<-- The Filter -->October 2000

October 26, 2000
No. 3.7  .  The Filter  .  10.26.00

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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> Set Filters to 'Pander': With election day fast approaching and presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore still neck-and-neck in the polls, political rhetoric from both camps is heating up—and Internet issues are the topic du jour. Not surprisingly, both candidates endorse what is popularly seen as a "family friendly" policy: the use of filters in schools and public libraries to block access to pornography and other objectionable content. The candidates also agree on the advisability of taking a "balanced" approach to the so-called Napster problem—each advocating an as-yet-undefined solution that addresses the need for artists to profit from their work while protecting technological innovation. But it is Bush's bare-knuckled foray into the issue of how the Clinton administration has handled Internet industry heavy-hitter Microsoft that is garnering the most media attention. Asked Thursday by a CNBC reporter about the antitrust case against the company, Bush asserted that he has "always stood on the side of innovation over litigation"—echoing language Microsoft itself uses to frame the conflict.




Meanwhile, Congressional debate over filtering software is shifting into high gear, with a vote on H.R. 4577—an appropriations bill containing the requirement that all public schools and libraries receiving federal funds in support of Internet access use filters—likely to take place by week's end.



> Auberbach Eschews Tie, Wins ICANN Election: If Karl Auberbach had a campaign slogan in mind during his successful run for a seat on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' governing board, his remark at the recent Berkman Center/Internet Democracy Project candidates forum—"I'm not wearing a tie; I'm a techie"—certainly fit the bill. Auerbach, a Cisco Systems researcher with decades of technical experience under his belt (he is among the developers of what is now TCP/IP), advocates confining ICANN's activities strictly to technical functions—or, in Auerbach's words, to "handing out lots and lots of slots in the root zone and [letting] the operators of those slots run them as they please."

      http://www .salon.com/tech/view/2000/10/16/auerbach/index.html


      http://cyb er.law.harvard.edu/icann/candidateforum/archive.asp

***EXTRA: What's at stake in ICANN's decision-making? Join the Berkman Center for "Pressing Issues II: Understanding and Critiquing ICANN's Policy Agenda," taking place on November 12 in Marina del Rey, California. Follow the link from BERKMAN NEWS, below, for details.

> .Gov—Got Milk?: According to a report by Congress's General Accounting Office (GAO), 13 government agencies are using "cookies" technology to track Internet users' behavior on their websites—despite a White House prohibition of the practice. Among the offenders are the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Office of Personnel Management, and the US Customs Service. The report follows the release in past months of studies conducted by the GAO demonstrating that several federal agency networks are easily prone to hacking.



In Filter 3.6, we asked readers whether Congress should enact federal legislation to establish a baseline legal standard for how Internet users' personal data is handled. Click on the link below for a sampling of what your colleagues had to say:


> As the RIAA Spins: As the media din over the October 2 Napster trial rose last month to fever pitch, the House quietly passed a bill to restore musicians' ability to reclaim ownership of their old sound recordings from record labels—a move the Recording Association of America, reversing its original position, supports. Last year the RIAA led a successful lobbying effort to persuade a House panel to approve, without a public hearing, an amendment to unrelated legislation that effected the classification of sound recordings as works-for-hire. This meant that copyrights to the recordings would no longer revert to individual artists after 35 years, instead remaining perpetually in the hands of record labels. When rock artists including Jimmy Buffett, Don Henley and Sheryl Crow launched a public protest, the RIAA backpedaled, ultimately submitting a request to Congress that the amendment be stricken from the law. States RIAA head Hilary Rosen in a press release trumpeting a "mutual agreement" between the industry group and individual artists, "We said from the beginning we did not intend to change the law [...] The book needs to be closed on this issue so we can get back to a united industry on so many important challenges of the day."



> E-Music Royalty Collection of the People, by the People, for the People?: In related news, the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) two weeks ago submitted a proposal to the US Copyright Office warning it against giving the RIAA a monopoly on managing royalty collection for music broadcast over the Internet. "We propose the establishment of a system that will include independent arbitration for dispute resolution, democratic voting procedures for all members, open and transparent accounting and payment systems, inclusive board membership and a technologically advanced tracking system that will provide the most accurate database for royalty payment," said FMC business and legal affairs director Walter McDonough. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), which now collects royalties for radio and television performances, has since also thrown its hat into the digital "performance" royalty-collection ring.



> Play It Again, Patel: Meanwhile, the cases brought against Napster by rock group Metallica and rap artist Dr. Dre were remanded last week from a federal court in Los Angeles to the US District Court in San Francisco—the court presided over by none other than Judge Marilyn Patel, whose July ruling against Napster was an early victory for the RIAA.


Closer to home, Harvard University, while declining to block student access to Napster as requested by the lawyer representing Metallica and Dr. Dre, nevertheless took steps this month to limit outbound network traffic for the music-sharing service. The restriction is intended to ameliorate the negative effect the large volume of outbound Napster traffic was having on the Harvard network.


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This week we're featuring "What's At Stake," the Industry Standard's comprehensive examination of the Internet economy issues at stake in election 2000:


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> ICANN—Pressing Issues II: The Berkman Center invites you to "Pressing Issues II: Understanding and Critiquing ICANN's Policy Agenda," a series of moderated panel discussions on issues facing ICANN at its annual meeting in Los Angeles. Free and open to the public, the event takes place Sunday, November 12 and will address UDRP review, At-Large membership and elections, and new TLDs.

Confirmed panelists include Syracuse University professor Milton Mueller, ICANN General Counsel Louis Touton, Mike Palage of InfoNetworks, UMASS Law School professor Ethan Katsh, ICANN board member-elect Nii Quaynor, ICANN Senior Policy Advisor Andrew McLaughlin, Chris Ambler of Image Online Design and Richard Forman of Register.com. In addition, all newly-elected ICANN Board members have been invited to participate.

For further details, including how to register to attend (either in person or online), click on the link below:


> Valenti v. Lessig: In the ideological war being fought over rights to digital content in the age of the global Internet, Motion Picture Association of America head Jack Valenti and Berkman Center advisory board head Lawrence Lessig represent its most powerful conflicting forces. On October 1, the Berkman Center presented a webcast debate between Valenti and Lessig on the future of intellectual property online—the subject of increasing controversy in the wake of the Napster, MP3.com and DeCSS decisions. 2600 Magazine publisher Emmanuel Goldstein, the target of a New York DeCSS lawsuit brought by the MPAA, attended. Click on the link below to access our multimedia archive of the debate, which in addition to containing the complete video recording of the event, also contains such supplementary materials as the log of real-time questions asked by the online audience.


> Berkman Center, MIT Media Lab, and CID Join to Bridge Digital Divide: New information and communications technologies offer exciting opportunities for marginalized communities around the world. But simply providing access to existing technologies is not enough. The ultimate goal is to put power in the hands of people and communities, enabling them to create local solutions to local problems. Co-sponsored by the Berkman Center, the MIT Media Laboratory and Harvard's Center for International Development, the October 19-20 "eDevelopment" conference brought together top researchers, practitioners, businesspeople, community leaders, and policy makers from around the world to develop possible solutions to the digital divide. Missed the conference? Click on the links below for media coverage and information on how to access the multimedia archive.

      http://www.idg.net/ic_274 842_1794_9-10000.html

      http://www.wired. com/news/culture/0,1284,39556,00.html


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* Domain Name Law Reports


A free, fully indexed and keyword searchable database of summarized ICANN domain name dispute case law.

* Web, White and Blue's 'Rolling Cyber Debate'


Features daily exchanges among the presidential campaigns and responses to questions submitted by Internet users.

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"They're not supposed to be nice just because someone's little [and they're big]...Demonizing the MPAA doesn't go very far."

—Professor Jonathan Zittrain, a Berkman Center faculty co-director, pointing out that all is not fair in the IP war.


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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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A publication of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School

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Last updated

January 15, 2008