<-- The Filter --> May 2001

May 22, 2001
No. 4.1  .  The Filter  .  05.22.01

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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> Microsoft's Got a Lease for Life: Why plan obsolescence if you can force it? Adding fuel to the fire of an ongoing debate over the ownership of software, Microsoft went public this month with details on the company's long-brewing plans to lease rather than sell the software "user experience." In addition to making broad changes to its corporate licensing agreements, Microsoft is rolling out new year-long software subscription plans. Firms that choose this option over traditional "perpetual" licenses will initially pay less than they do now for a software upgrade—but after the licensing term ends will no longer have rights to the software, forcing a new purchase. "If you buy a perpetual license, you own that copy of Office," says Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald. "You pay for it once, and that's it. Non-perpetual means that after three years, you're going to have to pay Microsoft again for that same functionality."

      http://n ews.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-5851009.html

      http://www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/01/05/07/010507hnmiclice nse.xml

      http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2001/may01/05-10Softw areAssurancePR.as p

Microsoft representatives say that the optional subscription plans serve its customers better by allowing them greater flexibility. Is the subscription model—software as a service—the future of software licensing? What about other kinds of digital property? Follow the link below for Greg Knauss's "Becoming Digital," a tongue-in-cheek article that takes the question to its logical conclusion.

      http://www.suck.com/ daily/2001/05/11/

> Code == Speech?...: After hearing arguments earlier this month in the closely-watched "DeCSS" case, Universal v. Remeirdes, judges on the Second Circuit appeals court asked the parties to prepare supplemental briefs on a central issue in the case: whether limits on publishing programming code or hyperlinks restrict the "freedom of speech or of the press" that the First Amendment guarantees. The parties were directed to answer eleven questions on the issue, with responses due on May 30.



> ...Openlaw Wants to Know: Ever wonder how the Berkman Center's Openlaw forum works? Participants recently held a brainstorming session to develop responses to the questions before the parties in Universal v. Remeirdes. Follow the links below to access the results of the session, contribute to the discussion, or learn more about the case.



> Peep2Peep: How is Napster's slow death affecting its competitors in the peer-to-peer (P2P) market—apart from inducing widespread schadenfreude? Under pressure to profit or perish, rivals BearShare, Audio Galaxy Satellite and iMesh have begun to allow "spyware" to piggyback on the file-sharing software they distribute for free. This additional software frequently comes bundled with the P2P software installation program so that its entry into a user's system is silent. The software can then lurk in the background even when the original P2P application is closed, serving up pop-up ads and, in some cases, surreptitiously collecting user data to send back to company headquarters. Privacy advocates are crying foul, but FreePeers CTO Vinnie Falco suggests that giving up a little privacy may be a reasonable—not to mention realistic—price to pay for free software. "One of the issues surrounding free software is the need to make money somehow," Falco told CNET. "It's a great compromise between protecting user privacy and the ability to support free software."


Lest P2P supporters who associate the software with positive, '60s-era values such as freedom and openness lose heart, a consortium including the American Cancer Society, Intel Corporation, and Oxford University has announced that it will create a peer-to-peer network dedicated to cancer and disease research. The network, called the Intel Philanthropic Peer-to-Peer Program, will spread computational tasks ordinarily carried out by supercomputers among thousands or millions of computers worldwide. "You can turn your screensaver into a life-saver, which is a lot better than a flying toaster," says Professor Graham Richards, head of chemistry at Oxford.



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The debate over whether to enact legislation to protect privacy online has long stuttered over a familiar question: should the states or federal government take the lead?

On April 23-24, the Berkman Center hosted and participated in the National Association of Attoneys General (NAAG) 2001 Internet Law Institute, which explored a wide range of topics including privacy, identity theft, pornography, stalking, fraud and hacking.


This week we're featuring the webcast archives of the meeting, which include a speech by Berkman Center Faculty Co-Director Jonathan Zittrain on medical privacy, a talk by Faculty Director Charles Nesson on the top five cyberlaw events of the year, and a presentation by Executive Director Eric Saltzman, Berkman Fellow Dan Markel and Berkman Affiliate Cedar Pruitt on developing a legal framework for issues surrounding the use of GPS location-tracking devices.


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> Open-->Economies: The Berkman Center is proud to announce the launch of the Open Economies project, led by Senior Fellow Dr. James Moore. The project is a new research and action program aimed at bridging the digital divide. The Open Economies group is building a virtual policy center to develop public policy "blueprints" for opening nations' economies to development through introduction and expansion of the use of information and communication technologies.

Recognizing the "chicken and egg" nature of the complex issues falling under the rubric of the digital divide, Open Economies focuses on design and implementation of sustainable and expandable approaches to engaging the creativity and entrepreneurship of previously excluded communities and groups in technology-based economic growth. To learn more about the project, follow the link below.


> Summer Internet Law Program: Interested in learning about the latest issues in cyberlaw? It's not too late to register for the Berkman Center's new Internet Law Program of Instruction (ILAW). The central segment of the program is a series of fifteen lectures and five seminars offered from July 2-6 here at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The program will be taught by:

    * Yochai Benkler, Professor of Law, New York University Law School
    * William Fisher III, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
    * Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
    * Charles Nesson, Weld Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
    * Jonathan Zittrain, Berkman Assistant Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

In addition to the residential program from July 2-6, there will be an optional online 'warm up' beginning on June 11 and an optional concluding online component lasting until the end of July.

See the website for details, including the availability of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit. Questions about logistics and participation should be directed to ilaw@cyber.harvard.edu

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* 06/01/01-06-04/01—ICANN public meetings in Stockholm, Sweden

* 06/11/01—Internet Law Program of Instruction optional online component begins

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* NextBus


Demonstration (real-time) of how GPS technology is becoming integrated in our daily lives.

* Recall an Email Message in Outlook


Instructions (handy) for recalling a regrettable email message.

* ABA Central and East European Law Initiative


Site (American Bar Association) through which lawyers can apply for Peace Corps-style assignments in Central and Eastern Europe, to "help build the legal infrastructure that is indispensable to strong, self-supporting, democratic, free market systems."

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"We don't want to be endorsing anything that's annoying."

—Wireless Advertising Association (WAA) ad-standards chair Tom Bair, who may be aiming a bit high.


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

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Last updated

January 15, 2008