<-- The Filter --> February 1999

February 22, 1999

No. 1.10  .  The Filter  .  02.22.99

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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> Virgin-ia: A federal appeals court upheld a 1996 state law requiring educators to get permission from their supervisors before viewing sexually explicit material on the Internet, despite the fact that much of that material is constitutionally protected.


> Frosty Reception: The Justice Department and the ACLU wrapped up arguments for and against, respectively, the Child Online Protection Act. The COPA would require pornography sites to use registration and age-verification screens to discourage minors from entering. The ACLU claims the law would have a chilling effect on free speech.


> Digital Watermark: A consortium including IBM, Hitachi, Sony, Pioneer, and NEC have agreed to a digital "watermark" standard to protect digital movies and videos from pirates.


> Ham on Wry: Online muckraker Tabloid.net filed suit in federal court against the Florida Citrus Association, claiming the orange juice pushers stole the zine's copyrighted talking ham sandwich and have been using it in national television ads. Yes, a talking ham sandwich.


> Which Is It?: While Congress continues to push for broad federal Net-filtering laws (see first item), the (federal) National Commission on Libraries & Information Science (NCLIS) issued a report advising the federal government to let local organizations such as libraries establish their own "acceptable use" policies.


> No Snooping: The House of representatives unanimously passed the Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act, which makes listening in on wireless communications using popular hobbyists' scanners illegal.


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We received a large amount of mail in response to Filter No. 1.9, which featured our expert panelists' responses to the lawsuit over an anti-abortion website which purportedly put a bounty on abortion providers' heads. This week we will feature readers' responses to that and other issues addressed in our last issue. Our expert panel returns next issue. Please read what your colleagues and fellow readers had to say:


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* Junkbusters


A site chock full of resources for weary Net users who want to protect their privacy online from incessant Net marketing.

* The Open Directory Project


An outgrowth of Netscape's open source Mozilla project, the Open Directory Project is building the world's first open source, freely licensed Web directory.

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"We're not saying the Grateful Dead is the end of intellectual property."
—Dennis McNally, Grateful Dead spokesman, on the band's plan to release music free over the Internet using MP3 technology, in Wired (via Ditherati.com)


"You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."
—Sun CEO Scott McNealy, talking to a group of reporters about his "Jini" Java project, in Wired (via Ditherati.com)


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The Berkman Center has established a coalition in support of the Eldred v. Reno suit, which challenges Congress's recent move to retroactively extend the term of copyright by an additional 20 years. To learn more or join the effort, visit Copyright's Commons at:


This year's Online Lecture and Discussion Series is gearing up to start next month. The first offerings of 1999 are "Intellectual Property in Cyberspace," taught by Harvard Law School professor William W. Fisher III, and "Privacy in Cyberspace," taught by Berkman Center Co-director and Harvard Law School professor Arthur Miller. "Intellectual Property in Cyberspace" is sponsored by the law firm Hale & Dorr LLP.

To learn more about the series, sign up or get on the waiting list, click here:


Berkman Professor Lawrence Lessig recently spoke at the Chicago-Kent College of Law: The 7th Annual Charles Green Lecture in Law and Technology. His speech, entitled "Overcoming Antitrust: Internet Governance and the Free Software Movement," can be heard on CNET at the link below:


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Comments? Questions? Opinions? Submissions?
Send a letter to the editor at filter-editor@cyber.harvard.edu

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Last updated

January 15, 2008