<-- The Filter --> October 1998

October 1, 1998
No. 1.3  .  The Filter  .  10.01.98
Your regular dose of public interest Internet news and commentary from
the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School


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> Spam What Am: The House of Representatives thought again about a plan to regulate unsolicited email; the plan would have reworded a telephone solicitation bill (already in committee) to include spam. Friends and foes of regulating spam all agreed that some sort of regulation is necessary, but that the reworded telephone act was the wrong approach, citing fears that ISPs would have to read private email messages in order to enforce the law. In California, a new law does hold ISPs responsible for penalizing spammers.

> Free For a Price: Intel and Netscape have expressed an interest in investing in Red Hat software, a Linux developer with plan to give away a standardized version of the operating system's source code.

> Dang-it.com: Annoy.com, a website design to irk backers of the Communications Decency Act, lost a First Amendment court challenge last week, thanks to a part of that act which was not struck down as unconstitutional. The court ruled that Annoy.com was protected under the First Amendment for "indecent" speech, but not for anything deemed "obscene" under California law.


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September 30 marks the Clinton Administration's deadline for a new domain-name system to be instituted. What began as a calm, open, cooperative process degenerated into a series of closed-door meetings between a select few. The Berkman Center was involved in some of the negotiations, and our own Donna Wentworth has some insights into what happened, and what we can expect.


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* The New York Times' CyberLaw Journal
An excellent compendium of commentary on and analysis of the pending legal issues of the day.

* The Atlantic Unbound: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of...Copyright?
A roundtable discussion on copyright featuring Berkman's Lawrence Lessig and John Perry Barlow.

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"[T]here are many moves presently underway by the world's information mongers—the publishers, the licensors, and the distributors—to seriously criminalize the reproduction of all copyrighted material. These efforts have taken deep root in both Washington and Geneva, where money talks and truth can take a hike."
—John Perry Barlow, in The Atlantic Unbound

"The Internet is too crucial for our future to be governed by criminal legislation that is numbingly confusing to the average person. I am relieved that the government cannot prosecute annoy.com for the content we've published to date, and for which the Justice Department had reserved the right to do following a ruling. Right now, Kenn Starr should kiss my ass."
—Clinton D. Fein, president of ApolloMedia Corporation, publishers of Annoy.com


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Comments? Questions? Opinions? Submissions?
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The next issue of The Filter will feature an overview of the recent turmoil in Malaysia, including a series of arrests targeting Internet-based critics of Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad. Also tune in for updates on Berkman Center projects, including the online jury trial to be conducted by Professor Charles Ogletree and the Microsoft seminar coming up from Berkman Professor Lawrence Lessig and Berkman Center Executive Director Jonathan Zittrain.

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Last updated

January 15, 2008