information deserve.
This module examines these divergent reform proposals -- and the extent to which some are being implemented. The spectrum of alternatives, as you will see is quite broad. It may be helpful, while reviewing the array, to keep in mind the following general framework:
...[T]he question that law should ask is what means would bring about the most efficient set of protections for property interests in cyberspace. Two sorts of protections are possible. One is the traditional protection of law - the law defines a space where others should not enter and punishes people who nonetheless enter. The other protection is a fence, a technological device (a bit of code) that (among other things) blocks the unwanted from entering. In real space, of course, we have both - laws and fences that supplement law. No doubt there is some optimal mix between fences and the law. Both cost money, and the return from each is not necessarily the same. From a social perspective, we would want the mix that provides optimal protection at the lowest cost...[from Lawrence Lessig, "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace." A similar, though not identical, framework can be found in Margaret Jane Radin, "Humans, Computers, and Binding Commitment."]
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Set forth below are guides to the principal proposals for either
supplementing, curtailing, or displacing traditional intellectual-property
law as applied to the Internet. Links to additional resources
pertaining to each topic may be found at the
end of this module.
Moved by arguments of these sorts,
Union recently adopted a Directive compelling all of its member
countries to adopt legislation forbidding the extraction or reutilization
of a substantial portion of a database. Member countries are allowed
some -- but not much -- latitude in establishing exceptions (analogous to
the fair-use doctrine in copyright law) to this prohibition. During
each of the last few terms of Congress, two sharply
different bills that would create an analogous legal regime in the
United States have been introduced by rival groups of interested
parties. Neither of the bills has made it far in the legislative
process, but efforts to create a database statute in the United States
will likely continue for the foreseeable future. For a survey and
evaluation of these initiatives, read the attached excerpt from "Database
Protection at the Crossroads: Recent Developments and Their Impact on
Science and Technology" by Jerome H. Reichman and Paul F. Uhlir.
(The full article is also available here
if you have time.)
Are so-called "click-on licenses" of these sorts enforceable? It's hard to say. Many courts in the United States have considered the enforceability of closely analogous "shrink-wrap licenses," which have been used for years by software manufacturers to limit the ways in which customers may make use of their wares -- but the courts' answers have varied substantially. A good review of this tangled body of case law may be found in the attached excerpt from Margaret Jane Radin's " Humans, Computers, and Binding Commitment". The most famous of the shrink-wrap cases is the decision of Judge Easterbrook (writing for a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals) in ProCD v. Zeidenberg 86 F.3d1447. (The notoriety of that ruling -- and the crispness of Easterbrook's prose -- unfortunately has contributed to a widespread views that the enforceability of shrink-wrap agreements is clearer than it is in fact.)
With respect to the enforceability of the online versions of such contracts, the case law is very thin. In Hotmail Corporation v. Van$ Money Pie, Inc. 1998 WL 388389, 1 (N.D. Cal.), a District Court granted an injunction against a "spammer" (a person who sends unsolicited commercial emails) -- largely on the theory that the plaintiff had a valid contract claim arising out of a click-on license. But other decisions on the issue are, as yet, hard to find.
Reformers have been trying for years to secure the adoption of
legislation that would establish, once and for all, the enforceability of
these private agreements. The most ambitious of those efforts was
the attempt to add a new Article
2B to the Uniform Commercial Code. Fierce opposition --
partly, though not exclusively from legal scholars -- ultimately blocked
this initiative. Unbowed, the reformers have been seeking analogous
legislative changes from the legislatures of individual American
states. For a careful assessment of this subject, see the attached
excerpt from Niva Elkin-Koren, "
Copyright Policy and the Limits of Freedom of Contract ".
(Her full article is also available here.)
An important example of this impulse is the development of so-called "trusted systems." Such a system is essentially a software application configured to run only by following rules specified by the programmer. Through such rules, a content provider is empowered to determine the terms and conditions under which a user may -- and may not -- gain access to his or her digital work. For a description of this technology, please read one of Mark Stefik's two articles on the subject -- the layman's version in Scientific American or the more detailed version in the Berkeley Journal of Law and Technology.
The most widely publicized effort to replace crumbling intellectual-property shields with newer, stronger technological shields, was the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). Last year, after a development process that lasted much longer than expected, SDMI made available to the public prototypes of its new watermarking systems -- and invited hackers to try to break them. To the consternation of the developers, the systems were broken promptly. To hear all sides of this story, you should listen to the panel discussion on the topic at the recent Future of Music Policy Summit Conference.
Technological "solutions" of these sorts have been criticized harshly
by many scholars. For example, in the attached excerpt from "Hardware-Based
ID, Rights Management, and Trusted Systems," Harvey Weinberg
highlights the potential dangers to individual privacy and human ingenuity
by the uncritical adoption of trusted systems. (The full article for
your reference is available here.)
Lessig forecasts an even darker future for Cyberspace, where the free
flow of content is hampered by the rise of numerous technological
"fences". (Lessig's article can be viewed only with the
assistance of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download a copy). Not everyone,
however, agrees with Lessig. In "What Larry
Doesn't Get: Code, Law, and Liberty in Cyberspace", David Post argues
that many of his conclusions do not follow from his central argument that
"West Coast Code" dominates Cyberspace.
"Now I've made something of a career telling the world that code is law. The rules built into software and hardware functions as a kind of law. That we should understand code as kind of law, because code can restrict or enable freedoms in just the way law should... But in the anticircumvention of the DMCA [Digital Millenium Copyright Act], Congress has turned my metaphor into reality. For what the anticircumvention provision says is that building software tools to circumvent code that is designed to protect content is a felony. If you build code to crack code then you have violated the US code... Code is law."To date, the most important and visible application of this portion of the DMCA has involved the effort to limit dissemination over the Internet of DeCSS, a software program that disables the technology that shields DVD discs from copying. For a review of the struggle over DeCSS, see the Case Study, below.
The basic idea behind open source is very simple. When programmers on the Internet can read, redistribute, and modify the source for a piece of software, it evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.In "Whose Intellectual Property Is It Anyway? The Open Source War," Peter Wayner provides a nontechnical overview of the current conflict between advocates of the closed source and open source paradigms. For more detailed introductions to the movement, please read either "The Power of Openness" by David Bollier or this Introduction by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman, and Mark Stone. The former article is also available at the Berkman Center's Open Code site, a rich resource for information on the movement, while the latter article is the preamble to the book, "Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution." A defense of the movement may be found in Lawrence Lessig's "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace" (distilled in relevant part in "Open Code and Open Societies"). For constructive criticism of Lessig's position, see Steven Hetcher, "Climbing the Walls of Your Electronic Cage."
We in the open-source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see source and everybody else must blindly use an opaque block of bits.
It should be emphasized that the Open Source Movement does not call for the total abandonment of "intellectual property." As Robert W. Gomulkiewicz explains:
The terms "free software" and "open source software" might lead observers of the open source revolution to conclude that hackers make software free or open by placing their code into the public domain; however, hackers employ a different approach. The proponents of open source software rely on owning the copyright in the code and then licensing it according to a very particular mass-market licensing model...
Open source licensing is based on several key principles. These principles are embodied in The Open Source Definition, published by the Open Source Initiative, and in sample licenses published by the Free Software Foundation and others, such as the GNU General Public License, the GNU Library General Public License, the Artistic License, and the Berkeley Software Design-style license. If a license does not comply with these principles, the software cannot (at least according to the open source community) be labeled "opensource."A current "definition" (Version 1.7) of what should constitute open-source software may be found here. Hyperlinked to each rule is its rationale. For a glimpse of the typical development process for this type of software, you may want to peruse this excerpt from Marcus Maher's "Open Source Software: The Success of an Alternative Intellectual Property Incentive Paradigm". (You can read the entire article here.) For examples of software that are based on the open source model, see Opensource.org's representative list of products that meet its definition as well as the websites of the Linux Documentation Project and Netscape Communications (which released its source code to the general public in 1998).
Such a view of "bottom-up private ordering" is not without its critics.
For example, in "Cyberspace
Self-Governance: A Skeptical View From Liberal Democratic Theory,"
Neil Netanel argues that it fails to promote the ideals of a liberal democracy.
(The full article is available here.)
We will return to this subject when we discuss ICANN and the domain-name
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The Content Scrambling System [CSS] encodes DVDs so that they can only be played in the geographic region where they are purchased. The DVD Content Control Association [DVD CCA] explains the rationale for this system as follows:
Movies are often released at different times in different parts of the world. For example, a film that opens in December in the U.S. might not premier in Tokyo until several months later. By the time that Tokyo premier occurs, the film may be ready for DVD distribution in the U.S.
Regional DVD coding allows viewers to enjoy films on DVD at home shortly after their region's theatrical run is complete by enabling regions to operate on their own schedules. A film can be released on DVD in one region even though it is still being played in theaters in another region because regional coding ensures it will not interfere with the theatrical run in another region. Without regional coding, all home viewers would have to wait until a film completes its entire global theatrical run before a DVD could be released anywhere.DeCSS is a software program developed by a Norwegian teenager that (as its name suggests) disables CSS. One of the justifications for the program offered by its defenders is that, although "[a] legally purchased DVD can easily be played on a machine running Microsoft software or on a Macintosh computer, [i]t is currently very difficult to play a DVD on a Linux machine since there is no 'approved' player for Linux. Even if this changes and an approved Linux player equipped with proprietary CSS comes into existence, the same problem will continue to exist for other open-source operating systems and for Linux users who will decline to buy a closed-source application. In fact, this kind of thing will actively discourage new operating systems from being developed since they won't have the same capabilities as existing ones." The DeCSS program is relatively simple and may be obtained from a wide variety of websites on the Internet. (For reasons that will soon become apparent, we can't provide you links to those sites, but a search on Google.com should do the trick.)
2600 is a self-styled online "hacker magazine." Roughly a year ago, 2600 posted links to other websites from which DeCSS could be downloaded. Major stakeholders in the DVD industry, such as the members of the Motion Picture Association of America [MPAA], brought suit, alleging that the behavior of 2600 violated the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA (discussed above). Good overviews of the background of the case may be found in Wendy Grossman, "DVDs: Cease and DeCSS?" and Jim Taylor's online DVD FAQ segment on DVD copy protection issues.
Last summer, in Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, the District Court for the Southern District Court of New York ruled in favor of the DVD publishers. (The opinion requires a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download a copy). 2600 has appealed this judgment to Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Many groups and individuals --including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Openlaw project of The Berkman Center -- have lent support to the defendant. The considerations that underlie their position are outlined in an Amicus Curae ("friend of the court") brief filed with the Second Circuit last January 26 by a group of intellectual-property law professors. A less dense treatment of the legal issues may be found in Bruce Bell's " The Coming Storm".
Using the resource materials and other
sources in the additional resources
section, please make an effort to answer the questions that follow.
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1. Is the Internet sufficiently different from "real space" to justify the creation of a separate body of intellectual property laws?
2. Should databases (online or otherwise) be protected against unauthorized copying? If so, how?
3. Should the proposed draft of UCC2B have been adopted? Should there be any limits to the enforcement of click-on licenses?
4. Do you think the adoption of trusted systems by content providers is a legitimate initiative to enhance the protection of their intellectual property rights, or will that strategy eventually threaten the viability and growth of the Internet? If the latter, how would you curtail the use of this approach?
5. Who should prevail in the Reimerdes case?
6. Is the Internet capable of self-governance?
7. Do you agree with the claims made by the Open Source Movement that its software is superior, that it discovers and fixes bugs quicker, and that it is cheaper than traditionally developed software?
2. Actual and Proposed Legislation
- Pamela Samuelson, "Privacy as Intellectual Property" 52 Stan. L. Rev. 1125 (2000): Examines the potential of integrating the protection of personal information with the current U.S. intellectual property regime.
- Yochai Benkler, "Net Regulation: Taking Stock and Looking Forward" 71 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1203 (2000): A current and comprehensive survey of internet regulation in the United States.
- Jerome H. Reichman and Paul F. Uhlir, "Database Protection at the Crossroads: Recent Developments and their Impact on Science and Technology" 14 Berk. Tech. L. J. 793 (1999): A critique of the European Union's Database Directive and the current legislative proposals before the United States Congress.
- Jerome H. Reichman and Pamela Samuelson, "Intellectual Property Rights in Data?" 50 Vand. L. R. 51 (1997): Criticism of the various sui generis rights on the basis that they amount to intellectual property rights in data.
- Edmund Andrews, "Fighting Free Music, Europeans Take Aim at Personal Computers" N.Y. Times (14 February 2001): A report on the ongoing campaign in Europe to pass legislation that will "tax" home computer components that may be used to infringe copyrights.
- Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11th March 1996 on the Legal Protection of Databases, 1996 OJ (L 77) 20: Directive creating a sui generis right of protection in otherwise non-copyrightable databases.
- Collections of Information Antipiracy Act, HR 354 106th Cong. (1999) : Current proposal before the United States Congress amending HR 2652.
- Collections of Information Antipiracy Act, HR 2652 105th Cong (1998) : Amended form of the sui generis right created in HR 3531.
- Database Investment and Intellectual Property Antipiracy Act, HR 3531 104th Cong. (1996): Initial response of the United States Congress to the European Database Directive which created a similar, although not identical, sui generis right
B. Materials on Contract
1. General Introduction to Contracts: From the Cyberspace Law Institute's Cyberspace for Non-Lawyers
2. Articles3. Case Law
- Donnie L. Kidd, Jr. and William H. Daughtrey, Jr., "Adopting Contract Law to Accommodate Electronic Contracts: Overview and Suggestions" 26 Rutgers Comp. & Tech. L.J. 215 (2000): Surveys the developing field of contract law as it relates to online transactions.
- Margaret Jane Radin, "Human, Computers, and Binding Commitment" 75 Ind. L.J. 1125 (2000) : Studies the practical impact and policy implications of developing online technologies on contract law.
- Niva Elkin-Koren, "Copyright Policy and the Limits of Freedom of Contract": 12 Berk. Tech. L.J. (1997): Examines the regulation the freedom to contract within the context of copyright law.
- David Nimmer, Elliot Brown, Gary N. Frischling, "The Metamorphosis of Contract Into Expand" 87 Cal. L. Rev. 17 (1999): Criticizing the increasing prominance of contract in intellectual property matters and the support that Article 2B would give to such contracts.
- Joel Rothstein Wolfson, "Contract and Copyright Are Not at War: A Reply to "The Metamorphosis of Contract into Expand"" 87 Cal. L. Rev. 79 (1999) : A reply to Nimmer, et al's "Metamorphosis" article.
- Robert Merges, "The End of Friction? Property Rights and Contract in the Newtonian World of On-line Commerce," 12 Berk. Tech. L. J. (1997) : Argues that property rights are necessary in cyberspace, and that we should remain faithful to the redistributive roots of the fair use doctrine.
- Maureen A. O'Rourke, "Copyright Preemption After the ProCD Case: A Market-Based Approach," 12 Berk. Tech. L. J. (1997) : article discussing the ProCD case in detail and comparing the different philosophies of the district and appellate courts.
- Brandon L. Grusd, "Contracting Beyond Copyright: ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg" 10 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, 353 (1997): Useful summary and critique of the the decision in ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg .
- Hotmail Corporation v. Van$ Money Pie, Inc. WL 388389, 1 (N.D. Cal.1998) : First case to consider the validity of "clickwrap licenses" suggesting that such licenses may be valid and enforceable.
- Hill v. Gateway 2000, Inc. 105 F.3d 1147 (7th Cir. 1997): Shrinkwrap case involving sale of computer and the enforceability of an arbitration clause.
- ProCD v. Zeidenberg 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996): A prominent recent case involving "shrinkwrap licenses" in the context of a database taken from a CD and posted on the web.
- Arizona Retail Systems v. Software Link, Inc. 831 F. Supp. 759 (D. Ariz. 1993): Shrinkwrap case involving the disclaimer of implied warranties and alleged oral representations.
- Step-Saver Data Sys., Inc. v. Wyse Tech. 939 F.2d 91 (3d Cir. 1991) : Shrinkwrap case involving warranty for computer equipment sold over the phone.
- Vault Corp. v. Quaid Software, Ltd. 847 F.2d 255 (5th Cir. 1988) : Interesting shrinkwrap case on reverse engineering of software.
5. Sample Websites
- Draft of Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Article 2B : A much-discussed proposal to adapt the Uniform Commercal Code to account for shrinkwrap licenses.
- The 2BGuide: Online guide to UCC Article 2B.
- Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
- Copyright Clearance Center: Interesting restrictions on the use of information on the site. Also contains restrictions on linking.
- Voyeurweb: Sample basic clickwrap agreement disclaiming liability if you enter the site as a minor or if it is illegal to view the content of the site in your community.
- West Publishing: Restrictions on use of information in a legal directory.
- Dell Computer: Restricting use to personal, noncommercial use.
- Amazon.com: Restricting use of site to use as a shopping resource.
- Ticketmaster: Restricting use of the site "to visit, view and to retain a copy of pages of this Site for your own personal use" (e.g. view promotions and buy tickets).
- CNN: Same restriction on use of content for personal use.
C. Materials on Technological Protection
2. Case Law
- Mark Stefik, "Trusted Systems" Sci. Am. (March 1997): A concise general introduction to trusted systems technology.
- Mark Stefik, "Shifting the Possible: How Trusted Systems and Digital Property Rights Challenge us to Rethink Digital Publishing," 12 Berk. Tech. L.J . 137 (1997): A more comprehensive summary of various trusted systems and their likely impact.
- Harvey Weinberg, "Hardware-Based ID, Rights Management, and Trusted Systems" 52 Stan. L. Rev. 1251 (2000): A critical perspective on the potential dangers posed on individual privacy and human ingenuity by the adoption of trusted systems.
- Lawrence Lessig, "Reclaiming a Commons" 20 May 1999: Professor Lessig's keyonote address at the launching of the HLS Berkman Center's Open Society Project, warning of the dangers of enhanced technological protection in Cyberspace.
- David Post, "What Larry Doesn't Get: Code, Law, and Liberty in Cyberspace" 52 Stan. L. Rev. 1439 (2000): A critical view of Professor Lessig's arguments.
- Jane Ginsburg, "Copyright Legislation for the Digital Millenium" 23 Colum.-VLA J.L. & Arts 137 (1999): A thorough review of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and related legislation.
- Wendy Grossman, "DVDs: Cease and DeCSS?" Sci. Am. (May 2000): A concise introduction to the DeCSS controversy for laypeople.
- Jim Taylor, "DVD Copy Protection Issues": A more comprehensive online backgrounder of the DeCSS controversy.
- Bruce Bell , "The Coming Storm": A concise explaination of why the DeCSS cases are important to the Open Source community.
- Tom W. Bell, "Fair Use vs. Fared Use: The Impact of Automated Rights Management on Copyright's Fair Use Doctrine", N. C. L. Rev. (January 1998) : Professor Bell examines the impact of new technologies on copyright's fair use doctrine, predicting a restriction on fair use and urging a "wait and see" policy.
- Andrew Shapiro, "Street Corners in Cyberspace," The Nation (July 1995): Many commentators fear that technological protection in cyberspace goes so far that public discourse is stifled -- cyberspace becomes "cyberbia". Shapiro argues that we should make conscious efforts to encourage public spaces in cyberspace.
- Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Copyright, Atlantic Unbound roundtable (September 1998): Organized by The Atlantic Monthy, this online debate between John Perry Barlow, Charles Mann, Mark Stefik, and Lawrence Lessig covers the issues without too much depth, and provides a number of interesting links.
- Terry Fisher, "Property and Contract on the Internet" Draft Paper of June 10,1998: Professor Fisher predicts that contract and technological protections will supplant intellectual property protection on the internet, and he argues that "courts and legislatures should facilitate and reinforce that shift, but should require that creators (and consumers) when setting up such "private" arrangements abide by restrictions designed to protect the public interest."
- Lawrence Lessig, "The Constitution of Code: Limitations on Choice-Based Critiques of Cyberspace Regulation" 5 CommLaw Conspectus 181 : Professor Lessig argues that code -- the specifications of the software or technology that creates cyberspace -- is as significant a constraint as law or social norms.
- Julie Cohen, "Some Reflections on Copyright Management Systems and Laws Designed to Protect Them," 12 Berk. Tech. L. J. 161 (1997) : Reflections on the implications of copyright management systems.
- Eric Schlacter, "The Intellectual Property Renaissance in Cyberspace: Why Copyright Law Could Be Unimportant on the Internet," 12 Berk. Tech. L.J. (1997): A discussion of technological protection measures.
- Coalition for Networked Information, Technological Strategies for Protecting Intellectual Property in the Networked Multimedia Environment : Numerous working papers on copy protection.
- Brad Cox, "Superdistribution," Wired (September 1994): Arguing in support of metered use.
- Pamela Samuelson, "Intellectual Property and the Digital Economy: Why the Anti-Circumvention Regulations Need to Be Revised" 14 Berk. Tech. L. J. 519 (1999) : Exploring the reasons why technological protection should not be allowed to create greater interests than that granted by copyright.
- Julie E. Cohen, “Copyright and the Jurisprudence of Self-Help” 13 Berk. Tech. L. J. 1089 (1998): Suggesting the possibility of a right to "hack" in order to preserve fair use rights which technological protections are destroying.
- Universal City Studios et. al. vs. Reimerdes et. al., 111 F. Supp. 2d 294 (S.D.N.Y. 2000): The opinion of the trial court in the New York DeCSS case.
- DVD Copy Control Association v. McLaughlin et. al., (Case No. CV 786804, Order of 20 Jan. 2000): The preliminary injunction granted by the trial court in the California DECSS cases. The defendants have effectively appealed the order to the Supreme Court of California and the latter has issued an order staying all proceedings until it disposes of defendant's certiorari petition.
- Berkman Center DVD DeCSS Cases Online Resource: An online resource provided by the Open Law Project of the Berkman Center. The Project is on the side of the defendants.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation DVD DeCSS Cases Online Resource: An alternate online resource. The EFF is also on the side of the defendants.
- DVD CCA Online FAQ: The view from the other side of this debate, by the plaintiff in the California case.
D. Materials on Cyberspace Self-Governance and the Open Source Movement
4. Sample Websites
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- 17 USC ch. 10, Digital Audio Recording Devices and Media (browse online)
- HR 3048 (Digital Era Enhancement Act): A proposed alternative to the above bills.
- Digital Future Coalition: Interest group tracking pending copyright legislation in this area.
- Intertrust, Inc.: Trusted systems technology.
- Folio: same.
- Wave Systems Corp.: same.
- Digimarc, Corp.: providing digital watermarking and search services.
- RSA Data Security: a primer on cryptography technology.
- First Use: providing digital "fingerprinting" service.
- Secure Digital Music Initiative: A broad-based industry effort to promote an effective secure format for content providers in the digital music market.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation : A non-profit organization dedicated to protecting civil liberties in cyberspace and at the forefront of the DeCSS cases as an ally of the defendants.
- 2600: The online hacker magazine involved in the New York DeCSS case.
2. Sample Websites
- John Perry Barlow, "The Economy of Ideas" Wired (March 1994): The sparkplug that set off the Cyberspace self-governance movement.
- John Perry Barlow, "The Next Economy of Ideas" Wired (October 2000): Writing 6 years after his seminal piece, Mr. Barlow reassesses where the movement is headed.
- John Perry Barlow, "A Declaration of Independence from Cyberspace" (February 1996): Mr. Barlow presents his ideas before the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
- Wendy Grossman, "Would You Pay $1 for this Article" IntellectualCapital.com (July 2000): Studies the attempts by popular novelist Stephen King to publish in Cyberspace.
- Neil Weinstock Netanel, "Cyberspace Self-Governance: A Skeptical View from Liberal Democratic Theory" 88 Calif. L. Rev. 395 (March 2000): A critical analysis of the self-governance movement's claims.
- Peter Wayner, "Whose Intellectual Property Is It Any Way? The Open Source War" N.Y. Times (24 August 2000): A journalist's investigation of the issues brought up by the open source movement.
- David Bollier, "The Power of Openness": A thorough online introduction to the aims and rationale of the open source movement.
- Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman, and Mark Stone, eds., Open Sources: Voices From the Open Source Revolution, Sebastopol (CA): O'Reilly and Associates, Inc. (1999): Collection of articles from various figures in the open source movement describing and analyzing its characteristics, successes, and future.
- Lawrence Lessig, "Open Code and Open Societies": Professor Lessig discourses on why open code and free software are becoming more and more fundamental in ensuring a free society.
- Steven Hetcher, "Climbing the Walls of Your Electronic Cage" 98 Mich. L. Rev. 1916 (2000): A comprehensive review of Professor Lessig's latest book, "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace".
- Robert W. Gomulkiewicz, "How Copyleft Uses License Rights to Succeed in the Open Source Software Revolution and the Implications for Article 2B" 36 Hous. L. Rev. 179 (1999): Describing how copyright and contract are central to the Open Source Movement.
- Marcus Maher: "Open Source Movement: The Success of an Alternative Intellectual Property Incentive Paradigm" 10 Fordham I. P., Media & Ent. L.J. 619 (2000): A thorough survey of the open source development process as actually practiced, as well as the development and future prospects of the open source movement.
- Eric S. Raymond, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar": The research paper by Eric Raymond which, in part, persuaded Netscape to go open-source with its popular browser.
- Eric S. Raymond, "Homesteading the Noosphere" : A follow up paper to "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" in which Eric Raymond exams in detail the property and ownership customs of the Open Source Movement.
- The Free Software Story: Collection of articles about the Open Source Movement.
- Software Returns to Its' Source: Collection of articles in the March 1999 edition of PC Magazine about the Open Source Movement.
- Opensource.org: Organization devoted to promoting open-sourced software.
- The Linux Documentation Project is a good way to learn about the most popular open-source operating system.
- Netscape Communications: Last year, Netscape released its source code to the general public.
- The Free Software Foundation pioneered the concept of free software and is "dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, understanding, and modification of computer programs."
- Yahoogroups: Online "communities" functioning through shared email lists.
- Ebay: An online community built around an auction website. "The eBay community is made up of individual buyers and sellers who come to the site to do more than just buy or sell—they have fun, shop around, and get to know each other, for example, by chatting at the eBay Cafe."
- The Well: A true "online community" in the sense that subscribers join this "online gathering place" primarily to discuss mutual interests. "The WELL is distinguished by its non-anonymous participants, and by uncommon policies. The service does not sell subscriber data to marketers, nor place ads within passworded areas. This unique gathering place is both greatly valued and directly supported by WELL subscribers."
- Geocities: Sample Terms of Service, with a content violation form that even nonmembers can use to report violations.