|O P E N L
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Openlaw?
- Openlaw is an experiment in crafting legal argument in an open forum.
With your assistance, we will develop arguments, draft pleadings, and
edit briefs online. You are invited to join the process by adding thoughts
to the "brainstorm" bulletin boards, drafting and commenting on drafts in progress, and suggesting reference sources.
- Building on the model of open source software, we believe that an
open development process best harnesses the distributed resources of
the Internet community. What we lose in secrecy, we expect to regain
in depth of sources and breadth of argument.
How can I join?
- We welcome all participants in our drafting process. To join the team,
follow the register link
on the sidebar and enter your email address and a chosen username and password (all other information is optional). Registration will
give you access to all portions of the Openlaw site.
Where do I begin?
- Head to any of the homepages for the individual cases,
listed on the Openlaw front page and in the
one will have its own process, and may use different tools, including
mailing lists, web discussion forums, web-based
annotation, chats, video presentations, and more. To participate in some of the discussion areas, you may
be asked to register first.
How else can I support the project?
- The first case we are litigating with Openlaw is Eldred v. Ashcroft (formerly Eldred
v. Reno), a
challenge to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act that added 20 years to the copyright exclusion period. As well as crafting
legal arguments here, you can support our fight for the public domain by joining Copyright's Commons, a coalition against the copyright extension, and by marking your works
with a counter-copyright, [cc].
March 13, 2002 -- Eldred Legal Defense Fund
While the lawyers in this case
are donating their time, there are significant expenses the community
could help us meet. If you want to help, please send a check to:
|Eldred Legal Defense Fund
c/o Carinne Johnson
Stanford Law School
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
or via PayPal to
Any money left over will be contributed to an appropriate charity.
In Openlaw/DVD, we are helping the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to defend public freedom to use digital media. We are developing arguments in defense of the individuals and web publishers being sued by the movie industry for posting DeCSS code, allegedly to break the access controls on DVD, and earlier submitted an amicus brief in the New York case.
In our next case, open access, we will
assist four Massachusetts communities in an
ongoing legal battle with AT&T over open
access. The communities filed a request
with the Commonwealth's Department of Telecommunications and Energy's (DTE) Cable Television Division for
full hearings on whether open access is in the public interest. The
communities earlier refused to allow transfer of cable licenses from MediaOne to AT&T unless AT&T agreed to offer Internet
Service Providers non-discriminatory access to the broadband network.
Openlaw is also hosting discussions of the ongoing
Can I add a case to Openlaw?
- As a general rule, the Berkman Center does not
(and cannot) provide individual legal assistance. The Openlaw project is
still in its formative stages as we determine how open legal
collaboration can work. If you have a case that you believe fits with the
Berkman Center's public interest focus (see our mission and projects pages), and feel
that an open discussion forum would be useful, you may contact a Berkman Center
faculty member or fellow, or contact the Openlaw
project coordinators. Note that we cannot host independent forums
How can I suggest a new tool or discussion format?
- We're always looking for ways to improve the Openlaw process, in
addition to the collaboration tools listed here. If you
have technical or procedural suggestions, or thoughts that do not relate
to a particular legal matter, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berkman Center for Internet & Society