<-- The Filter --> September 2004

September 17, 2004
No. 6.11 <--The Filter--> 09.17.04


[1] In the News: Legal Round-Up
[2] Case in Point: Politics & the Net
[3] Berkman News: Back to School
[4] Conference Watch
[5] Bookmarks: Fun for Browsing
[6] Quotables: Overheard Online
[7] Filter Facts: About Us, Not a Copyright

* Milestone Decisions
Internet law saw several major court decisions this month.  Last week's decision in Center for Democracy and Technology et al. v. Pappert struck down a Pennsylvania law that imposed liability on ISPs for child pornography "available on the Internet, even if the ISPs are not hosting the offending content and have no relationship whatsoever with the publishers of the content," the CDT explained.  The U.S. District Court found the law unconstitutional for violating the First Amendment.  As reports noted, the law resulted in suppression of over 1 million sites when ISPs attempted to block 400 pornographic ones.
The Court's decision: <http://www.cdt.org/speech/pennwebblock/20040910order.pdf>
Details on the case: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/home/home?wid=10&func=viewSubmission&sid=566>
More information on Internet filtering, domestically and abroad: <http://www.opennetinitiative.net/>
And in Bridgeport Music v. Dimension Films, the court ruled that a 3-chord riff sampled from George P. Clinton's song, "Get Off Your Ass and Jam," was a violation of copyright.  "Get a license or do not sample," ruled the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Critics argued that the court's attempt to create a "bright-line" test for determining copyright violations oversimplified legal, political, technological, and musical considerations in the case.
* Update on the SCO litigation
The SCO v. IBM case grinds on, though SCO has suffered several recent setbacks.  The company recently announced a third-quarter net loss of $7.4 million on revenue of $11.2 million.  A major source of spending was litigation, which cost the company $7.2 million last quarter. Recently, SCO negotiated a cap on its laywers' fees by offering attorneys a greater share of any recovery from the suits.  Inside the courtroom, IBM has asked the court to bar SCO from distributing Linux on the charge that SCO has violated Linux's GNU General Public License.  And SCO's suit against DaimlerChrysler ended with a whimper when a Michigan judge dismissed every claim in SCO's suit, save one involving timing.  SCO's CEO, Darl McBride, has stated that the company has no plans to sue other Linux users.  Stay tuned.
* Friendster Loses Friends over Fired Blogger
Joyce Park, a long-time blogger, was dismissed from her job at the social networking company, Friendster, ostensibly over three weblog posts about her job.  "Friendster is in the business of getting people to reveal information about themselves, and for them to terminate me like this is sort of undermining their whole mission," Park told News.com.  Many in the blogosphere cancelled Friendster accounts in protest.  Friendster has refused to comment.
This December, the Berkman Center and some friends are hosting the next in our series of Internet & Society conferences.  We're taking a skeptical look at whether the Internet is transforming politics. We're interested in global themes, in campaigns of all sorts and all levels, and not just the US presidential election.  We'd love your help in pulling together the panels and discussions.  What would be most helpful at this stage is to come up with the hardest, most interesting questions that might serve as the organizing principle for a specific panel or discussion session on the primary day of the conference, December 10, 2004.  An example might be: "Are campaigns more effective at engaging young people in campaigns by using Internet technologies?"   Give us a better one.
The Question: Is this a question you'd show up to hear discussed? Could you improve it, or build upon it?  And any suggestions for participants to help discuss it?
Give us your suggestions by joining the H2O discussion: <http://h2o.law.harvard.edu/JoinProject.do?projectID=65>
Learn more about the conference: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/events/is2k4/index.html>

* Promises to Keep
The new book from William Fisher, Professor at Harvard Law School and Director of the Berkman Center, is now available.  "Promises to Keep: Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment" makes the case for rethinking copyright law, restructuring the existing digital media crisis, and building a new federal system in which users have greater access to creative material and artists get compensated directly.
* Back to School
Classes are back in session at the Berkman Center.  This fall, Prof. Charles Nesson leads a team of instructors in the Harvard Law School seminar, Digital Democracy.  The Internet Law Colloquium will be team taught by the Berkman Faculty Directors Terry Fisher, Charlie Nesson, Jonathan Zittrain, and John Palfrey to discuss some of the current controversies involving the legal regulation of the Internet. Executive Director John Palfrey teaches Cyberlaw and the Global Economy.  And two of the Berkman Center's new clinical instructors, Bruce Keller and Jeffrey Cunard of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, are offering the seminar, Practical Lawyering and Internet-Related Issues. Learn more about these courses and the Berkman Center's Clinical Program in the websites below.
Internet Law Colloquium: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/home/ilc2004>
Cyberlaw and the Global Economy: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/globaleconomy/>
Practical Lawyering: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/practicallawyering/>
Clinical Program: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/clinical>
* Breaking News in Internet Filtering
The Open Net Initiative -- a joint research initiative with the Berkman Center, the Citizen Lab, and the University of Cambridge -- has released three new reports this month that excavate a vast web of filtering and internet censorship around the world.
Content Filtering in Iran: <http://www.opennetinitiative.net/bulletins/004/>
Chinese search engine filtering: <http://www.opennetinitiative.net/bulletins/005/>
Google Searching and Caching in China: <http://www.opennetinitiative.net/bulletins/006/>
Wall Street Journal story on the ONI report: <http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109399116510306244,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace>
* September 28-29, 2004, San Jose, CA - Emerging Broadband Wireless Technologies Summit <http://www.iqpc.com/cgi-bin/templates/genevent.html?event=5163&topic=233>
* October 1-2, 2004, Ottawa, Canada - The Internet and the Law - A Global Conversation <http://web5.uottawa.ca/techlaw/symposium.php?idnt=99&v=22>
* October 26-29, 2004, Seoul, Korea - International Symposium on Public Participation in Internet Governance <http://int.nic.or.kr/index.htm>
* October 27-29, 2004, New Orleans, Louisiana - IAPP Privacy & Data Security Academy & Expo <http://privacyassociation.org/html/conferences.html>
* December 1-5, 2004, Cape Town, South Africa - ICANN Meeting <http://www.icanncapetown.co.za/>
* December 10, 2004, Cambridge, Massachusetts - Internet & Society 2004: Votes, Bits and Bytes <http://cyber.harvard.edu/events/is2k4/index.html>
* FTC's "bounty system" proposal for catching spammers: <http://www.ftc.gov/reports/rewardsys/040916rewardsysrpt.pdf>
* A cartoon on Bloggers, CBS, and the Bush memos: <http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/04.09.12.DownMountain-X.gif>
"We've exhausted every means of trying to work with these defendants....  We cannot stand by and allow them to erode our business opportunity by the wholesale infringement of our rights."
-Kevin Bermeister, CEO of Altnet, on his company's lawsuit against the RIAA for alleged patent infringement <http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5357332.html>
"We knew it would be embarrassing....  We couldn't get approval; we did our darnedest."
-Suzanne Council, an attorney for the Army, on the government's suppression of its own instructional video about freedom of information.  The government didn't release the film over concern about copyright permissions. <http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040901/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/pentagon_bogart_video_3>
* Talk Back
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* About Us
Filter is a publication of the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School. 
Co-editors: Wendy Koslow, Mary Bridges
Contributors in this issue: Derek Bambauer, Derek Slater
*Not a Copyright
This work is hereby released into the public domain.  Please share it. To read the public domain dedication, visit <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain>.

Last updated

January 16, 2008