<-- The Filter -->February 2004

February 13, 2004
[1] In the News: Round 'Em Up
[2] Case in Point: Is That Your Code?
[3] Berkman News: Welcome Jed Purdy!
[4] Conference Watch
[5] Bookmarks: Global Perspectives
[6] Quotables: Shake Your 8-Ball
[7] Talk Back
[8] Subscription Info
[9] About us
[10] Not a Copyright




                  [1]  IN THE NEWS


 * Still Awaiting the Documents

SCO failed to meet its January 12 deadline for providing documentation about its intellectual property claims against IBM.  This event could have shed light on the pieces of Linux code SCO claims to own.  SCO has held the media spotlight in recent weeks because of the MyDoom virus that disabled its webpage through a distributed denial of service attack.

The CEO of SCO, Darl McBride appeared at an event at Harvard Law School earlier this month.  Read a Berkman Center Briefing about McBride's talk and his adamant opponents.


Other helpful resources in the SCO v. IBM case:

* International Spam Law Roundup

Anti-spam laws, and plans to create such laws, are popping up around the world. The reasoning and results may differ, but the general sentiment is plain and simple: Spam's gotta go.  Did Bill Gates really say spam would no longer be a problem in just two years?  Hope springs eternal...
<http://tinyurl.com/2yg3u> [siliconvalley.com]
<http://tinyurl.com/2ce6z> [parl.gc.ca]

But there's good reason to believe that the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and other legal solutions are unlikely get the job done alone.

<http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/palfrey/2004/02/09 - a542>


* P2P Back In Court

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard arguments from the entertainment industry aimed at overturning a lower court's ruling on P2P networks, specifically Grokster. According to the district court opinion handed down last winter, designers and distributors of decentralized P2P networks (Grokster and StreamCast, here) are not liable for contributory or vicarious infringement of copyright by filesharers using their software.

* RFID: Product Security or Spy Chip?

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags could begin to replace barcodes on products, a move that could have a tremendous impact on retail security, product inventory, and the whole way people shop. Some European retailers have already begun to require that their inventory carry RFID tags, which have a wide range of applications. Most controversially, the tags can be implanted under the skin to keep track of pets and -- perhaps someday -- people.

RFID in retail:
<http://tinyurl.com/2mf67> [eff.org]

RFID in pets:

* Electronic Voting Woes

As the U.S. presidential elections draw near, concerns about the integrity of electronic voting machines are becoming increasingly urgent.
<http://tinyurl.com/34yko> [salon.com]

The lesson of Diebold:
<http://tinyurl.com/2q3z3> [eff.org]


                  [2] CASE IN POINT



The Case in Point is Caldera (SCO) v. IBM, also called the case against open-source.

We began this thread by analyzing SCO's strategy in bringing this case under trade secret and breach-of-contract claims rather than copyright infringement. The trade secret claims were dropped last week. Since SCO was a Linux distributor, it had been accused itself of contributing to exposing the allegedly secret materials.

See The Age, at <http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/02/09/1076175080452.html>.

SCO's CEO announced at last week's Harvard Journal of Law & Technology forum that SCO will shortly file infringement actions against individual Linux end users. For a discussion of the allegedly infringing ABI Code, see:

TwikiWeThey, SCOvsIBMTheBSDFiles at <http://twiki.iwethey.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/SCOvsIBMTheBSDFiles>.

SCO's copyright interest remains clouded and no infringement claims have yet been filed against IBM, despite earlier announcements. SCO acquired its UNIX rights from Novell in 1995.  Copyrights were exempted from the initial transfer, but allegedly included in a subsequent amendment to the transfer. IBM claims that it has a permanent license under any SCO rights by virtue of a later Amendment X.  At the JOLT forum, McBride asserted that Novell's copyright interest was merely contingent on the occurrence of specific conditions but that these conditions have never occurred.

See video archive of McBride's comments at Harvard Law School on Feb. 2 at <http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/p.cgi/speakers.html>.

SCO's copyrights are the subject of litigation filed in August by Linux distributor Red Hat. See that complaint at <http://lwn.net/images/ns/rh-complaint.pdf>.

In the last Filter report, we asked your opinion of McBride's claim that the GPL is unconstitutional. Reader Pamela G. summed up with, "You may do with your copyright as you wish even, perish the thought, not charge anyone for the use of it. No one is forced to do so."

See Filter reader discussion at <http://h2o.law.harvard.edu/ViewProject.do?projectID=166>.

The next question is: What steps could an open-source programming community take to verify the legal rights of its contributors to freely and legitimately offer code to the project?  Would a formal permissions process interfere with the culture and enthusiasm of the contributors?

If you want to join in, and we hope that you will, please go to <http://h2o.law.harvard.edu/register.do> and register for the project "SCO-IBM."

Case in Point is an ongoing series of discussions targeting particular legal issues raised as an actual case proceeds. For current summaries of the case and an archive of documents, see

Groklaw, Legal Docs, SCO v. IBM, at <http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=legal-docs>

TwikiWeThey, SCO v. IBM, at <http://sco.iwethey.org/>.


                  [3] BERKMAN NEWS              


 * New Fellow Jedediah Purdy Joins Berkman Center

The Berkman Center is delighted to welcome Jedediah Purdy as a research fellow for the spring semester.  Jed, an author, attorney and scholar, focuses his research on property regimes' role in shaping social and political life.

* Listen In -- AudioBerkman on MP3 Players

The iPod might slip easily into your pocket, but this device and other gadgets like it are shaking the foundations of the digital media debate.  A new audio documentary from AudioBerkman, "The Gadget Factor," takes a closer look at the portable MP3 player.  We talk to business analysts, lawyers, and RIAA President Cary Sherman. (Running time: 12 minutes)

* Berkman In The News
In case you missed them in their original publications, below is a sampling of links to articles from around the globe featuring the Berkman Center and its faculty, staff and fellows.



<http://tinyurl.com/29mul> [nytimes.com]



                  [4] CONFERENCE WATCH



* February 18-20, 2004, Washington, DC--2004 Privacy and Data Security Summit

* February 26-27, 2004, Geneva--Workshop on Internet Governance


* March 12-16, 2004, Austin, TX--South by Southwest Interactive Festival

* March 26-28, 2004, New Haven, CT--Digital Cops in a Virtual Environment (Yale Information Society Project)


* May 10-14, 2004, Barcelona--INET/IGC 2004 Strengthening the Net: Building an Open and Trusted Internet

* May 13-15, 2004, Cambridge, MA--Internet Law Program (Registration Open!)

* May 26-27, 2004, Zaporozhye, Ukraine--The Second Cybercrime Conference 2004

* July 14-31, 2004, Oxford, UK--Oxford Internet Institute Summer Programme (Applications Now Being Accepted)


                  [5]  BOOKMARKS


* Burn Berne: Why the Leading International Copyright Convention Must Be Repealed, by Alan Story
<http://tinyurl.com/39h5z> [law.uh.edu]

* Digital Media Trends in Asia Pacific, by Renny Hwang

* The Technorati-Sphere

* The Farewell Dossier, by William Safire

                  [6]  QUOTABLES


"Google is not a mysterious Oracle of Truth but a numerical scheme for aggregating the preferences expressed by web authors." - Ed Felten, on what we all know but hate to acknowledge



"Please contact your local FBI office." - Darl McBride of SCO, on how to deal with nasty hax0rs


                  [7]  TALK BACK


 We have made some changes to the Filter's format and content.
Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Please send them to mailto:filter-editor@cyber.harvard.edu

                  [8]  SUBSCRIPTION INFO


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                  [9]  ABOUT US


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                  [10]  NOT A COPYRIGHT


A publication of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School <http://cyber.harvard.edu/>. You may--and please do--forward or copy this newsletter to friends and colleagues.

This work is hereby released into the Public Domain. To view a copy of the public domain dedication, visit
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Last updated

January 16, 2008