<-- The Filter --> March 1999

March 31, 1999
No. 1.11  .  The Filter  .  03.31.99

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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> Trademark Warrior Launches Peacekeeping Mission: The World Intellectual Property Organization released its plan to resolve trademark conflicts over domain names amid harsh criticism from activists who say the plan favors big business over the average Net user. WIPO submitted the plan to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is expected to implement the final policy.


> Photo ID and Genetic Code, Please: Attorney General Janet Reno has recommended that the FBI's DNA databank (known as CODIS) be massively enlarged to include DNA samples from all arrestees, regardless of guilt or suspected crime. The National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence met this month to consider the proposal, which privacy experts claim is an egregious violation of privacy. ACLU Associate Director Barry Steinhardt was among those addressing the commission in hopes of stopping the expansion.


> Patent-ly Obvious: A tiny New York company won its seventh patent on specialized television technology that integrates pay-per-view cable and Internet access. The patent could prove hugely valuable if broadcast and Internet media converge, as many experts have predicted.


> Serving the Summons Should be Interesting: From AOLsucks.com to Ken Hamidi's campaign against Intel, criticism of major corporations is often aired publicly online. But in a unique twist, a company is suing its online critics for libel, even though the company doesn't know the identities of those critics.


> First a Live Birth, Now This: Republican candidate Steve Forbes announced his intention to run for president online, a first in politics. How powerful a tool is the Internet for national campaigns? Ask Pete Du Pont.


> Bit Chilly in Here, Mate: A British judge handed down a decision which, as opposed to the Netcom case in the US in 1995, could hold ISPs liable for the actions of their subscribers online.


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This week we're featuring an article by Berkman Professor Lawrence Lessig, recently published in The Industry Standard. "Memo to the Leviathan" modestly proposes a crack-down on the open source movement and the aggressive development of digital identification technologies.


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* Tilt Magazine


A tongue-in-cheek monthly e-zine claiming to "explore the legal mind." Strictly a time-waster, but a must-see for the Impeachment and Starr Report Mad Libs.

* Federal Communications Law Review


An online technology law journal from Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington and the Federal Communications Bar Association.

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"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
—Vice President Al Gore, on CNN's "Late Edition," March 9.

      http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/president.2000 /transcript.gore/

"It's nice to live in a medieval setting as we monks do, but that does not mean we are prepared to accept a medieval mentality. The Internet enables me to speak from the pulpit of my keyboard."
—Serbian Orthodox monk Reverend Sava Jajic, commenting on his war reports from the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo.


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How is the domain name system reformation progressing? At a recent meeting in Singapore, the ICANN initial board adopted a registrar accreditation policy and domain name supporting organization plan. Several Berkman Center fellows and research associates assisted at this meeting and at the ICANN open board meeting that took place shortly afterward. An audio archive of the open meeting is now available on the Berkman site:


A summary of actions taken at the meeting by the ICANN initial board can be found at:


The Berkman Center announces a new, free online lecture and discussion series designed for a broad audience: "Homer's Poetic Justice," taught by Professor Gregory Nagy, head of Harvard's Classics department. This offering aims to make Homer (the original, not Simpson) truly accessible, and is based on the core curriculum course Professor Nagy has taught at the college for over twenty years. Read more about it and register online:


The Berkman Center's "Lessons From Woburn" project, which provides an online resource for anyone wishing to learn about "A Civil Action" and the case of Anne Anderson v. W.R. Grace & Co., now offers digitized video archives of the conference that kicked it off. The archive includes the "untold stories" sessions, which features participants in the case telling the story of their involvement in their own words. Follow the link below to hear these stories:


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Last updated

January 15, 2008