<-- The Filter --> September 1999

November 19, 1999
No. 2.2  .  The Filter  .  09.19.99

Your regular dose of public interest Internet news and commentary from
the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School


In the News  |  Berkman News  |  Dispatches  |  Bookmarks  |  Quotable  |  Talk Back  |  Subscription Info  |  About Us  |  Not a Copyright

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> ICANN—Chile Today, Hot Tamale: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) held its first open board meeting last month in Santiago, Chile, where it tackled two of the most contentious policy questions it has yet had to address: the establishment of rules for arbitrating conflicts over domain name ownership, and the construction of a mechanism for electing permanent members to the corporation's governing board. Under the watchful eye of a global audience, ICANN adopted a much-debated WIPO-proposed policy requiring uniform rules for resolving disputes over domain names in the popular .com, .org and .net registries. It also set up an At-large Council of 9-18 members members that will elect half of the corporation's board—a move that prevents most netizens from having a direct voice in the election of the board and raises questions about ICANN's true accountability to the individual Internet user.




The Berkman Center facilitated remote participation at the Santiago meetings and compiled a complete multimedia archive of the meetings, linked below in DISPATCHES.

> AOL Defends IM Turf...Again: Battle-worn from its ongoing war with Microsoft over instant messaging, AOL took another hit last week. A company called Tribal Voice announced that its new instant-messaging service would connect with AOL's system—whether the company agrees to it or not. Tribal Voice's "uncooperative interoperability" comes courtesy of the open source software protocols AOL yanked from public access earlier this year shortly after Microsoft began connecting to its system.

      http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2329787,00.h tml?chkpt=hpqs014

> Putting the Brakes on Ford: A federal judge ruled this month that a Ford enthusiast who publishes sensitive company material such as auto blueprints and other internal documents on his website may continue to do so provided that he reveals his sources. The ruling denies Ford's request for a permanent injunction against the website operator on the grounds of the First Amendment.

      http: //www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/21620.html

> Rated GG—Government Guidance Suggested: A new Internet content-ratings scheme proposes a government-backed global initiative to label websites with ratings similar to those used for film and television. The scheme is voluntary but raising hackles among free speech advocates because of its endorsement by world governments and such corporate heavy hitters as AOL, IBM and Microsoft—players with the kind of power to effectively decide the game.


> Trademark Law Gets A Clue: Hasbro, producer of the popular children's board game "Clue," lost a long-running dispute with the owner of the domain name "clue.com" when a Boston federal court ruled that the site's use of the name neither dilutes nor tarnishes Hasbro's trademark. Experts say the ruling reflects a growing trend in the courts to set more narrow limits on the defintion of "famous marks" as established by the Federal Trademark Dilution Act of 1996. The act has historically been used to support so-called "reverse domain hijacking" claims, giving trademark holders the kind of ownership rights to names in the context of Internet communications that they never could have secured in print or other media.

      http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,1087,3_197321,00.ht ml

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> Mickey Rattles the Bars: New developments are afoot in Eldred v. Reno, the Berkman Center's first Openlaw experiment in crafting legal argument in an open online forum. The case, which challenges the constitutionality of Congress's recent 20-year extension of copyright, is prompting several of the parties who originally lobbied for the extension to file amicus ("friend of the court") briefs in support of the government. The most recent plaintiffs' reply was filed two weeks ago. Follow the links below for a summary of developments to date and an excellent feature about Eldritch Press and the Eldred v. Reno suit in Boston Globe magazine.



> Intel v. Hamidi in OpenLaw Forum: The Berkman Center will shortly introduce the closely-watched case of Intel v. Hamidi as a clinical study in the Openlaw forum. Intel Corporation brought suit against former employee Ken Hamidi last year, alleging trespass to chattels and seeking to enjoin Hamidi from sending mass distributed email to Intel employees at their place of work. Hamidi, the spokesman for FACE Intel, a nonprofit organization comprised of former and current Intel employees, sent the email as part of his ongoing campaign to inform Intel employees about what he considers to be Intel's abusive and discriminatory employment practices. In November 1998, California Superior Court Judge Lewis granted Intel a preliminary injunction. Intel then filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Hamidi does not have a First Amendment right to express his views on Intel's private email system. In June 1999, that motion was granted.

Now, the Berkman Center is organizing an amicus brief-writing effort by Harvard Law students and others that will use the Openlaw forum as its tool. To learn more about Face Intel and how Harvard Law school students have become involved in the case, follow the links below. Tune in next week for the debut of Intel v. Hamidi on the Openlaw site.



> Berkman Online Series 2000 To Debut In Spring: Last year, the Berkman Center offered a set of Online Lecture and Discussion Series on a variety of legal topics, including privacy and intellectual property online. This year we offer a new set that will debut in the spring—including a series on "Violence Against Women" led by new Berkman fellow Diane Rosenfeld, originally slated for the fall.

The Berkman Center's online lecture and discussion series are free and open to the public. Take a peek at last year's offerings, then plan to join us for more in the spring.


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ICANN continued its controversial efforts last month to gain the trust of Internet users worldwide and create a lasting, effective organization, this time in Santiago, Chile. Audio, video, and text archives of the proceedings are available at:


The Santiago meetings capped a tumultuous month for the corporation, which began with a July appearance before Congress to defend itself against charges of overstepping its authority. Among the witnesses was Berkman Center Executive Director Jonathan Zittrain, who was subsequently asked to answer questions on his testimony for the record. Follow the links below to access the complete multimedia archive of the hearings and read the follow-up questions and responses for the record.



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* The John Marshall Law School Cyberspace Law Subject Index


An excellent compendium of cyberlaw opinions, organized by subject area.

* Global Internet Liberty Campaign


Civil liberties and human rights organizations from around the world come together to monitor and help shape global policy regarding free speech and privacy protection online.

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"We first and foremost want to bring in someone who is a fool."

—Dan Levitan, a general partner with VC firm Maveron, on the untraditional search for a new CEO at investment site The Motley Fool.


"People are talking about how The Blair Witch Project is the scariest movie since Psycho. I really think the scarier prospect is the US Congress right now making decisions in this industry."

—US Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) on the frightening cluelessness of congressmen where the Internet industry is concerned.


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Comments? Questions? Opinions? Submissions? Send a letter to the editor at filter-editor@cyber.law.ha rvar d.edu

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January 15, 2008