<-- The Filter --> November 1999, 2

November 23, 1999
No. 2.5  .  The Filter  .  11.23.99

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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> Draw a Chance Card, Bill: Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's surprise appointment on Friday of Chicago Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner as a mediator in the Microsoft antitrust case sparked a whole new round of speculation among legal experts as to whether the company will make a deal with the government or wait to cast its bets on appeal. Most agreed that the appointment of this highly respected judge raises the prospects for an out-of-court settlement for Microsoft—an outcome that seems even more likely in the wake of several class action suits filed against the company on Monday. A settlement would ease the damning weight of Jackson's findings of fact and discourage private plaintiffs from using them as the basis for litigation.

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999 /11/23/BU67218.DTL

A scheduling order issued by Jackson on Friday invites Berkman Professor and former Special Master Lawrence Lessig to file an amicus brief with the District Court. Lessig recently spoke with WBUR's Christopher Lydon about the Microsoft antitrust case and the values implicit in Jackson's findings of fact. Follow the links below to read the order and listen to the discussion:



> Cybersquatting, and the Kitchen Sink: A controversial anti-cybersquatting measure squeaked through the House of Representatives early this month, riding piggyback on an unconnected satellite television bill. The Senate passed the bill just before leaving town for the holiday. Vociferously criticized as a threat to free expression and a conflict with ICANN's uniform dispute resolution policy, the measure was also opposed by the Clinton administration, which had earlier said it preferred to leave adjudication to the courts under existing law. Now, however, Clinton is expected to sign the omnibus bill.

      http://ww w.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,32494,00.html

      http: //www.lawnewsnetwork.com/stories/A10127-1999Nov22.html

> Read My Clicks: The recent push on Capital Hill to make the current three-year moratorium on taxing Internet sales not only permanent but global gained ground last month when the House of Representatives passed a measure urging the United States to seek worldwide consensus on the ban. The measure is the latest in a number of legislative bids that effectively preempt an ongoing official review by the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce (ACEC), the group appointed by Congress last year specifically to determine whether and how Internet sales should be taxed. The measure's target audience, the World Trade Organization, meets in Seattle this week.

      http:/ /www.ecommercetimes.com/news/articles/991101-1.shtml

Meanwhile, the ACEC continues to solicit proposals from the public on the issue. It is also compiling a publicly accessible electronic library of documents to aid its research, which includes "Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Taxing Internet Commerce," co-authored by noted economics expert Austan Goolsbee and the Berkman Center's own Jonathan Zittrain.

      http://www.ecommerce commission.org/about.htm

> "Code" of Honor: A rich repository of easily accessible—and searchable— academic research papers, the Internet has long been a boon for the plagiarist with a talent for cut-and-paste. Now, two graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley have written a software program designed to turn the tables. Their program compares student papers with virtually every other term paper available online, interfacing with the top twenty search engines and tagging each and every instance of word-for-word matches.


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> Internet & Society Moot Court '99—A Dangerous Net?: Early this year an Oregon jury returned a verdict for substantial damages against the publisher of the Nuremberg Files website, which published lists of doctors who perform abortions, giving personal information such as home addresses. After a doctor was killed, his or her name was crossed off the list. While the plaintiffs said the site encouraged vigilante violence against abortion providers, the defendants argued it was protected by the First Amendment.

What would happen in the courtroom if the case came up for appeal? Filter readers are invited to join the Berkman Center at 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST on December 1 for the webcast of a moot court trial loosely based on the Nuremberg Files case at which participants will grapple with the question of how far free-speech protections on the Web should go.


> Coming Soon: Berkman Center co-director Charles Ogletree brings his distinguished Harvard Law "Saturday School" program to the Web. Join us for two webcast lectures: Judge Nathaniel Jones speaks at 4:00 p.m. EST on December 1, Justice Stephen Breyer at 5:00 p.m. EST on December 10. Tune in next week at the following URL for further details:


> Signal or Noise? The Future of Music on the Net: The Berkman Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation cordially invite Filter readers to a daylong conference and evening concert in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 25, 2000 to explore the intersection between digital technology, music, and public policy. Click on the link below for more details:


> The Truth is Out There—About You: On November 18, the Berkman Center and Jack Vonder Heide, president of Technology Briefing Centers, presented a special demonstration of how the Internet can be used to gather detailed information on individuals and organizations. Follow the link below to access the video archive of the webcast:


> Opinion Issued in Openlaw Case: On October 28, the DC District Court issued an opinion in the Eldred v. Reno case—granting the government's motion for judgment on the pleadings. The court found that Congress's recent 20-year expansion of copyright is constitutional.


An appeal is already underway as the next step toward overturning the Copyright Term Extension Act. Be sure to track the case as it moves through the Court of Appeals and (hopefully) to the Supreme Court. Legal arguments continue to be developed on the Openlaw site:


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This week we're featuring Berkman Professor Lawrence Lessig and Mark Lemley's recent testimony before the FCC in connection with the proposed AT&T-MediaOne merger. They argue that the merger and the FCC's deregulatory stance threaten the Internet and ignore its end-to-end architectural principles.


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* Privacy 101


The Electronic Privacy Information Center's excellent privacy page.

* Politics Online


A humorous, savvy resource of information about the Internet as a political platform.

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"When I speak publicly, no matter what I say, no matter how much I bore you, I'm treated like this visionary."

—Red Hat CEO Bob Young, on how the rise of Linux has affected his life, to MSNBC (via Ditherati.com).


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Last updated

January 15, 2008