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August 08, 2005

FCC Eases DSL Rules, Mandates VoIP Wiretaps

"Federal regulators on Friday eased rules governing high-speed Internet services offered by phone companies, saying they hope it will speed Internet growth.

"Handing a significant regulatory victory to the Bell companies, the Federal Communications Commission said the carriers no longer had to provide rival Internet service providers with access to their lines at reduced rates.

"The commission said the move would foster competition by putting phone companies on an even footing with cable companies and other sellers of Internet service and would provide more incentive for phone companies to upgrade their networks and offerings."

Stephen Labaton. F.C.C. Eases High-Speed Access Rules. The New York Times. Aug. 6, 2005.

See also:
Vikas Bajaj. New Rules on Net Service May Hurt Some Providers. The New York Times. Aug. 6, 2005.

Marguerite Reardon. FCC Changes DSL Classification. News.com. Aug. 5, 2005.

Federal Communications Commission. FCC Eliminates Mandated Sharing Requirement on Incumbents’ Wireline Broadband Internet Access Services. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Aug. 5, 2005.

Related:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. FCC Issues Rule Allowing FBI to Dictate Wiretap-Friendly Design for Internet Services. Aug. 5, 2005.

Federal Communications Commission. FCC Requires Certain Broadband and VoIP Providers to Accommodate Wiretaps. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Aug. 5, 2005.

Federal Communications Commission. FCC Adopts Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Communications Assistancefor Law Enforcement Act. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Aug. 4, 2004.

Electronic Privacy Information Center. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. No date.

Update: Declan McCullagh. FCC Schizo on DSL, Wiretapping. News.com. Aug. 8, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 03, 2005

FCC Chairman Proposes DSL Deregulation

"For four months, new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin has been largely silent on what direction he wants to take the powerful independent agency.

"No more.

"Keynoting a meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in Austin, Tex., Martin said he is already circulating a proposal among the commissioners to largely deregulate the DSL service offered by the Bells."

Roy Mark. FCC Chief Pushing For DSL Deregulation. InternetNews.com. Aug. 1, 2005.

See also:
Ted Hearn. After 'Brand X,' New Challenges. Media Channel. Aug. 1, 2005.

FindLaw. National Cable & Telecommunications Association et al. v. Brand X Internet Services et al.. June 27, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on the Brand X ruling.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

Congress Forges Ahead to Extend Patriot Act

"The House voted Thursday to extend permanently virtually all the major antiterrorism provisions of the USA Patriot Act after beating back efforts by Democrats and some Republicans to impose new restrictions on the government's power to eavesdrop, conduct secret searches and demand library records.

"The legislation, approved 257 to 171, would make permanent 14 of the 16 provisions in the law that were set to expire at the end of this year.

"The remaining two provisions - giving the government the power to demand business and library records and to conduct roving wiretaps - would have to be reconsidered by Congress in 10 years.

Eric Lichtblau. House Beats Back Challenges to Patriot Act. The New York Times. July 22, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 21, 2005

Will Canadian Copyright Bill Declare Search Engines Illegal?

"A bill before Canada's Parliament could make it illegal for search engines to cache Web pages, critics say, opening the door to unwarranted lawsuits and potentially hindering public access to information.

"The legislation in question, Bill C-60, is designed to amend Canada's Copyright Act by implementing parts of the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization treaty, the treaty that led to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the U.S."

Elinor Mills. In Canada: Cache a Page, Go to Jail?. News.com. July 19, 2005.

See also:
Jack Kapica. Could Googling Become Illegal?. Globe and Mail. July 12, 2005.

Michael Geist. Bill C-60 User Guide: The ISPs and Search Engines. June 21, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005

Microsoft v. Google: Let's Get Ready to Rumble

"Microsoft sued the search engine giant Google yesterday, accusing it of pilfering an executive to head up a new research lab in China.

"The software leviathan said Kai-Fu Lee's contract prohibited him from taking a job with a competitor within a year of leaving Microsoft and accused Google of 'intentionally assisting' Lee."

Chris Noon. Microsoft Sues Google For Alleged Exec Poaching. Forbes.com. July 20, 2005.

See also:

Verne Kopytoff. Microsoft Sues Over Hiring. SFGate.com. July 20, 2005.

Todd Bishop. Microsoft Sues Google Over Executive It Hired Away. SeattlePI.com. July 20, 2005.

Matt Richtel. Microsoft Sues Over Google's Hiring of a Former Executive. The New York Times. July 20, 2005.

Ina Fried. Microsoft Sues Over Google Hire. News.com. July 19, 2005.

Michael Bazeley. Google to Open R&D Center in China. The Mercury News. July 19, 2005.

Michael Paige. Microsoft Sues Google, Former Exec. MarketWatch. July 19, 2005 .

Elizabeth M. Gillespie. Ex-Microsoft Exec Sued Over Google Job. BusinessWeek Online. July 19, 2005.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:59 AM | Send to a friend!

Panel Discusses Next Steps After Grokster

"Does Congress need to lay down new laws after last month's landmark Supreme Court decision on file swapping? Depends on whom you ask.

"A spectrum of outlooks came from lawyers who squared off at a panel discussion hosted Tuesday by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee."

Anne Broache. Time for Lawmakers to Act on Grokster?. News.com. July 19, 2005.

See also:
a href="http://www.netcaucus.org/">Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee. Interpreting Grokster: Protecting Copyright in the the Age of Peer-to-Peer. July 19, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Microsoft Sues to Keep Exec From Google

"Opening a new chapter in its rivalry with Google, Microsoft on Tuesday sued the search giant and a former Microsoft executive who has been tapped by Google to run its China operations.

"The suit was filed in a Washington state court against Google and Kai-Fu Lee, who until Monday was the corporate vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Services Division.

Ina Fried. Microsoft Sues Over Google Hire. News.com. July 19, 2005.

See also:
Associated Press. Microsoft Sues Former Exec for Taking Job with Google. San Jose Mercury News. July 19, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:31 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Intel Approves McCain Bill

"Intel late last week threw its support to a Congressional proposal that would allow municipal wireless network project"

"The bill, co-sponsored by U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) enables municipalities to spur development of publicly-controlled wireless networks.

"It runs counter to another bill, introduced in the House and strongly supported by the large telecoms, that prohibits such public-sector participation."

Mobile Pipeline Staff. Intel Supports Pro-Muni Wi-Fi Legislation. Mobile Pipeline. July 18, 2005

See also:
Roy Mark. McCain Bill Would Help Municipal Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Planet. June 23, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:09 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005

News Corp. Acquires Intermix, MySpace

"Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has demonstrated the seriousness of its commitment to digital media by reaching a deal to buy Intermix Media Inc. for $580 million in cash.

"At the same time, Intermix announced it has exercised its option to buy the 47 percent of MySpace.com it does not already own."

Ken Magill. News Corp. To Acquire Intermix. ClickZNews. July 18, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:34 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

Renewal of Patriot Act Up for Vote

"Before Congress leaves Washington for its annual recess next month, both the House and the Senate are expected to vote to renew police powers that were granted in the 2001 Patriot Act and are scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

"Among the most controversial provisions up for renewal is the FBI's power to demand sensitive information on American citizens from businesses with only an order issued under the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"Separate bills advancing in the House and Senate extend this provision—Section 215 of the Patriot Act—with modifications."

Caron Carlson. Bills Extend Patriot Provision. eWeek. July 18, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Can Bush Carry the Day?. News.com. July 18, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:53 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

The Future of Municipal WiFi Systems

"Pete Sessions, a Texas member of the House, believes in states' rights. But he also thinks that there are situations so extreme that Congress must slap down state and local government initiatives.

"One such case: localities that offer citizens free or low-cost Internet service. Idealists may view extending high-speed Internet as a boon to education, an economic shot in the arm and a vital component in effective emergency services."

Steven Levy. Pulling the Plug on Local Internet. Newsweek. July 18, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:26 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 16, 2005

P2P Projects Continue Despite Grokster

"The ripples of anxiety from last month's landmark Supreme Court ruling on peer-to-peer software haven't quite made it to Jonathan Nilson's home in Tallahassee, Fla.

"Nilson, a programmer who has been working on peer-to-peer software called Shareaza for several years, says the loose band of developers who share responsibility for the open-source project haven't been dissuaded from their work by the court ruling, which is casting a dark legal cloud over the future of companies such as Grokster and LimeWire."

John Borland. Open-source P2P Projects Keep Swapping. News.com. July 15, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 15, 2005

Australia Rules On Copyright & Linking

"Stephen Cooper, operator of a Web site called MP3s4free.net, was found guilty Thursday of copyright infringement by Australia Federal Court Justice Brian Tamberlin.

"Although Cooper didn't host pirated recordings per se, the court found the resident of the state of Queensland breached the law by creating hyperlinks to sites that had infringing sound recordings."

Steven Deare. Australian Man, ISP Found Guilty of Piracy. News.com. July 14, 2005.

See also:
Alex Malik. Oz ISP, Employee and Principal Held Liable for Copyright Breaches. The Register. July 14, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

FAA Fights In-Flight Wirless Use

"Lawmakers yesterday urged federal aviation officials to keep a ban in place preventing the use of cell phones on airplanes because it is not clear whether the devices interfere with navigation equipment.

"A Federal Aviation Administration official said the agency won't lift its prohibition on the use of devices including cell phones, BlackBerry devices and two-way pagers, but passengers may be able to use them during flight one day."

William Glanz. Lawmakers Favor In-flight Phone Ban. Washington Times. July 15, 2005.

See also:
U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Bipartisan Opposition Voiced Against Allowing Use Of Cell Phones On Commercial Aircraft. (Press Release.) July 14, 2005.

U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Cell Phones On Commercial Aircraft - A Nuisance Or Necessity” To Be Focus Of Congressional Oversight Hearing Thursday. (Press Release.) July 12, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior stories here and here on lifting the in-flight ban on cellphone use..

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:40 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Congress Suggests 2009 for Digital TV Switch

"Millions of American television sets that receive only analog over-the-air broadcasts could go dark if not upgraded by Jan. 1, 2009.

"That deadline was suggested in a pair of hearings here Tuesday by members of the U.S. Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

"The committee is readying legislation expected this year that would require all American televisions to run on digital signals by the end of 2008. That would free up the analog, or 700 MHz, spectrum for other uses such as broadband services and communications for emergency workers."

Anne Broache. Digital TV Changeover Suggested for 2009. News.com. July 12, 2005.

See also:
Paul Davidson. Broadcasters Accept New Deadline for Digital TV Signals. USA Today. July 12, 2005.

Update: Gigi B. Sohn. Letter in Support of Hard Deadline for DTV Transition from Public Knowledge. Public Knowledge. July 15, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:30 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005

House Panel Agrees to Limits on Patriot Act

"The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee approved Democratic provisions yesterday that would place modest controls over the ways the FBI can monitor terrorism suspects under the Patriot Act.

"Three other amendments that Democrats had proposed failed, including one that would have blocked investigators from getting records from libraries or bookstores."

Katherine Shrader. House Panel OK's Changes in Patriot Act. Boston Globe. July 14, 2005.

See also:
Eric Lichtblau and Carl Hulse. Lawmakers Agree to Renew Patriot Act. The New York Times. July 14, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

EU Raids Intel

"U.S. computer chip maker Intel Corp., computer makers and distributors were raided by European Commission and local authorities on Tuesday as part of an investigation into possible antitrust violations, a spokesman for the European Union executive said.

"The Commission's escalation came as Intel's smaller rival, Advanced Micro Devices, was trying to ratchet up pressure on the chip maker, which has 90 percent of world sales of microprocessors for personal computers that run Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Reuters. EU Officials Raid U.S. Chipmaker Intel, Others. July 12, 2005.

See also:
Andy Reinhardt. The EU's Assault on Intel. BusinessWeek Online. July 14, 2005.

Spencer Ante. AMD Hauls Intel Back to Court. BusinessWeek Online. June 28, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:46 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005

Firm Sues Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

"A Philadelphia health-care advocacy company is suing operators of the Wayback Machine in a case experts described as one of the first legal challenges to Internet archiving.

"Healthcare Advocates contends the Internet Archive, a San Francisco nonprofit that runs the Wayback Machine, botched Healthcare's request to block access to archived materials from its Web site during a trade secrets dispute in 2003."

Kevin Coughlin. Philadelphia Health Care Advocacy Firm Sues Search-engine Operators. NJ.com. July 12, 2005.

See also:
Tom Zeller Jr. Web Archive Sued Over Use in Another Suit. News.com. July 12, 2005.

The Patry Copyright Blog. The Way Back Machine and Robots.txt. July 12, 2005.

United States District Court. Healthcare Advocates, Inc. v. Harding, Early, Follmer & Frailey, et al. (.pdf) July 8, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

Chairman Introduces Bill to Extend Patriot Act

"The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee introduced a bill yesterday that would make the controversial USA Patriot Act permanent, but he balked at including some new powers sought by the Bush administration.

"The bill proposed by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) largely gives the Justice Department what it has requested in the review of the Patriot Act antiterrorism law, which was enacted weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The proposal includes 16 provisions set to expire at the end of this year unless they are renewed or made permanent by Congress."

Dan Eggen. Permanent Patriot Act Proposed. WashingtonPost.com. July 12, 2005.

See also:
Jesse J. Holland. House, Senate Chiefs Spar on Patriot Act. WashingtonPost.com. July 11, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 11, 2005

Google Wins Domain Arbitration Case

"An Internet arbitrator has awarded Google Inc. the rights to several Web site addresses that relied on typographical errors to exploit the online search engine's popularity so computer viruses and other malicious software could be unleashed on unsuspecting visitors.

The National Arbitration Forum, a legal alternate to litigating in court, sided with a Google complaint alleging that Sergey Gridasov of St. Petersburg, Russia, had engaged in 'typosquatting' by operating Web sites named googkle.com, ghoogle.com and gooigle.com.

Michael Liedtke. Google Wins 'Typosquatting' Dispute. BusinessWeek Online. July 11, 2005.

See also:
National Arbitration Forum. National Arbitration Forum Issues Decision on Google Web Addresses. (Press Release.) July 8, 2005.

National Arbitration Forum. Google Inc. v. Sergey Gridasov. July 5, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

EPIC Urges FTC to Investigate Online Data Brokers

"The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) asked the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on online data brokers that sell information to consumers.

"In a complaint filed on Friday, EPIC singled out Intelligent E-Commerce (IEI), a search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising consultancy that also seems to operate BestPeopleSearch.com.

"In its complaint, EPIC referred to two cases in which stalkers used private investigators to locate victims and murder them. But EPIC said BestPeopleSearch did worse: It offers access to information that even licensed PIs shouldn't be able to get."

Susan Kuchinskas. EPIC Fighting Online Phone Record Sales. InternetNews.com. July 8, 2005.

See also:
Electronic Privacy Information Center. EPIC Online Investigation Complaint. July 8, 2005.

Jonathan Krim. Online Data Gets Personal: Cell Phone Records for Sale. WashingtonPost.com. July 8, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 08, 2005

Qualcomm Fights Back on Broadcom's Suit

"Qualcomm on Wednesday described the recent antitrust suit filed against it by communications chip vendor Broadcom as 'meritless,' and suggested that it may fight back with further litigation of its own.

"Qualcomm and Broadcom are already locked in another legal battle. In May, Broadcom sued Qualcomm for alleged patent infringement and filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an attempt to ban the import of foreign-manufactured Qualcomm products, which Broadcom alleged infringed its patents. Qualcomm reiterated Wednesday that it believes Broadcom's patent infringement claims are 'without merit.'"

China Martens. Qualcomm Says Broadcom Antitrust Suit Is 'Meritless'. InfoWorld. July 6, 2005.

See also:
Reuters. Qualcomm Rejects Broadcom Claims, Eyes Legal Action. July 6, 2005.

Reuters. Broadcom Files Antitrust Lawsuit against Qualcomm. July 5, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on Qualcomm's lawsuit.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Arrest for Wi-Fi Trespassing

"Police have arrested a man for using someone else's wireless Internet network in one of the first criminal cases involving this fairly common practice.

"Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony.

"Innocuous use of other people's unsecured Wi-Fi networks is common, though experts say that plenty of illegal use also goes undetected: such as people sneaking on others' networks to traffic in child pornography, steal credit card information and send death threats."

Associated Press. Man Charged With Stealing Wi-Fi Signal. Yahoo! News. July 6, 2005.

See also:
Alex Leary. Wi-Fi Cloaks a New Breed of Intruder. St. Petersburg Times. July 6, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:20 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 07, 2005

Bill Proposal to Strengthen FOIA

"A political odd couple, backed by an unusual coalition of advocacy groups and news organizations, is looking to crack down on government officials who ignore public requests for information.

"Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) are pushing a package of legislative proposals that would create, for the first time, penalties for agencies that ignore Freedom of Information Act requests.

"They also want to create a position for an independent arbiter -- an ombudsman for FOIA -- who would help referee conflicts between the public and the government while requiring departments to provide more information on how quickly they process requests."

Brian Faler. Openness Law May Get Muscle. WashingtonPost.com. July 6, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

EFF Includes Labor Section to Blogging Guide

"The Bloggers' FAQ on Labor Law addresses legal issues arising from workplace blogging, including union organizing, protections for political blogging away from the workplace, and whistle-blogging."

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Bloggers' FAQ: Labor Law.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 06, 2005

K. Matthew Dames Gives SLA Virtual Presentation

K. Matthew Dames, managing partner of Seso Group Digital Information Advisors and the executive editor of SNTReport.com and Search & Text Mining Report, is this month's speaker for SLA's Virtual Seminar series. Dames will present a two-part series on digital collaboration projects for information professionals, with the first live session being Webcast at 2:00 EST on July 6. and the second live session being Webcast at 2:00 EST on July 20.

Attendance & Registration
Want to view Dames' presentation live? Check the SLA Virtual Seminar page for more information. If you have any additional questions, e-mail SLA at learning@sla.org or call the Professional Development Center at (703) 647-4925.

This session will be taped and available for viewing within one week of the Webcast.

Description
Whatever you call it – digital collaboration, social software, social networking – working across the Web is about more than technology or devices. Ultimately, it is about developing a community of practice where people readily share their information and knowledge, regardless of distance.

Many clients and end-users will suggest that the trend toward using digital collaboration lessens the need for librarians and other information professionals. Instead, the opposite is true: online information sharing increases the need for librarians as facilitators, researchers, and knowledge managers. With some work and initiative, technology-savvy Info Pros can position themselves inside their organizations as critically important team members at a time when their value is being questioned.

This two-part series looks at the tools and issues involved in creating an effective digital collaboration environment, and shares some ideas on how best to establish a digital collaboration initiative within an organization. The first part of the series, part of SLA's Virtual Learning Series, will explain the tools and terminology of digital collaboration, and how different organizations are using these tools to improve productivity and knowledge sharing.

Slides
K. Matthew Dames. Digital Collaboration: Tools & Terms. (.pdf, 2.7 MB) July 6, 2005.

Webliography
Covad. "The Ringing" (Flash movie; Flash Player required.)

Salesforce.com: Hosted customer relationship management tool, with contact management, marketing campaign budgeting and analysis, and mobile and wireless capability.

Bloglines: Hosted RSS and news aggregator.

37Signals: Developer of several hosted business tools, including Backpack (a collaborative online planner and to-do list), and the highly regarded Basecamp (hosted project management application).

Thomas Bleha. Down to the Wire. Foreign Affairs. May/June 2005. ("Once a leader in Internet innovation, the United States has fallen far behind Japan and other Asian states in deploying broadband and the latest mobile-phone technology.")

Heather Green and Robert D. Hof. Picking Up Where Search Leaves Off. BusinessWeek Online. April 11, 2005. ("The time-saving trend of "tagging" is luring legions of Web surfers -- and Yahoo! ")

Daniel Terdiman. Folksonomies Tap People Power. Wired News. Feb. 1, 2005. ("The job of tags isn't to organize all the world's information into tidy categories. It's to add value to the giant piles of data that are already out there.")

Technorati: A blog index.

SNTReport.com: Seso Group LLC publication that finds, filters, summarizes important digital collaboration news six days each week.

Search & Text Mining Report: Seso Group LLC publication that finds, filters, summarizes important news about the business, technology, and law of search and search engines. Published five days each week.

Micro Persuasion: Blog of public relations executive Steve Rubel.

GM FastLane: "The FastLane blog is where you can come to read the latest, greatest musings of GM leaders on topics relevant to the company, the industry and the global economy, and -- most of all -- to our customers and other car enthusiasts."

Charlene Li. Blogging: Bubble or Big Deal? Forrester Research. Nov. 5, 2004.

Mark Pilgrim. What Is RSS? O'Reilly XML.com. Dec. 18, 2002.

Jeff Tyson. How Instant Messaging Works. HowStuffWorks. No date.

Robert Kaye. Next-Generation File Sharing with Social Networks. O'Reilly Open P2P. March 5, 2004.

Miriam Rainsford. A Musician's Take on File Sharing, DRM, and Copyleft Licensing. O'Reilly Open P2P. June 10, 2003.

Wikipedia. Founded in 2001, Wikipedia bills itself as "the free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit."

JotSpot: A Wiki web application development through a " Microsoft Word style editing" interface. For a demonstration of JotSpot's capabilities, please see Jon Udell's Flash movie. (Flash Player required.)

Federal Communications Commission. Voice Over Internet Protocol: Frequently Asked Questions. May 24, 2005.

vSkype: Skype plugin that allows users to see who they are talking to while sharing applications, spreadsheets or photos in real time. (Windows only)

IPDrum. Its IPdrum Mobile Cable connects Skype to a mobile telephone via the mobile telephone network - allowing Skype users true mobility and worldwide calling for local rates.

Heather Wilson. Gaming for Librarians: An Introduction. (.pdf) VOYA. February 2005.

K. Matthew Dames. Commentary on New iTunes Cell Phone. SNTReport.com. July 5, 2005.

Fred Vogelstein. Gates vs. Google: Search and Destroy. Fortune. May 2, 2005. ("Bill Gates is on a mission to build a Google killer. What got him so riled? The darling of search is moving into software—and that's Microsoft's turf.")

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 09:00 AM | Send to a friend!

Problems With Proposed Data Bill

"Our esteemed leaders in the U.S. Congress are vowing to enact new laws targeting data thieves, backup-tape burglars and other information-age miscreants.

"We should be worried.

"Any reasonable person, of course, should agree that such thefts must be punished and data warehouses should let us know if our information falls into the hands of criminals.

"But a bill announced last week by Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., goes far beyond reasonable data security precautions. It amounts to a crackdown on individuals, bloggers and legitimate e-mail list moderators."

Declan McCullagh. The Coming Web Security Woes. News.com. July 4, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Senators Propose Sweeping Data-Security Bill. News.com. June 29, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Broadcom Slapped Lawsuit on Qualcomm

"Communications chip maker Broadcom has slapped a lawsuit on wireless networking giant Qualcomm, alleging that its rival's use of third-generation patents violates U.S. antitrust laws.

"The complaint revolves around Qualcomm's Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) technology, which is implemented through the Universal Mobile Telephone Systems (UMTS) standard.

"Broadcom says that when international industry groups were hammering out wireless broadband standards, 'Qualcomm represented that it would license its WDMA patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (that is, so-called 'FRAND') terms.'"

Colin C. Haley. Broadcom Hits Qualcomm Over 3G Patents. Internetnews.com. July 5, 2005.

See also:
Reuters. Broadcom Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Qualcomm. July 5, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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July 05, 2005

Technology Decisions in the Courtroom

"Some of the most important technology decisions this week were made not in the boardroom but by nine men and women wearing black robes.

"The Supreme Court handed movie studios and record labels a sweeping victory against file swapping, ruling that peer-to-peer companies such as Grokster could be held responsible for the copyright piracy on their networks. In a unanimous decision, the nine justices said companies that build businesses with the active intent of encouraging copyright infringement should be held liable for their customers' illegal actions.

"The decision comes as a surprisingly strong victory for copyright companies and stands to reshape an Internet landscape in which file swapping has become commonplace."

Steven Musil. Week in Review: Judging Tech. News.com. July 1, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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Adult Publisher Sues Amazon Over Images

"Adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 is suing Amazon.com, alleging that the e-tailer's search engine is violating copyright law by displaying thousands of images from its Web site without permission.

"'It is Perfect 10's contention that 'search engines' such as A9.com and Google are displaying hundreds of thousands of adult images, from the most tame to the most exceedingly explicit, to draw massive traffic to their Web sites, which they convert into ad revenue or sales revenue,' the publisher said in a statement."

"Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Perfect 10 filed a similar lawsuit against Google in November and said it has sent numerous notices of infringement to both Google and Amazon that have been ignored."

Elinor Mills. Adult Site Sues Amazon Over Sexy Images. News.com. July 1, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on Google's role in copyright infringement.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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July 02, 2005

Will the Past Haunt BitTorrent?

"BitTorrent programmer Bram Cohen may be in legal jeopardy after the discovery on Wednesday of an old agenda buried on his website saying he creates programs to 'commit digital piracy.'

"The polemic would have been of little interest a week ago. But on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the intent behind a file-sharing program can be a decisive factor in determining whether the creator can be sued for its users' copyright infringement.

"Undated and less than 200 words long, Cohen's 'Technological Activist's Agenda' says he creates and gives away software in furtherance of laissez-faire political objectives."

Katie Dean and Kevin Poulsen. BitTorrent Whiz Extolled Piracy?. Wired News. June 30, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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Senators Pull Back Telecom Tax

"The Spanish-American War may have ended over a century ago, but anyone in the U.S. with a telephone line is paying a 3 percent 'luxury' tax created to fund the conflict in 1898.

"That's a situation that a number of Republican senators would like to change. This week, they introduced a bill to repeal the Spanish-American War levy.

"The obscure telecommunications tax took center stage in January when a congressional committee suggested the tax could be extended to include 'all data communications services' including broadband, dial-up, fiber, cable modems, cellular and DSL (digital subscriber line) links. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have said they are considering whether the tax should apply to Internet phone calls."

Declan McCullagh. Senators Want to Nix 1898 Telecom Tax. News.com. June 30, 2005.

See also:

Declan McCullagh. Congress Proposes Tax on all Net, Data Connections. News.com. Jan. 28, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. IRS Eyes Net Phone Taxes. News.com. July 6, 2004.

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July 01, 2005

Congress Debates PATRIOT Sunset

"U.S. Justice Department officials sparred with critics of the Patriot Act on Thursday in a debate over whether the expiring portions of the law should be renewed at the end of the year.

"When Congress rushed to enact the legislation in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, certain sections were set to expire. Now politicians are trying to decide whether to renew the 16 sections scheduled to sunset (.pdf) Dec. 31.

"A pair of Justice Department representatives speaking on Thursday's panel, held at the Capitol by the Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, stressed what they called the importance of renewing the law."

Anne Broache. Feds Push for Full Renewal of Patriot Act. News.com. June 30, 2005.

See also:
American Library Association. American Library Association (ALA) Announces Preliminary Findings of Study Measuring Law Enforcement Activity in Libraries. (.pdf) (Press Release.) June 30, 2005.

CRS Report for Congress. USA PATRIOT Act Sunset: Provisions That Expire on December 31, 2005 (.pdf) June 10, 2004.

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Feds Lead Global Crackdown on Piracy

"The government announced Thursday an 11-nation crackdown on Internet piracy organizations responsible for stealing copies of the latest 'Star Wars' film and other movies, games and software programs worth at least $50 million.

"FBI agents and investigators in the other nations conducted 90 searches, starting Wednesday, arresting four people, seizing hundreds of computers and shutting down at least eight major online distribution servers for pirated works.

"Called Operation Site Down, the crackdown involved undercover FBI operations run out of Chicago, San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C., and included help from authorities in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom."

Mark Sherman. Feds Target Internet Piracy Organizations. San Jose Mercury News. June 30, 2005.

See also:
Federal Bureau of Investigation. Justice Department Announces International Internet Piracy Sweep. (Press Release.) June 30, 2005.

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Google Sued Over AdWords

"A seller of online marketing tools said on Wednesday it sued Google Inc., charging that the Web search giant has failed to protect users of its advertising program from 'click fraud,' costing them at least $5 million.

"Click Defense Inc. filed its lawsuit, (.pdf) which also seeks class action status, on June 24 in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California.

"Click fraud is not 'fraud' as defined under the law. Rather, it is an industry term used to describe the deliberate clicking on Web search ads by users with no plans to do business with the advertiser. Rival companies might employ people or machines to do this because the advertiser has to pay the Web search provider for each click."

Reuters. Google Sued Over 'Click Fraud' in Web Ads. June 30, 2005.

See also:
Pamela Parker. Another Class Action Click Fraud Suit Against Google. ClickZNews. June 30, 2005.

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Click Defense Inc. v. Google Inc.. (.pdf) June 24, 2005.

Update: Wendy Davis. Google Wins $75,000 In Click Fraud Case. Online Media Daily. July 5, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior stories on click fraud available here, here, here, and here.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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Grokster's Impact on Podcasting

"Apple's new podcasting service could be in a sticky situation if podcasters post copyrighted material, thanks to Monday's Grokster decision by the Supreme Court, some experts say. But others suggested Apple's new podcast hub could prove to be an ideal one-stop-shop for securing music licenses for homebrew radio shows.

"Podcasters may not include unauthorized copyright material in their broadcasts, and Apple will reportedly monitor podcasts for infringing material, according to the Guardian. Apple also provides a complaint form on the iTMS to notify the company of any copyright violations.

"But with the unanimous Supreme Court decision in the MGM Studios v. Grokster case, companies can now be sued if they encourage users of their technology to infringe copyrights."

Katie Dean. Grokster May Haunt Podcasting. Wired News. June 29, 2005.

See also:

Bobbie Johnson. iPods get Colour, Podcasts. Guardian Unlimited Online Blog. June 28, 2005.

Katie Dean. Grokster Loss Sucks for Tech. Wired News. June 27, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:37 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 30, 2005

Web Community Fights Blog Regulation

"Are bloggers going mainstream? Web log founders who built followings with anti-establishment postings are now lobbying the establishment to try to fend off government regulation. Some are even working with a political action committee, lawyers and public-relations consultants to do it.

"They say they have no choice.

"'There's a certain responsibility I have to help protect the medium. I have the platform, the voice to be able to do so,' said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of the Daily Kos Web log .

Moulitsas testified Tuesday at a hearing on a Federal Election Commission proposal that would extend some campaign finance rules to the Internet, including bloggers. He urged the FEC to take a hands-off approach."

Sharon Theimer. Bloggers Go Mainstream to Fight Regulation. SFGate.com. June 28, 2005.

Duncan Black, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga and Matt Stoller. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: The Internet: Definitions of "Public Communication" and "Generic Campaign Activity" and Disclaimers. (.pdf) June 3, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on Senators McCain and Feingold reassuring blogger regulation.

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Larry Lessig Reflects on Grokster Decision

"Lessig's experience makes him uniquely qualified to render his opinion on the landmark June 27 decision (.pdf) by the Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster to side with recording studios and against companies distributing peer-to-peer file-sharing software that lets people trade commercial songs for free.

"He's somewhat pleased that the court's decision to send the case back to the Ninth Circuit court in effect upheld an earlier Sony decision involving the Betamax VCR, which declined to hold manufacturers liable for illegal acts by their users.

"But Lessig contends the Supreme Court's decision will chill innovation by introducing a new level of uncertainty about whether a technology creator had an intent to allow copyright infringement."

BusinessWeek Online. "Ten Years of Chilled Innovation". June 29, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court. On Writ of Certiorari: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., et al. v. Grokster, LTD., et al.. (.pdf) June 27, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Supreme Court Decision in Sony v. Universal Studios 464 U.S. 417 (1984), a.k.a. "The Betamax case". Jan. 17, 1984.

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June 29, 2005

Brand X's Ruling Will Spur Wireless Broadband

"Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision (.pdf) stating that cable companies don't have to make their networks available to competitors will spur the popularity of wireless broadband, an executive for a wireless ISP claimed."

"'(The) ruling will inadvertently serve as a boon for wireless broadband providers,' Jeff Thompson, president of TowerStream, said in an e-mail interview. 'Cable companies can move forward and invest in their current networks and ISPs can start looking for true alternatives not controlled by competitors, such as WiMAX.'"

David Haskin. Supreme Court Decision Favors Wireless Broadband: Vendor. Mobile Pipeline. June 28, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court. On Writs of Certiorari: National Cable & Telecommunications Association et al. v. Brand X Internet Services et al., Federal Communications Commissions and United States v. Brand X Internet Services et al.. (.pdf) June 27, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on the Brand X ruling.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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June 28, 2005

Supreme Court Rules Against Grokster

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (.pdf) Monday that software companies can be held liable for copyright infringement when individuals use their technology to download songs and movies illegally.

"The unanimous decision handed the music and movie industries a crucial victory in their ongoing battle to curb Internet piracy -- a campaign centered on lobbying for new laws, filing thousands of lawsuits against Internet users, and winning a ruling from the nation's highest court.

"Their victory Monday on the third piece of that strategy dealt a big blow to technology companies, which claim that holding them accountable for the illegal downloading of songs, movies, video games and other proprietary products would stifle their ability to develop new products."

Krysten Crawford. Hollywood Wins Internet Piracy Battle. CNNMoney.com. June 27, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court. On Writ of Certiorari: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., et al. v. Grokster, LTD., et al.. (.pdf) June 27, 2005.

News.com Special Coverage. File-Swap Fallout. News.com.

Libe Goad. Supreme Court Deals Blow to P2P Services. eWeek. June 27, 2005.

Technology & Marketing Law Blog. Grokster Supreme Court Ruling. June 27, 2005.

Electric Frontier Foundation. Supreme Court Sows Uncertainty. Deep Links. June 27, 2005.

Vauhini Vara. A Grokster Primer. WSJ.com. June 27, 2005.

The Wall Street Journal. Grokster Roundtable. June 27, 2005.

National Public Radio. File-Sharing Firms May Be Liable, Says High Court. All Things Considered. June 27, 2005.

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High Court Upholds FCC Ruling in Brand X Case

"The United States Supreme Court sided with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday when it ruled that cable Internet providers should not be forced to open their broadband networks to competitors.

"The 6-3 decision was immediately cheered and jeered for the potential implications that it might have on future competition and consumer choice in broadband Internet access in the United States.

"The Supreme Court, in a majority opinion (.pdf) written by Justice Clarence Thomas, overturned a federal appellate court decision (.pdf) that would have forced cable companies to open their lines to Internet service providers such as Brand X and EarthLink."

Sam Diaz. Supreme Court Exempts Cable from Line-sharing. San Jose Mercury News. June 27, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court. On Writs of Certiorari: National Cable & Telecommunications Association et al. v. Brand X Internet Services et al., Federal Communications Commissions and United States v. Brand X Internet Services et al.. (.pdf) June 27, 2005.

Marguerite Reardon. FAQ: What is Brand X Really About?. ZDNet. June 27, 2005.

National Public Radio. Cable Can Control Web Access, Says Court. All Things Considered. June 27, 2005.

Federal Communications Commission. Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. (.pdf) March 15, 2002.

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Supreme Court Rejects Journalists' Appeal

"The United States Supreme Court declined yesterday to hear the cases (.pdf) of two reporters facing up to 18 months in jail for refusing to testify about conversations with their confidential sources.

"The case now returns to Federal District Court in Washington, where Judge Thomas F. Hogan will hear arguments on Wednesday about when and where the reporters, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, will begin to serve their time.

"The one-line order by the Supreme Court yesterday was the resolution of the gravest confrontation between the press and the government in a generation, and it came at a time when the news media are under growing pressure and scrutiny over issues of accuracy, credibility and political bias."

Adam Liptak. Court Declines to Rule on Case of Reporters' Refusal to Testify. The New York Times. June 28, 2005.

National Public Radio. Supreme Court Won't Hear Reporters in CIA Case. All Things Considered. June 27, 2005.

Joe Strupp. UPDATE: Judge to Consider Miller/Cooper Case on Wednesday. Editor & Publisher. June 27, 2005.

Reporters Without Borders. Reporters without Borders Denounces a "Retrograde and Freedom-Curtailing Decision". June 27, 2005.

U.S. Supreme Court. A Writ of Certiorari: Judith Miller, v. United States of America, Matthew Cooper and Time Inc., v. United States of America. (.pdf) May 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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June 27, 2005

Blackberry Battle Gets Ugly

"After months of negotiation, Research In Motion and NTP seem miles apart in figuring out a suitable deal for the BlackBerry maker to license NTP's wireless e-mail technology.

"The two have been locked in one of the largest patent infringement cases in history. But the sudden collapse of the talks still took investors and users of RIM's e-mail service by surprise. RIM lost more than $1 billion in value in two days, as many investors abandoned the stock amid the uncertainty."

Marguerite Reardon. Sending a Message to RIM. News.com. June 24, 2005.

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Pentagon Uses Private Firm for Student Database

"The Pentagon yesterday released additional details about a program to compile a database of personal information on U.S. students to help bolster recruitment, saying that 12 million names currently are on file and that collection efforts have been going on for some time.

"In an official notice filed last month, the Pentagon said it was contracting with BeNow Inc., a Wakefield, Mass., firm that specializes in gathering and analyzing data from a variety of sources to target potential customers based on their personal profiles.

"The Pentagon said information in the database could include Social Security numbers, birthdates, grade-point averages, ethnicity, e-mail addresses and subjects students are studying."

Jonathan Krim. Pentagon Says It Wants Accurate Student Data. WashingtonPost.com. June 24, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Department of Defense. Potential Recruits List Critical to 'All-Recruited' Force. (Press Release.) June 24, 2005.

National Public Radio. The Pentagon's High School Recruitment Database. Day to Day. June 24, 2005.

Jonathan Krim. Pentagon Creating Student Database. WashingtonPost.com. June 23, 2005.

John J. Lumpkin. Privacy Groups Protest Pentagon Database. WashingtonPost.com. June 23, 2005.

Federal Register. Notice to Add a System of Records; DHRA 04--Joint Advertising and Market Research Recruiting Database.. May 23, 2005.

Electronic Privacy Information Center. Comments on the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Consumer Action, et al. on the DOD DHRA 04 Joint Advertising and Market Research Recruiting Database. June 22, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Utah, Michigan Set Precedent E-Mail Law for Minors

"Send a raunchy e-mail to a minor, and you may wind up in jail.

"That's the thrust of a new law about to take effect in Utah and Michigan that could become a harbinger for the rest of the nation.

"Starting Friday, parents in those two states will be able to add their children's e-mail addresses to a 'do not contact' registry. Anyone who goes ahead and sends e-mail deemed to be off-color or 'harmful to minors' could be imprisoned for up to three years."

Declan McCullagh. Why Ribaldry Could Earn You Prison Time. News.com. June 27, 2005.

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Senator Takes Speaks Out Against Patriot Act

"If the U.S. government resorts to rifling through library records without a search warrant, libraries will no longer be sanctuaries of learning where people can freely think and read, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama told the American Library Association Saturday.

"Obama said he is working diligently to make sure the country has a Patriot Act that helps track down terrorists without trampling on civil liberties. He told the applauding crowd at McCormick Place he hopes the U.S. Senate will follow the U.S. House's lead by passing a provision that would require federal agents to obtain a search warrant before going through library records and e-mails."

Rummana Hussain. Obama Fears 'Big Brother' Over Our Shoulders. Chicago Sun-Times. June 26, 2005.

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June 25, 2005

Sony's Next Step: XM or Sirius?

"Sony Electronics, a unit of Sony Corp. said on Thursday that it has talked with XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. about music devices, though no satellite radio deals are in place."

Reuters. Sony Talked with XM, Sirius About Music Devices. June 23, 2005.

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June 24, 2005

Senate Excludes 'Broadcast Flag' Ammendment

"A key U.S. Senate panel on Thursday decided not to intervene in a long-simmering dispute over the 'broadcast flag,' a form of copy prevention technology for digital TV broadcasts.

"At a meeting reserved for voting on spending bills, not one member of the Senate Appropriations Committee proposed an amendment authorizing federal regulators to mandate the broadcast flag.

"Consumer groups had predicted that such an amendment would be offered at the 11 a.m. PDT meeting and had asked their supporters to contact senators in opposition to the idea. Their worry: The broadcast flag could be injected into an appropriations bill for the Federal Communications Commission."

Declan McCullagh. Senate Punts on Broadcast Flag Option. News.com. June 23, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Flag Day. Deep Links. June 22, 2005.

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Law Firms Brace for Grokster Verdict

"Want to know how heated the lobbying, arguing, positioning and maneuvering over copyright legislation is going to get this fall? Ask anyone who's ever published anything containing the words 'peer to peer' for a look in their e-mail in-box.

"Chances are good it has filled up in the past few days with helpful messages from publicists and lawyers offering expert opinions on the ramifications of the pending Supreme Court decision in the case known as MGM v. Grokster.

"During the year, the court releases its decisions on Mondays—and only on Mondays. But this is its final week of deliberation, and opinion could be issued at any time."

Chris Nolan. Preparing for the Grokster Watershed. eWeek. June 22, 2005.

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PTO Rejects NTP's Claim for RIM's Case

"The NTP in seven of eight patents for a wireless e-mail system such as Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry service, throwing a legal settlement between the two companies into further turmoil.

"On Wednesday, the patent office issued what it calls 'non-final office actions' rejecting all the claims in two of NTP's patents, on the heels of a preliminary rejection notice for the claims in five of the patents earlier this year.

"Only one of the key patents at issue in the dispute over the BlackBerry service now contains valid claims in the eyes of the patent office, but that patent is under review as well."

Tom Krazit. US Patent Office Hands NTP a Setback in RIM Case. InfoWorld. June 23, 2005

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on RIM's Blackberry workaround.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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June 22, 2005

Appeals Court Hears Blizzard DMCA, EULA Case

"The U.S. Supreme Court could release its decision on Monday in the much-anticipated Grokster case, which will determine whether file-swapping networks are legal to operate.

"Yet another, unrelated lawsuit before a federal appeals court taking place on the same day promises to be just as important.

"The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis is set to hear arguments Monday in a case that may decide how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, applies to computer software and the important practice of reverse engineering."

Declan McCullagh. Putting the DMCA on Trial. News.com. June 20, 2005.

See also:
JoeGratz.net. BnetD Oral Argument Audio Available. June 20, 2005.

Groklaw. Blizzard v. BnetD Hearing Tomorrow Morning. June 19, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Consumers’ Rights at Stake in Eighth Circuit Videogame Case. June 16, 2005.

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Companies Revisit Communication Security

"Nancy Garrity's mistake was not in sending off-color jokes to a co-worker. Rather, she erred by using e-mail to do it, instead of blasting out an instant message that would have been lost to history.

"That won Garrity a footnote in Massachusetts legal history when she lost a lawsuit against John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. after the Boston insurer fired her for violating its e-mail policy.

"Such policies are widespread today, but are getting revisited as companies awaken to the danger posed to their secrets and reputation by employee use of instant messages and Web logs, or 'blogs.'"

Alexander Soule. How the E-Mail Cops are Getting Wise. MSNBC News. June 19, 2005.

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Telemarketers Reach Out to Cell Phones

"After years of impunity, the United States' 190 million mobile telephone subscribers are now more likely than ever to encounter telemarketers - and they are finding there is not a lot they can do to stop this plague of unwanted calls.

"There was a rash of complaints to federal regulators 18 months ago when telemarketers were confused by new rules allowing people to transfer their home telephone numbers to cell phones, which then started ringing with telemarketing calls.

"Just about the only recourse a consumer has is to subscribe to the National Do Not Call Registry."

Ben Charny. The Curse of Telemarketing Plagues Mobiles. SiliconValley.com June 22, 2005.

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June 18, 2005

Congress Urged to Take Action on ID Theft

"It takes only a few seconds for your financial identity to be stolen, but months to get it back and clean up the credit mess. Aware of consumers' frustration and fear, the government wants Congress to consider more protections.

"Lawmakers should look at strengthening laws that govern the way companies store and use sensitive consumer data, the Federal Trade Commission recommended at a Senate hearing Thursday.

"The agency's chairwoman, Deborah Platt Majoras, also endorsed the idea of a law requiring companies to tell consumers about a security breach when there is significant risk of identity theft."

Associated Press. Congress Urged to Boost Identity Theft Safeguards. SiliconValley.com. June 12, 2005.

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June 17, 2005

Will ISPs Be Required to Maintain Data Logs?

"The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.

"Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs--that is, if logs were ever kept in the first place.

"No U.S. law currently mandates that such logs be kept."

Declan McCullagh. Your ISP as Net Watchdog. News.com. June 16, 2005.

Related:
Sylvia Carr. Europe to Push Ahead with Digital Snooping Law. Silicon.com. June 9, 2005.

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AOL Sued Over Patent for Phone Call Alert

"America Online is facing a patent infringement suit filed by Klausner Technologies over AOL's Internet telephone services.

"The company contends it holds a patent for technology used by AOL Voicemail, AOL Call Alert, AOL by Phone and AOL VOIP.

"Specifically, it claims Dulles-based AOL is violating its intellectual property rights for technology that lets subscribers receive visual notification of new voice messages."

Jeff Clabaugh. AOL Sued Over Internet Telephone Technology. Washington Business Journal. June 15, 2005.

See also:
Colin C. Haley. AOL Sued Over Voice Platform. InternetNews.com. June 15, 2005.

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Commentary on the USA Patriot Act

"How much do you trust your government? That's a question that all of us have to ask, perhaps the more often the better.

"In 1787, Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the United States and its third President, wrote to Abigail Adams sentences that may seem incredible to many people today:

"'The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.'"

Scott Granneman. Your Fingerprints are Everywhere. The Register. June 16, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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FAQ: VoIP Requirements

"Around Oct. 3, most U.S. voice over Internet Protocol telephones must feature a sticker warning that anyone using the phone to call 911 may not get through to a live operator, the Federal Communications Commission has ruled.

"It's likely going to take a lot more than a sticker to fix VoIP's 911 problems, which some claim have had serious consequences. But the FCC has stepped in to try, with a 91-page set of rules (.pdf) released June 3.

"An in-depth reading of the document reveals other market-changing dynamics for VoIP software, which turns a broadband Internet connection into an inexpensive home phone and, some believe, could fundamentally change the telecommunications industry."

Ben Charny. FAQ: FCC Sets Rules for VoIP 911. News.com. June 16, 2005.

See also:
Federal Communications Commission. First Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. (.pdf) May 19, 2005.

Ben Charny. Deadly Delay on Vonage 911?. News.com. May 9, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on the VoIP 911 requirements.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:22 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Passengers Oppose In-Flight Cellphone Proposal

"Gayle James doesn't want the Federal Communications Commission to lift its in-flight ban on cellphones in airplanes, and here's why:

"'I was seated next to a very loud man who was explaining his next porn movie on his cellphone,' wrote James, of Shelton, Wash. ''Everyone on that plane was subjected to his explicit blabbering. Should cell use during flight be allowed, we had all better be prepared for a whole lot of air rage going on.'

"James's comments echo how many people -- from passengers to pilots -- feel about the FCC's proposal to allow the use of cellphones during flights."

Keith Reed. In-Flight Cellphone Proposal Hits Static. Boston Globe. June 16, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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June 16, 2005

Microsoft Files Suit Against Software Pirates

"Mircosoft again went on the attack against software pirates, filing four lawsuits against companies it said sold illegal copies of its software to consumers, officials announced Wednesday.

"The lawsuits name five companies -- East Outlet, Super Supplier, #9 Software, CEO Microsystems and Wiston Group -- that were allegedly selling illegal copies of Microsoft products or selling the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) labels that go with Microsoft products.

"All are charged with violating copyright and trademark laws; #9 Software was additionally charged with violating the Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments Act for selling COA labels without the attendant software."

Jim Wagner. Microsoft Software Piracy Crackdown Continues. InternetNews.com. June 15, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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June 15, 2005

EFF Publishes Legal Guide for Bloggers

"Whether you're a newly minted blogger or a relative old-timer, you've been seeing more and more stories pop up every day about bloggers getting in trouble for what they post.

"Like all journalists and publishers, bloggers sometimes publish information that other people don't want published. You might, for example, publish something that someone considers defamatory, republish an AP news story that's under copyright, or write a lengthy piece detailing the alleged crimes of a candidate for public office.

"The difference between you and the reporter at your local newspaper is that in many cases, you may not have the benefit of training or resources to help you determine whether what you're doing is legal. And on top of that, sometimes knowing the law doesn't help - in many cases it was written for traditional journalists, and the courts haven't yet decided how it applies to bloggers."

Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers. June 8, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on EFF's guide for safe blogging.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:43 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Congressman Proposes Extended Telecommuting Policy

"NASA and the National Science Foundation could join the departments of Commerce, Justice and State as agencies that could lose funding if they don’t meet a federal telecommuting mandate.

"Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) included a provision in the Science, State, Justice and Commerce appropriations bill that would withhold $5 million from each agency that fails to meet the law requiring that every eligible federal worker be given the opportunity to telecommute.

"The Virginia Republican, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies, added similar language to last year’s appropriations bill, which became law."

Jason Miller. Rep. Wolf Extends Telecommuting Penalty for Another Year. GCN. June 13, 2005.

See also:
Jason Miller. Congress OKs $5 Million Penalty for Telecommuting Shortfalls. GCN. Nov 24, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 14, 2005

Sites Scramble to Release Jackson Verdict

"It took the jury seven days to decide Michael Jackson's fate, and it took less than two minutes for cyberspace to deliver news of the pop star's acquittal.

"While all the major news sites had posted word that a verdict was coming, there was a scramble to find the fastest way to deliver the news that a jury had found the 'King of Pop' not guilty of all 10 charges in the closely watched child molestation case.

"News sites used the event as a chance to experiment with methods of getting news out quickly."

Ina Fried. Cyberspace Races to Offer Jackson Verdict. News.com. June 13, 2005.

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June 13, 2005

European Labels Push for Copyright Extension

"European recording companies are pushing to extend terms of copyright to nearly 100 years to be more in line with U.S. law.

"The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI, which represents European music labels, is calling on the European Commission to bring the issue to EU countries, which will consider the matter sometime next year, according to IFPI spokeswoman Francine Cunningham.

"Currently in the EU, there are separate copyright terms for composers and performers. Composers are awarded copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years. Performers hold a copyright for 50 years from the first recording. It's the 50-year term the IFPI wants to extend."

Katie Dean. Keeping Up With Uncle Sam. Wired News. June 10, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on plans for copyright extension.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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Apple Discards IBM for Intel

"Nearly a quarter-century ago, Apple Computer ran a snarky ad after its onetime rival encroached on its territory: 'Welcome, IBM. Seriously.' This week, however, Steven Jobs had a different message for Big Blue, which had since become a chief ally: 'Goodbye. Seriously.'

"Jobs, 50, a co-founder of Apple, is famously brash and mercurial. Even so, the Apple faithful--not to mention IBM itself--were caught by surprise by Apple's decision to end its 14-year relationship with IBM and team with Intel for its computer chip needs."

John Markoff. What's Really Behind Apple-Intel Alliance? News.com. June 11, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

See also:
Ina Fried. Developers Get Taste of Intel-based Macs. News.com. June 10, 2005.

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June 11, 2005

Blackberry Settlement At Risk

"The settlement of the long-running patent infringement lawsuit between Research in Motion (RIM) and NTP appears to be coming apart.

"NTP started this suit in 2001, charging that the RIM's BlackBerry line of wireless handhelds used technology that infringed on several patents held by NTP. Earlier this year, the two companies reached a settlement. They agreed that NTP will grant RIM and its customers an unfettered right to continue its BlackBerry-related wireless business without further interference from NTP or its patents."

Ed Hardy. RIM, NTP Settlement in Jeopardy. Brighthand. June 10, 2005.

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In-Flight Cell Phones Concern Astronomers

"Using cellphones on aeroplanes could drown out faint radio signals from space, astronomers are warning. They told a US agency considering lifting in-flight restrictions on cellphones that special devices should be installed on planes to limit damage to research if the regulations change.

"US law currently prohibits aeroplane passengers from using cellphones because they may interfere with critical aircraft electronics. But the dramatic use of cellphones by passengers on the planes hijacked on 11 September 2001 spurred many people to petition the government to change this policy.

"Now two government agencies - which would probably both have to agree to lift the ban - are reviewing the issue."

Maggie McKee. Astronomers Criticise Plans to Allow Cellphone Use on Planes. New Scientist. June 2005.

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June 10, 2005

Patriot Act Political Battle Heats Up

"In seemingly short order, discussion around the Patriot Act has shifted from defense to offense.

"Just two months ago, when Congress set out to consider renewal of the antiterrorism law, civil libertarians were hopeful they could rein in aspects that they felt went too far.

"Now, supporters of an enhanced Patriot Act appear to be making headway as they push to give the FBI new powers."

Linda Feldmann. Patriot Act, Part II: The Political Tug of War Intensifies. Christian Science Monitor. June 10, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Department of Justice. Fact Sheet: USA PATRIOT Act Provisions Set for Reauthorization. April 5, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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June 09, 2005

Lawmaker Introduces Patent Reform Bill

"The U.S. patent system will undergo its most substantial overhaul in decades if a bill introduced on Wednesday becomes law.

"Rep. Lamar Smith, who heads the House of Representatives committee responsible for drafting patent law, said his proposal would improve the overall quality of patents and target some of the legal practices that have irked high-tech companies.

"'The bill will eliminate legal gamesmanship from the current system that rewards lawsuit abuses over creativity,' said Smith, a Texas Republican."

Declan McCullagh. A Fix for a Broken Patent System?. News.com. June 8, 2005.

See also:
Dave Mock. Patent Reform--Or Else. News.com. May 24, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. Patent Office Chief Endorses Legal Reform. News.com. April 25, 2005.

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BellSouth to Offer Wireless Service

"BellSouth is taking only a very tentative step toward offering what's known by many as 'naked DSL.' Rather than allowing its millions of existing DSL, or digital subscriber line, customers to opt out of local phone service, BellSouth will sever that link starting in August only in some markets in Georgia, where it will offer an experimental broadband service using WiMax wireless-access technology."

"WiMax is a more-powerful version of Wi-Fi wireless broadband that has a greater geographic range. The trial in Georgia will last for a year before BellSouth offers the service to a wider market."

"BellSouth's move comes nine months after the Georgia Public Service Commission ordered the phone provider to let customers buy broadband services without a phone service tie-in. The company received similar mandates in Kentucky, Louisiana and Florida."

Ben Charny. BellSouth Preps for Wireless 'Naked DSL'. News.com. June 8, 2005

See also:
Ben Charny. BellSouth May Shimmy Out of 'Naked' DSL. News.com. June 14, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:24 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Microsoft Loses Excel Patent Case

"A federal jury in California has slapped Microsoft Corp. with a nearly $9 million judgment in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by a Guatemalan inventor.

"Carlos Amado, 50, sued the Redmond-based software maker in March 2003, claiming Microsoft infringed on a patent he received in 1994 for software linking the company's Excel spreadsheet and Access database programs.

"Amado developed the program in 1990 and offered to sell it to Microsoft two years later, but the company declined, according to the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, which represented Amado."

Elizabeth M. Gillespie. Microsoft Ordered To Pay $9 Million Judgment. InformationWeek. June 6, 2005.

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Microsoft to Deliver Modified XP to Europe

"Microsoft will begin distributing a modified version of its Windows XP operating system to PC makers in Europe on June 15, more than a year after it was ordered to do so as part of the European Commission's antitrust ruling against the company.

"Microsoft was ordered last March to sell a version of Windows XP without its media player software, as part of the Commission's ruling that the software maker abused its 'near-monopoly' in Europe to harm competition."

James Niccolai. Microsoft to Ship Modified Windows XP. PCWorld. June 8, 2005.

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June 08, 2005

Senate Panel Agrees to Expand and Renew Patriot Act

"The U.S. Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday sided with the White House by proposing broad new subpoena powers for the FBI to use in counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations, officials said.

"After hours of secret deliberations, the oversight panel voted 11-4 to send to the full Senate a proposal that would give the FBI the power to subpoena without judicial approval a wide range of personal documents ranging from health and library records to tax statements.

"The legislation approved by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence also would make permanent intelligence-related sections of the USA Patriot Act that are scheduled to expire at the end of the year."

Reuters. Senate Panel OKs Sweeping FBI Subpoena Powers. June 7, 2005.

See also:
Associated Press. Senate Intelligence Committee Approves New FBI Powers in Patriot Act. USA Today. June 7, 2005.

American Civil Liberties Union. Senate Panel Considering Patriot Act Expansion Bill in Secret; ACLU Says Fixes, Not Expansions, Are Needed. June 7, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Lexmark Case

"A petition to the Supreme Court for certiorari in its case against North Carolina-based Static control was rejected.

"Certiorari for the case would mean the Supreme Court would review the decisions and proceedings performed by a lower court. But the high court has denied certiorari in the case where Lexington-based printer maker Lexmark has been fighting Static Control Components (SCC)."

David Utter. Lexmark Won’t Get Its Day In Court. WebProNews. June 7, 2005.

See also:
Associated Press. Supreme Court Stays Out of Battle Over Toner. Houston Chronicle. June 7, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Lexmark v. Static Control Case Archive.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on the suit brought by Lexmark.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Star Wars Galaxies Removes Music Ability

"The massively multiplayer online game Star Wars Galaxies gives gamers a chance to build their own weapons and armor, fly spacecraft, build cities and even train to become Jedis.

"But in this world of make-believe, composing music is forbidden. Players can play Wookiees or bounty hunters and even musicians -- like those in the cantina band from the original Star Wars.

"As musicians, the characters play pretend, virtual instruments like the slitherhorn, ommni box or the nalargon, but are limited to a handful of canned tunes. Lawyers at Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts envision a legal nightmare if musicians were to re-create music copyrighted in the physical world."

Katie Dean. Music Muffled in Star Wars Game. Wired News. June 6, 2005.

Related:
Freedom to Tinker. A Land Without Music. May 25, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:47 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

China Forces Blogs to Register

"In its latest measure to tighten policing of the Internet, China has begun requiring bloggers and owners of personal Web sites to register with the government or be forced offline.

"The new regulations, announced in March, took effect this week, with a warning on the Web site of the Information Ministry that the sites of those who failed to comply would be shut down.

"The measures come against the backdrop of explosive growth of Internet use in China, and the development of Web logs and personal sites as alternative sources of news, as in many other countries."

Howard W. French. China Tightens Restrictions on Bloggers and Web Owners. The New York Times. June 8, 2005.

See also:
BBC News. Chinese Blogs Face Restrictions. June 7, 2005.

Reporters Without Borders. Authorities Declare War on Unregistered Websites and Blogs. June 6, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 07, 2005

Creative Commons Debuts Law Program

Creative Commons' Science Commons division has announced the formation of the Open Access Law Program (OALP). According to OALP's home page, the project "supports 'open access' to legal scholarship."

The project seeks to provide free access to scholarly literature without undue copyright and licensing restrictions. "This project is one part of the Science Commons Publishing Project," continues the notice "which itself is working to support open access to scholarly research in a wide range of disciplines including agriculture, entomology, biology, anthropology and now law.

According to Corante's Donna Wentworth, the seeds for what would become OALP were planted in March, when Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig became upset about having to relinquish all of his copyright rights as a condition of submitting a journal article to the Minnesota Law Review. Lessig, who is chairman of the board of directors of Creative Commons, has vowed to avoid submitting another journal article to any law review that refuses to recognize Creative Commons' Attribution Non-Commercial license.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 09:00 AM | Send to a friend!

UK To Extend Sound Recording Copyrights

"Pop songs will receive longer protection under new plans to extend copyright laws. It will mean Beatles classics such as Love Me Do and Please, Please Me, released in 1963, will not automatically lose their copyright in 2013.

"The Rolling Stones may also benefit, with songs such as (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction having their copyright extended beyond 2015.

"United States copyright law protects songs for 95 years and UK government ministers are reported to be considering a similar length of time for British products."

Peter Ranscombe. Long-playing Plans for Music Copyright Ownership. News.Scotsman.com. June 6, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 06, 2005

Warner Music: Downloads Are Purchases

"Third Story Music, a Los Angeles-based music publishing firm and the successor to the production company that managed singer-songwriter Tom Waits early in his career, has filed a federal suit against Warner Music Group, alleging that Waits has been shortchanged on the sale of digital downloads.

"The action, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles on Tuesday, stems from 1972 and 1977 contracts signed by Third Story principal Herb Cohen and Warner-owned Asylum Records regarding Waits' services.

"According to the suit, under the terms of the two contracts, Waits was entitled to royalties of either 25% or 50% from revenues derived from third-party licenses. Third Story maintains that digital music downloads constitute a form of third-party license, and that Waits is entitled to payment at that level."

Chris Morris. Publisher Sues Warner Music Over Waits Tunes. Reuters. June 2, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:52 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

U.S. Includes Canada on 'Watch List'

"The United States recently released the Special 301 Report (.pdf) on the state of global intellectual property protections. This report places countries deemed to have insufficient protections on a 'watch list.' The list includes Canada.

"This report deems Canada's intellectual property laws insufficient, along with those of 50 other countries, such as the European Union and dozens of nations in South America, Eastern Europe and Asia."

David Canton. Canada on U.S. Watch List. London Free Press. June 4, 2005.

See also:
United States Trade Representative. 2005 Special 301 Report. (.pdf) April 29, 2005.

United States Trade Representative. Watch List (.pdf) April 29, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:45 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005

Anonymous Library Patrons

"As fans of classic radio and TV know, the Lone Ranger wore a mask to hide his identity from the outlaws he brought to justice. While the people he helped asked, "Who was that masked man?" the audience knew that John Reid was safe only because his mask afforded him privacy.

"Privacy has come a long way since that show was first popular. As technology for making and breaking codes has improved, our ability to keep secrets has waxed and waned. One constant, however, is the fact that you can't retrieve information that you've never stored.

"Like the Lone Ranger's mask, a good information retention policy can safeguard personal identity information. Librarians want to be sure that patrons will return what they borrow, and they want statistics that quantify the library's value to its community. Librarians also want to protect customers' privacy; we usually don't keep personally identifiable information unless we have to."

Ben Ostrowsky. Anonymous Library Cards Allow You to Wonder, 'Who Was That Masked Patron?'. Computers in Libraries. June 2005.

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June 03, 2005

Federal Rule Requires Destruction of Consumer Data

"Be careful how you -- or your company -- dispose of sensitive consumer information.

"A new federal rule (.pdf) that took effect yesterday requires all businesses and individuals to destroy private consumer information obtained from credit bureaus and other information providers in determining whether to grant credit, hire employees or rent an apartment."

Caroline E. Mayer. Rule Requires Destruction of Consumer Data. WashingtonPost.com. June 2, 2005.

See also:
Federal Trade Commission. Disposal of Consumer Report Information and Records. (.pdf) June 1, 2005.

Federal Trade Commission. Disposing of Consumer Report Information? New Rule Tells How. June 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Study: Consumers at Risk for Online Exploitation

"Most Americans who use the Internet have little idea how vulnerable they are to abuse by online and offline marketers and how the information they provide can be used to exploit them.

"That is one conclusion from this unprecedented national phone survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

"The study indicates that many adults who use the internet believe incorrectly that laws prevent online and offline stores from selling their personal information. They also incorrectly believe that stores cannot charge them different prices based on what they know about them. Most other internet-using adults admit that they simply don’t know whether or not laws protect them."

Joseph Turow, et al. Open to Exploitation: American Shoppers Online and Offline. Annenberg Public Policy Center. June 2005.

See also:
Annenberg Public Policy Center. Seventeen Facts American Shoppers Need to Know—But Don’t. June 2005.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of this consumer study through a posting in beSpacific, edited by Sabrina I. Pacifici.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 02, 2005

Lawmaker Opposes Broadcast Flag in DTV Bill

"A key lawmaker has complicated the movie industry's push for a law to restrict consumers' ability to redistribute digital TV content over peer-to-peer networks and the internet at large.

"Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), chairman of the House Commerce Committee, has indicated that he opposes inserting a broadcast flag measure in his newly introduced digital TV bill, which would set a 2008 hard deadline for broadcasters to give back their analog spectrum."

Michael Grebb. Broadcast Flag at Half Mast?. Wired News. June 1, 2005.

Related:
CRS Report for Congress. Copyright Protection of Digital Television: The "Broadcast Flag". (.pdf) April 5, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:51 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 01, 2005

Real ID Act: Bolster or Compromise Security?

"A federal law designed to make it harder to assume someone else's identity may instead have the opposite effect, critics of the measure say. The Real ID Act, attached to a crucial bill for military spending and tsunami relief that was signed by President Bush on May 11, sets new rules for issuing driver's licenses and requires states to share electronic access to their records.

"The standards are intended to weed out impostors applying for licenses, in part by requiring state employees to check on the validity of birth certificates and other supporting documents."

"To some industry experts and activists concerned about the fast-growing crime of identity theft, putting so much data before more eyes guarantees abuse at a time when people are increasingly concerned about who sees their personal information and how it gets used."

Joseph Menn. Federal ID Act May Be Flawed. LATimes.com. May 31, 2005.

See also:
Erik Larkin. Coming Soon: National ID Cards?. PC World. May 31, 2005.

Dibya Sarkar. Panel Debates Real ID. FCW. May 31, 2005.

Noah S. Leavitt. The REAL ID Act: How It Violates U.S. Treaty Obligations, Insults International Law, Undermines Our Security, and Betrays Eleanor Roosevelt's Legacy. Find Law's Writ. May 9, 2005.

Tod Newcombe. Invasive ID. Government Technology. June 2005.

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FCC Offers Public E-Mail Notices

"The Federal Communications Commission has begun offering individuals interested in its regulatory actions and related developments customizable news briefs delivered directly to one's inbox.

" Subscribers can customize the newsletter to stay informed of information on a variety of issues as it is made available to the public.

"The topics include access to emergency information, broadband deployment, digital TV/HDTV, disability issues, emergency management/E9-1-1/public safety, homeland security, intergovernmental coordination, rural and tribal telecommunications issues, among others."

Corey McKenna. FCC Offers Customizable E-Mail Notification. Government Technology. May 31, 2005.

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BCE Slams Canadian VoIP Ruling

"The head of BCE Inc., Canada's No. 1 phone company, slammed the country's telecom regulator on Tuesday for its decision this month to limit what big phone companies can charge for calls made using Internet protocol technology.

"BCE chief executive Michael Sabia said the decision would mainly help big cable companies who don't need the protection, adding the regulator failed to appreciate how much voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone service will shake up the industry."

Jeffrey Hodgson. BCE CEO Slams Canadian Regulator on VoIP Decision. Reuters. May 31, 2005.

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May 31, 2005

Teen's IM Threats Lead to Arrests

"The pranks teenagers play on each other are almost rites of passage -- making crank phone calls, scrawling scary messages on lockers and toilet-papering a friend's yard are usually seen as harmless adolescent mischief and come with few repercussions.

"But in the past two weeks, two students in Arlington have been arrested -- and were still being detained this weekend -- after their apparent pranks were taken more seriously. Both involved instant messages, or IMs, the on-screen form of real-time computer communication that takes up hours of American teenagers' lives each day and that allows them something a crank call doesn't always: anonymity.

"The arrests have exposed a new gray area for teenagers. They live in an age when it is delectably easy to use an anonymous screen name to freak out their friends -- and in a society that has learned the hard way to take threats of violence seriously."

Tara Bahrampour. Message Is Clear in N.Va.: IM 'Threats' Can Bring Teens Trouble in an Instant. WashingtonPost.com. May 29, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

White House Seeks Access to ISP Data

"The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism.

"The legal filing with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York comes amid a debate in Congress over renewal of the Patriot Act and whether to expand the FBI's power to seek records without the approval of a judge or grand jury.

"U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of New York last year blocked the government from conducting secret searches of communications records, saying the law that authorized them wrongly barred legal challenges and imposed a gag order on affected businesses."

Mark Sherman. Big Administration Asks Appeals Court To Compel ISP Searches. InformationWeek. May 30, 2005.

See also:
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York. ACLU v. Ashcroft. (.pdf) Sep. 28, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:38 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

May 27, 2005

Librarian Echos Real-Life Patriot Act Consequences

"It was a moment that librarians had been dreading.

"On June 8, 2004, an FBI agent stopped at the Deming branch of the Whatcom County Library System in northwest Washington and requested a list of the people who had borrowed a biography of Osama bin Laden. We said no.

"We did not take this step lightly. First, our attorney called the local FBI office and asked why the information was important. She was told that one of our patrons had sent the FBI the book after discovering these words written in the margin: 'If the things I'm doing is considered a crime, then let history be a witness that I am a criminal. Hostility toward America is a religious duty and we hope to be rewarded by God.'

"We told the FBI that it would have to follow legal channels before our board of trustees would address releasing the names of the borrowers."

Joan Airoldi. Librarian's Brush With FBI Shapes Her View of the USA Patriot Act. USA Today. May 25, 2005.

See also:
Nicole Brodeur. Deming's Defender of Words. Seattle Times. April 25, 2005.

Update: National Public Radio. Washington Library Tested by Patriot Act. Morning Edition. June 2, 2005.

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Patent War Wracks Wireless Industry

"A wave of patent-infringement lawsuits continues to engulf the wireless industry and it has many wondering whether it will harm vendors and users alike.

"In the most recent a legal challenge led by Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Apple, HP and Netgear seeks to invalidate a 1996 U.S. patent granted to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), an arm of the Australian government. According to CSIRO, the technology covered by patent is used in every Wi-Fi laptop and mobile device."

Ed Sutherland. Is Patent Warfare Killing Wi-Fi? Mobile Pipeline. May 25, 2005.

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May 26, 2005

Feds Target Star Wars Pirates, BitTorrent

"Federal agents launched a crackdown on users of a popular new technology used to steal the latest 'Star Wars' movie and other large data files off the Internet, immigration officials announced Wednesday.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday that the campaign, which included search warrants and the shutdown of a Web site, was its first-ever criminal enforcement action against users of a file-sharing program known as BitTorrent."

Krysten Crawford. Feds Bite BitTorrent. CNNMoney. May 25, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Department of Justice. Federal Law Enforcement Announces Operation D-Elite Crackdown on P2P Piracy Network. (Press Release.) May 25, 2005.

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May 25, 2005

Net Bookies Bet on Jackson Verdict

"Whether or not Michael Jackson's jurors still have a reasonable doubt about his guilt, the wild world of Internet betting has rendered judgment: the smart money is on acquittal.

"No longer limited to chats around the water cooler and late-night talk shows, speculation about the outcome of the Jackson trial has become a staple of online betting sites and trading exchanges.

"With the trial in Santa Maria, California, nearing its end, online speculators believe the likelihood of an acquittal is higher than Jackson's chances of being convicted."

Alexandria Sage. Online World Bets on Jackson Trial Outcome. Reuters. May 24, 2005.

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May 24, 2005

Groups Vow to Battle Patriot Act Provisions

"Civil liberties groups said on Monday they were alarmed at new provisions (.pdf) to be considered in Congress this week to strengthen the government's ability to seize private records without judicial review.

"Officials from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Open Society Institute and the Center for Democracy and Technology said in a telephone conference call the new provisions to the USA Patriot Act would allow the FBI to secretly demand medical, tax, gun purchase, travel and other records without needing to get approval from a judge."

Alan Elsner. Records Search Plan Alarms Civil Liberties Groups. Reuters. May 23, 2005.

See also:
Center for Democracy and Technology, et al. Joint Letter in Opposition to Proposal. (.pdf) May 23, 2005.

U.S. Senate. Title I- Repeal of Sunset on Certain Authorities. (.pdf) May 13, 2005.

Senate Select Committee. Summary of Draft Working Copy. (.pdf) May 11, 2005.

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House Passes Two Spyware Bills

"The U.S. House plunged ahead today in its anti-spyware campaign, passing two different bills targeting unfair or deceptive practices related to spyware.

"Under the Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act of 2005, House members approved legislation that imposes tougher criminal penalties for spyware-related activities.

"The other bill passed Monday, the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (SPY Act), also toughens penalties on spyware purveyors but goes much further than the I-SPY Act by imposing an opt-in, notice and consent regime for legal software that collects personally identifiable information from consumers."

Roy Mark. House Approves Anti-Spyware Bills. InternetNews.com. May 23, 2005.

See also:
Roy Mark. House Panel Supports I-SPY Act. InternetNews.com. May 20, 2005.

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May 23, 2005

Lesson Learned: Retain E-Mail

"The $1.45 billion judgment against Morgan Stanley for deceiving billionaire Ronald Perelman over a business deal has a lesson all companies should learn--keeping e-mails is now a must, experts say.

"Banks and broker-dealers are obliged to retain e-mail and instant messaging documents for three years under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules. But similar requirements will apply to all public companies from July 2006 under the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform measures.

"At the same time, U.S. courts are imposing increasingly harsh punishments on corporations that fail to comply with orders to produce e-mail documents, the experts said."

Reuters. E-mail Retention A Must After Morgan Stanley Case. News.com. May 21, 2005.

See also:
Dawn Kawamoto. Hidden Gold in Corporate Cleanup. News.com. Nov. 24, 2004.

Dawn Kawamoto. Microsoft's E-mail Policy at Issue in Legal Fight. News.com. Nov. 18, 2004.

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May 18, 2005

FCC to Rule On 911 Access For Net Phones

"Internet phone providers are facing static over alleged public-safety failings, with federal regulators poised to unveil new rules that could drive up prices and crimp growth.

"At stake is 911 emergency service, a feature that most people assume is available on any phone. But it's not always supported by so-called voice over internet protocol, or VOIP, services, creating a dangerous misunderstanding, according to industry critics who are pushing for reforms.

"The Federal Communications Commission will vote Thursday on the new requirements, which could force significant changes to how VOIP networks and devices are configured. John Logan, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and former senior staffer at the FCC, said that, at the very least, the vote will likely be 'a pretty good warning that if you're going to enter this (VOIP) world, be prepared to provide 911.'"

Michael Grebb. VOIP in Public-Safety Showdown. Wired News. May 18, 2005.

See also:
Jeremy Pelofsky. FCC Set to Require 911 Dialing for Internet Phones. Reuters. May 17, 2005.

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Senate Committe to Review Patriot Act Renewal

"A Senate committee said on Tuesday it would start the process of renewing the USA Patriot Act, which expanded security powers after the Sept. 11 attacks, but ran into criticism for holding the meetings in secret.

"The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said it would hold a closed markup session on Thursday, the first legislative step toward a reauthorization vote long sought by Republicans including President Bush.

"The American Civil Liberties Union accused the committee of rushing the process and said lawmakers could use their secret proceedings to enhance the Bush administration's subpoena powers and its authority to conduct searches and surveillance.

Reuters. Senate Panel to Start Work on Renewing Patriot Act. ABC News. May 17, 2005.

See also:
American Civil Liberties Union. Senate Committee to Review Controversial Patriot Act Legislation in Secret; Draft Legislation Hidden from Public. (Press Release.) May 17, 2005.

National Public Radio. Senate Committee Reviews Patriot Act Renewal. All Things Considered. May 17, 2005.

David Cole. The Missing Patriot Debate. The Nation. May 12, 2005.

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May 17, 2005

Court Strikes Down Ban on Wine Shipments

"The Supreme Court gave a boost to commerce between wineries and their far-flung customers yesterday, ruling that states that permit in-state vintners to sell directly to consumers may not deny that right to out-of-state producers.

"Ruling that free interstate trade in wine trumps the states' rights to regulate alcohol sales, the court struck down New York and Michigan laws under which wineries from other states had to sell through state-licensed wholesalers, while local wineries could deal with lovers of the grape by phone and Internet. This discrimination was an unconstitutional trade barrier, the court said."

Charles Lane. Justices Reject Curbs on Wine Sales. WashingtonPost.com. May 17, 2005.

See also:
William Spain. Supreme Court Sides with Wineries. MarketWatch. May 16, 2005.

FindLaw. Granholm, Governor of Michigan, et al. v. Heald et al.. May 16, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on wine sales.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Digital Divide Between U.S. & Others Broadens

"In the first three years of the Bush administration, the United States dropped from 4th to 13th place in global rankings of broadband Internet usage. Today, most U.S. homes can access only 'basic' broadband, among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world, and the United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access.

"The lag is arguably the result of the Bush administration's failure to make a priority of developing these networks. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized state without an explicit national policy for promoting broadband.

"It did not have to be this way."

Thomas Bleha. Down to the Wire. Foreign Affairs. May/June 2005.

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May 16, 2005

Cities Uncover New Source of Revenue: Cellphone Taxes

"Last year, the City Council in Baltimore faced a budget shortfall so bad that it considered laying off 186 city police officers, reducing some fire department operations and scaling back trash collection. Then it found an untapped honey pot: cellphones.

"Starting in August, the city began collecting $3.50 a month from each of Baltimore's 238,000 mobile phone subscribers. The extra income has helped to strengthen the city's finances and is expected to help the city fix up schools and trim the property tax.

"Dozens of other cities and states have already passed cellphone taxes. Many other states and municipalities, including some in Louisiana and Missouri, are debating similar measures as they compile their budgets for the next fiscal year."

Ken Belson. In Cities Facing Budget Deficits, Cellphone Becomes a Taxpayer. The New York Times. May 14, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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May 14, 2005

Mistrial in FindWhat/Yahoo Patent Case

"The patent dispute over bid-for-placement technology between Yahoo! Search Marketing and FindWhat.com resulted in a mistrial late Wednesday. Parts of the case could still be decided by a judge next month.

"A jury was unable to reach a verdict after deliberating since Friday in the U.S. District Court trial in California. The jury did find that FindWhat infringed on 18 claims within the patent held by Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture)."

"They also found that FindWhat had proven six of those claims invalid during the trial, but they were unable to reach a decision on the 12 other claims."

Kevin Newcomb. Jury Fails to Determine Validity of Yahoo! Ad Tech Patent. ClickZNews. May 12, 2005.

See also:
Kevin Newcomb. Yahoo!/FindWhat Patent Dispute Headed for Trial. ClickZNews. April , 2005.

Erin Joyce. FindWhat.com Takes on Rival's Search Patent. ClickZNews. No date

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MPAA Sues TV File Sharing Sites

"Continuing its war on Internet file-swapping sites, the Motion Picture Association of America said Thursday that it has filed lawsuits against a half-dozen hubs for TV show trading.

"The trade association said that piracy of TV programming is growing quickly online, and that shows are as important to protect as big-budget films. This is the first legal action from the group that has focused most heavily on TV content."

John Borland. MPAA Targets TV Download Sites. News.com. May 12, 2005.

See also:
John Borland. All Shows, All the Time. News.com. No date.

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May 11, 2005

Senate Passes Real-ID Act

"Last minute attempts by online activists to halt an electronic ID card failed yesterday when the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to impose a sweeping set of identification requirements on Americans.

"The so-called Real ID Act now heads to President Bush, who is expected to sign the bill into law this month. Its backers, including the Bush administration, say it's needed to stop illegal immigrants from obtaining drivers' licenses.

"When the act's mandates take effect in May 2008, Americans will be required to obtain federally approved ID cards with 'machine readable technology' that abides by Department of Homeland Security specifications. Anyone without such an ID card will be effectively prohibited from travelling by air or Amtrak, opening a bank account, or entering federal buildings."

Declan McCullagh. Senate Says Yes to Electronic ID Cards. Silicon.com. May 11, 2005.

See also:

Declan McCullagh. US Moves Closer to Electronic ID Cards. Silicon.com. May 11, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. Senate Approves Electronic ID Card Bill. News.com. May 10, 2005.

Kim Zetter. No Real Debate for Real ID. Wired News. May 10, 2005.

Electronic Privacy Information Center. National ID Cards and REAL ID Act. May 10, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. FAQ: How Real ID Will Affect You. News.com. May 6, 2005.

National Public Radio. The Real ID Act Raises Privacy Issues. Morning Edition. May 6, 2005.

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May 10, 2005

Congress to Closely Examine Patriot Act

"Congress is returning to the controversial topic of whether to renew key portions of the Patriot Act.

"Both the Senate and House of Representatives have scheduled hearings on Tuesday that are part of an extended process of reviewing the portions of the 2001 law that are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. Many of those 16 portions deal with computer and Internet surveillance."

Declan McCullagh. Congress Plans Scrutiny of Patriot Act. News.com. May 9, 2005.

See also:
Frank Davies. Debate on Renewal of Patriot Act has Civil Tone. Philadelphia Inquirer. May 9, 2005.

News Staff. ACLU Urges Congress to Modify "Sneak and Peek" Patriot Act Power. Government Technology. May 9, 2005.

Frank Davies. Patriot's Second Act Opening. San Jose Mercury News. May 9, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. The Next Chapter in the Patriot Act. News.com. April 4, 2005.

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Illinois Moves Toward Games Ratings

"The Safe Games Illinois Act is a step closer to becoming law in the Prairie State.

"House Bill 4023 was approved 6 to 2 in the state's Senate Housing and Community Affairs Committee on Tuesday, and now moves on to the state Senate. Since its proposal earlier this year, the bill has been readily approved through the legal process.

"The bill would allow the state to slap its own ratings on games, ignoring those set by the self-regulatory Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB. The bill concentrates on keeping violent games out of youngsters' hands, and severely fines retailers who fail to do so."

Tim Surette. Illinois Games Restriction Bill Advances. News.com. May 4, 2005.

See also:
Illinois Government News Network. Gov. Blagojevich Commends House for Passing Landmark Video Game Legislation. (Press release.) March 16, 2005.

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May 09, 2005

Telecom Fight Cities' Wireless Forays

"A number of U.S. cities are becoming giant wireless 'hot spots' where Internet users will be able to log on from the beach or a bus stop, a trend that is triggering a fierce backlash from telecom and cable giants.

"Free or discounted wireless service can spur economic development, improve police patrols and other city services and encourage Internet use in poorer neighborhoods, according to government officials.

"The trend has prompted an intense backlash from the large telecom and cable providers that sell most broadband access in the United States. At their request, 13 states have passed laws restricting cities setting up their own networks, and several others are considering such bans."

Reuters. U.S. Cities Set Up Their Own Wireless Networks. eWeek. May 4, 2005.

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Copyright Issues Halt Podcast

"A local radio pro has found out that distributing his program like an amateur isn't as simple as it sounds.

"Chicago's Steve Dahl thought he could be at the forefront of the so-called podcasting trend, which was virtually unknown a year ago.

"Last month he began making his WCKG-FM 105.9 afternoon show available online as a digital audio file, so those with iPods and other portable media devices can download them and listen at leisure around the world. He used the same new technology that enables computer users to make and distribute homemade programs.

"But this re-purposing of Dahl's show has come to an abrupt halt because of copyright and royalty issues."

Phil Rosenthal. Dahl's Podcasts Halt Amid Stream of Legal Issues. Chicago Tribune. May 6, 2005.

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Google Blogoscoped Receives Cease-and-Desist Notice

"Last month, SEO Inc apparently fell out of the top rankings for the term 'search engine optimization' at Google. I felt it was a non-story then.

"That's changed now that the company issued a cease-and-desist notice against Google."

Danny Sullivan. SEO Inc Tries To Silence Google Blogoscoped Over Rankings. SearchEngineWatch. May 6, 2005.

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May 06, 2005

Adware Is Spitzer's Big Play

"The way popups get on our computer is through adware, which is on an estimated nine out of 10 computers. The definition is fluid, but, broadly speaking, adware is software that's mysteriously installed on computers without user consent.

"New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has sued Intermix Media Inc., accusing the Internet marketing company of secretly installing spyware on millions of home computers. Spitzer's civil suit accuses Intermix of violating New York General Business Law provisions against false advertising and deceptive business practices.

"If history is any guide, the attorney general -- who has taken on Wall Street, brokerages, insurers and others -- won't be satisfied with one tiny company."

Bambi Francisco. Intermix is Just the Start. MarketWatch.com. May 3, 2005.

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May 04, 2005

Municipal Battle Over Broadband

"A hundred years ago, when Louisiana was still literally in the dark, residents of Lafayette banded together to build a city-owned electric utility where once there was little more than swampland. Today, at the dawn of the 21st century, it is hatching plans to lay out its own state-of-the-art fiber-optic broadband network.

"This time, the city's futuristic ambitions are challenged not by the rigors of geography but by obstacles of business: specifically, telecommunications giant BellSouth and cable provider Cox Communications, which claimed the region as their own years ago.

"After a legal skirmish earlier this year, the two sides are preparing for a citywide election slated for mid-July that will decide the issue.

Jim Hu and Marguerite Reardon. Cities Brace for Broadband War. News.com. May 2, 2005.

See also:
Marguerite Reardon. Lafayette Hits Snag in Fiber Build. News.com. Feb. 24, 2005.

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Amazon.com to Partner With Wine Retailer

"Amazon.com Inc. is all set to tap the largely undeveloped online wine market through a new partnership with San Francisco Internet retailer Wine.com, which has crafted a distribution system to comply with legal codes in states such as Washington.

"Unlike its joint ventures with Toysrus.com, Office Depot and Target, Amazon will simply direct traffic to Wine.com's Web site, which has been constructed to conform its product offerings to the legal requirements of the state to which they will be shipped."

Kristen Millares Bolt. Amazon Puts Wine on Menu. SeattlePI.com. May 4, 2005.

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May 02, 2005

Professor Studies Blog Economics

"Weblogs, or blogs, have proliferated and developed rapidly in recent years, and have attracted significant attention. Moreover, blogs have started to generate significant legal issues. Yet there is so far no coherent economic framework for addressing those issues. This article begins to develop such a framework. Building on blogs’ technical features, it identifies the unique aspects of blogs that should have legal ramifications. It then briefly applies this framework to a variety of legal issues."

Larry Ribstein. Initial Reflections on the Law and Economics of Blogging. (.pdf) Social Science Research Network. April 4, 2005.

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Patents Become Valuable Property

"Mr. Stout, who has practiced patent law for 33 years, is a founder of NTP, whose only assets are a series of wireless e-mail patents granted to Thomas J. Campana Jr., the other founder, and whose only business is extracting licensing fees from companies.

"Started 13 years ago, NTP has used the staff at Mr. Stout's law firm to exploit those patents. In March, their persistence paid off. Research In Motion, the Canadian maker of the popular BlackBerry wireless e-mail devices, agreed to pay NTP $450 million to settle a long-running and sometimes bitter patent dispute between the companies.

"Mr. Stout said the settlement was a vindication of individuals over large corporations. And the settlement has emboldened NTP, which is pursuing additional licenses. Other companies, including Nokia, a rival of Research In Motion, have already signed licensing agreements with NTP."

Ian Austen and Lisa Guernsey. A Payday for Patents 'R' Us. The New York Times. May 2, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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April 30, 2005

Legal Poll Shows Power of Blogging

"Perhaps the most interesting outcome of the Legal Affairs survey of the top 20 legal thinkers in America is its between-the-lines commentary on the power of blogging."

Robert Ambrogi's Lawsites. Blogging Your Way to the Top. April 27, 2005.

See also:
legalaffairs. Who are the Top 20 Legal Thinkers in America.

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April 29, 2005

Terrorists Booked Flights at Library

"The Bush administration revealed on Thursday that some of the September 11 hijackers booked their tickets on the Internet using a computer in a college library in New Jersey.

"The disclosure by Ken Wainstein, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia in testimony to the House of Representatives subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, was intended to bolster the government's argument that Congress should renew a law allowing it to seize library and bookstore records."

Alan Elsner. 9/11 Hijackers Booked Airline Tickets at Library. Reuters. April 29, 2005.

See also:
Alan Elsner. Congress Pressed to Renew Library-Search Powers. Reuters. April 28, 2005.

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. Sensenbrenner Statement Regarding Today’s Revelation that 9/11 Hijackers Used U.S. Public Libraries Prior to 9/11. (.pdf) (Press Release.) April 28, 2005.

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. PATRIOT Act Oversight Hearing Thursday on “Roving Wiretaps” and the “Library” Provision. (.pdf) (Press Release.) April 27, 2005.

Deroy Murdock. Check This Out. National Review Online. April 25, 2005.

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California Passes Bill to Limit RFID

"While civil libertarians battle the federal government's decision to embed RFID chips in new U.S. passports, a California bill is moving swiftly through the state legislature that would make it illegal for state agencies and other bodies to use the technology in state identification documents.

"The bill, which California lawmakers believe is the first of its kind in the nation, would prohibit the use of radio-frequency identification, or RFID, chips in state identity documents such as student badges, driver's licenses, medical cards and state employee cards. The bill allows for some exceptions."

Kim Zetter. State Bill to Limit RFID. Wired News. April 29, 2005.

See also:
Alorie Gilbert. California Bill Would Ban Tracking Chips in IDs. News.com. April 28, 2005.

Related:
Eric Lipton. U.S. to Alter Design of e-Passports. News.com. April 27, 2005.

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Tech Companies Back Apple in Lawsuit

"The potential conflict between trade secrets and First Amendment rights intensified earlier this week as Intel, Genentech and the Business Software Alliance filed court briefs in support of Apple Computer.

"Apple wants to subpoena e-mail records from a Web site that leaked confidential product information.

"The briefs, filed this week in a California appeals court, support a tentative ruling by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg. Kleinberg ruled that Apple could subpoena e-mail records of Macintosh enthusiast site PowerPage, which leaked confidential information about a music hardware device code named Asteroid, one of Apple's upcoming products."

Dawn Kawamoto. Apple Gets Tech Support in Court. News.com. April 28, 2005.

See also:

Dawn Kawamoto. Tentative Ruling Favors Apple in Blog Case. News.com. Mar. 4, 2005.

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April 28, 2005

Verizon Grants 911 Access to VoIP Providers

"In another sign of detente between traditional phone companies and upstart VoIP businesses, Verizon Communications, the largest of the Baby Bells, said it plans to open its 911 emergency calling infrastructure to providers of Net-based phoning.

"Verizon announced on Tuesday that it would start making its 911 network in New York City available to all voice over Internet Protocol providers this summer. How well things go in the Big Apple will determine whether Verizon will open the rest of the emergency network."

Ben Charny. Biggest Bell to Hand 911 Access to VoIP Operators. News.com. April 26, 2005.

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Bush Signs Family Entertainment Act into Law

"File-swappers who distribute a single copy of a prerelease movie on the Internet can be imprisoned for up to three years, according to a bill that President Bush signed into law on Wednesday.

"The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, approved by the House of Representatives last Tuesday, represents the entertainment industry's latest attempt to thwart rampant piracy on file-swapping networks. "

Declan McCullagh. Bush Signs Law Targeting P2P Pirates. News.com. April 27, 2005.

Commentary by K. Matthew Dames, Executive Editor, SNTReport.com:

I had an interesting conversation yesterday about this legislation with Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor, author, cultural historian and copyright chronicler whose most recent book is The Anarchist in the Library. Siva was in Washington, D.C. yesterday to speak to members of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C. The speech, "How Fair and Useful Is Fair Use?," took place in the East Conference Room at the U.S. Supreme Court, mere steps from the courtroom where oral arguments (.pdf) in the MGM v. Grokster peer-to-peer case occurred last month.

First, I'll provide some background for our conversation. I noted last week that Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the ranking Republican on the Senate's Judiciary Committee, introduced The Family Entertainment Act in the Senate. (The Judiciary Committee considers and passes intellectual property legislation.) The law's primary beneficiary is a Utah company named ClearPlay, which makes technology that censors sex, violence, and other "objectionable" material from DVDs.

What I omitted from that note was my opinion on this issue, which I'll state now: The Family Entertainment Act sanctions a specific business model (home-based production of derivative works), and validates the existence of a corporate constituent whose home state, not coincidentally, is the same as one of the legislation's primary sponsors. Further, I see the Act as another in a series of events where public policy -- expressed through the legislative process in this case -- benefits specific corporate interests rather than the public at large. What I find interesting is that this legislation benefits a technology and the company that has developed the technology. Usually, most intellectual property legislation benefits entertainment companies that develop content.

Interestingly, Siva has a different take on this topic, one that suggests the Act does, in fact, serve the public's interest to the distinct detriment of industrial interests.

His thought is that the Act's passage is a Congressional sanction that gives consumers some level of control over their private uses of technology. To detail further, Siva thinks that by legally sanctioning ClearPlay's technology, families now have some autonomy in how they use their personal media spaces. Here is why this is important: by returning to consumers some control over their own personal media spaces, he says, the Act also diminishes the influence that the entertainment/content industry has over how digital media is used inside the home.

By diminishing this influence, Siva concludes, the entertainment industry's ability to set a copyright agenda for non-infringing uses that are not specifically accounted for in the Copyright Act also diminishes, however slightly.

I remain wary about this legislation, since I am always concerned about the ways in which the lines between private, corporate interests and public policy interests are continuing to blur. But Siva's take is quite interesting.

See also:
Associated Press. Bush Signs DVD 'Sanitizing' Bill. CBSNews.com. April 27, 2005.

National Public Radio. Decency Software Pits Hollywood Against Capitol Hill. Morning Edition. April 27, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. Prison Terms on Tap for 'Prerelease' Pirates. News.com. April 19, 2005.

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April 27, 2005

Municipal v. Private Wi-Fi

"What if a wireless computer user could access high speed Internet anywhere -- for free? It would be just like turning on a radio and receiving a signal. That's what's happening in some areas, and others are exploring it across the nation."

National Public Radio. The Internet as a Public Utility. Talk of the Nation. April 25, 2005.

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April 26, 2005

CTIA Opposes Oregon Cell Phone Tax

"Major cell phone lobbyists have launched a campaign opposing a proposed law for Oregon municipalities to collect a 5 percent cell phone tax.

"Late last week, the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association sent letters to major Oregon lawmakers urging they defeat the tax. The proposed tax had been introduced earlier this year."

Ben Charny. Oregon Proposes Local Cell Phone Tax. News.com. April 24, 2005.

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Margaret Thatcher Sues BBC for Copyright Breach

"Lady Thatcher is suing the BBC over unauthorised use of one of her most famous phrases.

Papers lodged with the High Court show she has teamed up with the television presenter Hugh Scully, to demand thousands of pounds in damages."

Richard Alleyne. Thatcher Sues BBC Over Use of Famous Phrase in Ad. Telegraph News. April 25, 2005.

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April 25, 2005

Why Has IP Gone So Wrong?

"Thomas Macaulay told us copyright law is a tax on readers for the benefit of writers, a tax that shouldn’t last a day longer than necessary. What do we do? We extend the copyright term repeatedly on both sides of the Atlantic. The US goes from fourteen years to the author’s life plus seventy years. We extend protection retrospectively to dead authors, perhaps in the hope they will write from their tombs.

"Since only about 4 per cent of copyrighted works more than 20 years old are commercially available, this locks up 96 per cent of 20th century culture to benefit 4 per cent. The harm to the public is huge, the benefit to authors, tiny. In any other field, the officials responsible would be fired. Not here."

James Boyle. James Boyle: Deconstructing Stupidity. FT.com. April 21, 2005

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April 23, 2005

Bill Proposes Ending Free Weather Data

"Do you want a seven-day weather forecast for your ZIP code? Or hour-by-hour predictions of the temperature, wind speed, humidity and chance of rain? Or weather data beamed to your cellphone?

"That information is available for free from the National Weather Service.

"But under a bill pending in the U.S. Senate, it might all disappear."

Robert P. King. Feds' Weather Information Could Go Dark. Palm Beach Post. April 21, 2005.

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April 22, 2005

Evaluating Provisions of USA Patriot Act

"On December 31, sixteen portions of the USA Patriot Act are set to expire - or, in legal parlance, "sunset." Currently, Congress is holding hearings on the Act. It is considering, among other issues, whether to amend it to curb the broad surveillance powers the Act bestowed on the federal government.

"For example, under the Act, the government can now monitor an individual's web surfing records. It can use roving wiretaps to monitor phone calls made by individuals 'proximate' to the primary person being tapped. It can access Internet Service Provider records. And it can even monitor the private records of people involved in legitimate protests."

Anita Ramasastry. The Important But Flawed USA Patriot Act: Why Congress Should Allow Certain Provisions to Expire This Year. Find Law's Writ. April 20, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Chairman Roberts Issues Statement on the USA PATRIOT ACT. (.pdf) April 19, 2005.

American Civil Liberties Union. Testimony of Associate Director Gregory Nojeim and Legislative Council Timothy Edgar at the Hearing on the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 Before the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate. (.pdf) April 19, 2005.

American Civil Liberties Union. Testimony of ACLU National Security Policy Counsel Timothy H. Edgar Before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security on the USA PATRIOT Act: Effect of Sections 203 (b) and (d) on Information Sharing. April 19, 2005.

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April 21, 2005

Lawmakers Propose Permanent Net Tax Ban

"Three U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that would permanently extend a ban on Internet-only taxes, including taxes on Internet access.

"The legislation would ban three types of taxes that single out the Internet: taxes on Internet access, multiple taxation by two or more states of a product or service bought over the Internet, and taxes that treat Internet purchases differently from other types of sales."

Grant Gross. Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Extend Internet Tax Ban. PC World. April 19, 2005.

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April 20, 2005

Vonage Links Up with Home Security Provider

"Vonage has teamed up with wireless security provider Alarm.com to tackle a common problem that has kept some consumers with home alarm systems from subscribing to Internet phone services.

"Alarm.com has begun marketing Vonage along with its own equipment in an effort to appeal to people who may want voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service but are already tied to a landline phone via their alarm systems."

Ben Charny. Vonage Cracks Into Market Dominated by Landlines. News.com. April 19, 2005.

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Congress Passes Anti-Piracy Bill

"The House of Representatives passed copyright legislation on Tuesday that would dole out criminal penalties to those who make unauthorized recordings of films in movie theaters.

"The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 (HR357) also would permit technologies that allow users to skip objectionable content in movies viewed at home.

"The bill passed by voice vote and now heads to the president, who is expected to sign it into law. An identical bill (S167) already passed in the Senate earlier this year."

Katie Dean. House OKs Family Copyright Bill. Wired News. April 19, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Prison Terms on Tap for 'Prerelease' Pirates. News.com. April 19, 2005.

Ted Bridis. Congress OKs Bill to Strip Movie Smut. BusinessWeek Online. April 19, 2005.

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Google Files IP Suit Over 'Oogle'

"Having been rebuffed by an ICANN panel, search giant Google brought its battle against Froogles.com to U.S. court.

"Google filed a trademark infringement suit (.pdf) against Richard Wolfe, operator of the relatively tiny Froogles.com, on Monday. The search provider complained that consumers could confuse Wolfe's bargain-shopping site with Google's Froogle and even the name Google itself -- even though Wolfe had been using the name Froogles since December 2000. Wolfe applied for trademark protection for the name in September 2003."

Susan Kuchinskas. Google Versus Froogles Redux. InternetNews.com. April 18, 2005.

See also:
Loren Baker. Google Files Suit Against Froogles for Trademark Infringment. Search Engine Journal. April 18, 2005.

Mark Harrington. Google Fights for Its Oogle. Sun-Sentinel.com. April 14, 2005.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Google Inc., v. Richard Wolfe d/b/a Froogles.com. (.pdf) April 8, 2005.

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April 19, 2005

AOL Sued for Chat Monitor Indiscretions

"A 19-year-old Los Angeles woman has sued AOL saying that a former monitor of its 'kids only' chat room seduced her online when she was a lonely teenager, persuading her to send him nude photos of herself and to engage in phone sex.

"The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also says that the former employee sent sexually explicit videos of himself and planned to drive to California to meet the girl for a weekend together on her 17th birthday.

"AOL, a unit of Time Warner, has marketed itself in part on the strength of what it calls its 'state-of-the-art parental controls' for families."

Reuters. Suit Accuses AOL Chat Monitor of Seducing Girl. News.com. April 18, 2005.

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April 18, 2005

Click Fraud Threats Search Engine Ad Revenue

"Google, Yahoo and other providers of online ads said they are increasingly being targeted by online fraudsters, who exploit weaknesses in the Internet ad system to generate revenue or hurt their competitors. The Internet giants said they are working to combat the problem, but some advertisers accuse the companies of not moving aggressively enough because they also profit from the scams.

"The tension comes as the click, click, click of the computer mouse steadily becomes the cyberspace equivalent of a cash register ringing up sales. These days, millions of computer users are clicking away on the small text ads set off from search engine results or other Web content, generating billions of dollars in fees paid annually by advertisers to Google and Yahoo and their Web partners."

David A. Vise. Clicking to Steal. WashingtonPost.com. April 17, 2005.

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Should Employers Mediate Blogs?

"There are about 10 million blogs out there, give or take, including one belonging to Niall Kennedy, an employee at Technorati, a small San Francisco-based company that, yes, tracks blogs.

"Like many employees at many companies, Mr. Kennedy has opinions, even when he is not working. One evening last month, he channeled one of those off-duty opinions into a satiric bit of artwork - an appropriation of a 'loose lips sink ships' World War II-era propaganda poster altered to provide a harsh comment on the growing fears among corporations over the blogging activities of their employees. He then posted it on his personal Web log.

"But in a paradoxical turn, Mr. Kennedy's employer, having received some complaints about the artwork, stepped in and asked him to reconsider the posting and Mr. Kennedy complied, taking the image down."

Tom Zeller. When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?. The New York Times. April 18, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Orphan Works FAQ

"What are 'orphan works,' why are they important, and why I have I heard so much about them recently?

"This FAQ is answered by Peter Hirtle, Technology Strategist and Intellectual Property Officer for Cornell University Library."

Peter Hirtle. Adopting "Orphan Works". RLG DigiNews. April 15, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on orphan works.

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Controversy Over British Library's Wi-Fi Fees

"Wireless internet access at the British Library (BL) has come under fire after details of the service's provision emerged using the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

"Author and library user Heather Brooke has obtained the service agreement documents for wi-fi access at the BL, and is campaigning for costs to be slashed.

"Brooke is unhappy that wireless internet access at the St Pancras site is supplied by a private company and expensive to use."

Mark Chillingworth. British Library Wi-fi Access Under Fire. Information World Review. April 15, 2005.

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Click Fraud Creates Costly Revenue Problems

"To Texas-based Auctions Expert International LLC, it was an easy way to make money on the Internet. Sign up with Google, which functions as a kind of online ad agency, and agree to let the online giant place ads on your Web site. Then, every time someone clicks on one of the ads, the advertiser pays a fee, and Google shares that fee with Auctions Expert.

"The problem, according to a lawsuit filed last year by Google, is that Auctions Expert began clicking on the ads itself, artificially inflating the number of clicks and driving up the bills sent to advertisers."

David A. Vise. Clicking To Steal. WashingtonPost.com. April 17, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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April 16, 2005

Comcast Customer Sues Over Privacy Breach

"Comcast Corp., the top U.S. cable television network operator, is being sued by a Seattle-area woman for disclosing her name and contact information, court records showed on Thursday.

"In a lawsuit filed in King County, Washington, Dawnell Leadbetter said that she was contacted by a debt collection agency in January and told to pay a $4,500 for downloading copyright-protected music or face a lawsuit for hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Reuters. Comcast Customer Sues Over Disclosure. MSNBC News. April 14, 2005.

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Victory for Open Source

"A Linux programmer has reported a legal victory in Germany in enforcing the General Public License, which governs countless projects in the free and open-source software realms.

"A Munich district court on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction barring Fortinet, a maker of multipurpose security devices, from distributing products that include a Linux component called 'initrd' to which Harald Welte holds the copyright."

Stephen Shankland. Linux Programmer Wins Legal Victory. News.com. April 14, 2005.

Peter Galli. Fortinet Under Fire for Allegedly Violating GPL Terms. eWeek. April 14, 2005.

Ingrid Marson. Defender of the Linux Faith. News.com. March 18, 2005.

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Study: China Leader in Net Censorship

"China is the world's leading censor of the Internet, filtering web sites, blogs, e-mail, and online forums for sensitive political content, according to a study (.pdf) released Thursday.

"The OpenNet Initiative said that China employs thousands officials and private citizens to build a 'pervasive, sophisticated, and effective' system of Internet censorship."

Paul Eckert. Study Finds Pervasive Chinese Internet Controls. Reuters. April 14, 2005.

See also:
Jonathan Krim. Web Censors In China Find Success. WashingtonPost.com. April 14, 2005.

OpenNet Initiative. Internet Filtering in China in 2004-2005: A Country Study. (.pdf) April 14, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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April 15, 2005

Did Blackberry Maker Settle for No Reason?

"Research In Motion, maker of the ubiquitous BlackBerry, last month paid $450 million to settle a furious legal battle over five patents held by NTP. The markets welcomed RIM's decision to settle, boosting its stock 8% overnight, to $64.85. But RIM might soon regret that it ever made a deal.

"On Apr. 6, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office rejected one of the five patents NTP had accused RIM of infringing and gave a strong indication that the other disputed four might soon be rejected upon reexamination as well. The agency has been taking a second look at more than 2,000 claims made on a total of eight NTP patents, including the five that RIM allegedly infringed, ever since Arlington, Virginia-based concern sued RIM in December, 2002. After more than two years, the officials have rejected all 523 claims NTP made on three of those patents."

Lorraine Woellert. Did RIM Pay Too Soon? BusinessWeek Online. April 8, 2005.

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Analysis of Issues in Supreme Court P2P Case

Although some people may not like it, copyright laws and regulations exist. Those who engage in mass copying and distribution of copyrighted works typically must pay licensing fees, or at least enter into an agreement with the owner of the content. That makes the free, unauthorized trading of massive numbers of music or video files over peer-to-peer networks illegal.

So far, the situation is clear.

What is not clear is the circumstances under which a technology company should be held liable if its product can be used to violate copyright restrictions. What standard should be used to judge this liability? How can one craft that standard so that the threat of liability is not so broad that it discourages beneficial technological innovation?

Anush Yegyazarian. Supreme Court Standards for Peer-to-Peer and Beyond. PC World. April 12, 2005.

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April 14, 2005

Music Podcasts Remain Legally Fuzzy

"Last month, Warner Brothers announced that they had paid for placement in a well-known podcast. They bought time in The Eric Rice Show, allowing that podcast to include exclusive content from The Used. As part of the deal, the hosts of the show will announce that the inclusion of the content was paid for by Warner. Two other examples, U.K. based Virgin Radio and KCRW/Santa Monica, have both released content in the form of a podcast.

"Despite the authorized uses of music and content in these select instances, podcasting is still more of an underground technology, used by thousands of independent, Web-savvy users. According to a recent survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, many people have listened to podcasts. This represents a potentially significant problem because the majority of the music and content has not been authorized for use."

FMQB. Legality Of Using Music In Podcasts Remains Foggy. April 11, 2005.

See also:
Zachary Rodgers. Warner Brothers Sponsors Podcaster. ClickZ News. March 22, 2005.

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House Bill Bars FEC's Power Over Bloggers

"Political bloggers and other online commentators are gaining more support in the U.S. Congress.

"Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, introduced a bill Wednesday that would prevent the federal government from extending campaign finance laws to the Internet.

"The bill mirrors a companion measure in the Senate that was introduced last month by Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. Both would effectively rewrite a 2002 campaign finance law popularly known as McCain-Feingold in a way that would bar the Federal Election Commission from regulating political Web sites."

Declan McCullagh. New House Bill Protects Political Bloggers. News.com. April 13, 2005.

See also:
RedState.org. Online Freedom of Speech Act Introduced in House. April 13, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. Feds Get Set for Net Rules. News.com. March 24, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. Internet Election Rules Could be Blocked. News.com. March 21, 2005.

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April 13, 2005

Copyright Law's Impact on Orphan Works

"Veteran filmmaker Robert Goodman is working on a documentary about the first pop culture phenomenon of the 20th century: American picture postcards. But securing permission to use many of these works -- photos and illustrations that are around 100 years old -- is an impossible task, as many of the original owners are unknown or dead, or the publishing companies no longer exist.

"The uncertainty of copyright ownership means Goodman, an Emmy-nominated director with a long career in film, photography and writing, is facing substantial costs, a lot of tedious research and, if he's really unlucky, lawsuits."

Katie Dean. Copyright Reform to Free Orphans?. Wired News. April 12, 2005.

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P2P Ruling Will Set Technology Standards

"Although some people may not like it, copyright laws and regulations exist. Those who engage in mass copying and distribution of copyrighted works typically must pay licensing fees, or at least enter into an agreement with the owner of the content. That makes the free, unauthorized trading of massive numbers of music or video files over peer-to-peer networks illegal.

"So far, the situation is clear.

"What is not clear is the circumstances under which a technology company should be held liable if its product can be used to violate copyright restrictions."

Anush Yegyazarian. Supreme Court Standards for Peer-to-Peer and Beyond. PC World. April 12, 2005.

See also:
Grant Gross. Supreme Court Justices Question Peer-to-Peer Lawsuits. PC World. March 29, 2005.

U.S. Supreme Court. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., et al. v. Grokster, Ltd, et al.. (.pdf) March 29, 2005.

Grant Gross. P-to-P Case May Have Far-Reaching Impact. PC World. March 25, 2005.

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MGM, Universal Miss Deadline - Lose Millions

"Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Universal Studios will lose out on millions of dollars in royalties because they missed a deadline to file paperwork with the government, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

"The U.S. Copyright Office collects fees from cable and satellite companies that broadcast films and distributes the money to copyright owners after they file claims. Those claims must be sent by July 31 each year.

"In 2001, MGM's claim arrived on Aug. 2, and Universal Studios' on Aug. 3."

Erica Werner. Missed Deadlines Cost Studios Millions in Royalties. New York Lawyer. April 12, 2005.

See also:
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Universal City Studios LLP and Universal City Studios Productions LLP v. Marybeth Peters, in her Official Capacity as Register of Copyrights, and Copyright Office. (.pdf) April 8, 2005.

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April 12, 2005

Media Supports Bloggers in Apple Squabble

"A collection of media organizations has urged a California appeals court to overturn a ruling that would allow Apple Computer to subpoena records from a Mac enthusiast site.

The 'friend of the court' (.pdf) filing follows a decision last month by a California superior court judge who ruled that Apple could subpoena the e-mail records of PowerPage in an attempt to uncover who at Apple leaked confidential information about an unreleased music hardware device code-named Asteroid. The judge's ruling is being appealed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of three online journalists whose records Apple is seeking.

Ina Fried. Media Groups, ISPs Side Against Apple in Dispute. ZDNet. April 11, 2005.

See also:
Ina Fried, and John Borland. Judge: Apple Can Pursue Fan Site Sources. ZDNet. March 11, 2005.

John Borland. EFF Appeals Apple Fan Site Ruling. ZDNet. March 22, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Bloggers Speak Up in Apple Case. Deep Links. April 11, 2005.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Reporters Committee Files Brief Supporting Journalists Subpoenaed by Apple Over Marketing Plans. (Press Release.) April 11, 2005.

Court of Appeal of the State of California Sixth Appellate District. Jason O'Grady, Monish Bhatia and Kasper Jade v. Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara. (.pdf) April 7, 2005.

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Vonage Lawsuit Attracts Attention

"In a sign of another battle between regulators and Net phone service providers, a high-profile Texas lawsuit against Vonage is generating interest from other states' top cops.

"The deceptive trade practices lawsuit (.pdf) filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in late March alleges that Net phone operator Vonage doesn't adequately disclose how its 911 service differs from what customers are used to.

"Vonage's emergency call service, for example, has to be first activated by the customer, and the calls aren't routed directly to emergency dispatchers."

Ben Charny. States Gang Up on Vonage. News.com. April 11, 2005.

See also:
District Court of Travis County, Texas. The State of Texas v. Vonage Holdings Corp.. March 22, 2005.

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April 11, 2005

Electronic Reserve Controversy Arises at U. California

"Publishers are objecting to an electronic reserve system at the University of California in which libraries scan portions of books and journals and make them available free online to students.

"In recent months, lawyers for the Association of American Publishers have sent letters to the university that object to the use of electronic reserves on the San Diego campus. The publishers say that the use of electronic reserves is too extensive, violating the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law and depriving them of sales.

"University officials counter that the electronic reserves at San Diego are well within the bounds of fair use. They worry that the letters portend a lawsuit."

Scott Carlson. Legal Battle Brews Over Texts on Electronic Reserve at U. of California Libraries. The Chronicle of Higher Education. April 7, 2005.

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File Sharing Discussion at NYPL

"The tickets for the event Thursday sold out in five minutes on the Internet, and on the evening itself the lines stretched down the block. The reverent young fans might as well have been holding cellphones aloft as totems of their fealty.

"Then again, this was the New York Public Library, a place of very high ceilings and even higher cultural aspirations, so the rock concert vibe created some dissonance. Inside, things became clearer as two high priests of very different tribes came together to address the question of 'Who Owns Culture?' - a discussion of digital file-sharing sponsored by Wired magazine, part of a library series called 'Live From the NYPL.'

"Both Jeff Tweedy, the leader of the fervently followed rock band Wilco, and Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor who has opposed criminalizing file sharing, seemed to agree that just about anybody who owns a modem also owns - or at least has every right to download - culture products."

David Carr. Exploring the Right to Share, Mix and Burn. The New York Times. April 9, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Filmmaker Fined for Piracy

"'The Internationale,' the rousing workers' anthem adopted by communists and socialists from France to China, has turned out to be a pricey tune. French movie director Jean-Christophe Soulageon is being asked to pay $1,283 because the song was whistled without permission in his 2004 film 'Insurrection Resurrection,' the daily Le Monde reported Frida"

Associated Press. 'The Internationale' Tune Turns Pricey. Yahoo! New. April 8, 2005.

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April 09, 2005

EFF Publishes Guide to Safe Blogging

"Blogs are like personal telephone calls crossed with newspapers. They're the perfect tool for sharing your favorite chocolate mousse recipe with friends--or for upholding the basic tenets of democracy by letting the public know that a corrupt government official has been paying off your boss.

"If you blog, there are no guarantees you'll attract a readership of thousands. But at least a few readers will find your blog, and they may be the people you'd least want or expect. These include potential or current employers, coworkers, and professional colleagues; your neighbors; your spouse or partner; your family; and anyone else curious enough to type your name, email address or screen name into Google or Feedster and click a few links.

"The point is that anyone can eventually find your blog if your real identity is tied to it in some way. And there may be consequences."

Electronic Frontier Foundation. How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else). April 6, 2005.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of this safe blogging guide through a posting in beSpacific, edited by Sabrina I. Pacifici.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Congress Mulls Mandatory DRM

"US legislators are debating whether to force Apple's products to interoperate with Microsoft's.

"The Congress have been considering a plan that would outlaw music protected by proprietary digital rights management (DRM) technology, such as Apple's FairPlay, which stops iTunes downloads being played on Microsoft digital music players and vice versa.

"However, yesterday's Congressional subcommittee hearing on 'Digital Music Interoperability and Availability', which included debate on mandating interoperability for digital music, received a 'hands off' message from industry representatives."

Jo Best. Law to Make iTunes Compatible with Microsoft?. Silicon.com. April 7, 2005.

See also:
Silicon.com. Leader: Apple Work with Microsoft? Let the People Decide. April 7, 2005.

Erika Morphy. Congress Holds Hearings on Digital Music. CRM Daily. April 7, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:25 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Patriot Act Specifics Not Known

"Time isn't easing concerns over the enhanced law-enforcement powers of the USA Patriot Act, judging by the debate that's firing up on Capitol Hill over the renewal of its expiring provisions.

"President Bush calls the Patriot Act an invaluable tool in the war on terror, but, until this week, little was known about where, why, or how often the law has been applied.

"At the same time, confusion persists over what the law actually does. Critics sometimes conflate Patriot Act provisions with other controversial moves, such as indefinite detentions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that have nothing to do with the act."

Gail Russell Chaddock. Patriot Act: What's Not Known Feeds Debate. Christian Science Monitor. April 7, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:19 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005

New York Court Reestablishes Common Law Copyright

"A major change to US music copyright practices could be in the offing after a court ruled a record label broke the law by reissuing old recordings.

"New York's highest court said Naxos was wrong to release classical recordings by Yehudi Menuhin and others - even though they were out of copyright.

"The court said such recordings were still covered by common law."

BBC News. Court Secures Classical Copyright. April 6, 2005.

See also:
John Caher. N.Y. High Court Expands Copyright Protection for Recordings. Law.com. April 6, 2005.

Michael Gormley. Court Rules Common Law Protects Recordings. SFGate.com. April 5, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

U.S. Blogger Breaches Canadian Publication Ban

"Canada's long-standing practice of barring news organizations from disclosing what's happening in certain court proceedings is being tested by Internet bloggers.

"A Canadian commission that's investigating charges of high-level wrongdoing in the nation's Liberal Party has ordered news organizations not to reveal details from the proceedings, which are open to the public.

"But Ed Morrissey, a conservative Web logger in Minneapolis, has been gleefully violating the ban by posting detailed reports of the verboten 'Adscam' testimony.

"Public revelation of Adscam, which involves allegations of corruption and illegal campaign contributions, could end the Liberal Party's precarious grasp on power and force new elections this summer."

Declan McCullagh. U.S. Blogger Thwarts Canadian Gag Order. News.com. April 5, 2005.

See also:
Stephanie Rubec. AdScam Leak on Web. Toronto Sun. April 4, 2005.

Update: Clifford Krauss. A Blog Written From Minneapolis Rattles Canada's Liberal Party. The New York Times. April 7, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:49 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

More Patriot Act Disclosure Needed

"More information is dribbling out about the exercise of extraordinary powers granted to federal police nearly four years ago as part of the war on terror.

"As the Bush administration this week called on Congress to expand the USA Patriot Act, it disclosed how two of the most controversial sections of the law have been wielded by police."

Declan McCullagh. Feds Uncloak the Patriot Act. News.com. April 5, 2005.

See also:
National Public Radio. Senate Panel Debates Patriot Act Provisions. Day to Day. April 5, 2005.

Eric Lichtblau.Justice Dept. Defends Patriot Act Before Senate Hearings. The New York Times. April 5, 2005.

U.S. Department of Justice. Fact Sheet:USA PATRIOT ACT Provisions Set for Reauthorization. April 5, 2005.

U.S. Department of Justice. Department of Justice Releases New Numbers on Section 213 of the PATRIOT ACT. April 4, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:47 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005

Public Search Can Reveal Private Information

"For most people who spend a lot of time online, impulsively typing queries into a search engine has become second nature.

"Got a nasty infection in an embarrassing spot? Look up a treatment on your favorite search site. Obsessing about an ex? Try Googling his or her name. Chances are the queries will unearth some enlightening information.

"But while search engines are quite upfront about sharing their knowledge on topics you enter in the query box, it's not so clear what they know about you. As operators of the most popular search engines roll out more services that require user registration, industry observers and privacy advocates say it's become more feasible to associate a particular query with an individual."

Joanna Glasner. What Search Sites Know About You. Wired News. April 5, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 10:29 AM | Send to a friend!

Movie Industry to Follow Apple's iTunes Lead

"Michael Arrieta, senior vice president of Sony Pictures, said at a US Digital Hollywood conference that it wanted to create an "iTunes" for films.

"Films will be put onto flash memory for mobiles over the next year, said Mr Arrieta, and it will develop its digital download services for films.

"Movie studios are keen to stop illegal file-sharing on peer-to-peer nets and cash in on digital the download market."

BBC News. Sony Wants an 'iTunes for Movies'. March 31, 2005.

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Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 09:53 AM | Send to a friend!

Blogs for Lawyers

"With an estimated 10 million blogs and counting, it’s almost impossible to run a Google search without tripping over one. And though they have a reputation for being controversial, even subversive, they’re fast becoming the format of choice for delivering the very latest opinion and news, an Internet equivalent of the town crier.

"More importantly, some suggest, these web journals or diaries are turning into a respected marketing tool for businesses and individuals looking to make a name for themselves on and off the Internet.

"Enter the lawyers."

Sarah Kellogg. Do You Blog? DC Bar. April 2005.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of this article through a posting in beSpacific, edited by Sabrina Pacifici.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 09:50 AM | Send to a friend!

Blog Regulation Debate Intensifies

"DailyKos.com, the popular liberal Web site, is a forum for robust political debate, with participants railing about the evils of conservatives or dissecting the ills of the Democratic Party -- just the kind of speech the 1st Amendment was intended to protect.

"But DailyKos.com is more than that. In the last election, it urged readers to support the 'Kos Dozen,' a group of favored Democrats; raised more than US$574,000 for candidates; provided online links to campaigns, and connected members to a PAC that supports progressive politicians.

Such activities show the challenge facing the Federal Election Commission in the wake of a court ruling forcing the commission to regulate political activity on the Internet. While the 1st Amendment prohibits regulating most speech, a wide array of online activities arguably could be viewed as 'contributing to' or 'coordinating' with political campaigns, which falls under the FEC's domain."

Dawn Withers. Regulation of Blogs' Political Activity Sparks Furor. E-Commerce Times. April 4, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on bloggers dodging federal crackdown.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:33 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Despite Outcry Private Data Widely Available

"Want someone else's Social Security number?

"It's $35 at www.secret-info.com. It's $45 at www.Iinfosearch.com, where users can also sign up for a report containing an individual's credit-card charges, as well as an e-mail with other "tips, secrets & spy info!" The Web site Gum-shoes.com promises that "if the information is out there, our licensed investigators can find it."

"Although Social Security numbers are one of the most powerful pieces of personal information an identity thief can possess, they remain widely available and inexpensive despite public outcry and the threat of a congressional crackdown after breaches at large information brokers.

Jonathan Krim. Net Aids Access to Sensitive ID Data. WashingtonPost.com. April 4, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:20 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005

Patriot Act Debate Begins This Week

"If you thought the congressional debate over Terri Schiavo was intense, wait until the one over the Patriot Act begins this week.

"Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are kicking off what promises to be a tumultuous series of hearings about whether to renew key sections of the controversial 2001 law.

"Roughly half of the law is set to expire on Dec. 31."

Declan McCullagh. The Next Chapter in the Patriot Act. News.com. April 4, 2005.

Related:
Mark Sherman. Record Number of Teror Warrants Approved. SFGate.com. April 1, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:37 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

A Deep Look at DRM

"There are many things in the world that you feel to be true, but you're not exactly sure why. So if you're a thinking person, you're left with this nagging suspicion that you should be better able to come up with a better explanation than 'But it's just wrong!'

"For many people, myself included, digital rights management (DRM) technologies fall into this category.

"Even if we have no intention of breaking copyright law by downloading music or movies willy-nilly, and even though many of us earn our livings through the production and sale of copyrighted material, we're still offended that the entertainment and media conglomerates of the world - the Content Cartel, as one commentator has labeled them - are pushing so hard to ensure that every song, every movie, every television show, is wrapped up tight in some form of DRM that controls access to the content and use of it."

Adam C. Engst. Why DRM Offends the Sensibilities. TidBITS. March 5, 2005.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of this look at DRM through a posting in LibraryLaw Blog, edited by Mary Minow.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:23 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Russian Library Guilty of Copyright Infringement

"A Moscow court has found Maxim Moshkov, owner of the biggest and most popular Russian on-line library, lib.ru, guilty of breaching copyright law.

"It was the only lawsuit brought against Moshkov that has ended in success for the plaintiff."

MosNews. Russia’s Biggest Online Library Found Guilty of Breaching Copyright. MosNews.com. April 1, 2005.

See also:
CCRC Staff. Russian Courts Attack On-line Libraries. Computer Crime Research Cente. April 1, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:44 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

France Wants Rival Search Engine

"In the dimly lit cyber-café at Sciences-Po, hot-house of the French elite, no Gauloise smoke fills the air, no dog-eared copies of Sartre lie on the tables. French students are doing what all students do: surfing the web via Google.

"Now President Jacques Chirac wants to stop this American cultural invasion by setting up a rival French search-engine. The idea was prompted by Google's plan to put online millions of texts from American and British university libraries.

"If English books are threatening to swamp cyberspace, Mr Chirac will not stand idly by."

No author. Google à la française. Economist.com. March 31, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:40 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

April 04, 2005

Copyright Office Posts Orphan Works Comments

The U.S. Copyright Office has posted 711 unique comments in response to the "Orphan Works" inquiry.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of these comments through a posting in Lessig Blog, edited by Lawrence Lessig.

U.S. Copyright Office. Orphan Works Comments.

See also:
Federal Register. Library of Congress, Copyright Office: Orphan Works. Jan. 26, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on the Orphan Works copyright circular.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:30 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

April 02, 2005

Judiciary Committee to Analyze Patriot Act

"The tumultuous process of reviewing portions of the USA Patriot Act is about to begin. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., said Thursday that his Judiciary Committee will begin a series of three hearings starting April 5 to examine the 2001 law and consider which sections should be renewed before their Dec. 31 expiration date."

Declan McCullagh. Patriot Act to be Scrutinized. News.com. March 31, 2005.

See also:
No author. PATRIOT Act Goes Too Far. Patriot-News. March 31, 2005.

American Library Association. USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001. Aug. 31, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005

Freelance Writers Settle Copyright Suit

"Freelance writers have reached a settlement worth as much as $18 million with The New York Times Co. and other defendants in a copyright infringement case involving work posted online or in databases, the writers’ representatives said on Tuesday.

"A motion for approval of the settlement was filed last week in federal court in New York, said Gerard Colby, president of the National Writers Union, one of several writers’ groups that brought the class-action lawsuit."

Reuters. Freelance Writers Win Online Settlement. MSNBC News. March 30, 2005.

See also:
Rachel Metz. Freelancers Hit the Jackpot. Wired News. March 29, 2005.

National Writers Union. $18 Million Settlement to Freelance Writers Filed for Court Approval. (Press Release.) March 29, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:54 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 31, 2005

Social Software Events Needed

"Our good friend Alistair from Six Apart organised an event called Blogs in Action last week at the Polish Club (as in Polska, not Pledge) in London. It was a welcome get-together for many of us working in this area, but reactions to the event have prompted some reflection on what sort of blog- or social software-related events are needed as this space starts to develop further."

Headshift. Pent Up Demand for Social Software Events? March 28, 2005.

See also:
Headshift. Upcoming Social Software Events. March 23, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:20 PM | Send to a friend!

VeriSign Retains Control of .net Domain

"VeriSign has taken a major step toward retaining control of .net after beating out four rivals in a rating of the contenders seeking to run the Internet's third-largest domain.

"VeriSign Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., ranked the highest in a report (.pdf) released late Monday by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the main oversight body for the domain-name system. ICANN now will begin negotiating a registry agreement with VeriSign, a process that is expected to last about two weeks.

"Once an agreement is reached, the selection of VeriSign as the registry for .net could go before ICANN's board of directors as early as its scheduled meeting in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on April 8. ICANN also has begun accepting public comments on the report."

Matt Hicks. VeriSign Favored to Run Major Internet Domain. eWeek. March 29, 2005.

See also:

Jim Wagner and Michael Singer. VeriSign Retaining Stewardship of .net. InternetNews.com. March 29, 2005.

Anick Jesdanun. Panel: VeriSign Should Retain Domain Name Control. Globe and Mail. March 29, 2005.
ICANN. ICANN .net RFP Evaluation. (.pdf). March 2005.

ICANN. ICANN Publishes Telcordia Report on their Findings and Rankings for .NET. (Press Release.) March 28, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 30, 2005

Writers Settle Tasini Case for $18 Million

"A group of companies that operate electronic databases have agreed to pay freelance writers up to $18 million to settle copyright infringement claims brought under a class action lawsuit, according to a settlement announced Tuesday."

Associated Press. Writers Settle with Databases for $18M. Business Week Online. March 29, 2005.

Editor's Note: Jonathan Tasini, formerly president of the National Writers Union and the named defendant in the Supreme Court case, is now president and executive director of the Creators Federation.

See also:
Richard Wiggins. The Tasini Decision: A Victory for No One. LLRX.com. Aug. 15, 2001.

Carol Ebbinghouse. Tasini Case Final Decision: Authors Win. Information Today. June 28, 2001.

Rachel Metz. Freelancers Hit the Jackpot. Wired News. March 29, 2004.

Legal Information Institute. New York Times Co., Inc., et al. v. Tasini et al.. June 25, 2001.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 04:00 PM | Send to a friend!

Patent in Blackberry Settlement in Play

"NTP Inc. has settled its wireless e-mail push patent disputes with Research In Motion Ltd. and Good Technology Inc., but that doesn't mean the licensing battle is over.

"NTP is in discussions with several other wireless e-mail push players, according to attorneys for the Arlington, Va., patent holding company.

"RIM, the Waterloo, Ontario, maker of the popular BlackBerry devices and enterprise server software, earlier this month said it will pay NTP $450 million to settle its patent disputes, while RIM rival Good Technology, of Santa Clara, Calif., struck a patent deal with NTP the week before that."

Shelley Solheim. RIM Settlement Doesn't End NTP's Patent Battles. eWeek. March 28, 2005.

See also:
Shelley Solheim. RIM, NTP Settle Patent Suit. eWeek. March 16, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 03:56 PM | Send to a friend!

Vonage Sued for Lack of 911 Notification

"'Stop. You must dial 911 from another telephone. 911 is not available from this telephone line. No emergency personnel will be dispatched.'

"That's the message that greets users of Vonage Holding Corp.'s broadband phone service unless 911 calling is manually activated at the subscriber end.

"Does Vonage do a good-enough job of telling consumers that manual 911-calling activation is necessary? Are subscribers clearly told about the limitations of Vonage's emergency 911 calling?

Ryan Naraine. Vonage Defends Manually Activated 911 Calling. eWeek. March 29, 2005.

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Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 03:14 PM | Send to a friend!

Sony Files PS2 Appeal

"Sony will continue to sell its PlayStation 2 in the United States while it appeals a court-ordered ban on sales of the market-leading game console, the company said Monday.

"Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for Northern California issued the order late last week in a patent infringement case filed against Sony Computer Entertainment by Immersion, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of 'haptics' technology. Among other applications, the technology can generate force feedback in games so that the game controller rattles in response to events during play."

David Becker. Sony to Challenge Block on PS2 Sales. . News.com. March 28, 2005.

See also:
Rachel Konrad. Researchers Tout Touchy-feely Technology. News.com. Sep. 7, 2001.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

Showdown at the Supreme Court

"Ken Fuhrman's Colorado-based start-up company is a television junkie's dream, making powerful home media servers to hold digitized versions of television shows, movies and music.

"But Fuhrman is worried. On Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether file-swapping software companies Grokster and StreamCast Networks should be held responsible for the widespread copyright infringement on their networks, and he's afraid his company, Interact-TV, could be affected too."

John Borland. Top Court to Hear Landmark P2P Case Tuesday. News.com. March 28, 2005.

See also:
John Borland. FAQ: Betamax--Tech's Favorite Ruling. News.com. March 28, 2005.

Katie Dean. Supreme Showdown for P2P's Future. Wired News. March 28, 2005.

Saul Hansell and Jeff Leeds. A Supreme Court Showdown for File Sharing. The New York Times. March 28, 2005.

Jon Healey. High Court Prepares for Case Against File Sharing. LATimes.com. March 28, 2005.

Marcia Coyle. Justices to Weigh Key Copyright Case. Law.com. March 21, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:57 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Lawsuits Jeopardize Google's Ad Revenue

"Fabrice Dariot's travel agency, Bourse des Vols, boasts a terrace lined with potted plants and sweeping views of 17th-century apartments in the center of the city.

"The compact fifth-floor office is an unlikely front line for a battle of words with the online search engine Google - or 'Omnigoogle,' as some French critics scornfully call the giant company.

"Mr. Dariot, a mathematician turned Internet entrepreneur, is an even more unlikely standard-bearer for a series of proliferating lawsuits and legal disputes that challenge Google's sacrosanct business routines."

Doreen Carvajal. Growing Number of Lawsuits Could Hurt Google's Ad Revenue. The New York Times. March 27, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

Mavericks Owner Funds Grokster Defense

Broadcast.com billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has announced that he will finance Grokster's defense against MGM's peer-to-peer lawsuit, which is expected to be argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 29.

Cuban, who sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo for $5.7 billion and is now president of HDNet, a provider of high-definition TV programming, wrote in a blog entry Saturday that he had agreed to fund the software company's defense after he was approached by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others.

Steven Musil. Mark Cuban to Finance Grokster Defense. News.com. March 27, 2005.

See also:
Blog Maverick. Let the Truth Be Told…MGM vs Grokster. March 26, 2005.

MercuryNews.com. Is a Software Maker or Distributor Obliged to Build Anti-theft Protections, Like Encryption, Into Its Design?. March 27, 2005. (Editorial)

Joan Biskupic. Online File Sharing to Face Judicial Test. USA Today. March 27, 2005.

P2PNet.com. Crux of Big Music's Problems. March 25, 2005.

Grant Gross. P-to-P Case May Have Far-Reaching Impact. PC World. March 25, 2005.

The Economist. Grokster and StreamCast Face the Music. March 24, 2005. (Editorial)

Julie Hilden. File Sharing Goes Before Supreme Court. CNN.com. Feb. 16, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. MGM v. Grokster archive. No date.

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Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 09:00 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Supreme Court to Hear Broadband Case

The peer-to-peer case is not the only important social software case on Tuesday's Supreme Court docket.

"When Brand X, a California ISP, gets its day in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, there will be a lot more at stake than whether the company can get access to cable lines. In fact, depending on the details of the court decision, the case could determine the way in which the Federal Communications Commission regulates phone and information companies.

"At the core of the case is Brand X. The ISP wants the FCC to require cable companies to sell access to their networks at wholesale in much the same way that EarthLink Inc and other ISPs are sold access over DSL networks.

"The FCC has ruled that cable is an information service, and as such is not regulated by FCC rules. Because of this concept, the FCC has preempted rules that would tax phone service using cable lines, and state laws that require 911 access for people who use VOIP over cable."

Wayne Rash. Supreme Court Will Rule on ISP Cable Access. eWeek. March 25, 2005.

See also:
Jim Hu. Broadband Scuffle Reaches Supreme Court. News.com. March 25, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:59 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Bloggers Evade FEC Crackdown

"Political bloggers and other online commentators narrowly avoided being slammed with a sweeping set of Internet regulations this week.

"When the Federal Election Commission kicked off the process of extending campaign finance rules to the Internet on Thursday, the public document was substantially altered from one prepared just two weeks earlier and reviewed by CNET News.com.

"The 44-page document, prepared by the FEC general counsel's office and dated March 10, took a radically different approach and would have imposed decades-old rules designed for federal campaigns on many political Web sites and bloggers."

Declan McCullagh. Bloggers Narrowly Dodge Federal Crackdown. News.com. March 24, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Feds Get Set for Net Rules. News.com. March 24, 2005.

Siobhan McDonough. FEC Weighs Limited Internet Activity Rules. WashingtonPost.com. March 24, 2005.

Federal Election Commission. Draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Internet Communications. (.pdf) March 23, 2005.

Update: Declan McCullagh. Blog Rolling? D.C.'s New Spin on Net Rules. News.com. March 28, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

Congressman Calls Out to Protect Blogs

"Web Loggers, or bloggers, have already broken several major stories, including those that led to the resignation of a Virginia congressman, a shake-up at CBS news over the "60 Minutes" Bush National Guard story, the firing of a CNN executive over remarks criticizing the U.S. military, and the White House granting Jeff Gannon inappropriate access to White House daily press briefings.

"Unfortunately, today in two separate arenas--campaign finance laws and the legal privileges accorded to journalists to protect confidential sources--bloggers' free speech rights are at risk. It is incumbent on the Federal Election Commission, legislatures, and the courts to ensure these rights are protected for Internet-based media."

John Conyers. Bloggers Have Rights, Too. News.com. March 24, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Online Politicking Receives Temporary Reprieve. News.com. March 23, 2005.

Federal Election Commission. Draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Internet Communication. (.pdf) March 23, 2005.

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P2P @ SXSW

"Somewhere between the live music showcases on Sixth Street and the endless schmoozing that ran well past midnight, the deep-fried drunkfest known as South by Southwest also squeezed in some discussion of technology and how it's changing the music industry.

"In the tradition of the annual Austin music festival, which ended last weekend, panels covered both the industry and artistic side of the music game. Labels and managers, after all, are just as interested as the artists themselves in how the internet, digital downloading and other technologies are turning the music business on its head."

Michael Grebb. P2P: Music's Death Knell or Boon?. Wired.com. March 22, 2005.

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AFFECT Rolls Out Licensing Principles

"The Americans For Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions (AFFECT) coalition has announced its Stop Before You Click campaign promoting its 12 Principles for Fair Commerce in Software and Other Digital Products.

"My long-time readers know AFFECT as the organization that succeeded in stopping the spread of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA). UCITA, an incredibly customer-unfriendly model state law pushed by Microsoft and friends, was hurriedly enacted in Virginia and Maryland before interest groups opposed to it could effectively get organized.

"While UCITA itself is still dead for the most part, unfortunately its spirit is still with us in the DMCA and other legislation. So AFFECT formed a task force to draft a set of principles for fair dealing in digital products."

Ed Foster. Why You Should Stop Before You Click. The Gripe Line Weblog. March 11, 2005.

See also:
AFFECT. Stop Before You Click. No date.

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Groups Seek Patriot Act Changes

"Representatives from the FBI and the privacy community on Tuesday clashed over how provisions in a 2001 anti-terrorism law known as the USA PATRIOT Act are being used to access information.

"'We at the FBI do not want your secrets, unless of course you are a terrorist or a spy,' Valerie Caproni, general counsel for the FBI, said at a conference sponsored by the American University National Security and Law Society.

"Caproni downplayed the controversy surrounding the law, which has been criticized as giving the government too much investigatory and surveillance powers."

Chloe Albanesius. FBI Official, Privacy Advocate Clash Over PATRIOT Act. GovExec. March 22, 2005.

See also:
Edward Epstein. Left and Right Unite to CChallenge Patriot Act Provisions. San Francisco Chronicle. March 23, 2005.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 25, 2005

'Pretty' Librarian Sues Harvard

"A black librarian suing Harvard for discrimination said her supervisor advised her to look for jobs elsewhere because other companies are always looking for good minority candidates.

"Denise Goodwin, 40, is suing Harvard for race and gender discrimination after being passed over 16 times in five years for higher-paying jobs. Goodwin, who earns $40,000, has been a librarian for 17 years, first at Boston College and later at Harvard beginning in 1994.

"She testified yesterday she was in shock when her boss told her she was viewed as 'just a pretty girl' who wore low-cut tops, tight pants and would never get a promotion."

J. M. Lawrence. Librarian: Harvard Boss Told Me I Was Just a Pretty Face. BostonHerald.com. March 23, 2005.

Update: BBC News. US Librarian Loses 'Sexy' Lawsuit. April 5, 2005. (A federal jury in Boston has ruled in Harvard University's favor in a discrimination lawsuit filed by a library assistant.)

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Dutch AG Upholds Free Speech Decision

"Today, Attorney-General Verkade delivered his opinion regarding the Scientology case to the Dutch Supreme Court. In this case the Church of Scientology accuses Karin Spaink of copyright infringement for making parts of their course material available on her website. By publishing this material, Spaink wants to inspire a public debate about the nature of the cult."

No author.
Attorney-General Confirms Ruling for Xs4All in Scientology Case
. Xs4All News. March 18, 2005.

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British Man Accused of Copyright Infringement

"A British man who runs a Web site that allegedly once supported the BitTorrent peer-to-peer application is facing the threat of being sued by four major U.S. movie studios.

"Kevin Reid has been accused of copyright infringement by Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios and Warner Bros. The studios filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court earlier this month claiming that copyright-protected films have been uploaded and downloaded from bds-palace.co.uk, which Reid runs.

"Reid has not yet been formally named as a defendant in the lawsuit. However, lawyers representing the four labels have served him with legal papers asking him to reach a settlement."

Graeme Wearden. U.K. Man Threatened with BitTorrent Lawsuit. News.com. March 18, 2005.

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March 24, 2005

Request for VoIP Ruling is Withdrawn

"One of the most important Internet telephony rulings of the year was expected from federal regulators Tuesday, but now it won't happen.

"In a surprise move, an Internet telephony company that had asked the Federal Communications Commission for the ruling said late Monday that it was withdrawing its request.

"Level 3 Communications had been telling the FCC that the company should be able to pay lower fees to local telephone companies to begin or end voice calls on their networks. The decision from the FCC was expected to have a far-reaching impact on the voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, industry. If Level 3 had lost, the prices for some VoIP calls could have jumped."

Ben Charny. Level 3 Withdraws Request for VoIP Fee Ruling. News.com. March 21, 2005.

See also:
Ben Charny. Level 3 Wants Access Charge Exemption. News.com. Jan. 5, 2004.

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March 23, 2005

Google Removes AFP Content

"Google has decided to remove Agence France Presse from Google News after the global news wire filed a lawsuit (.pdf) last week seeking to bar the display of its content on the news search engine.

"France-based AFP sued Google in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, alleging that Google News infringes on its copyright by displaying AFP headlines, images and story leads without its permission.

"But on Monday, a Google spokesman confirmed that the AFP will be dropped from the Google News index. Google also will retroactively remove AFP content from the news index."

Matt Hicks. Google to Drop AFP from News Index. eWeek. March 21, 2005.

See also:
United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Agence France Presse v. Google, Inc.. (.pdf) March 17, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on Google's copyright lawsuit.

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The Disappearance of Google X

"Google's latest technology experiment paid tribute to Apple Computer, but the Mac OS X-themed version of the search king's Web site was taken down a day after its debut.

"Google software engineer Chikai Ohazama played up his work, Google X, on the company's blog on Tuesday. Located on Google's test site, Google X featured an alternate way to connect to various services, allowing people to click on a series of graphical icons in a method inspired by a feature in Apple's operating system.

"As of Wednesday afternoon, however, the Web page was inaccessible."

Stefanie Olsen and Ina Fried. Google's X Files Vanish. News.com. March 16, 2005.

Chikai Ohazama. Google Goes X. Google Blog. March 15, 2005.

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Same Debate, Different Era on Video Games

"Back in the early days of film, there was just no telling what damage the celluloid appearance of sulky Swede Greta Garbo might be inflicting on America's impressionable youth.

"So it was that in 1931, some 40 religious and educational groups pressed Uncle Sam to regulate the film industry and thus protect minors from damage they might suffer from being exposed to 'harmful' content.

"Skip forward to 2005, and you can't mistake the echo of that familiar argument in the push by legislators and private interest groups to get government to do something about violent video and computer games--the only difference being the particular object of society's collective ire."

Charles Cooper. If Video Games Kill, What About the Bible?. News.com. March 18, 2005.

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March 21, 2005

Anti-P2P Senator Will Lead New IP Subcommittee

"Orrin Hatch, the senator who once said the recording industry should be able to destroy music pirates' PCs, will be in charge of a new Senate panel responsible for writing copyright laws.

"Hatch, a Utah Republican, on Thursday was formally named chairman of the Senate Intellectual Property subcommittee. It's responsible for overseeing the U.S. Copyright Office and drafting legislation and treaties relating to copyright and patent laws."

Declan McCullagh. Anti-P2P Lawmaker Gets Top Senate Spot. News.com. March 17, 2005.

See also:
David McGuire. Hatch to Head Senate Panel on Copyright. WashingtonPost.com. March 17, 2005.

U.S. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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BlackBerry Maker Settles Infringement Lawsuit

"Shares in Research In Motion Ltd. moved up sharply Wednesday after the company agreed to settle a potentially ruinous American patent lawsuit by paying $450 million US.

"The maker of the BlackBerry mobile e-mail device said that under the settlement of the three-year-old litigation, NTP Inc. of Arlington, Va., is granting RIM "an unfettered right to continue its BlackBerry-related wireless business without further interference from NTP or its patents."

Gary Norris. Research In Motion Stock Surges After BlackBerry Lawsuit Settled for US$450M. National Post. March 17, 2005.

See also:
Richard Shim. RIM Settles NTP Patent Suit. News.com. March 16, 2005.

Research in Motion. Research In Motion And NTP Agree To Resolve Litigation. March 16, 2005.

Michael Singer. RIM's BlackBerry Cleared For U.S. Markets. InternetNews.com. March 16, 2005.

Eric B. Parizo. Courts, Competition Can't Stop RIM's Dominance. SearchMobileComputing.com. Aug. 18, 2005.

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March 19, 2005

Will Grokster Case Suffocate Legitimate Innovation?

"As the bitter debate over computer file sharing heads toward the Supreme Court, the pro-technology camp is growing increasingly anxious.

"Some technologists warn that if the court decides in favor of the music and recording industries after hearing arguments in the MGM v. Grokster case on March 29, the ruling could also stifle a proliferating set of new Internet-based services that have nothing to do with the sharing of copyrighted music and movies at issue in the court case.

"Some of those innovations were on display here at the Emerging Technology Conference, attended by about 750 hardware and software designers. The demonstrations included Flickr, a Canadian service that has made it possible for Web loggers and surfers to easily share and catalog millions of digital photographs."

John Markoff. As File Sharing Nears High Court, Techies Worry. News.com. March 17, 2005.

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Pew Study: More Parents Use Net Filters

"More than half of American families with teenagers use filters to limit access to potentially harmful online content – a 65% increase from the number of those who used filters in 2000. But big majorities of both teens and parents believe that teens do things on the internet that their parents would not approve of."

Amanda Lenhart. Protecting Teens Online. Pew Internet & American Life Project. March 17, 2005.

Amanda Lenhart. Protecting Teens Online. (.pdf) Pew Internet & American Life Project. March 17, 2005.

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March 18, 2005

Bush Picks Martin For FCC Chairman

"President Bush has chosen Kevin J. Martin, one of the Federal Communication Commission's leaders in the crackdown on indecency, to succeed the agency's outgoing chairman, Michael K. Powell, the White House said yesterday.

"Martin, 38, is one of the FCC's three Republican commissioners and has been considered the front-runner to head the agency, which is the government's chief regulator of the media and telecommunications industries. He does not require Senate confirmation because he already is a commission member. "

Frank Ahrens. FCC's New Standards-Bearer. WashingtonPost.com. March 17, 2005.

Office of the Press Secretary. Personnel Announcement. The White House. March 16, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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March 17, 2005

Amazon's Patent Raises Privacy Flags

"Post a review of a book or other product on Amazon.com, and the information may find its way into the company's file on you.

"That's one key feature, anyway, of a system Amazon has invented to gather clues about customers' gift-giving habits in order to suggest future gifts and reminders. The company was granted a patent last week for the system, which also profiles gift recipients and guesses their age, birthday and gender.

"Amazon says it hasn't put the 'systems and methods' covered by the patent to use, so it isn't monitoring customer review pages yet. But that fact gives little comfort to consumer advocates, who have hounded Amazon for years over its customer-profiling practices."

Alorie Gilbert. Privacy Advocates Frown on Amazon Snooping Plan. News.com. March 14, 2005.

See also:
Matthew Broersma. Amazon Patent Thinks Pink. News.com. March 9, 2005.

Troy Wolverton. Privacy Groups Target Amazon Again. News.com. Oct. 2, 2002.

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March 16, 2005

Conference Addresses Click Fraud

"Last week, I served on the 'Click Fraud: Problem or Paranoia' panel at the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York. At one point, Jessie Stricchiola, one of my fellow panelists, tried to gauge the extent of the problem by asking the 80 people in attendance to raise their hands if they had ever been victims of 'click fraud.'

"About half of the audience members, most of them small businesses owners, raised their hands.

"Then Stricchiola, founder of Alchemist Media, wanted to know how much each had lost. Most reported losses in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. A couple hit $20,000, and the biggest loser of all claimed his company had been fleeced for more than $300,000. That's when I realized the panel might have more aptly been called 'Click Fraud: Problem and Paranoia.'"

Adam L. Penenberg. Click Fraud: Problem and Paranoia. Wired News. March 10, 2005.

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March 15, 2005

Disgruntled Employee Posts Medical Records on Blog

"In a troubling episode involving medical privacy in the digital age, Kaiser Permanente is notifying 140 patients that a disgruntled former employee posted confidential information about them on her Weblog.

"The woman, who calls herself the 'Diva of Disgruntled,' claims it was Kaiser Permanente that included private patient information on systems diagrams posted on the Web, and that she pointed it out.

"The health care giant learned of the breach from the federal Office of Civil Rights in January, said Kaiser spokesman Matthew Schiffgens. Kaiser has been investigating ever since, Schiffgens said, but it wasn't until Wednesday that it asked the Internet service provider hosting the blog to remove the information."

Barbara Feder Ostrov. 140 Kaiser Patients' Private Data Put Online. SiliconValley.com. March 11, 2005.

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March 14, 2005

Apple Can Get Blog's E-mail Records

"Apple Computer has the right to subpoena the electronic records of a Web site that published items about an unreleased product, a judge ruled Friday.

"The judge said that Apple can go ahead and obtain records from Nfox, the e-mail service provider to Mac enthusiast site PowerPage. In the ruling (.doc), Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James P. Kleinberg ruled that Apple's interests in protecting its trade secrets outweighed the public interest in the information.

"In the ruling, the judge largely brushed off the question of whether the publishers were journalists and therefore protected from facing contempt charges for refusing to divulge sources under California's shield law."

Ina Fried and John Borland. Judge: Apple Can Pursue Fan Site Sources. News.com. March 11, 2005.

See also:
Charles Cooper. Apple Lawsuit: Thinking Different?. News.com. March 11, 2005.

Jonathan Glater. At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too?. The New York Times. March 7, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Do Bloggers Get Journalistic Privileges?

"I'm not one of these people who thinks you need a graduate degree, an ID card or an official stamp of approval to call yourself a journalist. Anyone with an idea and a computer can now play the role of reporter, commentator or social critic. People can tell the difference between a New York Times correspondent and BozoBlogger.com, and both have something to contribute.

"But this is starting to matter for legal reasons. Time magazine's Matt Cooper and Judith Miller of the New York Times may wind up going to jail for protecting their sources in the Valerie Plame case, but at least they have the standing as journalists to challenge the prosecutor who wants to imprison them. Would a blogger have the same standing?"

Howard Kurtz. Regulating Cyberspace?. WashingtonPost.com. March 11, 2005.

See also:
Jonathan Glater. At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too?. The New York Times. March 7, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Data Privacy Board Stacked with Database Executives

"Even before recent security breaches exposed private data about millions of consumers, the Department of Homeland Security was assembling a public board to recommend how to best safeguard privacy, as the agency makes use of growing stores of information collected about U.S. citizens.

"But of the 20-member panel, two of the members work for database-marketing companies, while two others work for think tanks that receive funding from the industry. Other members represent the insurance, airline-reservation, technology-research and database-software industries. At least two members are from companies with Homeland Security contracts."

Jonathan Krim. Critics Question Impartiality of Panel Studying Privacy Rights. WashingtonPost.com. March 11, 2005.

See also:
Jonathan Krim. FTC Head Stresses Data Security. WashingtonPost.com. March 11, 2005.

Evan Hendricks. When Your Identity Is Their Commodity. WashingtonPost.com. March 6, 2005. (Note: The author of this article is editor and publisher of Privacy Times.)

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 11, 2005

McCain, Feingold Dispel Blog Regulation Rumors

"Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold reassured the Internet community that bloggers will not be regulated by federal campaign finance laws.

"The senators, who authored the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 known as the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform law, issued a statement on Tuesday in response to comments made by a Federal Elections Commission commissioner in a CNET News.com interview last week.

"'The latest misinformation from the antireform crowd is the suggestion that our bill will require regulation of blogs and other Internet communications,' they said. 'This issue has nothing to with private citizens communicating on the Internet.'"

Marguerite Reardon. Senators Reassure Bloggers. News.com. March 9, 2005.

See also:
Ellen Weintraub. Bloggers, Chill Out Already!. News.com. March 7, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. The Coming Crackdown on Blogging. News.com. March 3, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Net Pirates Plead Guilty

"The U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday that three men pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement, as part of what attorneys called the largest multinational Net piracy investigation to date.

"The investigation, called 'Operation Higher Education,' has been conducted in 12 countries, prosecutors said. The three men pleaded guilty to being part of organized groups including Fairlight and Kalisto, both of which specialized in distributing pirated copies of computer and video games."

John Borland. Three Convictions in Net Piracy Sweeps. News.com. March 8, 2005.

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FEC Tells Bloggers to "Chill"

"Reports of a Federal Election Commission plot to 'crack down' on blogging and e-mail are wildly exaggerated.

"First of all, we're not the speech police. We don't tell private citizens what they can or cannot say, on the Internet or anywhere else. The FEC regulates campaign finance. There's got to be some money involved, or it's out of our jurisdiction.

"Second, let's get the facts straight. Congress, in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, limited how one can pay for communications that are coordinated with political campaigns, including any form of 'general public political advertising.'"

Ellen Weintraub. Bloggers, Chill Out Already!. News.com. March 7, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. The Coming Crackdown on Blogging. News.com. March 3, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 10, 2005

Archivists Strive to Keep Historical Records Off eBay

"The seller described the item as a 'wonderful, original document dated 1819' complete with signatures of Pownal's selectmen. Bids on eBay started at $14.95 for the historic tax record from the southern Maine town. The seller, however, did not get a bite from Maine State Archivist Jim Henderson. Instead, the online auctioneer got an e-mail warning that the sale was illegal.

"Henderson and others in the Maine Secretary of State's Office are trying to prevent the sale of original public documents, a problem they say has increased with the popularity and ease of Internet auction sites. They are contacting traditional auctioneers, working with a national group to push changes in online auctions and trying to educate the general public."

Mark Peters. Pieces of History are Going - Then Gone - on eBay. MaineToday.com. Feb. 28, 2005.

See also:
Maine State Archives. State Officials Issue Reminder about the Purchase or Sale of Historical Records. (Press Release.) Feb. 15, 2005.

Council of State Historical Records Coordinators. Statement Regarding the Sale of Historical Public Records on eBay. (Press Release.) Feb. 2004.

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March 09, 2005

Judge to Decide Blogger/Journalist Debate

"In the physical world, being labeled a journalist may confer little prestige and may even evoke some contempt. But being a journalist can also confer certain privileges, like the right to keep sources confidential. And for that reason many bloggers, a scrappy legion of online commentators and pundits, would like to be considered reporters, too.

"A lawsuit filed in California by Apple Computer is drawing the courts into that question: who should be considered a journalist?

"The case, which involves company secrets that Apple says were disclosed on several Web sites, is being closely followed in the world of online commentators, but it could have broad implications for journalists working for traditional news organizations as well."

Jonathan Glater. At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too?. The New York Times. March 7, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Apple Goes to the Source. News.com. March 7, 2005.

John Borland. Judge Delays Decision on Apple Trade Secrets Case. March 4, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 07, 2005

Feds to Crack the Whip on Political Blogs

"In just a few months, warns Bradley Smith, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

"Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet."

Declan McCullagh. The Coming Crackdown on Blogging. News.com. March 3, 2005.

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Apple Bloggers Await Judge's Decision

"A state judge in California heard arguments on Friday in a lawsuit brought by Apple Computer to force three Web site publishers to reveal the names of confidential sources who disclosed to them Apple's plans for future products.

"The outcome of the lawsuit, which was filed in December, could have far-reaching ramifications for the ability of bloggers to maintain the confidentiality of unnamed sources, which news gatherers often depend on for information."

Laurie J. Flynn. Apple Asks Judge to Order Web Sites to Name Sources. The New York Times. March 5, 2005.

See also:
Dawn Kawamoto. Tentative Ruling Favors Apple in Blog Case. News.com. March 4, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. No Ruling Issued Yet in Apple Case. March 4, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 05, 2005

PATRIOT Act Ruling Overdue

"Nearly 15 months have passed since U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood promised a prompt ruling on whether an important challenge to part of the USA Patriot Act should proceed.

"Back in July 2003, several Muslim community groups and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged Section 215 of the post-9/11 law, which broadened the federal government's ability to obtain secret surveillance and search warrants. Back on Dec. 3, 2003, Hood heard oral arguments on the Justice Department's motion to dismiss the case.

"At the time, Hood said she understood the importance of the case. Yet still, she has not ruled."

No author. PATRIOT ACT: Court Ruling on Key Section is Long Overdue. Detroit Free Press. Feb. 25, 2005.

See also:
American Civil Liberties Union. PATRIOT Act Fears Are Stifling Free Speech, ACLU Says in Challenge to Law.

Related
John Darling. Librarians, FBI Official Debate the Patriot Act. Mail Tribune. March 3, 2005.

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March 04, 2005

Groups Urge Supreme Court to Protect File-Sharing

"Backed by powerful technology groups and a handful of artists, file-swapping software companies on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject proposals from the entertainment industry that could put them out of business.

"Record labels and Hollywood studios, seeking to overturn lower court rulings shielding file-swapping companies, have asked the court to rule that businesses distributing products 'predominately' devoted to copyright infringement should be held legally responsible for that illegal activity."

John Borland. P2P Companies Ask High Court for Help. News.com. March 1, 2005.

See also:
Grant Gross. Showdown Looms for P2P Networks. PC World. March 1, 2005.

Dawn C. Chmielewski. Intel Urges High Court to Protect File-Sharing. SilconValley.com. March 2, 2005.

Alex Veiga. Leading Scientists Back File-Sharing Firms. ABC News. March 1, 2005.

Jefferson Graham. Tech Industry Outlines File-Sharing Argument. USA Today. March 1, 2005.

Jonathan Krim. Artists Break With Industry on File Sharing. WashingtonPost.com. March 1, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:49 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Skype = Seed of Redmond?

"Bill Gates has often outlined a vision of Microsoft becoming an 'information utility,' the nerve center of a Microsoftian infrastructure network where people subscribe to computing power (think 'grid') the way they subscriibe to electric power, cable television, or--you guessed it--telephone service. Skype's startling vision of a future telephone-over-Internet network is probably closer to creating the infrastructure of utility computing than even Bill Gates himself is prepared to admit.

"Skype is an orchestrated attempt to utterly replace a the global telephone network, driven by a small army of cash-armed tech warriors who are as success-driven and shrewd as Gates himself was as an ugly, gawky teenager in the 1970s. If I were Microsoft, or SBC, or Nextel, I'd be watching Skype very closely right now."

Tad Wallingford. Skype Looks More and More Like a Baby Microsoft. O'Reilly Developer Weblogs. Feb. 16, 2005.

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Qwest Hedges Its Bets with VoIP Game

"To save money, some Minnesota government agencies are discarding their Qwest telephones and switching to new ones that convert calls into data packets that travel over computer networks.

"The new phone service, called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) , saves money for big users by eliminating the need for separate telephone networks, as well as by providing more workplace flexibility with simpler call routing. Hennepin County is embracing the technology, and the Minnesota Department of Revenue is the first large state agency to make the switch.

"The state and county projects will result in Qwest losing 15,000 phone lines, or more, over the next two years."

CRM Daily. Switch to VoIP Is Saving Taxpayers Money. Feb. 25, 2005.

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March 02, 2005

The 'Copyfight' Battle

"There will be no winners if we do not sort out copyright, argues columnist Bill Thompson. But let us not forget moral rights.

"Amidst all the 'will they?, won't they?' excitement over whether European patent law should be updated, and whether the version currently on offer will allow US-style software patents, it would be easy to forget that another, bigger, battle continues around the world.

It is the 'copyfight' - the continuing dispute over what sort of legal protection creative people or the companies that employ them should have over the ways in which their works are used."

Bill Thompson. The Copyright 'Copyfight' Is On. BBC News. Feb. 18, 2005.

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March 01, 2005

MPAA Files More Piracy Lawsuits

"Hollywood studios launched a new round of legal action Thursday, aimed in part at people swapping versions of nominated films in Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.

"As with previous rounds of lawsuits filed by the Motion Picture Association of America, the group's executives declined to say how many people were targeted in the lawsuits or where the suits were filed. They cited several award-nominated films--including 'Sideways,' 'The Incredibles' and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'--as being involved in the lawsuits.

"The MPAA is several months into an aggressive new legal campaign against unauthorized film trading, which has resulted in several key file-swapping hubs being taken offline.

John Borland. Studios Target Oscar Film Swappers. News.com. Feb. 24, 2005.

See also:
Reuters. Hollywood Files More Web Lawsuits. CNN Money. Feb. 24, 2005.

John Borland. MPAA Files New Film-Swapping Suits. News.com. Jan. 26, 2005.

John Borland. File Swapping vs. Hollywood. News.com. Jan. 25, 2005.

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February 28, 2005

Protecting Digital Property Without New Legislation

"The agenda for last week’s Digital Media Hollywood Summit reads like a self-help guide for the content industry. Sessions on the economics of media convergence and 'embracing the connected consumer' are indicative of an industry dealing with changes in technology and consumer behavior. Panels discussed technologies that package digital content in new ways.

"Using technology protections for copyright instead of legislation to protect copyright is a worthwhile public policy discussion. Indeed, going forward, technology, and not legislation, should be the primary means for defining the consumer experience.

"Why? Technology applications - if not the result of a government mandate - represent a market solution that can help reward artists and provide consumers with innovative content."

Braden Cox and Clyde Wayne Crews. Helping Hollywood Help Itself - Protecting Digital Property Without New Legislation. Competitive Enterprise Institute. Feb. 15, 2005.

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ChoicePoint Sued Over Identity Theft

"A California woman has sued ChoicePoint Inc. for fraud and negligence after criminals gained access to a database of personal records compiled by the company.

"The suit, which seeks class-action status, was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday and claims that for at least five months the company failed to adequately protect people's financial records and confidential information."

No author. ChoicePoint Sued Over Identity Theft. Reuters. Feb. 23, 2005.

See also:
Kim Zetter. California Woman Sues ChoicePoint. Wired News. Feb. 24, 2005.

Jesse J. Holland. Congress Holding Hearing on Identity Theft. Yahoo! News. Feb. 24, 2005.

Reuters. Lawmakers to Act on Identity Theft. News.com. Feb. 24, 2005.

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February 26, 2005

Search Engines Involve Legal Issues

"A competitor is running a search engine ad with your trademarked brand name. Another has copied your web site without permission. You suspect another of driving up your advertising costs through click fraud. What are your legal options?

"What can you do to protect your site from these online thieves? At the Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago, a panel of experts explored a wide range of issues related to search engines and legal protection."

Grant Crowell. Search Engines and Legal Issues. SearchEngineWatch. Feb. 23, 2005.

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February 24, 2005

Tension Builds Over Use of High Tech

"In 2002, a young software programmer in Seattle named Bram Cohen solved a vexing Internet problem: how to get large computer files such as home movies or audio recordings of music concerts to travel rapidly across cyberspace.

"Among the benefits of the invention, called BitTorrent, was that millions of users could quickly see lengthy amateur videos documenting the devastation of the December tsunami in the Indian Ocean, helping to spur an outpouring of charitable aid.

"But BitTorrent also is wildly popular because the technology makes it easier to freely trade Hollywood movies and television shows, putting it in the cross hairs of the entertainment industry.

Jonathan Krim. High-Tech Tension Over Illegal Uses. WashingtonPost.com. Feb. 22, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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iMesh P2P Network Moves Toward Release

"For more than six months, Israel's iMesh has been the strangest of beasts in the file-swapping world: a fully functioning peer-to-peer network operating with the blessing, albeit temporary, of the recording industry.

"That status is coming slowly to an end. The company is working to build a record-label-approved peer-to-peer service, using song-filtering company Audible Magic's technology to help turn unauthorized music trades into revenue for record labels.

"Originally expected by the end of last year, the song-sales service is taking longer than predicted. Company executives declined to comment on the details of the service, but said that progress on the new service has been satisfactory."

John Borland. iMesh Almost Ready to Become Paid File-Swap Network. News.com. Feb. 17, 2005.

See also:
John Borland. Record Labels Settle With Israeli P2P Company. News.com. July 20, 2004.

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Violent Video Game Debate Continues

"A key sequence in 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' requires the player to steal a police SWAT team tank, machine gun rival gang members and incinerate employees of a rival crack dealer--all acts covered by the 'Mature' rating prominently displayed on each copy of the video game.

"That rating, however, hasn't stopped countless underage players from picking up virtual Uzis in the latest GTA installment, the top-selling video game of 2004. Advocacy groups say exposure to such material makes kids more aggressive and desensitizes them to real-world violence, an argument that's winning increasing support from state and local lawmakers looking to ban the sale of such games to minors.

"The issue's become a political football, with lawmakers and advocacy groups arguing that the government must protect children if the game industry can't or won't. The debate only gets more confusing with publicity surrounding cases such as that of Devin Thompson, an Alabama teen who claims that a previous version of 'Grand Theft Auto' inspired him to kill three police officers when he was 16."

David Becker. When Games Get Gory. News.com. Feb. 22, 2005.

See also:
David Becker. Video Game Sales up 8 Percent in 2004. News.com. Jan. 18, 2005.

David Becker. How Gory is That Game?. News.com. Nov. 23, 2004.

David Becker. 'Grand Theft Auto': Keeping America Safe From Crime. News.com. Dec. 13, 2004.

David Kushner. Grand Death Auto. Salon. Feb. 22, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: Salon.com normally requires a paid subscription, but you can view articles if you register for a free day pass.)

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February 23, 2005

Groups Challenge Broadcast Flag Rules

"Mike Godwin, the legal director for Public Knowledge, a digital-rights advocacy group in Washington, is a fan of Showtime's new drama series 'Huff.' So three weeks ago, when he missed the season finale, he decided to download it to his personal computer.

"To Mr. Godwin, the time-consuming download (and the file's poor quality) indicated that the rampant piracy of digitized broadcast programs - a threat Hollywood has long warned against - was hardly imminent. But to the Federal Communications Commission and the Motion Picture Association of America, cases like this one suggest a future of widespread illegal file-sharing that must be stopped before it begins."

"The debate will be presented in oral arguments tomorrow before the District of Columbia Circuit for the United States Court of Appeals in a lawsuit brought by Public Knowledge and others against the F.C.C., challenging a new regulation that is intended to prevent such bleeding of television content onto the Internet."

Tom Zeller Jr. Federal Effort to Head Off TV Piracy Is Challenged. News.com. Feb. 21, 2005.

See also:
Ed Felton. Broadcast Flag in Court. Freedom to Tinker. Feb. 21, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Broadcast Flag "Just As Important As Grokster". Deep Links. Feb. 18, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF's HDTV-PVR Cookbook. No date

Update: Declan McCullagh. Court Questions FCC's Broadcast Flag Rules. News.com. Feb. 22, 2005. (A federal appeals court questions whether the FCC has authority to undertake such sweeping regulation.)

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NGA Considers Restricting Access to Maps

"Officials at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency want to bar the public from viewing the agency's aeronautical and navigational data and publications, a decision that has upset many who use that information. Some librarians, commercial mapmakers and public-interest group members say they will launch a campaign to retain access.

"Without seeking public comment, NGA officials announced plans in November 2004 to stop selling and distributing the aeronautical and navigational data because of copyright concerns and worries about terrorist attacks. Last December, however, they said they would seek comments before making a final decision.

"Jim Mohan, an NGA spokesman, said the agency is considering the action partly because an increasing number of foreign source providers are claiming intellectual property rights or warning agency officials that they intend to copyright their source material."

Frank Tiboni. A Publishing Dilemma. FCW. Feb. 7, 2005.

See also:
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. NGA Invites Public Comment on Proposal to Remove Aeronautical Information from Public Sale and Distribution. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Dec. 3, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:09 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

First Arrest for IM Spam

"A U.S teenager has become the first person to be arrested on suspicion of sending unsolicited instant messages--or spim.

"Anthony Greco, 18, was lured from New York to Los Angeles under the pretence of a business meeting. He was arrested upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport last Wednesday.

"Greco allegedly sent 1.5 million messages advertising pornography and mortgages. According to reports, the recipients of the messages were all members of the MySpace.com online networking service."

Will Sturgeon. U.S. Makes First Arrest for Spim. News.com. Feb. 21, 2005

See also:
Joseph Menn. Instant Messages Face Growing Spam Threat. detnews.com. Feb. 21, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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February 22, 2005

The Erosion of Culture

"Should the Girl Scouts have to fork over a fee to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers every time its young members want to sing 'Happy Birthday' to one another? Should the organizers of athletic events have to seek permission from the United States Olympic Committee to use the word 'Olympics' in the titles of their events?

"Anyone who responds with an emphatic, 'Well, of course not,' will find a frustrating sort of pleasure in Brand Name Bullies ($25, 2005, John Wiley & Sons), by activist David Bollier.

"As the title suggests, the book is an intense critique of the U.S. copyright and trademark system and the corporations that use it as a weapon against competitors and anyone else who might threaten them. Bollier argues that the court's willingness to let corporations get away with such bullying is increasingly eroding our 'cultural commons' -- the collection of images, stories, sounds and other creative expressions that, due to their significance and prevalence, no longer belong to any single person or company."

Amit Asaravala. Are Bullies After Our Culture?. Wired News. Feb. 16, 2005.

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February 21, 2005

10 Copyright Myths Explained

"An attempt to answer common myths about copyright seen on the net and cover issues related to copyright and USENET/Internet publication.

"Note that this is an essay about copyright myths. It assumes you know at least what copyright is -- basically the legal exclusive right of the author of a creative work to control the copying of that work. If you didn't know that, check out my own brief introduction to copyright for more information."

Brad Templeton. 10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained. Templeton.com. No date.

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Patent Infringement Suit Over Color Orange

"As a noun, it is the bane of rhyming poets. As a fruit, it is a widely enjoyed source of vitamin C. But as a color, orange could one day become the legal property of Orange, the British mobile phone company.

"Orange said yesterday evening that it would sue easyMobile, a wireless start-up founded by the entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who also founded the easyJet discount airline. Orange wants to keep easyMobile from ever using its signature color in advertisements.

"The crux of the argument is that ads for Orange prominently feature its namesake color. Its shade of orange is similar to the one used by all the easyGroup brands, and to the one that easyMobile plans to use in advertisements of its own."

Heather Timmons. In a British Mobile Phone Suit, the Color of Money Is Orange. The New York Times. Feb. 19, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:57 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 19, 2005

EFF Creates Endangered Gizmos List

"Endangered animals lists are familiar to those who care about nature, but now technology has its own list of gadget 'species' under threat of extinction.

"High on the endangered list is the file-sharing network, Morpheus, which is about to fight for survival in court.

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) list highlights what it says is the grip industry holds over gadgets."

No author. Gizmos Under Threat of Extinction. BBC News. Feb. 18, 2005.

See also:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. Endangered Gizmos List.

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No Law to Protect Bloggers

"Over the past eight months, bloggers have covered two political conventions; claimed credit for forcing the resignations of two prominent journalists (soon-to-be former CBS news anchor Dan Rather, ex-CNN news chief Eason Jordan); outed a conservative faker with a taste for gay porn credentialed to cover the White House; and risen from relative obscurity to media darling. They've done this while attracting impressive levels of web traffic (and advertising dollars) and conjuring up a cottage industry and community devoted largely to, well, themselves.

"Now, with two reporters from established news organizations facing jail time for defying an order to divulge confidential sources to a federal grand jury, bloggers are clamoring for the same legal protection that journalists are accorded under the First Amendment.

"But they won't get it. Besides, even if they did, it wouldn't be of much use."

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Adam L. Penenberg. No Protection for Bloggers. Wired News. Feb. 17, 2005.

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February 17, 2005

Lawyers Challenge Apple's Subpoenas

"Lawyers for news Web sites targeted by Apple Computer asked a California court on Monday to block subpoenas seeking to identify who leaked information about unreleased products.

"The subpoenas should not be permitted because Internet journalists deserve the full protection of the First Amendment that their traditional brethren have long enjoyed, the lawyers said in a brief filed in Santa Clara Superior Court.

"These writers 'cannot be compelled to disclose the source of any information procured in connection with their journalistic endeavors, nor any unpublished information obtained,' the brief says. 'The reporter's privilege applies to online publication and print publication equally.' The brief was prepared by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and two local law firms.

Declan McCullagh. Apple's Subpoenas Challenged in Court. News.com. Feb. 14, 2005.

See also:

Daniel Drew Turner. Apple Agrees to Hold Subpoenas Against Web Sites. eWeek. Feb. 16, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF Asks Court to Protect Online Journalists. (Press Release.) Feb. 14, 2005.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Apple v. Does. No date.

Update: EFF: Apple to Hold Off on Subpoenas. News.com. Feb. 16, 2005. (Apple has agreed to delay subpoena requests until after a court hears the EFF's objections.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:49 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

J.P. Morgan Fined Millions for Discarding E-Mails

"Wall Street investment bank JPMorgan Chase will pay $2.1 million in fines to settle accusations that it failed to retain e-mails sought in investigations of stock research analyst misconduct, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday.

"In a case stemming from the late-1990s technology and telecommunications stock bubble, JPMorgan will pay $700,000 each to the SEC, the New York Stock Exchange and brokerages regulator NASD over record-keeping rule issues, the SEC said.

"'Securities regulations generally require that brokers maintain records related to their business and transactions with customers, and that includes e-mail and other electronic records,' said SEC spokesman John Nester."

Reuters. JPMorgan to Pay $2.1 Million in E-mail case. News.com. Feb. 15, 2005.

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China Cracks Down on Illegal Net Cafes

"Chinese authorities closed 12,575 net cafes in the closing months of 2004, the country's government said.

"According to the official news agency most of the net cafes were closed down because they were operating illegally.

"Chinese net cafes operate under a set of strict guidelines and many of those most recently closed broke rules that limit how close they can be to schools."

No author. China Net Cafe Culture Crackdown. BBC News. Feb. 14, 2005.

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February 15, 2005

House of Commons Bans Blackberry Use

"Michael Martin, the House of Commons speaker, has declared that anyone using BlackBerrys or other 'electronic devices' in the chamber can be thrown out.

"The decision comes shortly after Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell used his BlackBerry to send a profanity-laden tirade to BBC flagship program 'Newsnight,' believing he had sent it to a Labour public relations agency.

"Martin also revealed that some members of Parliament were found to be using the devices during debates. U.K. politicians also have been banned from wearing earpieces that could allow them to communicate with the outside world when the House is in session."

Jo Best. U.K. Parliament Squashes BlackBerry Use. News.com. Feb. 11, 2005.

See also:
Tania Branigan. Ear, Ear ... Leave It Out. The Guardian. Feb. 11, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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February 14, 2005

MPAA Attacks P2P Again

"A Dallas federal court has ordered file-swapping site LokiTorrent.com to shut down and provide Hollywood lawyers with access to its full server logs, including data that could expose hundreds of thousands of people to copyright lawsuits.

"The Motion Picture Association of America said Thursday that it had won a quick court victory against LokiTorrent, and was launching a new round of actions against other online piracy hubs. The data provided by the onetime file-swapping hub would provide 'a roadmap to others who have used LokiTorrent to engage in illegal activities,' the trade group said.

"Hard numbers on the site's traffic are hard to come by. However, according to researchers at the Delft University of Technology, LokiTorrent was responsible for more than 800,000 downloads in the month of October alone."

John Borland. Court: Hollywood Gets P2P Giant's Server Logs. News.com. Feb. 10, 2005.

See also:
Ashlee Vance. MPAA Closes Loki. The Register. Feb. 10, 2005.

Elizabeth Millard. MPAA Wins File-Sharing Suit. CIO Today. Feb. 11, 2005.

John Borland. Movie Blackout for P2P Networks?. News.com. Feb. 10, 2005.

Motion Picture Association of America. MPAA Member Studios File Second Round of Lawsuits Against Major P2P Server Operators That Facilitate Global Movie Piracy. (Press Release.) Feb. 10, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Reduce Spam: Make the Sender Pay

"Compare our e-mail system today with the British General Post Office in 1839, and ours wins. Compare it with the British postal system in 1840, however, and ours loses.

"In that year, the British introduced the Penny Black, the first postage stamp. It simplified postage - yes, to a penny - and shifted the cost from the recipient to the sender, who had to prepay. We look back with wonder that it could have ever been otherwise. Recipient pays? Why should the person who had not initiated the transaction be forced to pay for a message with unseen contents? What a perverse system.

"Today, however, we meekly assume that the recipient of e-mail must bear the costs. It is nominally free, of course, but it arrives in polluted form. Cleaning out the stuff once it reaches our in-box, or our Internet service provider's, is irritating beyond words, costly even without per-message postage.

"Even the best filters address the problem too late, after this sludge has been discharged without cost to the polluter. In my case, desperation has driven me to send all my messages sequentially through three separate filter systems. Then I must remember to check the three junk folders to see what failed to get through that should have. Recipient pays."

Randall Stross. How to Stop Junk E-Mail: Charge for the Stamp. The New York Times. Feb. 13, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:27 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 11, 2005

Grokster Implications Run Deep

"Over the next few months, the Supreme Court and--likely--Congress will resume a debate over rules that could determine whether consumers will continue to enjoy the benefits of many of the gadgets CNET covers.

"The debate is specifically about what kind of legal liability--if any--technology manufacturers, financiers, Internet service providers, journalists and others should have if their actions 'induce' another to commit copyright infringement.

"Congressional action this year will largely be shaped by what the Supreme Court does in the pending case involving Grokster, the peer-to-peer software used by millions. While the case may appear to be simply about illegal file trading, its implications are far deeper."

Gigi Sohn. Getting Real About the Grokster Case. News.com. Feb. 8, 2005.

See also:
John Borland. Supreme Court to Hear P2P Case. News.com. Dec. 10, 2005.

John Borland. Judge: File-swapping Tools are Legal. News.com. April 25, 2003.

Mark Cuban. Grokster and America's Future. News.com. Feb. 2, 2005.

Edward W. Felten. Splitting the Grokster Baby. Freedom to Tinker. Feb. 8, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:52 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

A New Look at Web Services

"Web services are poised to revolutionize the way content sites get their goods to the folks who want them.

"Joshua Tauberer is trying to render obsolete Web surfing to track congressional bills. People usually have to check out dozens of Web addresses, like the U.S. Congress site, OpenSecrets.org, and political blogs, to find out if special interests are putting money into the campaign coffers of a bill's sponsor, read what bloggers are saying about the bill, and find out if there's any related legislation.

"But last year Tauberer, a graduate linguistics student at the University of Pennsylvania, built GovTrack.us to automatically retrieve the latest news and blog entries related to federal legislation from hundreds of sites. Copyright law is one topic he's particularly interested in, and he wants to help others take advantage of all the information about it floating in cyberspace. He's doing so via a series of related software and Internet technologies people commonly call Web services."

Olga Kharif. All Your Info in One Place. BusinessWeek Online. Feb. 8, 2005.

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February 10, 2005

Slides from K. Matthew Dames' Lecture on Licensing

As reported Wednesday in SNTReport.com, executive editor K. Matthew Dames gave a lecture to information professionals at the AeA David Packard Conference Center in Washington, DC on licensing digital information. The lecture, entitled "Licensing in the Digital Age," was the second in a series sponsored by the Washington, DC chapter of SLA, among others, that addresses some of the most important legal and policy issues that information professionals face today.

Dames will moderate the lecture for the next presentation in the series, "Digital Rights Management," on Wednesday, March 9, 2005, also at the AeA David Packard Center in Washington, DC. Those interested in attending the March 9 lecture may register online at the AIIM National Capitol Chapter website, or contact organizer Barbie Keiser.

An electronic copy of the lecture notes, as well as additional resources, are posted below.

Lecture Notes
K. Matthew Dames, "Licensing in the Digital Age." (.pdf). Feb. 9, 2005.

Additional Licensing Resources
Yale University Library. Liblicense: Licensing Digital Information; A Resource for Librarians.

Yale University Library. Licensing Terms & Descriptions.

Yale University Library. Definitions of Words and Phrases Commonly Found in Licensing Agreements.

Florida State University. Software Site Licensing.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Licensing Principles.

Ed Foster. Ed Foster's Gripelog.

Information Access Alliance.

Creative Commons.

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Media Campaign Intensifies As Grokster Case Nears

"Garret the Ferret is one hip copyright crusader. The cartoon character urges young cybercitizens toward ethical downloading and--in baggy jeans and a gold 'G' medallion--reminds them that copying and sharing software is uncool.

"He is also a byproduct of the long-roiling public relations battle between copyright owners, who say they are threatened by digital piracy, and technology advocates opposed to strict controls on digital media copying and on software that make piracy so easy.

"With the Supreme Court scheduled next month to hear a pivotal case pitting copyright holders (represented by MGM Studios) against the makers of file-sharing software (Grokster and StreamCast Networks), participants are putting their message machines into high gear."

Tom Zeller. Messages Grow Manic as Piracy Nears High Court. News.com. Feb. 7, 2005.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Supreme Court Sets Date for File-Sharing Case. News.com. Jan. 21, 2005.

John Borland. Supreme Court to Hear P2P Case. News.com. Dec. 10, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:46 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 09, 2005

K. Matthew Dames Gives Presentation on Licensing

K. Matthew Dames, executive editor of SNTReport.com, is presenting a talk in Washington, DC on Wednesday entitled "Licensing in the Digital Age." The talk will review the key terms and conditions of modern licenses and discuss how the trend toward licensing threatens the viability of federal copyright law. Today's presentation is part of a brown bag lecture series on information law and policy issues that Dames is moderating throughout the winter and early spring of 2005.

Series Description: Once a legal backwater that interested only specialists, information law issues are now considered central to the nation’s communications, legal and economic infrastructure. While information law is more important than ever, information professionals often lack the necessary knowledge and tools to navigate the thicket of laws, regulations, treaties and policies.

This brown bag luncheon series will address some of the most important legal and policy issues that information professionals face today. Sponsored by the DC Chapter of SLA, National Capitol Chapter (NCC) of AIIM, the Washington DC Chapter of SCIP, Northern Virginia Chapter of ARMA, Federal Law Librarians’ SIS, Adobe Systems Inc., and STG International, this series will identify information professionals’ responsibilities, providing a forum for discussing and resolving some of the profession’s most important issues, sharing resources for further research and problem-solving.

The sessions will be moderated by K. Matthew Dames, JD, MLS, an information policy expert who teaches information law at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. A comprehensive set of handouts will be created for each topic and posted to the DC/SLA website and SNTReport.com.

Schedule: Join us on the second Wednesday of each month, January through April 2005, as we explore copyright, fair use, licensing digital resources, digital rights management, and open access.

Session 2, February 9, 2005: Licensing Digital Resources
As more of the world’s information is created or accessed through digital means, licensing agreements take over where copyright leaves off. Therefore, it is essential to know the basics of licensing. During this second session, we will discuss the licensing agreement, including:
- What to consider before entering a license agreement;
- Basic contract law and important licensing clauses and terms, including terms of access and termination;
- Licensing’s affect on copyright law.

Session 3, March 9, 2005: Digital Rights Management
With the increase in digital information comes the increase in measures to protect it. Some of the protections, however, may take away your rights under existing law. During this session, we will discuss the importance of digital rights management (DRM), including:
- What is Digital Rights Management and how does it relate to copyright law, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?
- The technology of DRM: Selected tools for authentication, authority, access, and accountability; and
- What are the costs associated with rights management?

Session 4, April 13, 2005: Open Access
The recent consolidation of the publishing industry has been a large factor in the price rise of scholarly resources, and has hurt the ability of libraries and information centers to provide users with essential information. The fourth and final brown bag session will discuss the open access crisis, including:
- A review of key mergers and acquisitions;
- The role of licensing and DRM in open access issues;
- Local control over scholarly and self-publishing: Open archives initiatives (e.g., eprints, eScholarship Repository, LOCKSS);
- Responses by the information profession, including the Information Access Alliance.

Site & Registration Details:The brown-bags will begin promptly at 12 noon (12:00 pm – 2:00 pm) at the AeA David Packard Conference Center, 601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, North Bldg - Suite 600 (Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial) in Washington, DC. Space is limited, so register early at the AIIM National Capitol Chapter website, or contact series organizer Barbie Keiser.

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Debate Stirs Over Blogger's Legal Rights

"An Apple lawsuit against the operators of fan websites stirs debate on whether bloggers can claim legal protections.

"Even in a country where most citizens probably have no idea what a blog is, it's not just an academic debate. Bloggers, some observers say, are becoming major players in everything from national politics to consumer trends. As a result, "their conflicts, motives, and agendas matter enormously," says Zephyr Teachout, who served as Internet director for the Howard Dean campaign.

"Now in California, a court will soon decide whether bloggers have the same legal protections as journalists under 'shield' laws that protect reporters from revealing their sources."

Randy Dotinga. Are Bloggers Journalists? Do They Deserve Press Protections?. Christian Science Monitor. Feb. 2, 2005.

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February 08, 2005

French Teacher Fined for File Sharing

"A schoolteacher was fined 10,200 euros (13,300 dollars) for uploading and downloading music on the Internet in France's first big case designed to deter other peer-to-peer pirates.

"The 28-year-old teacher was ordered by a court in the Paris suburb of Pontoise to pay the money to copyright companies after being found guilty of illegally transferred 30 gigabytes of music files -- the equivalent of around 10,000 songs, or 614 albums."

Associated France Press. French Teacher Fined 10,200 Euros for Downloading Music. Yahoo! News. Feb. 2, 2005.

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IP in the Virtual Realm

"A multiplayer online game is sued for allowing its players to dress up like comic book heroes. An upstart company winds up in court for creating a Tijuana sweatshop to manufacture digital weaponry.

"A funny thing is happening in these sprawling online multiplayer arenas. The ultimate in digital escapism, virtual worlds keep ending up in the ultimate in depressing reality: the courts."

Tom Loftus. Virtual Worlds Wind up in Real World's Courts. MSNBC News. Feb. 4, 2005.

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Yahoo Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Xfire

"In a twist on the classic David and Goliath formula, Web giant Yahoo is suing Menlo Park, Calif., start-up Xfire for patent infringement.

"The basis of the complaint, filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Northern California and served on Xfire representatives two days ago, alleges that Xfire is willfully infringing on a patent controlled by Yahoo.

"The patent, referred to as the '125 patent for the last three numbers of U.S. Patent No. 6,699,125, was granted to two then-Yahoo employees, Brian Gottlieb and Chris Kirmse, on March 2, 2004. As is typical, ownership of inventions by employees remains with the corporation the employees work for."

Curt Feldman. Yahoo Sues Xfire for Patent Infringement. News.com. Feb. 4, 2005.

Editor's note: The Xfire website offers a brief statement in response.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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February 07, 2005

Senate Passes Anti-Piracy Bill

"People who secretly videotape movies when they are shown in theaters could go to prison for up to three years under a bill approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate.

"The Senate also voted late on Tuesday to stiffen penalties for hackers and industry insiders who distribute music, movies or other copyrighted works before their official release date.

"The measures were approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives last year, but they did not become law because Congress adjourned without resolving minor differences between the two versions."

No author. Senate Passes Camcorder Piracy Bill. Reuters. Feb. 2, 2005.

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February 04, 2005

Legal Center to Support Open-Source Developers

"Freely distributed open-source software like the Linux operating system has become increasingly popular, but one cloud over its future has been legal risk. So far, most of the lawsuits have involved claims that software code owned by someone else found its way into a cooperative programming project.

"A nonprofit legal center opening today, backed by $4 million in initial financing from a corporate consortium, will provide advice from specialists that is intended to minimize the risk that developers and users of free software will be sued.

"The Software Freedom Law Center, its founders say, will focus on helping the leaders of open-source software projects organize and manage their work in ways that anticipate and avoid potential legal pitfalls."

Steve Lohr. An Effort to Help Free-Software Developers Avoid Suits. The New York Times. Feb. 1, 2005.

See also:
Jim Wagner and Michael Singer. Open Source Law Center Opens Doors. InternetNews.com. Feb. 1, 2005.

Stephen Shankland. Lawyers Ride Shotgun for Open Source. News.com. Jan 31, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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February 02, 2005

Copyright Office Addresses "Orphan Works"

"The Copyright Office seeks to examine the issues raised by 'orphan works,' i.e., copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate. Concerns have been raised that the uncertainty surrounding ownership of such works might needlessly discourage subsequent creators and users from incorporating such works in new creative efforts or making such works available to the public.

"This notice requests written comments from all interested parties. Specifically, the Office is seeking comments on whether there are compelling concerns raised by orphan works that merit a legislative, regulatory or other solution, and what type of solution could effectively address these concerns without conflicting with the legitimate interests of authors and right holders."

DATES: Written comments must be received in the Copyright Office on or before 5 p.m. EST on March 25, 2005. Interested parties may submit written reply comments in direct response to the written comments on or before 5 p.m. on May 9, 2005.

ADDRESSES: All submissions should be addressed to Jule L. Sigall, Associate Register for Policy & International Affairs. Comments may be sent by regular mail or delivered by hand, or sent by electronic mail to the e-mail address orphanworks@loc.gov (see file formats and information requirements under supplemental information below). Those sent by regular mail should be addressed to the U.S. Copyright Office, Copyright GC/I&R;, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024. Submissions delivered by hand should be brought to the Public Information Office, U.S. Copyright Office, James Madison Memorial Building, Room LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20540.

Federal Register. Library of Congress, Copyright Office: Orphan Works. Jan. 26, 2005.

See also:
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive, Richard Prelinger, & Prelinger Associates, Inc., v. John Ashcroft. (.pdf) Jan. 19, 2005.

Editor's note: FreeCulture.org has made this website available to submit comments.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of this copyright circular through a posting in beSpacific.com, edited by Sabrina Pacifici.

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February 01, 2005

MPAA Sues Additional P2P Users

"Hollywood studios filed a second round of lawsuits against online movie-swappers on Wednesday, stepping up legal pressure on the file-trading community.

"The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) also made available a new free software tool so parents can scan their computers for file-swapping programs and for movie or music files which may be copyrighted.

"The group said its lawsuits were targeting people across the United States, but did not say how many people were being sued."

John Borland. MPAA Files New Film-Swapping Suits. News.com. Jan. 26, 2005.

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China Bans 50 Video Games

"The Chinese government on Wednesday issued a list of 50 banned video and computer games, according to government news agency Xinhua.

"The list is roughly split between pirated games and games banned based on content. Pirated games cited by the news agency included 'The Sims 2," the top-selling PC game in North America last year, and soccer game 'FIFA 2005.'

"Xinhua said the list was part of an overall crackdown by the State General Administration of Press and Publication 'to protect intellectual property rights and create a good environment for Chinese youth.'"

David Becker. Banned in Beijing: China Cracks Down on Games. News.com. Jan. 26, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 31, 2005

Correcting Copyright

"Who owns the words you're reading right now? if you're holding a copy of Bookforum in your hands, the law permits you to lend or sell it to whomever you like. If you're reading this article on the Internet, you are allowed to link to it, but are prohibited from duplicating it on your web site or chat room without permission.

"You are free to make copies of it for teaching purposes, but aren't allowed to sell those copies to your students without permission. A critic who misrepresents my ideas or uses some of my words to attack me in an article of his own is well within his rights to do so.

"But were I to fashion these pages into a work of collage art and sell it, my customer would be breaking the law if he altered it. Furthermore, were I to set these words to music, I'd receive royalties when it was played on the radio; the band performing it, however, would get nothing. In the end, the copyright to these words belongs to me, and I've given Bookforum the right to publish them. But even my ownership is limited."

Robert S. Boynton. Righting Copyright. Bookforum. Feb./March. 2005.

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January 29, 2005

RIAA Sues 717 More File Sharers

"The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said Thursday that it had filed 717 new lawsuits against alleged file-swappers, including 68 unnamed people at universities."

John Borland. RIAA Sues 717 File-Swappers. News.com. Jan. 26, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 28, 2005

eXeem Public Beta Released

"Underground programmers hoping to capitalize on the BitTorrent file-swapping community on Friday unveiled highly anticipated software that some peer-to-peer advocates believe could blunt recent legal attacks from Hollywood.

"Called eXeem, the software aims to merge the speedy downloads of BitTorrent with the powerful global search capabilities of Kazaa or eDonkey. The first public version of the program was released by a company called Swarm Systems but has been associated with SuprNova, a Web site that, until recently, drew millions of people seeking free content online through the popular BitTorrent software."

John Borland. eXeem Opens New File-Swapping Doors. News.com. Jan. 21, 2005.

See also:
Sean Michael Kerner. BitTorrent P2P Trackers on The Move. InternetNews.com. Jan. 25, 2005.

Editor's note: See also SNTReport's prior story on eXeem software.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 27, 2005

Entertainment Industry Files Arguments in P2P Case

"The Bush administration's top lawyer and the Christian Coalition threw their weight behind the entertainment industry Monday in a closely watched Supreme Court fight over file swapping.

"Monday was the deadline for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and their supporters to file their arguments with the nation's top court, in their efforts to reverse previous rulings that imposed only minimal legal restrictions on peer-to-peer software companies.

"The entertainment companies have argued strongly in lower courts that Grokster and other file-swapping software companies should be held liable for the widespread copyright infringement of their users. In a lengthy brief, the U.S. Solicitor General's office agreed."

John Borland. Conservatives Back Hollywood. News.com. Jan. 24, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court. On Writ of Certiorari: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, Ltd.. (.pdf) Jan. 24, 2005.

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Verizon Sued Over Email Blockage

"Aggrieved Verizon customers are invited to join a class action that seeks damages arising from the US ISP's enthusiastic email filtering policies. Philadelphia law firm Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. filed suit this week against Verizon on behalf of a DSL subscriber in a civil case that seeks class action status.

"Since 22 December, mail servers at verizon.net have been configured to reject connections from Europe and other parts of the world including China and New Zealand by default, according to Reg readers and industry sources such as MessageLabs. Verizon says the move is designed to reduce spam and says it is following industry best practice and applying blacklists as 'narrowly' as possible.

John Leyden. Verizon faces lawsuit over email blocking. The Register. Jan. 21, 2005.

See also:
Lucy Sherriff. Readers Storm Verizon Email Blockade. The Register. Jan. 18, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 26, 2005

RIM Pleads Canadian In Patent Lawsuit

"Having lost a recent patent case in Virginia, Research in Motion, maker of the popular BlackBerry device, has turned to a peculiar appeal strategy: We're not based in the United States, so you can't touch us.

"More surprisingly, the Canadian government and the Internet service provider EarthLink are now formally supporting that argument.

"R.I.M., which has its headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, has become Canada's technology success story, with a soaring stock price and two million subscribers, most of them in the United States. But hovering over the company is a patent infringement suit brought in 2002 by NTP, a patent-holding company based in Annandale, Va."

Ian Austen. In Suit, BlackBerry Maker Pleads Canadian. The New York Times. Jan. 24, 2005.

See also:
Associated Press. Canada Steps in on Blackberry Patent Row. MarketWatch. Jan. 25, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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Copyright Office Publishes Circular on Copying

"Many educators and librarians ask about the fair use and photocopying provisions of the copyright law. The Copyright Office cannot give legal advice or offer opinions on what is permitted or prohibited.

"However, we have published in this circular basic information on some of the most important legislative provisions and other documents dealing with reproduction by librarians and educators."

U.S. Copyright Office. Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians. (.pdf) April 29, 2004.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of this copyright circular through a posting in LISNews edited by Blake Carver.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:38 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Tech Companies Urge High Court to Protect Innovation

"Several large technology corporations will urge the U.S. Supreme Court today to continue to shield businesses and innovators from legal responsibility if their products or services are used by consumers for illegal acts.

"The companies, including industry giants Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Google, America Online Inc. and Apple Computer Inc., will argue in court filings that the innovations that have helped fuel U.S. economic growth could grind to a halt if protections from liability were stripped away.

"At issue is the continuing popularity of Internet file-sharing services, whose software lets users swap digital music, videos and software regardless of whether they are copyrighted works that should be paid for each time they are sent to another consumer."

Jonathan Krim. Tech Firms to Seek Legal Protection From Pirating. WashingtonPost.com. Jan. 24, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court. On Writ of Certiorari: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, Ltd.. (.pdf) Jan. 24, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:24 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

January 25, 2005

Supreme Court Date Set for MGM v. Grokster

"Intellectual property legislation that failed to pass in Congress last year likely will reappear in the new session, but after 2004's bitter battle, technology and consumer groups are ready to get more aggressive.

"The Consumer Electronics Association, Public Knowledge, NetCoalition and others successfully fought the Hollywood-supported Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act in the Senate, which would have held technology companies liable for encouraging their users to infringe copyright. A scaled-back 'minibus bill' that addressed a smattering of copyright issues also failed to pass.

"But while their interests prevailed -- for the time being -- technology and consumer advocates say that the fierce fight over the Induce Act was a turning point, and should lead to more involvement from tech bigwigs."

Katie Dean. Techies Talk Tough in D.C.. Wired News. Jan. 20, 2005.

See also:
Grant Gross. New Copyright Protection Bills Likely in 2005. The Industry Standard. Jan. 19, 2005.

Elizabeth Millard. Supreme Court Sets Date for P2P Case. NewsFactor.com. Jan. 21, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 24, 2005

Powell's Successor Faces Brave New World

"Throughout his four years as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Michael K. Powell zealously touted a future filled with technologies competing to provide new ways to communicate and get information, from souped-up wireless devices to online access via power lines.

"Some of these are now coming to pass. As a result, whole industries are being upended. Cable companies are now also phone companies, phone companies want to provide video, and an entire regulatory scheme is in flux.

"But many analysts say Powell -- who yesterday announced his resignation -- is leaving before many crucial details have been worked out. Those details will affect the choices consumers are likely to have and the prices they will have to pay."

Jonathan Krim. FCC Chief Must Work Out Details. WashingtonPost.com. Jan. 22, 2005.

See also:
Frank Ahrens. Powell To Resign As Head Of FCC. WashingtonPost.com. Jan. 22, 2005.

Update
Declan McCullagh. Can Howard Stern Now Relax? News.com. Jan., 24, 2005. (McCullagh reviews Powell's chairmanship and reviews the issues the new chairman will face upon confirmation.)

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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RIM Faces More Litigation

"A little-known company has renewed its claims to patents at the center of NTP's high-stakes case against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.

"In a complaint filed late last year in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division, Computer Leasco charged that NTP and some of its former employees devised a fraudulent scheme to gain possession of the patents.

"Computer Leasco, a Michigan-based wireless-equipment company, based its claims on a 1990 ruling that granted the company title to the assets of Telefind, a former employer of NTP co-founder Thomas Campana."

Richard Shim. New Snarl in NTP Suit Against RIM. News.com. Jan. 18, 2005.

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January 22, 2005

California Bill to Outlaw P2P

"A bill introduced in California's Legislature last week has raised the possibility of jail time for developers of file-swapping software who don't stop trades of copyrighted movies and songs online.

"The proposal, introduced by Los Angeles Sen. Kevin Murray, takes direct aim at companies that distribute software such as Kazaa, eDonkey or Morpheus. If passed and signed into law, it could expose file-swapping software developers to fines of up to $2,500 per charge, or a year in jail, if they don't take 'reasonable care' in preventing the use of their software to swap copyrighted music or movies--or child pornography.

"Peer-to-peer software companies and their allies immediately criticized the bill as a danger to technological innovation, and as potentially unconstitutional."

John Borland. State Bill Could Cripple P2P. News.com. Jan. 18, 2005.

See also:
No author. California Senator Goes After P2P. Red Herring. Jan. 18, 2005.

Jason Schultz. Induce -- California Style. EFF Deep Links. Jan. 18, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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A P2P Manifesto

"Marco Montemagno, an Italian new mediacommunication expert, entrepreneur and blogger, who has worked and collaborated with some of the most established media corporations including Italy's RAI and Murdoch's Sky TV network, has just published online a notable P2P manifesto, in which he shares his uncensored view of what the majors (established media) should expect from P2P and its unstoppable growth.

"Montemagno central tenet is that P2P is unstoppable, good, useful, effective and a major disruptive technology able to breach into the oligarchy of established media business."

Robin Hood. Why P2P File Sharing Is Good: The P2P Manifesto Content Delivery And Distribution. Robin Good. Jan. 17, 2005.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of the P2P Manifesto through a posting in Slashdot, edited by Rob Malda.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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FBI Arrests Tsunami Scammer

"A man has been released on bail after being charged with stealing donations for tsunami relief. Matthew Schmieder, 24, who is accused of sending e-mails purporting to be from a genuine aid organization, was arrested last week."

Dan Ilett. Man Arrested for Tsunami E-mail Scam. News.com. Jan. 18, 2005.

See also:
TechWeb News. FBI Snags Tsunami Scammer. Information Week. Jan. 14, 2005.

Pete Williams. FBI Busts Man in Tsunami Aid Scam. MSNBC News. Jan. 13, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 21, 2005

Canada Files Brief in RIM Case

"The federal government has stepped into the middle of a high-stakes patent infringement battle between Research in Motion Inc. and a U.S. company, claiming a recent U.S. court ruling against the creator of the iconic BlackBerry communications device threatens to chill innovation by Canadian firms and give extra-territorial reach to U.S. patent law.

"At stake are not only millions of dollars worth of royalty payments on the sale of BlackBerry handhelds in the U.S. every month, but also issues of how old laws for guarding intellectual property are applied in a new era when technology is increasingly blurring national boundaries and economies.

"In what legal experts say is an unusual move, the Canadian Department of Justice filed an amicus curiae brief (.pdf) with a U.S. federal appeals court on Jan. 13, urging it to grant RIM's request for a re-hearing before all 15 judges of the federal appeals circuit."

Simon Avery. Ottawa Intervenes in RIM Patent Infringement Battle. The Globe and Mail. Jan. 17, 2005.

Editor's note: See also SNTReport.com's prior story on RIM's patent infringement case.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 19, 2005

IRS Requires Corporate E-Filing By 2006

"Officials at large companies and tax-exempt organizations must electronically file their Internal Revenue Service forms starting in 2006, tax agency officials announced today.

"The new regulations will first apply to corporations worth more than $50 million and tax-exempt organizations with assets of at least $100 million.

"The threshold lowers in 2007 to businesses and tax-exempt organizations worth $10 million. IRS officials expect that by then at least 20,000 large corporate taxpayers and up to 10,000 tax-exempt entities will be covered by the electronic filing requirement."

David Perera. IRS Mandates E-filing. FCW. Jan. 11, 2005.

See also:
Internal Revenue Service. IRS Introduces e-file for Corporations, Exempt Organizations. March 30, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 18, 2005

New Service Identifies First P2P Uploads

"File traders who seed peer-to-peer networks with copyrighted material can be identified and traced, according to a US company.

"BayTSP, based in California, US, monitors peer-to-peer (P2P) trading networks using a technique called software 'spidering'. The new software, called FirstSource, allows it to determine which user first uploaded a particular file for trading. It does this by mimicking the behaviour of a user on a massive scale - sending out multiple requests for a file extremely quickly. It deduces the culprits by assuming that only they will have the full 100% of the file, having uploaded the original."

Will Knight. Peer-to-Peer 'Seeders' Could be Targeted. New Scientist.com. Jan. 14, 2005.

No author. BayTSP Launches New Service That Identifies First Uploads To EDonkey, Bit Torrent P2P File-Sharing Networks. Mi2N.com. Jan. 11, 2005.

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Does California's Anti-Spware Law Include Libraries?

"The Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act (.pdf) went into effect in California on January 1st. Although this is already being proclaimed as a model for the country, it was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in spite of objections raised by privacy advocates.

"Beth Givens (Director, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse -- and former librarian) and Pam Dixon (Exec. Director, World Privacy Forum) say that the law sets such high standards regarding actual knowledge that it could actually undermine existing statutes that protect privacy and prohibit deceptive practices.

Mary Minow. How Does California's New Anti-Spyware Law Affect Libraries?. Library Law Blog. Jan. 5, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 17, 2005

Copyright Could Be Killing Culture

"As Americans commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy today, no television channel will be broadcasting the documentary series Eyes on the Prize. Produced in the 1980s and widely considered the most important encapsulation of the American civil-rights movement on video, the documentary series can no longer be broadcast or sold anywhere.

"Why?

"The makers of the series no longer have permission for the archival footage they previously used of such key events as the historic protest marches or the confrontations with Southern police. Given Eyes on the Prize's tight budget, typical of any documentary, its filmmakers could barely afford the minimum five-year rights for use of the clips. That permission has long since expired, and the $250,000 to $500,000 needed to clear the numerous copyrights involved is proving too expensive.

"This is particularly dire now, because VHS copies of the series used in countless school curriculums are deteriorating beyond rehabilitation. With no new copies allowed to go on sale, 'the whole thing, for all practical purposes, no longer exists,' says Jon Else, a California-based filmmaker who helped produce and shoot the series and who also teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism of the University of California, Berkeley."

Guy Dixon. How Copyright Could be Killing Culture. The Globe & Mail. Jan. 17, 2005.

See also:
Katie Dean. Bleary Days for Eyes on the Prize. Wired News. Dec. 22, 2004.

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Apple Sues Harvard Student Over Leaks

"Nicholas M. Ciarelli was not even old enough to shave when he started getting under Apple Computer Inc.'s skin. As a 13-year-old middle-schooler, the New Woodstock, N.Y., native built a Web site in 1998 and began publishing insider news and rumors about Apple, using the alias Nick dePlume.

"Three years later, ThinkSecret.com was first to report that the company would debut a G4 version of the PowerBook laptop series. The product launched soon thereafter, along with ThinkSecret's reputation among Apple's legendarily zealous fans, generating millions of page views per month.

"But after a series of letters warning the Web site to stop publishing proprietary information, Apple decided enough was enough. When Ciarelli scored yet another scoop in late December, by predicting the arrival of a new software package and a sub-$500 computer rolled out at this week's MacWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, the computer maker filed a lawsuit accusing him of illegally misappropriating trade secrets."

Jonathan Finer. Teen Web Editor Drives Apple to Court Action. WashingtonPost.com. Jan. 14, 2005.

See also:
Joseph M. Tartakoff. Apple Sues Student. The Harvard Crimson. Jan. 12, 2005.

Associated Press. Blogger Facing Apple Lawsuit Seeks Legal Aid. San Jose Mercury News. Jan. 14, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Google Settles SEC Charges

"Google has settled with federal and state regulators over allegations the company violated securities laws in the handling of its stock options.

"The Securities and Exchange Commission also confirmed Thursday that it will not proceed with any enforcement action against Google over a high-profile interview with company co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in Playboy magazine before they filed for their initial public offering. Companies are prohibited from promoting their companies before going public.

"The Playboy article and stock options inquiry both had threatened to delay Google's IPO."

Dawn Kawamoto. Google: No Penalty for Stock Options, Playboy Chat. News.com. Jan. 13, 2005.

Editor's note: See also SNTReport.com's prior story on Google's high profile interview.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 14, 2005

Slides from K. Matthew Dames' Lecture on Fair Use

As reported in SNTReport.com on Wednesday, executive editor K. Matthew Dames gave a lecture to information professionals at the AeA David Packard Conference Center in Washington, DC on the fair use doctrine of copyright law. The lecture, entitled "Fair Use in the Digital Age," was the first in a series sponsored by the Washington, DC chapter of SLA, among others, that addresses some of the most important legal and policy issues that information professionals face today.

Dames will also give the lecture for the next presentation in the series, "Licensing Digital Resources," on Wednesday, February 9, 2005, also at the AeA David Packard Center in Washington, DC. Those interested in attending the February 9 lecture may register online at the AIIM National Capitol Chapter website.

An electronic copy of the lecture notes, as well as additional resources, are posted below.

Lecture Notes
K. Matthew Dames, "Fair Use in the Digital Age." (.pdf). Jan. 12, 2005.

Additional Fair Use Resources
Laura "Lolly" Gasaway. When Works Pass into the Public Domain.

Peter Hirtle. Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States.

United States Copyright Office.

United States Copyright Office. Copyright Law.

Stanford University Libraries. Copyright & Fair Use.

University of Texas. Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials.

SNTReport.com. Copyright Archives.

Copyright Management Center. Fair Use Issues.

Copyright Management Center. Fair Use Checklist.

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Clean Up the Copyright System

"Last month, Google announced a partnership with major research libraries to scan 20 million books for inclusion in Google's search database. For those works in the public domain, the full text will be available. For those works still possibly under copyright, only snippets will be seen.

"But the excitement around Google's extraordinary plan has obscured a dirty little secret: It is not at all clear that Google and these libraries have the legal right to do what is proposed.

"If lawsuits were filed, and if Google and its partner libraries were found to have violated the law, their legal exposure could reach into the billions."

Lawrence Lessig. Let a Thousand Googles Bloom. Los Angeles Times. Jan. 12, 2005.

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IBM Pledges 500 Patents for Open Source

"IBM has decided to let open-source developers use 500 software patents without fear of an infringement lawsuit, a new step in its encouragement of the collaborative programming philosophy.

"It is a small but significant measure for a company with major efforts to patent its research, then license those patents. Still, the vast majority of IBM's 10,000 software patents in the United States aren't being shared so freely.

"The move follows that of Linux seller Red Hat, a comparatively small company that objects to software patents but allows unfettered use of its own smaller portfolio in open-source software. And Novell, the second-largest Linux seller, has vowed to use its own patent portfolio to deter and counter legal attacks against open-source software."

Stephen Shankland. IBM Offers 500 Patents for Open-Source Use. News.com. Jan. 10, 2005.

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Lawmakers Push Bills for Library Filters

"Two Virginia lawmakers are pushing bills that would require any public library that receives state funds to install filtering software on its computers.

"The legislation is necessary to protect children from unwittingly stumbling across pornography while using the Internet at their local libraries, said the House bill's sponsor, Del. Samuel Nixon, Jr., R-Chesterfield. Nixon said his bill would be identical to one already filed by Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg.

"Nixon introduced his plans for the bill at a Monday press conference for the Family Foundation, which unveiled its legislative agenda for the upcoming General Assembly session that also backs a state constitutional ban on same-sex civil unions."

Kristen Gelineau. Bill Aims to Filter Internet Content at State Libraries. dailypress.com. Jan. 10, 2005.

See also:
Christina Bellantoni. Virginia Considers Requiring Library Computer Filters. Washingtontimes.com. Jan. 11, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 13, 2005

World's Smallest P2P Application

"In a bid to demonstrate the futility of trying to ban peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, a computer scientist has written the shortest P2P program ever.

"Like all P2P applications, Tiny P2P, written by Edward Felten of Princeton University in New Jersey, establishes a network between PCs on which files can be transferred without using a central server. Members of the network make content on their hard drives available to everyone else.

"Felten is concerned that Congress might revive a piece of legislation called the Induce Act, which would outlaw file-sharing networks, and he wrote Tiny P2P to make a point."

No author. Simple Programs Make File Sharing Inevitable. NewScientist.com. Jan. 8, 2005.

See also:
Iain Thomson. Boffin Writes World's Smallest P2P Application. IT Week. Jan. 7, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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A Clash Between Free-Speech and IP Rights

"Apple Computer's lawsuit against a Web site that published details of forthcoming Mac products raises troubling First Amendment questions, media experts say.

"In its court action last week, Apple sued not only the unnamed individuals who revealed Apple's inside information, but also those at Mac enthusiast site Think Secret who helped publish it.

"'To me, it is very disturbing that Apple, or anybody frankly, would try to invoke trade secrets to go after a media publication or, for that matter, even a blog,' said Paul Grabowicz, director of the New Media Program at the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. 'If they think somebody inside is leaking information, then they should be going after them directly.'"

Ina Fried. Apple Suit Tests First Amendment. News.com. Jan. 10, 2005.

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January 12, 2005

K. Matthew Dames Gives Presentation on Fair Use

K. Matthew Dames, executive editor of SNTReport.com, is presenting a talk in Washington, DC this afternoon entitled "Fair Use in the Digital Age." The talk will analyze Section 107 of the copyright law, including where fair use falls within the copyright landscape, how information professionals can properly analyze the law, and how the nature of fair use has changed as the dominant information format has evolved from analog to digital. Today's presentation is part of a brown bag lecture series on information law and policy issues that Dames will be moderating throughout the winter and early spring of 2005.

Series Description: Once a legal backwater that interested only specialists, information law issues are now considered central to the nation’s communications, legal and economic infrastructure. While information law is more important than ever, information professionals often lack the necessary knowledge and tools to navigate the thicket of laws, regulations, treaties and policies.

This brown bag luncheon series will address some of the most important legal and policy issues that information professionals face today. Sponsored by the DC Chapter of SLA, National Capitol Chapter (NCC) of AIIM, the Washington DC Chapter of SCIP, Northern Virginia Chapter of ARMA, Federal Law Librarians’ SIS, Adobe Systems Inc., and STG International, this series will identify information professionals’ responsibilities, providing a forum for discussing and resolving some of the profession’s most important issues, sharing resources for further research and problem-solving.

The sessions will be moderated by K. Matthew Dames, JD, MLS, an information policy expert who teaches information law at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. A comprehensive set of handouts will be created for each topic and posted to the DC/SLA website and SNTReport.com.

Schedule: Join us on the second Wednesday of each month, January through April 2005, as we explore copyright, fair use, licensing digital resources, digital rights management, and open access.
Session 1, January 12, 2005: Copyright & Fair Use
The copyright doctrine of fair use has become critically important in the digital age, yet it remains one of copyright law’s most misunderstood and misapplied doctrines. During this first luncheon meeting, we will analyze what fair use means, including:
- Translating the law into plain English
- Establishing a system for determining whether fair use applies
- Discussing whether fair use remains viable given the changes in the law over the last decade.

Session 2, February 9, 2005: Licensing Digital Resources

Session 3, March 9, 2005: Digital Rights Management

Session 4, April 13, 2005: Open Access

Site & Registration Details:The brown-bags will begin promptly at 12 noon (12:00 pm – 2:00 pm) at the AeA David Packard Conference Center, 601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, North Bldg - Suite 600 (Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial) in Washington, DC. Space is limited, so register early at the AIIM National Capitol Chapter website.

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ITunes User Sues Apple Over iPod

"Lawyers filed a 10-count lawsuit against Apple earlier this week, claiming the ties between the company's iTunes music download service and its iPod violate state and federal antitrust law.

"Slattery v. Apple, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California in San Jose, is a plea to allow the case to become a class action lawsuit on behalf of anyone who has used the iTunes service or bought an iPod from Apple since April 28, 2003, the day iTunes first opened shop.

"The suit claims Apple broke the law when it altered the industry standard Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) file format and used it to restrict the music's usage outside the iPod. Songs sold to the public on iTunes use the AAC with Fairplay Digital Rights Management (DRM), called AAC Protected."

Jim Wagner. Apple Hit by Lawsuit. InternetNews.com. Jan. 6, 2005.

See also:
Andrew Orlowski. Apple Music Store Smacked With Antitrust Suit. The Register. Jan. 7, 2005.

Peter Cohen. ITunes User Sues Apple Over FairPlay. PC World. Jan. 7, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group&153; Venture.

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January 11, 2005

PC World's Legislative Year in Review

"For good or ill, Congress kept to its usual snail's pace on a number of controversial issues ranging from digital copyright to spyware; other government agencies, however, made up for some of the slack.

"Congress tried. It really did. And it came so close on several issues--spyware and digital copyright most prominently. But though a number of bills were proposed, and some were even passed by the House or the Senate, very few actually became law. The Federal Communications Commission, the Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice, however, were all busy bees.

"Below, I run through six of the year's major topics, what's been decided, the considerable amount still left on the to-do list for 2005--and my guess as to how much of that list Congress will actually get to this year."

Anush Yegyazarian. Legislative Year in Review: All Talk, Little Action. PC World. Jan. 6, 2005.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:52 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

PC World's Legislative Year in Review

"For good or ill, Congress kept to its usual snail's pace on a number of controversial issues ranging from digital copyright to spyware; other government agencies, however, made up for some of the slack.

"Congress tried. It really did. And it came so close on several issues--spyware and digital copyright most prominently. But though a number of bills were proposed, and some were even passed by the House or the Senate, very few actually became law. The Federal Communications Commission, the Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice, however, were all busy bees.

"Below, I run through six of the year's major topics, what's been decided, the considerable amount still left on the to-do list for 2005--and my guess as to how much of that list Congress will actually get to this year."

Anush Yegyazarian. Legislative Year in Review: All Talk, Little Action. PC World. Jan. 6, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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States Battle VoIP Ruling

"Minnesota utility regulators will try to overturn a recent federal decision barring states from imposing many of their telecommunications regulations on Internet phone providers, a sign states haven't backed down from their fight to lord over this new, cheaper breed of phone service.

"Burl Haar, executive secretary of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, said Tuesday the commission is acting chiefly out of concern over whether Vonage and others Net phone providers can offer emergency 911 calling, which only a few elite operators are capable of providing. "There is a lot of uncertainty about how that will be resolved," Haar said.

"Minnesota is the second state, so far, to decide to appeal the Federal Communications Commission's November decision, which was hailed as a victory for providers of the relatively new commercial phone service using voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). In late December, California utility regulators filed an appeal of the decision in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Minnesota filing will take place within the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."

Ben Charny. States Battle FCC Internet Phone Ruling. News.com. Jan. 4, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 10, 2005

Fujitsu-Siemens Ordered to Pay Copyright Tax

"Fujitsu-Siemens has been ordered by a German court to pay a levy every time one of its computers is sold in the country, as part of a 'tax on piracy.'

"The judge ruled in December that because the company's PCs could be used for copying material--and denying rights holders their due royalties--Fujitsu-Siemens should make it up by way of a contribution of about $16 (12 euros) per machine."

Jo Best. Fujitsu-Siemens to Pay Per-Machine Fee for Piracy. News.com. Jan. 4, 2005.

See also:
Jan Libbenga. Fujitsu Siemens Loses German PC Levy Case. The Register. Jan. 3, 2005.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 07, 2005

Software Industry Seeks Greater Copyright Protection Via DMCA

"Several of the world's largest high-tech corporations, many who are members of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), plan to urge Congress today to force Internet service providers to crack down more aggressively on their users who swap copyrighted software, music or video files online.

"The move is a significant escalation in the campaign by the software and entertainment industries to squelch widespread file sharing by millions of users through services such as Kazaa, Grokster and Morpheus. If successful, it could reshape a long legal tradition of shielding phone, cable and other communications companies from liability for the actions of their customers.

"BSA officials want Congress to secure the cooperation of Internet service providers by amending the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was designed to address potential copyright violations in the electronic age."

Jonathan Krim. Tech Firms Aim to Change Copyright Act. WashingtonPost.com. Jan. 6, 2004.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Software Firms Want Copyright Law Rewrite. News.com. Jan. 7, 2004.

Business Software Alliance. Intellectual Property in the 21st Century. (.pdf) Jan. 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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LA Sues Web Travel Sites

"Internet travel sites are cheating cities on taxes by pocketing the difference between the hotel room tax they pay and the amount collected from consumers, the city of Los Angeles, Calif., said in a recent lawsuit.

"The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, alleges that companies including Priceline.com, InterActiveCorp's Expedia, Cendant's Orbitz and Sabre Holdings' Travelocity have underpaid so-called transient occupancy taxes.

"The Web sites contract with hotels for rooms at negotiated discounted rates, then mark up their inventory of rooms to sell them to the public. They charge and collect taxes from occupants based on the marked-up rates, but only pay taxes to cities based on the lower, negotiated rates, the lawsuit claims."

Reuters. L.A. Sues Travel Sites for Pocketing Hotel Tax. News.com. Jan. 3, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 06, 2005

EFF Sponsors Anonymity Project

"A group dedicated to preserving civil liberties on the Internet announced this week that it's throwing its weight behind the development of a technology to foster anonymity in cyberspace.

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) of San Francisco said in a statement that it is sponsoring the Tor Project, which has created an open-source application to help users remain anonymous when they surf the Web.

"According to EFF Technology Manager Chris Palmer, backing Tor is a way to safeguard on the Internet the real-world right to anonymity established by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 'The way the Internet works, you can't necessarily be anonymous,' he told TechNewsWorld."

John P. Mello Jr. Internet Lib Group Backs Anonymity Project. TechNewsWorld. Dec. 27, 2004.

See also:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF Joins Forces with Tor Software Project. Dec. 21, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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January 05, 2005

LokiTorrent Fights Back at MPAA

"The latest peer-to-peer site to come into the legal crosshairs of the motion-picture industry promised this week to fight, and put out a virtual hat to finance its legal fund.

"LokiTorrent, a Web site and index of files available through a peer-to-peer technology known as BitTorrent, posted a letter from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on its site on Tuesday. The letter states that the MPAA has filed suit in district court in Texas against the site and demands that Loki Torrent cease linking to video files that could infringe on studios' copyrights.

"LokiTorrent is the latest file-sharing site to run into the legal guns of the motion picture industry. Several peer-to-peer sites disappeared from the Internet earlier this month, after the MPAA filed suits against them."

Robert Lemos. LokiTorrent Fights MPAA Legal Attack. News.com. Dec. 30, 2004.

See also:
Jim Wagner. BitTorrent Operator Bites Back at MPAA. InternetNews.com. Dec. 30, 2004.

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January 04, 2005

2004 Search Engine Trends

"So, 2004 turned out to be a very exciting search engine year, after all. For a moment, one could believe that we were moving into an era with a virtual Google monopoly, and monopolies are seldom good for innovation.

"Instead there has grown up new alternatives. Competition is as fierce as ever, and given that both users and stockmarkets reward innovation, there has been a large number of refinements, new services and new products."

No author. Search Engine Trends in 2004. Pandia. Dec. 31, 2004.

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Microsoft's New Year's Resolutions

"Directions on Microsoft has released a list of what it considers the top 10 challenges for the software giant in 2005.

"'Left unattended, each (challenge) could ultimately interrupt Microsoft's 25-plus-year run of growth and profits and leave the door open for younger, smaller and more nimble competitors,' the analyst house said in its end-of-year research note Wednesday."

Tony Hallett. New Year's Resolutions for Microsoft. News.com. Dec. 23, 2004.

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January 03, 2005

Analysis of Microsoft's EU Decision

"In rejecting Microsoft's appeal this week a European court has dealt a significant setback to Redmond's attempts to mount an attack on competitors based on intellectual property litigation.

"The decision by Judge Bo Vesterdorf at the European Court of the First Instance reveals for the first time many of the legal arguments that were made behind closed doors this year. The parts that interest us here are the decision itself, which rejects the idea that communication protocols are any kind of 'trade secret,' and the slightly astonishing admission from Microsoft itself that suing people for IP violations is bothersome, or in its lawyers' own words: 'a particularly complicated and inefficient exercise.'

"If we're to take the lawyers at their word (always a risky business), then what has so often been described as a patent war between Redmond and open source developers looks much more like a phony war. Put the two together, and we have a much clearer idea of Microsoft's strategy than we did twelve months ago."

Andrew Orlowski. How Microsoft Played the Patent Card, and Failed. The Register. Dec. 23, 2004.

See also:
Red Herring. Europe Smacks Microsoft. Dec. 24, 2004.

BBC. The European Court of Justice. No date.

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A Look Back at 2004

"In the legislative battle over copyright and file swapping, you might assume the entertainment industry's lobbyists are sitting fat and pretty.

"Nothing could be further from the truth, and the constellation of forces in Washington could be ripe for a redrawing, said Declan McCullagh--one of the many columnists who offered CNET News.com readers insight and analysis of the major tech events of 2004."

Charles Cooper. Year in Review:Politicos in the Crosshairs. News.com. Dec. 25, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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December 23, 2004

Broadband Age Has Arrived

"In 2004, broadband reached its tipping point.

"In August, a study conducted by Nielsen/NetRatings shows more Americans accessing the Internet through a high-speed connection than through slower dial-up by a ratio of 51 to 49. The gap will only increase as providers entice the U.S. dial-up base. DSL offers cheaper subscriptions than cable, which promises higher speeds.

"This study only concluded that Americans want their broadband. Americans want their broadband by any means necessary. The events of the past year also show they are willing to look beyond their phone or cable company to get it."

Jim Hu. Year in Review: Dawning of the Broadband Age. News.com. Dec. 20, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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New Fee Will Raise Net Domain Costs

"Internet users may soon be required to pay an additional annual fee for each domain name they own, thanks to a virtually unnoticed requirement that will begin to take effect next year.

"The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international organization that oversees domain names, is moving forward with a 75-cent annual fee for .net domains starting next year and is expected to expand the levy to other generic suffixes such as .com and .biz in the future.

"A small but growing number of critics, however, charge the proposal amounts to a surreptitious tax that will allow ICANN to expand its budget with minimal oversight and divert the money to projects of dubious merit. When the fee takes effect with .net, domain name owners will pay an additional $4 million a year, a figure that would leap to more than $34 million if the fee is extended to .com and other popular top-level domains."

Declan McCullagh. Unnoticed Fee Could Raise Net Domain Costs. News.com. Dec. 16, 2004.

Declan McCullagh. ICANN Partying Like It's 1999. News.com. Dec. 20, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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December 22, 2004

Google Won't Replace Libraries

"This week Google Inc. down in Mountain View, wading in dough from its stock offering, announced it would use some of the money to put millions of volumes from the country's great libraries online where anybody can use them.

"Don't burn that library card just yet, though.

"There's a catch. Well, several. First, as anyone trying to send Grandma's recipe for plum pudding to a sister in Des Moines knows, scanning takes time. Google claims to have a new whiz-bang way to do it -- there won't be some luckless employee feeling her brain cells die as she flattens a book on a cranky copier page by page. It won't say exactly what its method is.

"For a company bent on putting the universe at the disposal of anyone who can type words into a box, it seems less enthusiastic about information flowing out of its headquarters in Mountain View."

Adair Lara. 'Googleizing' Libraries Won't Replace Books. San Francisco Chronicle. Dec. 18, 2004.

See also:
No author. Here's What You Will - and Won't - Be Able to See When Searching for Library Books on Google. Detroit Free Press. Dec. 15, 2004.

George Kerevan. Despite Google, We Still Need Good Libraries. Scotsman.com. Dec. 16, 2004.

National Public Radio. Google's Plan Prompts a Question: What's on the Web?. Talk of the Nation. Dec. 15, 2004.

Matt Hicks. Google's Library Project Could Drive Content Contest. eWeek. Dec. 14, 2004.

Andrew Leonard. What Google Promises Us. Salon. Dec. 14, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: Salon.com normally requires a paid subscription, but you can view articles if you register for a free day pass.)

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BitTorrent Reacts to MPAA's Pressure

"BitTorrent 'hubs' that publish lists of movies, TV shows and other free downloads suddenly went dark this weekend, in a major victory for Hollywood that highlights vulnerabilities in technology behind the world's busiest peer-to-peer network.

"Last week, the Motion Picture Association of America launched a series of worldwide legal actions, aimed at people who ran the infrastructure for BitTorrent networks being used to distribute movies and other copyrighted materials without permission.

"The MPAA's actions have put pressure on a short list of large Web sites that had served as hubs for the BitTorrent community and that had operated for months or even years. Many of those sites have now vanished almost overnight, including the SuprNova.org site that was by far the most popular gathering point for the community, serving more than a million people a day, according to one academic study.

John Borland. BitTorrent File-Swapping Networks Face Crisis. News.com. Dec. 20, 2004.

See also:
Peter Svensson. Popular File-Sharing Site Shuts Down. eWeek. Dec. 20, 2004.

Johan Pouwelse. The BitTorrent P2P File-Sharing System. The Register. Dec. 18, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

ISP Wins $1B Judgment Against Spammers

"An Internet service provider in Iowa has been awarded more than $1 billion in what is believed to be the largest lawsuit judgment ever against spammers.

"Robert Kramer, who owns CIS Internet Services, sued 300 spammers after his servers received up to 10 million spam e-mails a day in 2000, according to court documents.

"U.S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle ordered AMP Dollar Savings of Mesa, Ariz., to pay $720 million and Cash Link Systems of Miami to pay $360 million. Wolle orderd also ordered Florida-based TEI Marketing Group to pay $140,000."

CNET Staff. ISP Wins $1 Billion in Spam Suit. News.com. Dec. 19, 2004.

See also:
Tim Gray. Spammers Slammed With $1 Billion in Fines. InternetNews.com. Dec. 20, 2004.

Joseph A. Reaves. Mesa E-Mail Spammer on Hook for $720 Million. Arizona Republic. Dec. 20, 2004.

See also:
Federal Trade Commission. FTC Issues Final Rule Defining What Constitutes a "Commercial Electronic Mail Message". (Press Release) Dec. 16, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:34 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

December 21, 2004

IP Patents Act More Like Weapons

"Last week, the financial and technological world saw yet another dot-com star go dark. In 1999, Commerce One Inc. was the belle of the dot-com IPO ball. Promising a gateway to faster, more efficient business-to-business (B2B) transactions over the Web, it was the No. 1 initial public offering of 1999, boosting its stock price over 600 percent and making millionaires out of its founders. After the crash of 2000, however, Commerce One's fortunes reversed, leading it down a path to delisting and, eventually, bankruptcy.

"As in most bankruptcies, Commerce One's creditors sought to sell off the company's assets to the highest bidder, hoping to recoup its lost investment and satisfy the $9.7 million of outstanding debt the company had left behind. What made this fire sale different from most, though, was the power of a single set of assets -- Commerce One's Web services patent portfolio. In a relatively rare decision, the bankruptcy court decided to separate the sale of these patents from the sale of the rest of the company, thereby allowing a separate bidding process to take place exclusively for the patent portfolio.

"While the sale of patents is nothing new, the Commerce One patent auction highlights a disturbing trend in our current patent system."

Jason Schultz. When Dot-Com Patents Go Gad. Salon. Dec. 13, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: Salon.com normally requires a paid subscription, but you can view articles if you register for a free day pass.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Lowe's Hacker Gets 9 Years in Prison

"One of three Michigan men who hacked into the national computer system of Lowe's hardware stores and tried to steal customers' credit card information was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in federal prison.

"The government said it is the longest prison term ever handed down in a U.S. computer crime case.

"Brian Salcedo, 21, of Whitmore Lake, Mich., pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy and other hacking charges."

Associated Press. Hacker Who Tapped Into Lowe's Network Gets 9 Years. San Jose Mercury News. Dec. 15, 2004.

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December 20, 2004

Specter Succeeds Hatch as Congress' Copyright Chief

"In the realm of protecting music and movies from electronic theft, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has been the entertainment industry's most powerful ally in Congress. A songwriter himself, Hatch has waged war against illegal file swapping, backing laws to stiffen copyright protections and keeping the issue in the spotlight with a steady stream of high-profile hearings.

"In 2005, term limits require that Hatch hand over his chairman's gavel to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) -- an otherwise routine power shift that could have far-reaching implications for high-tech firms, movie studios, record companies and the future of downloading.

"Opponents of the entertainment industry in the copyright debate see Specter's ascension as an opportunity to gain ground in a fight that they say has been stacked against them."

David McGuire. Uncertain Landscape Ahead for Copyright Protection. WashingtonPost.com. Dec. 16, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Eight Copyright Myths Exposed

"A handful of myths have spawned practices, particularly among bloggers and Website owners, that turn copyright law on its head. These myths are rooted in the assumption that everything is up for use online unless and until proven otherwise. Those myths and that ease have fostered a presumption of entitlement that causes Netizens to treat the Internet (and non-electronic sources as well) as a buffet spread of photos, articles, sounds and multi-media files free for the plucking and posting.

"Despite all the media attention to recent lawsuits cracking down on unauthorized music downloads, these myths are still in surprisingly widespread circulation. In the past six months, otherwise educated people have asserted eight different fallacies to me as if they were law. Every one of them has the potential to lead the ill-informed into the land of copyright infringement, where even a short stay can carry a whopping price tag.

"Note: The discussion below will use the term 'permission' to include both explicit permission from the copyright holder and any legally imputed permission, whether due to the work being in the public domain or through fair use, the exercise of the special reproduction right granted to libraries and archives under 17 U.S.C. Section 108, or the limited instructional exemption granted by 17 U.S.C. Section 110. Also, this discussion addresses only works created in the United States or otherwise subject to U.S. copyright law."

Kathy Biehl. Bloggers Beware: Debunking Eight Copyright Myths of the Online World. LLRX.com. Dec. 16, 2004.

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Google Wins Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

"Google scored a big legal win Wednesday when a federal judge ruled that its use of trademarks in keyword advertising is legal.

"Judge Leonie Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Google's motion to dismiss a trademark-infringement complaint brought by Geico. The insurance company had charged Google with violating its trademarks by using the word 'Geico' to trigger rival ads in sponsored search results. Geico claimed the practice diluted its trademarks and caused consumer confusion.

"Brinkema ended the trial Wednesday to issue a formal opinion on the matter. She also asked Google and Geico to settle a dispute over the use of Geico's marks in text of rival ads appearing on the search engine's site."

Stefanie Olsen. Google Wins in Trademark Suit with Geico. News.com. Dec. 15, 2004.

See also:
Sam Hananel. Google Wins Partial Victory in Geico Case. eWeek. Dec. 15, 2004.

Tech Law Journal. Leonie Brinkema Biography.

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December 18, 2004

FCC to Examine Airborne Cell Phone Use

"Air travelers moved one step closer to being able to talk on cell phones and surf the Internet from laptops while in flight, thanks to votes by the Federal Communications Commission yesterday.

"Cell phone use is banned on airplanes by two federal agencies for separate reasons. The Federal Aviation Administration fears the wireless signals could interfere with an airplane's avionics and communications equipment.

"The FCC bans in-flight use because cell phones can communicate with more than one cell tower when in the air. This could lead to disruption of service for cell phones on the ground, which use only one tower at a time.

"But the commission thinks cell phone technology has advanced far enough in recent years to minimize such disruption of ground service."

Frank Ahrens. FCC Considers Cell Phone Use On Airplanes. WashingtonPost.com. Dec. 16, 2004.

National Public Radio. FCC Considers Cell Phone Use on Planes. Morning Edition. Dec. 15, 2004.

Federal Communications Commission. FCC To Examine Ban On Using Cellular Telephones On Airborne Aircraft. (.pdf) (Press Release) Dec. 15, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:07 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

December 17, 2004

Court Rules RIM Infringed on NTP Patent

"A U.S. appeals court upheld a patent infringement finding against BlackBerry e-mail device maker Research In Motion Ltd. on Tuesday, but struck down part of the ruling and sent it back to a lower court for further proceedings.

"Shares of Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM soared more than 10 percent on news that a decision had been reached, but erased those gains after the court released details of the decision. Trading was then halted. Analysts offered widely divided opinions on whether the decision was mainly positive or negative for RIM.

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said a lower court had 'correctly found infringement' in the case that pitted RIM against patent holding company NTP Inc."

Jeffrey Hodgson and Peter Kaplan. BlackBerry Maker's Patent Suit Upheld. WashingtonPost.com. Dec. 14, 2004.

See also:
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. NTP, Inc., v. Research In Motion, LTD.. (.pdf) Dec. 14, 2004.

John Shinal. Appeals Court: RIM Violated Patents. CBS MarketWatch. Dec. 14, 2004.

Roy Mark. Court Rules RIM Infringed. InternetNews.com. Dec. 14, 2004.

Mike Dano. Mixed Ruling in RIM Patent Suit Could Affect Entire Wireless E-mail Market. RCR Wireless News. Dec. 15, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:57 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

P2P Trade Group Fights Child Porn

"A peer-to-peer industry trade group is launching a Web site aimed at educating consumers about the dangers of child pornography online and helping them report it to law enforcement.

"The Distributed Computing Industry Association's P2P Patrol site will go live Monday, as part of a larger approach to the issue, DCIA Chief Executive Officer Marty Lafferty said.

"Previously, the group has worked with law enforcement to help find online child pornographers and has helped create a tool that pops up a warning to computer users if they are searching for a term frequently associated with the illicit material."

John Borland. P2P Group Launches Site to Combat Child Porn. News.com. Dec. 12, 2004.

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Text Messaging Relayed Death Sentence

"Much of the online world was glued to computer screens Monday to hear the jury in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial call for the death penalty.

"A number of news organizations broadcast live audio of the sentencing recommendation, including a live report from inside the courtroom delivered via short text messaging.

"Peterson's death penalty sentencing was covered live via a wireless device, adding a new dimension to TV news coverage. A reporter from KCRA-TV in Sacramento used a laptop to send reports from inside the courtroom back to the TV station's newsroom, using an existing wireless network inside the courtroom."

Ed Frauenheim and Ben Charny. Peterson Death Sentence Relayed Via Messaging. News.com. Dec. 13, 2004.

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December 16, 2004

Film Group Sues DVD Jukebox Maker

"A Hollywood-backed technology group is suing a high-end home theater system company, contending that its home DVD jukebox technology is illegal.

"The DVD Copy Control Association, the group that owns the copy-protection technology contained on DVDs, said a company called Kaleidescape is offering products that illegally make copies of DVDs. The company, which has won several recent consumer electronics awards, said it has worked closely with the DVD CCA for more than a year, and will fight the suit, filed Tuesday.

"Kaleidescape creates expensive consumer electronics networks that upload the full contents of as many as 500 DVDs to a home server, and allow the owner to browse through the movies without later using the DVDs themselves. That's exactly what the copy-protection technology on DVDs, called Content Scramble System (CSS) was meant to prevent, the Hollywood-backed group said."

John Borland. Hollywood Allies Sue DVD Jukebox Maker. News.com. Dec. 7, 2004.

See also:
Tina Harlan. Home Theater Maker Kaleidescape Hit with Copyright Suit. E-Commerce Times. Dec. 9, 2004.

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December 15, 2004

Senate Approves Telecom Package

"As its final act of 2004, the U.S. Senate late Wednesday night approved a telecommunications package that includes reopening the E-Rate financial pipeline and creating a federal agency spectrum relocation fund. Lawmakers also authorized matching grants for state E-911 program enhancements.

"In the wake of charges of fraud and abuse in the federal E-Rate program, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in August moved to shore up the accounting practices associated with the fund, which provides financial support for schools and libraries to connect to the Internet.

"Part of the changes involved forcing the E-Rate fund to have enough upfront cash to cover its commitments, even if payments were not due until 2005. The new accounting rules forced the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which administers the program, to delay more than $400 million in payments to schools and libraries."

Roy Mark. Senate Approves Last Minute Telecom Package. InternetNews.com. Dec. 9, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:44 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

December 14, 2004

High Court to Hear MGM-Grokster case

"The Supreme Court, accepting urgent pleas from the recording and film industries, agreed on Friday to decide whether the online services that enable copyrighted songs and movies to be shared freely over the Internet can be held liable themselves for aiding copyright infringement.

"For the entertainment industry and for everyday consumers, the case is likely to produce the most important copyright decision since the Supreme Court ruled in 1984 that the makers of the videocassette recorder were not liable for violating the copyrights of movies that owners of the devices recorded at home.

"The earlier decision, Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, ushered in one technological revolution. The new case, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster Ltd., No. 04-480, comes as another is already well under way. More than 85 million copyrighted songs and a smaller but rapidly growing number of movies are downloaded from the Internet every day by people using file-sharing services."

Linda Greenhouse. Justices to Hear Case on Sharing of Music Files. The New York Times. Dec. 11, 2004.

See also:
John Borland. Supreme Court to Hear P2P Case. News.com. Dec. 10, 2004.

Ashlee Vance. The Supremes Prep for P2P Battle Royal. The Register. Dec. 10, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:49 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Canada Buries Copyright Myths

"The intense lobbying for stronger copyright legislation in response to music downloading, which culminated in last month's lobby day on Parliament Hill, is premised on three key pillars. First, that the Canadian recording industry has sustained significant financial losses in recent years due to decreased music sales. Second, that those losses can be attributed to peer-to-peer file sharing. Third, that the losses have materially harmed Canadian artists. The time has come to acknowledge that each of these pillars is a myth.

"Last week's column addressed the first two pillars. It documented how CRIA has been inconsistent in its claims of financial losses. The column also demonstrated how peer-to-peer file sharing is at best only marginally responsible for the losses that have been sustained in recent years.

"Following last week's column, readers highlighted yet more factors including a significant decline in the number of new releases issued over the past five years and the view that the CD sales decline simply reflects broader economic conditions.

"Against this backdrop, along with news that shipments of CDs in Canada jumped by more than 12 per cent in the six-month period following the Federal Court of Canada's file sharing decision, it is time to slay the third peer-to-peer myth — that Canadian artists have been materially harmed by the decline in revenue."

Michael Geist. Time Music Industry Focused on Product. Toronto Star. Dec. 6, 2004.

See also:
Michael Geist. Numbers Don't Crunch Against Downloading. Toronto Star. Nov. 29, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:40 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Feds Crack Down on Camera Phones

"Camera phones may make great Christmas gifts, but people better not use them for peeping-Tom photos on federal property.

"In one of its last moves of the year, Congress passed a bill that would levy heavy fines and prison time for anyone who sneaks photos or videos of people in various stages of undress, a problem lawmakers and activists called the new frontier of stalking.

"The legislation would apply only in federal jurisdictions, such as federal buildings, national parks or military bases, but it carves out exceptions for law enforcement, intelligence and prison work."

Associated Press. New Bill Targets Some Peeping Toms. CNN. Dec. 10, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:10 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Blogs Gain Political Influence

"Internet blogs are providing a new and unregulated medium for politically motivated attacks. With the same First Amendment protections as newspapers, blogs are increasingly gaining influence.

"While many are must-reads for political junkies, are some Internet blogs also being used as proxies for campaigns? In the nation’s hottest Senate race, this past year, the answer was yes.

"Little over a month ago, the first Senate party leader in 52 years was ousted when South Dakota Republican John Thune defeated top Senate Democrat Tom Daschle. While more than $40 million was spent in the race, saturating the airwaves with advertising, a potentially more intriguing front was also opened.

David Paul Kuhn. Blogs: New Medium, Old Politics. CBS News. Dec. 8, 2004.

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December 13, 2004

DOD, Privacy Group Clash Over FOIA Request

"Lawyers for a public-interest group and the Defense Department clashed Thursday over the group's demands that the agency release information about a data-mining project.

"The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in May requested information through the Freedom of Information Act from the Defense Intelligence Agency regarding its use of Verity K2 Enterprise, a program that allegedly mines for data via intelligence information and Internet searches in order to identify terrorists.

"The Pentagon rejected EPIC's request, claiming the group did not sufficiently explain the urgency of receiving that specific information. EPIC subsequently filed suit in July (.pdf) in the hopes of gaining access to the material."

Chloe Albanesius. Defense Department, Privacy Group Spar Over Data Request. GovExec.com. Dec. 9, 2004.

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December 10, 2004

Copyright Raid at Video Game Stores

"Federal authorities raided three Washington, D.C.-area video game stores and arrested two people for modifying video game consoles to play pirated video games, a video game industry group said on Wednesday.

"The Entertainment Software Association said the Dec. 1 raids at three Pandora's Cube stores in Maryland and Virginia were a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Justice's computer crimes unit, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"Authorities arrested two store employees on charges of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and conspiracy to traffic in a device that circumvents technological protection measures, the ESA said."

Ben Berkowitz. U.S. Officials Raid Stores, Arrest 2 in Game Piracy. Reuters. Dec. 8, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Lawsuit Could Revolutionize Alcohol Sales

"A lawsuit that Swedenburg has filed could revolutionize the way alcohol is sold over the Internet. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case, brought jointly by the Swedenburg Winery and the Lucas Winery in Lodi, Calif.

"Dozens of states have slapped strict rules on interstate shipments of beer and wine, effectively erecting a formidable barrier that prevents out-of-state wineries like Swedenburg's from shipping directly to residents of those states.

"If Swedenburg prevails, the high court's ruling would likely doom state laws outlawing direct shipping and provide a tremendous boost to online and mail-order sales of wine, beer and perhaps hard liquor as well. A decision is expected by early July 2005."

Declan McCullagh. The Uncorking of Online Alcohol Sales. News.com. Dec. 7, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:27 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

December 09, 2004

NYPIRG Criticizes Access to Data

One out of every five New York state agencies is ignoring the law that requires them to disclose public information in a timely fashion, according to a state watchdog group's report released Wednesday.

"The New York Public Interest Research Group sent Freedom of Information Law requests to 142 state agencies and authorities, and found 20 percent did not respond within two weeks -- well past the five days required for response under state law. The ones that did respond charged up to $6,000 to provide information that they are required to make available under state law.

"The group asked for two items agencies are required by law to keep and make available to the public -- a list of all employees with salaries and titles and a reasonably detailed, current list by subject matter of the agencies' records."

Erin Duggan. Access to Data Criticized. Timesunion.com. Dec. 2, 2004.

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December 08, 2004

China's Tenuous Relationship With the Internet

"As the number of people online in China has quintupled over the last four years, the government has shown itself to be committed to two concrete, and sometimes competing, goals: strategically deploying the Internet to economic advantage, while clamping down - with surveillance, filters and prison sentences - on undesirable content and use.

"Both trends, experts say, are likely to continue.

"China is already the largest mobile communications subscriber market in the world, with more than 320 million subscribers. Internet users - who numbered fewer than 17 million in 2000 - are now estimated to be somewhere near 90 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, the government's clearinghouse for Internet statistics. China is second only to the United States in the number of people online, and the 90 percent of its total population around 1.3 billion who are not online still represents a vast, untapped market. "

Tom Zeller Jr. Beijing Loves the Web Until the Web Talks Back. The New York Times. Dec. 6, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Supreme Court to Hear Direct Wine Case

"Interstate direct-to-consumer wine sales, already de facto in dozens of states, could eventually end up de jure in several more, depending on the outcome of a case being argued Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"In Granholm v. Heald, which consolidates similar cases from Michigan and New York, the high court will consider whether states have the right to bar direct-to-consumer wine shipments from other jurisdictions, while permitting them for in-state wineries.

"In addition to being a showdown between big wholesalers that enjoy a near-stranglehold on the distribution of alcohol and small vineyards that can't get retail shelf space through their channels, the case seems to pit two established constitutional principles against each other.

"On one hand is the right of Congress, and Congress alone, to regulate interstate commerce. On the other is the cherished post-Prohibition rule written into the 21st Amendment, which says that individual states get to decide when and what their residents get to drink and how much they'll pay for that privilege.

William Spain. Direct Wine Sales Before High Court. CBS MarketWatch. Dec. 6, 2004.

See also:
Charles Lane. Small Wineries Find Ally On Interstate Shipping. WashingtonPost.com. Dec. 5, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Appropriations Bill Includes Provision for Telecommuting

"The evening commute in the Washington area may soon be a little less hectic, thanks to a small provision embedded in the government's giant 2005 spending bill.

"The provision, authored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), requires several major federal agencies, including the Commerce, Justice and State Departments, to permit their employees to work from home or 'telework.' If they don't, the agencies could lose a $5 million slice of their budgets.

"The provision also withholds $5 million from the budgets of the Small Business Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission until each expands its telecommuting policy to include all eligible workers."

Alorie Gilbert. U.S. Spending Bill Encourages Telecommuting. News.com. Dec. 1, 2004.

See also:
Jason Miller. Congress OKs $5 Million Penalty for Telecommuting Shortfalls. GCN. Nov. 24, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:16 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

December 07, 2004

Pew Survey Addresses File-Sharing

"The battle over digital copyrights and illegal file sharing is often portrayed as a struggle between Internet scofflaws and greedy corporations. Online music junkies with no sense of the marketplace, the argument goes, want to download, copy and share copyrighted materials without restriction. The recording industry, on the other hand, wants to squeeze dollars - by lawsuit and legislation, if necessary - from its property.

"A survey released yesterday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, an arm of the Pew Research Center in Washington, aims to change that. The report, 'Artists, Musicians and the Internet,' combines and compares the opinions of three groups: the general public, those who identify themselves as artists of various stripes (including filmmakers, writers and digital artists) and a somewhat more self-selecting category of musicians.

"Most notably, it is the first large-scale snapshot of what the people who actually produce the goods that downloaders seek (and that the industry jealously guards) think about the Internet and file-sharing."

Tom Zeller Jr. Pew File-Sharing Survey Gives a Voice to Artists. The New York Times. Dec. 6, 2004.

Mary Madden. Artists, Musicians and the Internet (.pdf) Pew Internet and American Life Project. Dec. 5, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 09:00 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

December 06, 2004

High Court to Hear Broadband Case

"The nation's highest court will determine whether the controversial 'Brand X' ruling of a U.S. appeals court should stand. The case involves whether the government should regulate cable companies in the same way as phone companies. Phone companies are required to allow third-party providers to offer broadband service over their networks, but cable companies are not.

"The difference arises from the Federal Communications Commission's classification of cable as an information service rather than a telecommunications service.

"The government can regulate telecommunications services, but cannot touch information services. In October 2003, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC was incorrect in making that distinction."

Jim Hu. Supreme Court to Hear Broadband Case. ZD Net. Dec. 3, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Google's Copyright Issues

"Google has been brought to court for its use of thumbnails images in its image search engine. Pandia takes a look at Google's use of thumbnails and cached versions of webpages. Google is a search engine. In return for your search query it gives you a list of web pages that contain content that hopefully is of relevance to your needs -- it does not give you the webpage itself.

"Most website owners are very happy with this arrangement. They get visitors in return for letting Google index their pages.

"But what if Google decided to copy the pages and present them on their own server? Wouldn't that be like hijacking pages? Wouldn't that be in violation of international copyright law?"

No author. Google's Copyright Problems. Pandia. Nov. 29, 2004.

See also:
Chris Gaither. Porn Publisher Sues Google Over Images. DetNews.com. Nov. 22, 2004. (Perfect 10 sues Google for infringement related to image caching.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Payday Lenders Circumvent Laws

"Short-term 'payday' lenders are increasingly using the Internet to circumvent state laws, charging annual interest rates as high as 780 percent and automatically debiting late fees and other charges from customer bank accounts, according to a new study.

"The study released Tuesday by the Consumer Federation of America shows a spike in abuses among payday lenders that have moved their operations online.

"Many don't bother to get licensed in the states in which they operate and fail to comply with state consumer protection laws, according to the CFA's report on Internet Payday Lending.

Associated Press. Payday Lenders Use Internet to Avoid Law. Seattle Post Intelligencer. Nov. 30, 2004.

Consumer Federation of America. Internet Payday Lending: How High-Priced Lenders Use the Internet to Mire Borrowers in Debt and Evade State Consumer Protections. (.pdf)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:33 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

December 04, 2004

Pennsylvania Gets New WiFi Law

"In a victory for Verizon Communications, a measure in a new Pennsylvania law will make it harder for cities to build high-speed Internet networks that compete with major telecommunications providers.

"The measure, part of a broad telecommunications law that was signed late Tuesday by Gov. Edward G. Rendell, has been watched closely by telephone companies and cities across the country. The industry and municipal governments have increasingly found themselves at odds, as cities try to spur the growth of high-speed Internet access by building their own networks - often in competition with the dominant local phone company.

"Under the new law's Internet provision, cities in Pennsylvania that want to build their own high-speed data networks must first give the main local phone company the right to build such a network within 14 months. If the phone company proceeds, the city must drop its plans to build a broadband network."

Matt Richtel. Pennsylvania Limits Cities in Offering Net Access. The New York Times. Dec. 2, 2004.

See also:
Declan McCullagh. Philly, Verizon Reach Accord on City Wi-Fi Plan. News.com. Dec. 1, 2004.

Jesse Drucker. Law Restricts Municipal Wi-Fi Networks. FreePress. Dec. 1, 2004.

Stephen Lawson. Philadelphia Wi-Fi Plans Move Forward. PCWorld. Dec. 2, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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December 03, 2004

Redesigned Law & Regulation Web Service Unveiled

"Legal and business publisher Pike & Fischer Inc., a subsidiary of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., unveiled its redesigned Internet Law & Regulation web service today at www.ilrweb.com.

"The newly redesigned service, known as 'ILR' to its subscribers, provides legal practitioners with a state of the art search engine and a more user-friendly interface, enhancing the industry's widest selection of cyberlaw content.

"ILR provides comprehensive coverage of legal developments affecting e-business, including court opinions and proprietary case digests; pleadings, motions, and briefs; statutes and regulations; analysis by top practitioners; and news from both Pike & Fischer and The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc."

Business Wire. Pike & Fischer, Inc. Launches Internet Law & Regulation Web Service, Enhancing Cyberlaw Research. CBS Marketwatch. Dec. 1, 2004.

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November 30, 2004

Kahle Loses Copyright Term Limit Lawsuit

"A lawsuit brought by a group of Internet archivists against recent congressional actions expanding copyright protections has been dismissed by a federal judge.

"The case was led by Net pioneer Brewster Kahle, whose most recent Internet Archive project aims to make a huge digital archive of Web sites and other media. The court's ruling, issued late last week, marks another setback for a movement of activists and scholars against expanding legal protections for artistic works.

"The court relied primarily on last year's Supreme Court ruling (.pdf) that said Congress had the power to extend the term of copyright."

John Borland. Court Nixes Lawsuit Fighting Copyright Law. News.com. Nov. 24, 2004.

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Recording Industry Battles Kazaa in Australia

"The next chapter in the global legal battle between the recording industry and file-sharing services began in Sydney, Australia on Monday when the owners of the hugely popular Kazaa software went to trial to defend against civil copyright infringement charges.

"The entertainment industry already has sued file-sharing services in the United States. Two federal courts in California have cleared Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc. of liability, though the industry has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, said the U.S. cases should not directly affect the outcome of the Australian lawsuit, but all share the principle that a software developer is not directly responsible for the activities of its users, just as Xerox cannot be blamed for copying done on its machines."

Mike Cooper. Recording Industry, File-Share Face Off. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 26, 2004.

See also:
Reuters. Kazaa Heads to Court for File-Swap Trial. News.com. Nov. 28, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Technology Industry Outguns Entertainment Industry?

"Is the entertainment industry losing its clout on Capitol Hill? At first blush, a lot of people might find that to be a laughable proposition. But a prominent architect of the Recording Industry Association of America's legal strategy confided to me last week that his colleagues are being 'outgunned' in the legislative skirmishing over new copyright laws.

"It may seem counterintuitive, but there is some truth to that statement. It explains why Marybeth Peters from the U.S. Copyright Office is saying that the entertainment industry won't get what it wants from Congress before politicians leave town for Thanksgiving.

"Predicting what copyright legislation will be enacted in the last days of the 108th Congress is a risky business, but one thing is certain: The list of laws will not include the Induce Act, which is revered by the entertainment industry but reviled by technology companies."

Declan McCullagh. Outgunned on Copyright?. News.com. Nov. 22, 2004.

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November 29, 2004

U.S. to Anoint Copyright Czar

"Buried inside the massive $388 billion spending bill Congress approved last weekend is a program that creates a federal copyright enforcement czar.

"Under the program, the president can appoint a copyright law enforcement officer whose job is to coordinate law enforcement efforts aimed at stopping international copyright infringement and to oversee a federal umbrella agency responsible for administering intellectual property law."

Reuters. Lawmakers OK Antipiracy Czar. News.com. Nov. 23, 2004.

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Privacy Issues May Slow Online Court Documents

"Court records are presenting a tricky challenge for open-government types and privacy advocates. In most parts of the country, people can drive to a courthouse to view all types of records. But should those same records -- which include medical histories, divorce records, arrests -- be online in the age of omniscient search engines and identity thieves?

"The controversy has driven many courts to appoint special commissions to deal with the issue. On one hand, some argue, is the right of Americans to know how they're being governed. On the other is the erosion of privacy, threats to private lives and even physical danger."

Jacob Ogles. Court Documents Not Fit for Web?. Wired News. Nov. 23, 2004.

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The Problem with U.S. Copyright Policy

"Imagine a process of reviewing prescription drugs which goes like this: representatives from the drug company come to the regulators and argue that their drug works well and should be approved. They have no evidence of this beyond a few anecdotes about people who want to take it and perhaps some very simple models of how the drug might affect the human body. The drug is approved. No trials, no empirical evidence of any kind, no follow-up.

"Even the harshest critics of drug regulation or environmental regulation would admit we generally do better than this. But this is often the way we make intellectual property policy. Representatives of interested industries come to regulators and ask for another heaping slice of monopoly rent in the form of an intellectual property right. They have doom-laden predictions, they have anecdotes, carefully selected to pluck the heartstrings of legislators, they have celebrities who testify - often incoherently, but with palpable charisma."

James Boyle. A Natural Experiment. FT.com. Nov. 22, 2004.

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Actor Fined For Film Piracy

"Warner Bros. has secured a $309,600 judgment against an actor for allegedly making promotional 'screener' copies of 'The Last Samurai' and 'Mystic River' available for bootleg DVD copying and unauthorized Internet trading, the studio said Tuesday.

"Studio officials say Carmine Caridi, a former recurring actor on 'NYPD Blue,' has refused to respond to their civil suit for copyright infringement, forcing them to ask the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to enter a default judgment of $150,000 per film and $9,600 in attorney fees.

"Judge Stephen Wilson granted that request, adding that the defendant's conduct was 'particularly egregious' because of the intentional and deliberate nature of the infringement."

Jesse Hiestand Actor Must Pay $309,600 in Film Piracy Case. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 24, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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November 24, 2004

Judge Allows Internet Archive Snapshots as Evidence

"Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys, in the Northern District of Illinois, ruled that 'snapshots' taken by the Internet Archive that depict web pages as they appeared in the past are admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence.

"The court rejected the arguments of plaintiff Telewizja Polska USA that the archived pages constituted hearsay and that the Internet Archive was an 'unreliable source.'

"He also noted that, since Polska was seeking to suppress evidence of its own previous statements, the snapshots would not be barred even if they were hearsay."

No author. Internet Archive's Web Page Snapshots Held Admissible as Evidence.
Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. Vol 2, No.3.

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Senate Passes Scaled-Back Anti-Piracy Bill

"The U.S. Senate has voted to outlaw several favorite techniques of people who illegally copy and distribute movies, but has dropped other measures that could have led to jail time for Internet song-swappers.

"People who secretly videotape movies when they are shown in theaters could go to prison for up to three years under the measure, which passed the Senate on Saturday.

"Hackers and industry insiders who distribute music, movies or other copyrighted works before their official release date also face stiffened penalties under the bill."

Reuters. Senate Passes Scaled-Back Copyright Measure. News.com. Nov. 22, 2004.

See also:
Katie Dean. A Kinder, Gentler Copyright Bill?. Wired News. Nov. 22, 2004.

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November 23, 2004

Internet Access Tax Ban Extended

"The U.S. Congress on Friday reinstated a ban on Internet access taxes after the House of Representatives agreed to extend it for another three years rather than make it permanent.

"By voice vote, the House passed a Senate bill that prevents state and local governments from taxing the monthly fees that Internet service providers like EarthLink and America Online charge their customers.

"The House voted to make the moratorium permanent, to phase out existing state taxes and to ensure that the bill applies to high-speed 'broadband' service."

Reuters. Net Access Tax Ban Extended For 3 Years. News.com. Nov. 19, 2004.

Update: Reuters. Bush Signs Net Access Tax Ban Into Law. News.com. Dec. 3, 2004.

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Patent Suits Target Gaming

"While computer game fans shell out tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars for the latest shoot-em-up release, a little-known patent holder is hoping to make a different kind of computer game killing.

"American Video Graphics (AVG), a Marshall, Texas, limited partnership, has wielded its arsenal of seven patents related to the display of 3D computer graphics to sue a who's who of companies in the computer game industry.

"Defendants in the three suits range from game makers (Nintendo, Sega, Atari and Activision) to entertainment companies (LucasArts and Vivendi) to hardware vendors (Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell and Gateway) to consumer electronics companies (Sony, Fujitsu, JVC, Sharp, Matsushita and Toshiba)."

Paul Festa. Patent Suits Target Game Industry. News.com. Nov. 17, 2004.

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Woman Wins Suit Against Internet Dating Service

"A federal jury Thursday awarded a woman $434,000 in damages after she sued an Internet matchmaking service that introduced her to her abusive husband.

"In what was described as the first lawsuit of its kind in the country, Nataliya Fox of Loundon County, Va., sued Encounters International of Bethesda, alleging fraud and negligence. The Ukrainian woman met James Fox through the international matchmaking agency and they married in November 1998.

"Nataliya Fox said her husband had beaten her and that the owner of Encounters International told her she would be deported if she left the marriage."

Associated Press. Jury Awards $434,000 to Woman Who Met Husband Online. USA Today. Nov. 19, 2004.

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November 22, 2004

Copyright Bill May Wait Till After Holidays

"Marybeth Peters, the U.S. register of copyrights, told a conference here (.pdf) that the so-called Induce Act would not be part of the slew of legislation--including key spending measures--that Congress is expected to vote on before leaving for next week's Thanksgiving holiday.

"'I don't think you'll ever see database protection,' said Peters, who has been involved in closed-door negotiations this fall over copyright legislation. 'Something else you won't see this year is something known as the Induce Act.'

"The database bill would create a new intellectual property right for collections of information, while the Induce Act would prohibit inducing anyone to violate copyright law."

Declan McCullagh. Anti-P2P Bill May Slip Past Legislative Rush. News.com. Nov. 18, 2004.

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RIAA Continues P2P Lawsuits

"The Recording Industry Association of America has filed new lawsuits against 761 people who allegedly use peer-to-peer software to trade music files without permission, the trade group announced this week.

"The lawsuits included users of the eDonkey, Limewire, and Kazaa services, as well as 25 people using university Internet connections to distribute music files.

"American University in Washington, D.C., Boston College, Iowa State University, and the University of Massachusetts were among the college networks used by those sued."

Grant Gross. RIAA Files New Lawsuits. PCWorld. Nov. 19, 2004.

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Legal Battle Over Microsoft's E-Mail Policy

"Burst.com, a company suing Microsoft for patent infringement, is alleging that the software giant instructs its employees to routinely destroy internal e-mail every 30 days, despite a court order to retain such documents, according to documents filed earlier this week.

"Burst.com, a streaming media software company, on Monday filed a pretrial motion with a U.S. District Court in Baltimore asking the judge to find Microsoft has destroyed evidence and to instruct a jury to take that into consideration once the antitrust and patent infringement trial begins.

"The dispute between the two companies dates back to June 2002. Burst.com is alleging that Microsoft infringed on its patent for streaming video and used its technology to resolve a problem of slow video transmissions over the Internet when using Windows. The company is also alleging that Microsoft violated a nondisclosure agreement and tried to patent Burst technology after a briefing."

Dawn Kawamoto. Microsoft's E-mail Policy at Issue in Legal Fight. News.com. Nov. 18, 2004.

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PA May Block Philly 'Wi-Fi' Plan

"Supporters of Philadelphia's plan to provide wireless Internet access blasted a bill in the state General Assembly last night that they said threatened the city's proposal.

"House Bill 30, which needs only Senate approval before being sent to Gov. Rendell, contains a clause forbidding governments from providing fast Internet services - including wireless fidelity, or 'Wi-Fi,' access - that competes with private services such as Verizon Communications Inc.'s DSL and Comcast Corp.'s cable modem.

"The contested bill is the proposed replacement for the state's far-reaching telecommunications law that was created 10 years ago and expired in December. Both the old and the new versions define the rules for competition among telephone providers and established a time line for deploying fast Internet service, or broadband, throughout the state."

Akweli Parker. Pa. May Block City 'Wi-Fi' Plan, Backers Say. Philadelphia Inquirer. Nov. 18, 2004.

See also:
Stephen Lawson. Law May Snag Philadelphia Wi-Fi Rollout. InfoWorld. Nov. 23, 2004.

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November 20, 2004

Airport Asserts Authority for Wireless Communication

"An emerging national battle between airlines and airports over the use, regulation and management of wireless Internet networks has prompted the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority to retain additional legal counsel to deal with the issue.

"'There's been talk that airports do not have the authority to regulate telecommunications services within the airport,' said Louis E. Miller, executive director of Tampa International Airport. 'We think that's ridiculous. It's our airport, and we run it, and we should be allowed to supply telecommunications services to our tenants and passengers if we so choose.'

"A telecommunications legal firm 'will be required in the future as the authority implements telecommunications programs,' the authority's Nov. 4 monthly meeting agenda shows."

Ken Salgat. TIA Asserts Authority to Control Wireless Communication on Site. BizJournal.com. Nov. 12, 2004.

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November 19, 2004

Congress May Act on Copyright Bill

"Several lobbying camps from different industries and ideologies are joining forces to fight an overhaul of copyright law, which they say would radically shift in favor of Hollywood and the record companies and which Congress might try to push through during a lame-duck session that begins this week.

The Senate might vote on HR2391 (.pdf), the Intellectual Property Protection Act, a comprehensive bill that opponents charge could make many users of peer-to-peer networks, digital-music players and other products criminally liable for copyright infringement. The bill would also undo centuries of 'fair use' -- the principle that gives Americans the right to use small samples of the works of others without having to ask permission or pay.

"The bill lumps together several pending copyright bills including HR4077, the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, which would criminally punish a person who 'infringes a copyright by ... offering for distribution to the public by electronic means, with reckless disregard of the risk of further infringement.' Critics charge the vague language could apply to a person who uses the popular Apple iTunes music-sharing application."

Michael Grebb. Senate May Ram Copyright Bill. Wired News. Nov. 16, 2004.

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November 18, 2004

MPAA Files First Copyright Infringement Lawsuits

"The trade group that represents movie studios filed its first round of lawsuits Tuesday against people who allegedly share copyright films on the internet. The Motion Picture Association of America declined to say where the lawsuits were filed or how many people were targeted.

"The civil lawsuits ask for damages. Individuals may be liable for up to $150,000 per film traded on the net.

"The MPAA said it hopes to give studio-supported companies like CinemaNow and Movielink, which sell movie downloads, a better chance to survive without free peer-to-peer services hampering their businesses."

Katie Dean. Movie Studios Sue File Traders. Wired News. Nov. 16, 2004.

See also:
Gary Gentile. Film Trade Group Files Anti-Piracy Suits. San Jose Mercury News. Nov. 17, 2004.

Cynthia L. Webb. Hollywood's One Strike Policy. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 17, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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November 17, 2004

Free Culture Fest Raises Awareness

"It's been said that information wants to be free. Now some folks are saying culture wants to be free, too. And they're building a grassroots organization throughout the nation's campuses to advance that idea.

"FreeCulture.org, founded by Swarthmore students Nelson Pavlosky and Luke Smith, is advancing its mission to unfetter culture by supporting projects such as promoting the use of open-source software, encouraging student artists to adopt relaxed licensing agreements for their creations, holding remixing contests and campaigning against legislation that expands the powers of copyright holders.

"This week, the organization is holding a week-long 'Free Culture Fest' at Swarthmore to educate the public about a host of subjects, from open-source software software development to workshops on collage and intellectual property law."

John P. Mello Jr. Free Culture Fest Targets Copyright Restrictions. TechNewsWorld. Nov. 12, 2004.

See also:
Katie Dean. Students Fight Copyright Hoarders. Wired News. Nov. 10, 2004.

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November 15, 2004

Coalition Voices Opposition to Copyright Bill

"A coalition of technology and advocacy groups on Friday asked the U.S. Senate to kill copyright legislation that might result in jail time for people who trade copyrighted files online.

"The coalition, led by civil rights group Public Knowledge, voiced their opposition to the Cooperative Research and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) Act, a bill passed by the House of Representatives in March.

"The bill, a combination of other copyright legislation introduced in the House, includes prison sentences of three to 10 years for the electronic distribution of copyrighted works worth more than $1,000 for willful violations, or in some cases, the distribution of more than 1,000 copies of a copyrighted work."

Grant Gross. Coalition Asks US Congress to Kill Copyright Bill. InfoWorld. Nov. 12, 2004.

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More Work Needed to Fight Spam

"The second day of meetings at the Federal Trade Commission's E-mail Authentication Summit began on a hopeful note Thursday, with FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz saying that, through a combination of new technologies and cooperation, spam can be defeated.

"But by the end of the day the consensus was that the goal would not in fact be reached. Still, Leibowitz made it clear that the commission plans to take whatever steps it can in the effort to get spam and related problems, including phishing and the distribution of worms and viruses, under control."

Wayne Rash. FTC on Spam: More Work to Be Done. eWeek. Nov. 12, 2004.

See also:
Grant Gross. E-mail Authentication: Cost, Standards Remain Problems. InfoWorld. Nov. 10, 2004.

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November 12, 2004

Privacy Policys & The Patriot Act

"Just two months from now, the government has the opportunity to appeal a ruling by a N.Y. Federal District Court judge that strikes down an important provision of the controversial U.S. Patriot Act.

"The ruling, (.pdf) which came Sept. 29, was set to go into effect 90 days from that date unless the government solves the constitutional flaws the judge identified.

"Few laws have elicited as much emotional and legal reaction as the Patriot Act. Adopted in the early days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the law includes many provisions sought by law enforcement over the years and gives the government many new rights to scrutinize public behavior. It also overrides many earlier privacy laws, such as allowing the government to collect information about an individual's videotape rentals, financial information, and even his or her Web searches and online practices."

Parry Aftab. The Privacy Lawyer: Privacy Policies And The Patriot Act. InformationWeek. Nov. 8, 2004.

See also:
John D. Cline. United States: Court Strikes Down National Security Letter Statute. Mondaq. Oct. 13, 2004.

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November 11, 2004

FCC Ruling Limits Regulation of VoIP

"The Federal Communications Commission seized regulatory control over Internet-based telephone services on Tuesday by issuing an order that sharply limited the role of state regulators.

"In a unanimous ruling, the commission said that Minnesota could not impose regulations on these services. That included a requirement that one of the leading companies in the field, Vonage, must offer to all Internet phone customers emergency 911 service similar to that offered by the traditional phone companies.

"The decision, if upheld by a federal appeals court considering the matter, would set the precedent of limiting state regulators to issues of consumer fraud, general commercial law and state taxes."

Stephen Labaton. F.C.C. Takes on Oversight of Internet Phone Services. The New York Times. Nov. 10, 2004.

See also:
Federal Communications Commission. FCC Finds that Vonage Not Subject to Patchwork of State Regulations Governing Telephone Companies. (.pdf). Nov. 9, 2004.

Caron Carlson and Ryan Naraine. FCC: VOIP Is Not Subject to State Rules. eWeek. Nov. 9, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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November 10, 2004

Unsettled Patent Shakes Blackberry Parent

"Research In Motion shares have been fluctuating amid anticipation that a ruling over a hotly contested patent infringement case may be near--and that it could be bad news for the BlackBerry maker.

"Analysts attributed the stock shifts to speculation that a decision will be made soon on RIM's appeal to invalidate NTP's patents. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments from both companies' attorneys on June 7.

"The two companies have been embroiled in a patent infringement case for a number of years. NTP claims that RIM violates its patents covering the use of radio frequency wireless communications in e-mail systems."

Richard Shim. RIM Shares Atwitter Amid Case Concerns. News.com. Nov. 5, 2004.

See also:
Stuart Weinberg. Rumor of Court Ruling Weighs on Research In Motion. San Franciso Chronicle. Nov. 5, 2004.

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High Court to Decide Internet Alcohol Sales

"The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in a lawsuit that will, if successful, permit American adults to freely buy beer and wine over the Internet.

"Dozens of state legislatures, including those of New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, and Michigan, have slapped severe restrictions on out-of-state shipments of alcohol.

"The culprits behind these rules: Lobbyists for beer and wine distributors, which currently enjoy profitable markups in the 25 percent range that they stand to lose if direct Internet shipping becomes legal and popular."

Declan McCullagh. Prohibition Redux?. News.com. Nov. 8, 2004.

See also:
Institute for Justice. Uncorking Freedom: Challenging Protectionist Restraints on Direct Interstate Wine Shipments to Consumers. No date.

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November 09, 2004

Sonny Bono Shackles the Wind

"Earlier this year, the Australian affiliate of Project Gutenberg posted the 1936 novel 'Gone With the Wind' on its Web site for downloading at no charge. Last week, after an e-mail message was sent to the site by the law firm representing the estate of the book's author, Margaret Mitchell, the hyperlink to the text turned into a 'Page Not Found'' dead end.

"At issue is the date when 'Gone With the Wind' enters the public domain. In the United States, under an extension of copyright law, "Gone With the Wind'' will not enter the public domain until 2031, 95 years after its original publication. But in Australia, as in a handful of other places, the book was free of copyright restrictions in 1999, 50 years after Mitchell's death."

Victoria Shannon. One Internet, Many Copyright Laws. The New York Times. Nov. 8, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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November 08, 2004

Spammer Gets 9 Year Prison Sentence

"A North Carolina man was sentenced to nine years in prison for sending hundreds of thousands of unwanted e-mail messages, Virginia prosecutors said Wednesday.

"Jeremy Jaynes of Raleigh was found guilty under a Virginia state law that sets limits on the number of e-mails marketers can send in a given time period and prohibits them from using fake e-mail addresses, Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore said.

"Jaynes, who used the alias Gaven Stubberfield, was ranked by watchdog group The Spamhaus Project as the eighth-most prolific spammer in the world when he was arrested last December."

Reuters. North Carolina Man Sentenced to 9 Years for Spam. News.com. Nov. 3, 2004.

Update: Stefanie Olsen. $1 Million Bond Set for Alleged Spammer's Freedom. News.com. Nov. 9, 2004. (Judge Thomas Horne set bail for Jaynes at $1 million on the condition that he wear a GPS leg monitor and not use a computer.)

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November 06, 2004

Votes are In: Onward to Tally Issues

"It's finally over: President George W. Bush claimed victory in his re-election bid on Wednesday, a win that capped a tumultuous night of election results and propelled technology and other stocks higher.

"Coupled with the Republican gains in Congress, the results of the 2004 election offer the president a long-awaited opportunity to consolidate his grip on power in the nation's capital--a prospect that could, depending on the details, help or hurt the technology industry.

"Aside from a few spats about offshoring early in the year, technology topics have never been a priority for either Bush or Sen. John Kerry, his Democratic rival. But this week's results ensure that attitudes in Washington, D.C., toward broadband, spectrum management, taxes and Internet telephony will line up squarely behind Republican priorities through at least the midterm elections in 2006."

Declan McCullagh. Votes are Cast--Time to Count the Issues. News.com. Nov. 3, 2004.

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China To Implement Copyright Draft Legislation

"The National Copyright Administration will soon implement a draft regulation on administrative protection of copyrights on information networks, to better protect Internet-based work and prevent piracy.

"The draft regulation, worked out by the administration and the Ministry of Information Industry, aims to further bring China's copyright protection closer to international standards, sources from the administration said at a hearing yesterday in Beijing.

"The draft regulation applies to the administrative protection of dissemination rights on Internet-based services. And these services refer to loading, saving, transmitting, linking, searching and other functions through the Internet, the draft regulation states."

Cui Ning. Regulation to Protect Copyrights on Networks. China Daily. Nov. 5, 2004.

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E-Mail Promotion Stirs Up Spam Opponents

"For a year, Microsoft Corp. has extolled the virtues of the Can-Spam Act, which Congress passed in late 2003 to crack down on purveyors of unwanted bulk e-mail. Microsoft, with other Internet and marketing firms, helped craft the act and has sued several spammers under its provisions.

"But Bob Poortinga, a Bloomington, Ind., programmer, thinks the software giant is engaged in its own spamming. Last week, Poortinga got a lengthy 'executive letter' from Microsoft chief executive Steven A. Ballmer touting Microsoft's Windows products for companies and other organizations.

"Microsoft said Ballmer's e-mail did not violate federal anti-spam regulations. But anti-spam activists and legal experts said the message does not make it easy for people to remove themselves from future mailings, as required by the law."

Jonathan Krim. Microsoft E-Mail Looks Like Spam to Some Recipients. WashingtonPost.com. Nov. 5, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:38 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

November 05, 2004

Creative Commons Offers Creative Copyright

"This issue of Wired magazine includes a copy of The Wired CD, a collection of 16 songs produced under the Creative Commons License. The licenses come from Creative Commons, the innovative nonprofit founded by Wired columnist and Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig.

"The songs on this CD use one of two Creative Commons licenses.The Noncommercial Sampling Plus license permits noncommercial file-sharing and noncommercial sampling. That means, first, that you can swap the songs on a peer-to-peer network (just don't sell them). And second, that you can sample from them, mash them up, use them to make something fresh - and then share that work, too (though again, you can't sell it). The Beastie Boys, Chuck D, and My Morning Jacket opted for the Noncommercial Sampling Plus license.

"The other 13 artists on the CD went a step further and released their songs under the more expansive Sampling Plus license. Like the noncommercial version, it allows file-sharing. But it also allows commercial use of samples - meaning you can insert a slice of these songs into your own composition and then try to sell the new track. The only restrictions: Use in advertisements is not permitted, and the new work must be 'highly transformative' of the original (translation: A flagrant rip-off like 'Ice Ice Baby' doesn't cut it)."

"More details on the licenses and their permissions are available at creativecommons.org/wired."

Thomas Goetz. Sample the Future. Wired. Nov. 2004.

See also:
Eric Steuer. The Remix Masters. Wired. Nov. 2004.

Hilary Rosen. How I Learned to Love Larry. Wired. Nov. 2004.

Julian Dibbell. We Pledge Allegiance to the Penguin. Wired. Nov. 2004.

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November 03, 2004

Legal Liabilities Lurk Among Corporate Blogs

"More and more people are jumping on the corporate weblogging bandwagon. At Microsoft Corp., for example, there are currently more than 1,000 blogs. Like many companies, especially the IT vendor companies where weblogs tend to proliferate, Microsoft encourages the informal sites as a way for its employees to stay close to customers.

"But as weblogs have multiplied, a number of legal issues have arisen, and regardless of whether your company sponsors its bloggers, it may be opening itself up to hidden liabilities.

"Here are some of the dangers of corporate blogging and precautions companies should consider."

Linda Rosencrance. Watch Your Weblog. Computerworld. Nov. 1, 2004.

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Canada Study Sees Risk in U.S. Patriot Act

"A key U.S. anti-terrorism law threatens the privacy of Canadians and rigorous steps are needed to protect private medical and financial information, a government study said Friday.

"Current safeguards are not sufficient to prevent the FBI from using the USA Patriot Act to force U.S. firms and their foreign subsidiaries to turn over private data even if doing so violates Canadian law, the province of British Columbia's privacy commissioner said.

"The study is among the first to examine the foreign impact of the Patriot Act, which was passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Reaction to the study is being watched closely as governments move to contract their data storage work to private firms -- many of which are U.S.-linked."

Allan Dowd. Canada Study Sees Risk in U.S. Anti-terrorism Law. Reuters. Oct. 29, 2004.

See also:
Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia. Privacy & the USA Patriot Act - Implications for British Columbia Public Sector Outsourcing. (.pdf). Oct. 2004.

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Oxford Hackers Suspended

"Two Oxford students have been suspended after admitting to gaining unauthorized access to the university's IT network. Patrick Foster, 20, and Roger Waite, 21, claimed they had carried out the hack to expose security flaws.

"The pair's actions came to light in May, when they wrote an article for The Oxford Student, a university newspaper, detailing their activities.

"They warned that using tools found through Google they had managed to view live CCTV footage, access information about the computer use of individual students and see their e-mail passwords."

Graeme Wearden. Students Suspended for Hacking Oxford Network. News.com. Nov. 1, 2004.

See also:
John Leyden. Oxford Uni 'Jackers' Suspended. The Register. Nov 1, 2004.

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November 02, 2004

Suspected Music Pirate Goes to Court

"Lawyers for music industry players claimed that Stephen Cooper received 'hundreds of millions of hits' per year to his allegedly illegal music download site, MP3s4free.net, as the long-awaited federal court case against the retired policeman kicked off Monday in Sydney.

"The case first came to the court system's attention on Oct. 17 of last year, when Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), which suspected Cooper of music copyright infringement, raided his premises.

"Music industry lawyers say the Web site was first identified as a copyright law violator in December 2002, after it was picked up by MIPI's Internet surveillance activities."

Abby Dinham. Alleged Pirate Faces Labels in Australian Court. News.com. Oct. 26, 2004.

See also:
Abby Dinham. Expert Witness Embarrassed on the Stand in Cooper Copyright Case. ZD Net Australia. Oct. 29, 2004.

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October 30, 2004

AOL, E-Mail Companies Sue Spammers

"Four of the nation's largest online providers yesterday announced a new round of lawsuits aimed at e-mail spammers, including the first major case involving spam sent via an instant messaging service.

"America Online Inc., Yahoo Inc., Earthlink Inc. and Microsoft Corp. all filed suits in federal courthouses around the country, alleging violations of the federal anti-spam law passed late last year and of state statutes.

"Instant messaging, often known as IM, has grown in popularity for its ease of use, immediacy, and relative freedom from the onslaught of unwanted bulk messages that have been choking e-mail communication."

Jonathan Krim. ISPs File Suits Against Spammers. WashingtonPost.com. Oct. 29, 2004.

See also:
Tim Richardson. US Giants Move to Can Spammers. The Register. Oct. 29, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:15 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 29, 2004

MP3 Site Settles Copyright Suit

"The Recording Industry Association of America has reached a $10 million legal settlement with a Spanish company that briefly offered MP3s online for just pennies a song.

"The trade group on Monday said four people associated with Puretunes.com, which operated only briefly in mid-2003, collectively agreed to pay $500,000 in damages, while the holding company responsible for the Web site's operations will be responsible for $10 million.

"The company initially said it had acquired the rights to the songs legally through overseas licensing authorities. The RIAA disagreed and sued the company not long afterward."

John Borland. MP3 Site Settles for $10 Million with RIAA. News.com. Oct. 25, 2004.

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October 28, 2004

Court Overturns Lexmark DMCA Ruling

"In a closely watched case involving the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a federal court has ruled that a small North Carolina company can continue selling a chip that makes it possible to use refilled toner cartridges in Lexmark printers.

"Static, which sells printer parts and other business supplies, has been defending a lawsuit brought by Lexmark, the No. 2 maker of printers in the United States. The suit claims the Smartek chip violates the DMCA, and Lexmark hopes the case will slam the brakes on the toner cartridge remanufacturing industry and compel consumers to buy its cartridges.

"The case has gotten a lot of attention because it's one of the first to test the limits of the DMCA, which Congress enacted in 1998 to limit Internet piracy."

Declan McCullagh. Ruling on Refilled Printer Cartridges Touches DMCA. News.com. Oct. 26, 2004.

See also:
U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc.. (.pdf). Oct. 26, 2004.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Lexmark v. Static Control Case Archive.

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October 27, 2004

Would Kerry Dismantle DMCA?

"In a barely noticed remark last week, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said he might support defanging the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)--the unpopular law that has prompted take-to-the-street protests from the geek community.

"If Kerry is serious, that would be a remarkable metamorphosis on a law that the Senate approved without one dissenting vote. It would also be remarkable because, contrary to what Kerry and President Bush tell you, few differences exist between the two White House hopefuls on nearly any topic imaginable."

Declan McCullagh. Would President Kerry Defang the DMCA?. News.com. Oct. 25, 2004.

See also:
Dawn Kawamoto. Bush, Kerry Weigh In on Tech Issues. News.com. Oct. 21, 2004.

Declan McCullagh. Bush vs. Kerry on Tech. News.com. June 28, 2004.

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October 26, 2004

Identity Theft Hits Home

"Analysts say several factors have combined to make identity theft a particularly intractable crime: the growth of the Internet and digital finance, decades of expanding consumer credit worldwide, the hodgepodge nature of local and federal law enforcement, and the changing but often still inadequate regulations governing the credit industry.

"In a report prepared by its consumer protection bureau, the F.T.C. said 27.3 million Americans had their identities stolen from April 1998 to April 2003 - with more than a third of them, or 9.9 million, victimized in the last 12 months of that period alone. The crimes ranged from the theft of a credit card number to more elaborate identity thefts used to secure loans.

"The crimes ranged from the theft of a credit card number to more elaborate identity thefts used to secure loans. During those 12 months, the report said, businesses and financial institutions suffered about $48 billion in losses because of identity theft, and victimized consumers paid more than $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses to regain their financial identities."

Timothy L. O'Brien. Identity Theft Is Epidemic. Can It Be Stopped?. The New York Times. Oct. 24, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:47 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Online Attack at University Computer System

"An August intrusion into a social researcher's computer may mean that more than a million Californians need to call the credit bureaus.

"On Tuesday, the California Department of Social Services warned the providers and recipients of the state's In Home Support Services (IHSS) that their names, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers and dates of birth may be circulating the Internet. IHSS allows individuals to get paid for providing in-home care to senior citizens.

"The warning comes after an unknown attacker slipped in through a security hole in a social researcher's unsecured computer at the University of California, Berkeley, on Aug. 1, perhaps making off with 1.4 million database records containing personal information."

Robert Lemos. Online Attack Puts 1.4 Million Records at Risk. News.com. Oct. 20, 2004.

See also:
Reuters. Hacker Strikes University Computer System. News.com. Oct. 19, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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October 25, 2004

Record Labels Now Embrace P2P

"Amid the recent collapse of talks over the Induce Act in Congress, record labels are closing in on deals to enable several new peer-to-peer services to emerge -- with the sanction of major record labels that have so far derided P2P as a haven for piracy.

"At a panel held Wednesday by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, at least one record industry representative predicted that such sanctioned P2P services will start to proliferate in the next several months.

"According to Mitch Glazier, senior vice president of government relations and legislative counsel at the Recording Industry Association of America, the new services will be consumer-friendly and enable the portability that digital music consumers demand, all without running afoul of copyright law."

Michael Grebb. Toe-to-Toe Over Peer-to-Peer. Wired News. Oct. 21, 2004.

See also:
Federal Trade Commission. FTC to Host Two-day Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Workshop. Oct. 15, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:18 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 23, 2004

What Crisis? CD Shipments Rise

"CD shipments are surging this year, but not enough to erase previous years' declines in the music business, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

"The record industry's trade group said the value of shipments of all music at the midpoint of 2004 had climbed nearly 4 percent compared to the previous year. The industry has shipped 10 percent more CDs to retail outlets than last year, showing a strong increase in demand.

"But that growth does not mean that the industry can let up in its years-long legal attacks on file swapping and other digital copying, executives said."

John Borland. CD Shipments Surge After Lean Years. ZDNet. Oct. 20, 2004.

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October 22, 2004

FCC Chairman Calls for VoIP Oversight

"The land of Internet calling may not be free of regulation for much longer.

"With upstarts like Vonage taking business away from traditional phone companies while AT&T; and others try to play catch up with their own Voice Over Internet Protocol offerings, the government is looking to step in soon to set up rules for the growing telecom service.

"But if FCC Chairman Michael Powell has his way, Uncle Sam will tread lightly and intervene to keep VoIP from getting wrapped up in red tape and taxes at the state level."

Cynthia L. Webb. Figuring Out the Rules for VoIP. WashingtonPost.com. Oct. 20, 2004.

See also:
Jim Hu. Powell: Feds Must Use Light Touch on Net. News.com. Oct. 19, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:06 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 21, 2004

Data Miners Offshore Privacy

"The choreographer of one of the Bush administration's most ambitious homeland security efforts, a former intelligence official named Ben H. Bell III, is taking his ideas to a private company offshore, where he and his colleagues plan to use some of the same concepts, technology and contractors to assess people for risk, outside the reach of U.S. regulators, according to documents and interviews.

"Bell's new employer, the Bahamas-based Global Information Group Ltd., intends to amass large databases of international records and analyze them in the coming years for corporations, government agencies and other information services. One of the first customers is information giant LexisNexis Group, one of the main contractors on the government system that was known until recently as the second generation of the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening Program, or CAPPS II. The program is now known as Secure Flight."

Robert O'Harrow Jr. Bahamas Firm Screens Personal Data To Assess Risk. WashingtonPost.com. Oct. 16, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:35 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Click Fraud Exposed

"If there is any single axiom of the digital age, it must be this: for every advance, there is a scourge.

"E-mail has spam. The Web has pop-up windows and spyware. Even the market infant, Internet telephony, has analysts bracing for an onslaught of what is been called 'Spam Over Internet Telephony,' (or "spit," of course).

"It should come as no surprise, then - and some might say it is a bit of poetic justice - that online advertisers are becoming acquainted with their own special plague: click fraud.

Tom Zeller Jr. With Each Technology Advance, a Scourge. News.com. Oct. 18, 2004.

See also:
Adam L. Penenberg. Click Fraud Threatens Web. Wired News. Oct. 13, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:20 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 20, 2004

Sshhhh! (21st Century Style)

"It was the reporters who noticed first. Unable to call their editors while covering the weddings of the rich and famous, they asked the priest why their cell phones never worked at Sacred Heart. His reply: Israeli counterintelligence.

"In four Monterrey churches, Israeli-made cell phone jammers the size of paperbacks have been tucked unobtrusively among paintings of the Madonna and statues of the saints."

Olga R. Rodriguez. Churches Installing Cell Phone Jammers. eWeek. Oct. 17, 2004.

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Chairman Powell's Consigliere

"How strictly the FCC decides to regulate emerging technology promises to have a lasting impact on areas as disparate as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), fiber to the home, instant messaging and even digital video recorders.

"Robert Pepper is the FCC's chief of policy development, which requires him to be a kind of government futurist, advising Chairman Michael Powell on which regulations are wise and which would be harmful. He's also co-chairman of the FCC's Internet Policy Working Group. Previously, Pepper directed the Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy Studies."

Declan McCullagh. The Technologist Who has Michael Powell's Ear. News.com. Sept. 30, 2004.

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Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:34 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 19, 2004

Web Access Via Power Lines Coming Soon

"The idea of ubiquitous broadband may have came a step closer to reality this week when the Federal Communications Commission cleared the way for commercial deployment of broadband over power lines (BPL).

"The idea behind authorizing BPL is two-fold — to make broadband available in rural places that are not currently served by cable or DSL, and to increase competition in areas that already have broadband access. And broadband enables more than just rich media ads and entertainment."

Kevin Newcomb. Ubiquitous Broadband Nears. ClickZ News. Oct. 15, 2004.

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Think Tank: Bush Has Poor E-Gov Record

"Hints of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) management agenda might be found in a new paper critiquing the Bush administration's e-government record.

"'The administration has failed to develop an overall e-government plan detailing where they want to go and how they want to get there,' reads a brief by Robert Atkinson, vice president with the Progressive Policy Institute, which functions as the think tank for the Democratic Leadership Council, often seen as a forum for moderates within the Democratic Party."

David Perera. Peek at Democratic E-gov. FCW.com. Oct. 15, 2004.

See also
Robert Atkinson. Unsatisfactory Progress: The Bush Administration's Performance on E-Government Initiatives. (.pdf) Progressive Policy Institute. Oct. 14, 2004.

Nancy Ferris. All Quiet on the Management Front. FCW.com. Oct. 11, 2004. (Neither Bush nor Kerry has offered much on their E-Government agendas.)

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Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:25 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Lawyers Use Google for Research

"The at-your-fingertips convenience of Internet searches has lawyers and even judges a little Google-obsessed. And their fascination with the Internet and its capabilities isn’t limited to mundane questions about the latest fashions or fall gardening. Google and other Internet search engines have fast become a legal research tool, to the concern of some critics.

"Lawyers search the Internet to check out clients, find out how to locate witnesses, get the dirt on companies and examine the vitae of the opposition’s experts. The information they find is sprouting up in their legal briefs. Not to be left behind, judges are using Internet searches to double-check facts and bolster decisions."

Molly McDonough. In Google We Trust?. ABA Journal. Oct. 14, 2004.

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October 18, 2004

Global Effort to Fight Spam

"Representatives from worldwide governments, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, are meeting in London this week to discuss how a united front can help to crack down on the problem of unsolicited bulk e-mail.

"The initiative represents the latest in a string of events regarding spam, which to date have yielded little result and little agreement on the best approach.

"John Vickers, chairman of the Office of Fair Trading that is hosting the event, urged the industry, the media and average e-mail users to hold off on cynicism about this most recent initiative until its effect has been witnessed."

Will Sturgeon. Britain, U.S. Talk Up Spam Fight. News.com. Oct. 11, 2004.

See also:
No author. Call For Global Action on Spam. BBC. Oct. 11, 2004.

Office of Fair Trading. International Agencies Join Forces to Combat Spam. Oct. 11, 2004.

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:09 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Justice Department Seeks New Antipiracy Powers

"The U.S. Justice Department recommended a sweeping transformation of the nation's intellectual-property laws, saying peer-to-peer piracy is a 'widespread' problem that can be addressed only through more spending, more FBI agents and more power for prosecutors.

"In an extensive report (.pdf) released Tuesday, senior department officials endorsed a pair of controversial copyright bills strongly favored by the entertainment industry that would criminalize 'passive sharing' on file-swapping networks and permit lawsuits against companies that sell products that 'induce' copyright infringement.

"Tuesday's report was not focused exclusively on Internet piracy: It also included recommendations about responses to trademark infringements, trade secret violations and fake pharmaceuticals. But the Internet-related bills it endorses are at the heart of the ongoing political battle pitting Hollywood and the music industry against the computer industry, 'fair use' advocates and librarians."

Declan McCullagh. Justice Dept. Wants New Antipiracy Powers. News.com. Oct. 12, 2004.

See also:
Katie Dean. Ashcroft Vows Piracy Assault. Wired News. Oct. 14, 2004.

The Hon. Attorney General John Ashcroft. Prepared Remarks: Release of the Report of the Department of Justice's Task Force on Intellectual Property. Oct. 12, 2004.

Department of Justice. Attorney General John Ashcroft Announces Recommendations of the Justice Department's Intellectual Property Task Force. Oct. 12, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:47 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

October 14, 2004

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Net Privacy Case

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand let stand a lower court decision holding that the recording industry can't force internet service providers to turn over the names of users trading music files online, effectively stopping one of the legal tactics of the music business as it tries to stamp out piracy.

"The case (.pdf) pitted the Recording Industry Association of America against Verizon Internet Services, which earlier had challenged a 2002 copyright subpoena stemming from a provision in the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

"Tuesday's loss came as a blow to the entertainment industry, which has tried to use litigation as a way to deter alleged copyright infringement on peer-to-peer networks."

Michael Grebb. Music Industry Spurned by Court. Wired News. Oct. 12, 2004.

See also:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. No "Fishing License" for the RIAA. Deep Links. Oct. 12, 2004.

No author. Subpoenas Snubbed in File-Sharing Fight. Red Herring. Oct. 12, 2004.

Gina Holland. High Court Won't Hear Music Sharing Case. SiliconValley.com. Oct. 12, 2004.

Cynthia Webb. Supremes Quietly Change Piracy Debate. WashingtonPost.com. Oct. 13, 2004.

Update: WashingtonPost.com Supreme Court Internet Privacy Decision. Oct. 14, 2004. (Transcript of chat between Post writer David McGuire and Verizon vice president and associate general counsel Sarah Deutsch. Verizon was the lead party in the fight over keeping subscribers' identities private from entertainment companies seeking to sue for copyright infringement.)

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

FTC Cracks Down on Spyware

"The Federal Trade Commission formally announced yesterday its first assault against spyware - bits of computer code that surreptitiously install themselves on the computers of Internet users to track their activities, push them to Web sites, barrage them with advertisements, and otherwise wreak havoc with their machines.

"The commission filed a lawsuit in a federal court in New Hampshire last week against Sanford Wallace, the owner of Seismic Entertainment Productions and Smartbot.net, contending that Mr. Wallace and his companies had violated federal law, which prohibits 'unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.'

"The commission's action comes at the same time Congress focuses attention on legislation aimed at curbing spyware on the Internet. Two bills - the Internet Spyware Prevention Act and the Safeguard Against Privacy Invasions Act - were passed in the House of Representatives last week."

Tom Zeller Jr. F.T.C. Files First Lawsuit Against Spyware Concerns. The New York Times. Oct. 12, 2004.

See also:
John Borland. From Spam King to Spymaster?. News.com. Oct. 12, 2004.

Jason Tuohey. Is Distributing Spyware a Crime?. PCWorld. Oct. 11, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:04 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Experts Ponder if Telecom is Dead

"There was one question on the minds of technology leaders attending the Etre conference in Cannes on Tuesday: 'Is telecom dead?'

"Paradoxically however, whether they answered yes or no, they pointed to the same reason: Skype.

"Skype Technologies SA, provides software that allows users to make free phone calls worldwide over the Internet, is changing the landscape of the traditional telecom market, experts agreed.

"Whether Skype was killing the traditional telecom industry or forcing it to reinvent itself to survive were matters of contention, however."

Scarlet Pruitt. Experts Wonder: Is Telecom Dead?. InfoWorld. Oct. 12, 2004.

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Executives Urge Rewrite of Telecommunications Act

"Verizon Communications Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts addressed the meeting of the U.S. Telecom Association, highlighting the merging worlds of telephone and cable companies as they move into each other's business.

"Congress has been expected to launch a reworking of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, as a series of contentious legal challenges to many of its provisions wind down after years of fighting.

"While the act attempted to preserve competition between the dominant local phone companies, or Baby Bells, and challengers such as AT&T; and MCI, it did not forecast the growing importance of broadband Internet services."

Reuters. Verizon Sees New Telecom Laws Within Reach. News.com. Oct. 11, 2004.

See also:
United States Telecom Association. Telecom '04: USTA's McCormick, Verizon's Seidenberg, Comcast's Roberts Call for Free Market for Telecom Industry. Yahoo! News. Oct. 11, 2004.

Stephen Lawson. Update: Verizon, Comcast Execs Slam Regulation. InfoWorld. Oct. 11, 2004.

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Union Organizers Using the Net to Collaborate

"Union organizers used to hand out leaflets in the cafeteria or on the factory floor. Today, they try to pass them out in cyberspace. It's a change that could reshape decades-old labor laws.

"The issue is highlighted in a case before the National Labor Relations Board involving Agilent Technologies. In a complaint now being investigated by the NLRB, an Agilent worker alleges the company violated federal labor laws when it prevented him from using its electronic newsletter to unionize co-workers.

"At the heart of the debate is whether a pro-union notice on a company's electronic newsletter is any different than a leaflet posted on a bulletin board in a cafeteria."

K. Oanh Ha. Digital World Muddles Labor Laws. San Jose Mercury News. Oct. 10, 2004.

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October 13, 2004

An Alternative to Current Copyright Law

"Getting rights OK'd can be frustrating for artists, be they authors seeking to quote an essay or documentary filmmakers who've got snippets of pop songs playing in the background of key scenes. Artists and scholars who believe the current copyright system unduly stifles creativity are pushing a less restrictive alternative that they call the Creative Commons.

"Driving the movement is the belief that we all benefit when creative minds are free to expand upon others' work — that public discourse is hurt when too much of it is weighed down by the baggage of commerce.

"'The (Creative) Commons encourages sharing and makes explicit that creativity depends on easy access to raw materials,' said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a New York University professor critical of current copyright laws. 'Right now, you have to assume you're going to get in trouble if you quote from somebody extensively or build upon a previous expression.'"

Anick Jesdanun. Movement Seeks Copyright Alternatives. Yahoo! News. Oct. 10, 2004.

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October 11, 2004

Movie & Record Companies Ask High Court to Rescue Their Industries

"Hollywood studios and record companies on Friday asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn a controversial series of recent court decisions that have kept file-swapping software legal, saying that letting the lower court rulings stand would badly undermine the value of copyrighted work.

"The decisions have been among the biggest setbacks for the entertainment industry in the past several years, as they have tried to quell the rampant exchange of copyrighted materials over peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa and Morpheus."

Editor's Note: Former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr and former Bill Clinton impeachment counsel David E. Kendall are representing the entertainment industry in this matter.

John Borland. Hollywood Takes P2P Case to Supreme Court. News.com. Oct. 8, 2004.

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court. Petiton for Certiorari: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, Ltd.. (.pdf). Oct. 8, 2004.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. MGM v. Grokster Case Archive.

John Borland. Judges Rule File-Sharing Software Legal. News.com. Aug. 19, 2004.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, Ltd.. (.pdf). Aug. 19, 2004.

John Borland. Judge: File-Swapping Tools Are Legal. News.com. April 25, 2003.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, Ltd.. (.pdf). April 25, 2003.

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INDUCE Act Dies on Congress Floor

"A bill that would make it easier to sue online file-trading networks like Kazaa appeared on Friday to have died a quiet death, but other copyright bills sought by the entertainment industry continued to advance.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee declined late on Thursday to take up a bill that would hold liable anyone who 'induces' others to reproduce copyrighted material, a move observers said all but assures it would not become law this year."

Reuters. Copyright Bill Dies in Senate as Others Advance. News.com. Oct. 8, 2004.

See also:
Brooks Boliek. Induce Act Stalls as Compromise Talks Break Down. The Hollywood Reporter. Oct. 8, 2004.

Keith Regan. Congressional Action on Induce Act Could Be in Jeopardy. TechNewsWorld. Oct. 7, 2004.

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WiFi Hotspot Operators Beware of Patent Lawsuits

"Wi-Fi hotspot operators must pay $1,000 a year, or face a lawsuit from a patent enforcement firm.

"Acacia Technologies Group says it is enforcing a patent it says covers the methods that wireless ISPs, WLAN aggregators and other Wi-Fi networks use to redirect users to a common login Web page. The company claims it owns the technology behind gateway page redirection.

"The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company is sending out information packets to Wi-Fi operators informing them of the patent claim and including a licensing agreement. Companies have 30 days to ask questions, sign the licensing pact, or prove to Acacia that the wireless operator is not infringing the patent."

Ed Sutherland. Hotspot Operators Face Patent Lawsuits. InternetNews.com. Oct. 8, 2004.

See also:
Nancy Gohring. Hotspot Operators Face New Patent Fee Demand. WiFi Networking News. Oct. 5, 2004.

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October 08, 2004

Could CALEA Extend to the Internet?

"The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) was passed in 1994 to make it easier for the feds to listen in to everyone's phone calls. The law forced phone companies to design their digital networks with special backdoors for government surveillance.

"There was a single saving grace - CALEA did not apply to the Internet.

But now, all of that could change. Under pressure from the Department of Justice (DoJ) and federal law enforcement, the FCC is gathering comments on a proposal to expand CALEA to cover broadband Internet access providers and Voice over IP (VoIP) telephony companies."

Electronic Frontier Foundation. A Government-Mandated Backdoor For Every Network. Deep Links. Oct. 6, 2004.

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October 07, 2004

Balance Between Copy Protection and Technical Innovation

"A computer scientist at Princeton University, Edward Felten, took part in a contest sponsored by the Recording Industry Association of America to test technology for guarding music against piracy. He and his students quickly found flaws in the new antipiracy software and prepared to publish their results.

"But when the RIAA learned of the plan, it threatened to sue under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Congress passed it back in 1998 to block hackers from breaking copy protection. And they wisely included a provision designed to let researchers such as Felten carry out their important work. Still, the RIAA deemed Felten's line of study too sensitive.

"The lesson many scientists drew was that copyright protection takes priority over research."

Heather Green. Commentary: Are The Copyright Wars Chilling Innovation?. BusinessWeekOnline. Oct. 11, 2004.

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The Nature of Spam is Changing

"People are being warned about a scam e-mail which uses the US presidential poll to con them out of their money.

"A junk e-mail invites people to dial a premium rate number to express their support for President George W Bush or rival John Kerry.

"E-mail filtering firm BlackSpider estimates that almost a quarter of a million are being sent out every day."

Alfred Hermida. E-mail scam plays on US elections. BBC. Oct. 5, 2004.

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October 05, 2004

RIAA Files 762 More P2P Lawsuits

"The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed 762 new lawsuits against alleged file-traders using P-to-P (peer-to-peer) services, with the total number of lawsuits filed since September 2003 now reaching more than 5,500.

"The 762 lawsuits announced Thursday included 32 people at 26 U.S. universities who allegedly used their university networks to distribute music files on P-to-P networks."

Grant Gross. RIAA Files 762 New File-Trading Lawsuits. InfoWorld. Oct. 1, 2004.

See also:
Brooks Boliek. Music Industry Files More Piracy Lawsuits. Reuters. Oct. 1, 2004.

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October 02, 2004

Telecoms and Tech Companies Unite on Induce Act

"The Business Software Alliance, along with the Computer Systems Policy Project and the Information Technology Industry Council have informed Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in no uncertain terms what's wrong with the Induce Act and what is needed for any bill that expands copyright liability."

Electronic Frontier Foundation. BSA to Hatch -- We're with the Tech & Telecom Industries on Induce. Sept. 30, 2004.

See also:
Tom Zeller. Panel Considers Copyright Bill. The New York Times. Sept. 30, 2004.

Business Software Alliance, Computer Systems Policy Project, Information Technology Industry Council. S.2560, The "Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004". (.pdf). Sept. 29, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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October 01, 2004

Federal Court Strikes Down Part of Patriot Act

"A key part of the USA Patriot Act that allows the FBI to secretly demand information from Internet providers violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

"U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero barred (.pdf) the FBI from invoking that portion of the law in the future, saying it is an 'unconstitutional prior restraint of speech in violation of the First Amendment.'

"The 2001 law requires Internet service providers and any other type of communications provider to comply with secret "national security letters" from the FBI. Those letters may ask for information about subscribers, including what local and long-distance telephone calls they have made."

Declan McCullagh. Judge Disarms Patriot Act Proviso. News.com. Sept. 29, 2004.

See also:
American Civil Liberties Union. In ACLU Case, Federal Court Strikes Down Patriot Act Surveillance Power As Unconstitutional. Sept. 29, 2004.
American Library Association Washington Office Newsline. Court Decision on PATRIOT Act May Affect Libraries. Sept. 30, 2004.

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Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004 Passed By House

"In a move that takes aim at file-swapping networks, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to boost penalties for online piracy and increase federal police powers against Net copyright infringement.

"By voice vote, politicians on Tuesday approved a sweeping copyright bill that would make it easier for the FBI and federal prosecutors to investigate and convict file swappers. Other sections criminalize unauthorized recordings made in movie theaters and encourage the Justice Department to target Internet copyright infringement.

"Opponents had mounted an unsuccessful, last-ditch campaign earlier in the day to urge House leaders to remove the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act from the floor schedule."

Declan McCullagh. House Votes To Target P2P Pirates. News.com. Sept. 28, 2004.

See also:
Ted Bridist. House Votes to Make Video Cameras in Movie Theaters a Federal Crime. Technology Review. Sept. 29, 2004.

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Feds Planning to Manage Traffic Via Wireless

"The government is getting behind Wi-Fi for automobiles—and not because it wants to make sure you can IM your friends while zipping along the freeway. The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Transportation are supporting new technology that will allow cars and roadside devices to talk to each other in the interest of safety and traffic management.

"Technically termed the Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration initiative, the project could lead to a range of developments, including traffic signals that could sense backups and change the timing of lights, and roadside posts that could automatically collect tolls from cars driving by."

No author. Car 54, Is That You?. Newsweek. Oct. 4, 2004.

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September 30, 2004

Schools Relax Cell Phone Ban

"Hundreds of high schools have reluctantly agreed to relax their rules about cellphones in schools. Rather than banning the phones outright, as many once did, they are capitulating to parent demands and market realities, and allowing students to carry phones in school - though not to use them in class.

"The reversal is a significant change from policies of the 1990's, when school administrators around the country viewed cellphones as the tools of drug dealers. In Florida, carrying a cellphone in school could be punishable by a 10-day suspension. In Louisiana, it was deemed a crime, with a potential penalty of 30 days in jail.

"But now the phones have become tools used by parents to keep in touch with, and keep track of, their children. And schools are facing a more basic reality: it is no longer possible to enforce such bans."

Matt Richtel. School Cellphone Bans Topple (You Can't Suspend Everyone). The New York Times. Sept. 29, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Wireless and Mobile Applications Present Compliance Risk

"Making enterprise applications and data available to mobile and wireless users is becoming a strategic initiative in an increasing number of enterprises.

"However, wireless and mobile applications also open up a beehive of security concerns that didn't occur when using traditional networks. These concerns not only could compromise enterprise data but also threaten compliance with regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountablility Act), Sarbanes-Oxley and Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

"Wireless transmission is inherently less secure than standard wired network transmissions because it involves data flying through the air where it is easier to intercept. As a result, enterprises have been wrestling with WLAN security since the technology first emerged several years ago."

David Haskin. Wireless Compliance. CIO Update. Sept. 23, 2004.

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September 29, 2004

California May Terminate P2P Use

"California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered the State CIO to come up with a policy for the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications by state personnel.

"While the order prohibited the use of state resources to illegally download copyrighted material, it specifically allowed for legitimate uses of the controversial software -- in moderation.

"Today California is taking a stand against use of state resources for illegal downloading of this material and standing in support of the work of these talented Californians," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Schwarzenegger said he wants to make sure that state computers aren't used to contribute to what he called 'huge losses of revenue to the state's valuable entertainment industry.'"

Susan Kuchinskas. California To Set P2P Policy. InternetNews.com. Sept. 20, 2004.

The Hon. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Executive Order S-16-04 by the Governor of the State of California. Sept. 16, 2004.

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September 27, 2004

Conservatives Slam INDUCE Act

"The American Conservative Union, the nation's oldest conservative group, has become the latest and most vocal critic of an anti-file-swapping bill that foes say could target products like Apple Computer's iPod.

"The ACU, which holds influential Republican activists and former senators on its board of directors, is running newspaper and magazine advertisements that take a humorous jab at the so-called Induce Act -- and slams some conservative politicians for supporting it."

Declan McCullagh. Conservative Group Savages Anti-P2P Bill. News.com. Sept. 24, 2004.

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September 24, 2004

Senate Holds Hearing on Wireless 411 Privacy Act

"Representatives of wireless telephone carriers planning a telephone directory service told a U.S. Senate committee Tuesday that legislation to protect their customers' privacy isn't needed, because their plan already does.

"Privacy advocates and some senators questioned, however, whether wireless carriers would protect customer privacy in the long term, without rules in place about how they handle the release of customer phone numbers.

"Six of the seven largest wireless carriers in the U.S. are moving forward with a plan to band together to offer a wireless directory, or 411, service, backers of the plan told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Tuesday. The directory could be available as early as 2005.

Grant Gross. Wireless carriers: Privacy Bill Not Needed. InfoWorld. Sept. 21, 2004.

See also:
U. S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. S. 1963-Wireless 411 Privacy Act. Sept. 21, 2004.

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'Minority Report' Come to Life

"A version of Info-Cop is now available for Microsoft's Windows Mobile for Smartphones OS. Info-Cop is an on-the-street tool that provides immediate access to vital criminal background information.

"Law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and Washington, along with national security agencies, have been running Info-Cop on the Samsung i700 cellular-wireless Pocket PC since June of 2003."

Ed Hardy. Police Fight Crime with Samsung Smartphones. Brighthand. Sept. 22, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:12 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

MySpace Premieres New R.E.M. Album

"MySpace.com, the leading social networking portal, announced today the exclusive debut of R.E.M.'s new album, Around the Sun, before its release in stores on October 5. This represents the first exclusive premiere of an album on a social networking portal.

"Using MySpace.com, R.E.M. and Warner Bros. Records are leveraging the reach of nearly 4 million users while adding a new dimension to the way music is marketed to fans by introducing a new album to a preexisting, highly interactive online community that can spread the word virally."

Chris Marlowe. MySpace Basks in R.E.M. 'Sun'. Reuters. Sept. 20, 2004.

See also
No author. MySpace Launches Exclusive Album Premiere of R.E.M.'S Around the Sun. Yahoo! Finance. Sept. 21, 2004.

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September 23, 2004

Interview with "Father of the Web"

"Perhaps for some, being credited with inventing the World Wide Web would be more than enough as far as life accomplishments go. But for Sir Tim Berners-Lee, it's merely the beginning of something even more fulfilling.

"The man who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 greatest minds of the 20th century is now busy channeling his energies into the work of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a standards body he founded and now directs.

"Moments after delivering a keynote address at the SpeechTek Conference in New York earlier this week, Sir Tim sat down with internetnews.com to discuss the state of the Web browser market, the growth of the Semantic Web and some of the challenges facing the W3C."

Ryan Naraine. Tim Berners-Lee, Director, W3C. internetnews.com. Sept. 17, 2004.

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September 22, 2004

Valuable Historical Resources Restricted by Copyright

"Valuable resources are being lost to students, researchers and historians because of sweeping changes in copyright law, according to digital archivists who are suing the government.

"These resources -- older books, films and music -- are often out of print and considered no longer commercially viable, but are still locked up under copyright. Locating copyright owners is a formidable challenge because Congress no longer requires that owners register or renew their copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office.

"Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and Rick Prelinger, a film collector, want permission to digitize these so-called orphan works to create online libraries for free public access."

Katie Dean. Saving the Artistic Orphans. Wired News. Sept. 20, 2004.

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September 21, 2004

Groups Seek Public Hearings on Induce Act

"Today, EFF joined a broad coalition of public interest and industry groups in sending a strong message (.pdf) to Congress regarding the highly controversial Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (S. 2560): Slow down."

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Broad Coalition to Congress on Induce Act: Whoa There! Not So Fast. Deep Links. Sept. 17, 2004.

See also:
Public Knowledge. Public Knowledge Joins Widespread Opposition to Copyright Legislation. Sept. 17, 2004.
Public Knowledge. Public Knowledge Statement on Copyright Office Draft Legislation. Sept. 10, 2004.
Public Knowledge. Resource Room for the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004.

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Mandatory HTML Tags Would Protect Kids Online

"On the day before its summer vacation, the US Supreme Court freed Internet porn. The First Amendment, the Court held, prevents the government from regulating online speech if it can't prove that 'less restrictive alternatives' - like software filters - would be less effective than regulation.

"Yet in light of other decisions affecting freedom on the Internet over the past six years, there's something astonishing about the finding nonetheless.

"For why does the First Amendment speak so forcefully to protect pornographers yet barely whisper when librarians or film restorers complain that copyright regulates their speech, too?

Lawrence Lessig. Porn Free. Wired. September, 2004.

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September 20, 2004

Spammer Bounties Win Limited FTC Backing

"The Federal Trade Commission yesterday gave limited endorsement to offering cash rewards to people who help track down e-mail spammers. The agency said that although Internet-savvy sleuths often can crack the technical disguises used by spammers to hide their identities and locations, the amount of information they could gather that would lead to successful prosecutions would be limited.

"Instead, the FTC said that if Congress decides to set up a bounty system, it should reward only whistle-blowers inside or close to spam operations, who could provide detailed evidence that would lead to the operations being shut down.

"The commission estimates that rewards would need to be in the range of $100,000 to $250,000, which the report said Congress would need to fund because those amounts are unlikely to be covered by damages won in court."

Jonathan Krim. Cash Bounties For Spammers Win Limited FTC Backing. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 17, 2004.

See also:
Federal Trade Commission. FTC Assesses Reward System for Catching Spammers. Sept. 16, 2004.

Federal Trade Commission. A CAN-SPAM Informant Reward System: A Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress. (.pdf) September, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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September 18, 2004

Amazon, NetFlix and Others Sued Over Patent Infringement

"BTG PLC, a London-based firm that focuses on intellectual property and technology commercialization, said Wednesday that it has filed suit against Amazon.com Inc., Barnesandnoble.com LLC and two other Internet companies for infringing on patents related to the tracking of users on the Web.

"The suit, filed in the U.S. Federal Court in Delaware, alleges that the companies use BTG's patented technology as part of their online marketing programs.

"The suit asks for unspecified damages for past infringement and injunctions against future use of the technology."

Scarlet Pruitt. BTG Hits Amazon, Netflix and Others With Patent Suit. InfoWorld. Sept. 15, 2004.

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September 17, 2004

Vermont Librarian Speaks Up

"Jessmyn West is a 36-year-old librarian living in central Vermont. But she's not your stereotypical bespectacled research maven toiling behind a reference desk and offering expert advice on microfiche.

She's a 'radical librarian' who has embraced the hacker credo that 'information wants to be free.' As a result, West and many of her colleagues are on the front lines in battling the USA Patriot Act, which a harried Congress passed a month after 9/11 even though most representatives hadn't even read the 300-page bill. It gave the government sweeping powers to pursue the 'war on terror' but at a price: the loss of certain types of privacy we have long taken for granted.

"What got many librarians' dander up was Section 215 of the law, which stipulates that government prosecutors and FBI agents can seek permission from a secret court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to access personal records -- everything from medical histories to reading habits. They don't need a subpoena. In fact, they don't need to show that a crime has even been committed. And librarians, stymied by a gag order, are forbidden to tell anyone (except a lawyer)."

Adam L. Penenberg. Don't Mess With Librarians. WiredNews. Sept. 15, 2004.

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September 16, 2004

Civil Suit Filed Against Student-Based Networking Site

"Mark Zuckerberg ’06-’07 planned to spend his semester away from the College focusing on improvements to his popular networking site, thefacebook.com, while readying his next endeavor, Wirehog, for its long-awaited release. But any dreams of a stress-free semester were dashed on Sept. 2, when the founders of competitor ConnectU.com filed a lawsuit against his site and its five officers.

"The suit asks the court to shut down the site and force Zuckerberg and thefacebook.com to turn over the profits resulting from his alleged breach of contract.

"According to the complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, ConnectU LLC, formed by Divya K. Narendra ’04, Cameron S. H. Winklevoss ’04 and Tyler O. H. Winklevoss ’04, is seeking damages for Zuckerberg’s alleged theft of their idea—then called Harvard Connection—and his subsequent deception."

Timothy J. McGinn. Lawsuit Threatens To Close Facebook. The Harvard Crimson. Sept. 13, 2004.

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OMB Seeks to Sweep Away P2P Use

"Federal chief information officers received a reminder this week that peer-to-peer file sharing is an activity that, in most cases, should not be tolerated on federal networks.

"A Sept. 8 memo from Karen Evans, administrator for information technology and e-government in the Office of Management and Budget, asked CIOs to monitor and enforce federal policies on employees' use of P2P technology. The memo cites no recent incidents or statistics on P2P file sharing by federal employees."

Florence Olsen. OMB: Clamp Down on P2P. FCW.com. Sept. 14, 2004.

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September 15, 2004

Additional Patent Infringement Lawsuits Filed

"Acacia Research, the Los Angeles-based company that claims to have broad patent rights to on-demand streaming-media technology, sued a second round of cable companies Monday for patent infringement.

"The company has already filed suit against most of the largest cable TV and satellite companies in the United States, including Comcast, Cox Communications and DirecTV, charging that their video-on-demand programming and a handful of other services violate its patent rights.

"Monday's suits (.pdf) targeted 20 small cable companies, mostly in Arizona, Minnesota and Ohio. Acacia also added Mediacom Communications to its previous cable-focused lawsuit in Northern California."

John Borland. Acacia Steps Up Lawsuits Against Cable TV. News.com. Sept. 13, 2004.

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RFID Technology Could Be Tangled in Intellectual Property Battle

"A key patent holder's demand for royalties has triggered concerns that promising RFID technology could become embroiled in an intellectual property battle.

"The royalty flap stems from a new protocol, the Electronic Product Code Generation 2 standard, designed to improve the compatibility of radio-frequency identification (RFID) equipment from different suppliers and iron out a number of other technical kinks.

"The protocol is likely to contain certain patented technology from RFID equipment maker Intermec Technologies. The Everett, Wash., company recently demanded royalties for the use of the patents, and is suing Matrics, a rival, for allegedly infringing on some of them. The patent infringement suit, filed in June, is pending. No schedule has been set for the trial."

Alorie Gilbert. Static over RFID. News.com. Sept. 13, 2004.

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September 13, 2004

Phoenix Filters Net Access

"A determined City Council declared Wednesday that pornography will no longer be available at Phoenix libraries, an action that could lead to a courtroom showdown with First Amendment advocates.

"Phoenix's new policy, which will filter all Internet sessions for adult users, is unusually stringent and appears to be the first of its kind among the nation's largest cities, a number of First Amendment advocates say.

"The new regulations, which take away library patrons' ability to surf the Web without restrictions, took effect immediately and could be implemented today."

Ginger D. Richardson. Phoenix Bans Internet Porn at Libraries. The Arizona Republic. Sept. 9, 2004.

See also Connie Cone Sexton. Net Filtering Could Start at Libraries Today. The Arizona Republic. Sept. 20, 2004.

Update: Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor. Net Filter is Working in Libraries. The Arizona Republic. Jan. 6, 2005. (City officials reviewed library policies on Internet filtering and are satisfied with the results.)

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September 11, 2004

Musicians Using Internet to Introduce and Share Music

"Downloading music from the Internet is not illegal. Plenty of music available online is not just free but also easily available, legal and — most important — worth hearing.

"That fact may come as a surprise after highly publicized lawsuits by the RIAA against fans using peer-to-peer programs like Grokster and eDonkey to collect music on the Web.

"But the fine print of those lawsuits makes clear that fans are being sued not for downloading but for unauthorized distribution: leaving music in a shared folder for other peer-to-peer users to take. As copyright holders, the labels have the exclusive legal right to distribute the music recorded for them, even if technology now makes that right nearly impossible to enforce.

"While the recording business litigates and lobbies over music being given away online, countless musicians are taking advantage of the Internet to get their music heard. They are betting that if they give away a song or two, they will build audiences, promote live shows and sell more recordings."

Jon Pareles. No Fears: Laptop D.J.'s Have a Feast. The New York Times. Sept. 10, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:55 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 10, 2004

House Judiciary Committee Approves P2P Bill

"People who illegally share copyrighted music and movies over the Internet could be jailed for up to five years under a bill approved by a powerful congressional panel today.

"The Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004 is one of a handful of measures gathering steam in Congress that target the practice of Internet file sharing, which record companies blame for playing a part in a $2 billion dollar decline in yearly CD sales since 2000. The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure by voice vote, clearing it for debate in the full House.

"Congress has done little thus far to address Internet file-swapping, but that could change in the next few months as lawmakers in both houses consider a clutch of measures that target either individual downloaders or the companies -- like Kazaa and eDonkey -- that distribute the file-swapping software."

David McGuire. House Panel Moves to Criminalize Spyware, Net Piracy. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 8, 2004.

Cynthia L. Webb. Congress Puts Hooks in Spyware, Copyright Crooks. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 9, 2004.

See also:
Roy Mark. House Panel Gets Tough on Spyware, P2P Piracy. Internetnews.com. Sept. 8, 2004.
Public Knowledge. HR 4077, The Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004.
Public Knowledge. Public Knowledge Reacts to House Judiciary Committee Approval of Copyright Bill. Sept. 8, 2004.
Electronic Frontier Foundation. A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:12 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

RIAA Sued Over Patent

"Altnet, a company that sells music and other digital goods through file-swapping services, sued the Recording Industry Association of America on Wednesday for alleged patent infringement.

"The company, a subsidiary of Brilliant Digital Entertainment, contends that the RIAA has been infringing on one of its patents in the course of copyright enforcement efforts inside peer-to-peer networks. Overpeer, a copyright company owned by Loudeye, and MediaDefender, also are named in the lawsuit.

"The patent infringement suit comes as one of the sideshows in an ongoing legal battle over peer-to-peer networks that has led to piracy charges against technology companies and antitrust claims against record companies, and that now appears to be headed ultimately to Congress for resolution."

John Borland. P2P Company Sues RIAA Over Patent. News.com. Sept. 8, 2004.

See also:
Business Wire. Brilliant Digital Entertainment and Altnet File Suit Against Infringers of Its "TrueNames'' Patent. Sept. 8, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Court Says No Free Music Samples

"A federal appeals court has ruled that rap artists should pay for every musical sample included in their work -- even minor, unrecognizable snippets of music.

"Lower courts had ruled that artists must pay when they sample other artists' work. But it has been legal to use musical snippets -- a note here, a chord there -- as long as they weren't identifiable.

"The decision Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati gets rid of that distinction. The court said federal laws aimed at stopping piracy of recordings apply to digital sampling, and it ordered the case back to a lower court for rehearing."

Associated Press. Court: Musicians Must Pay for Any Size Sampling. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 9, 2004.

See also:
Barry A. Jeckell. Court To Hip-Hop Nation: No Free Samples. Billboard.com. Sept. 8, 2004.

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Bridgeport Music, et al. v. Dimension Films, et al.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Company Makes Payment for Violation of Do-Not-Call Registry

"A division of Primus Telecommunications Group Inc. agreed to pay $400,000 to the federal government to settle allegations that the McLean phone provider made telemarketing calls in violation of the national do-not-call registry.

"Primus did not admit or deny wrongdoing in the agreement with the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement division, and the company promised to bring its operations into compliance with the do-not-call rules and to make the $400,000 voluntary payment to the Treasury.

"I think this was a human error,' said Gerry A. Simone, a spokeswoman for Primus. Spanco Telesystems & Solutions Ltd., which the company hired to call prospective customers, failed to properly check its call list with the do-not-call registry, violating its contract with Primus, Simone said."

Yuki Noguchi. Primus Unit to Pay $400,000 in Do-Not-Call Probe. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 8, 2004.

See also:
Federal Trade Commission. Complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule. January, 2004.

Editor's note: See also SNTReport.com's prior story violations of the do-not-call registry.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 09, 2004

China Cracking Down on Piracy Yet Allowing Blatant Sales

"China on Monday touted the impact of a recent crackdown on pirated goods, seeking to mollify criticism from the United States that it has done little to curb the brazen and widespread sale of such things as illegally copied Hollywood films, fake auto parts and pharmaceuticals.

"At a news conference in Beijing, Zhang Zhigang, a vice minister of commerce, said China seized 2 million compact discs during the first half of the year in raids on 8,000 CD and software dealers around the country, fining violators about $3.6 million.

"The disconnect between the official word from the capital and the actuality of the street highlights the entrenched nature of one of the most nettlesome trade conflicts between Washington and Beijing. Though China is in the midst of one of a series of periodic crackdowns, experts said the continued blatant sales illustrate that the government is more interested in managing the politics of the problem than curbing the reality."

Peter S. Goodman. Pirated Goods Swamp China. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 7, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:46 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 08, 2004

Proposal for Free Access to Research

"The National Institutes of Health has proposed a major policy change that would require all scientists who receive funding from the agency to make the results of their research available to the public for free.

"The proposal would mark a significant departure from current practice, in which the scientific journals that publish those results retain control over that information.

"Pressure to make publicly financed research results more available to the public has been building for years but gained new momentum this summer with report language by the House Appropriations Committee.

"'The committee is very concerned that there is insufficient public access to reports and data resulting from NIH-funded research,' it read. 'This situation . . . is contrary to the best interests of the U.S. taxpayers who paid for this research.'"

Rick Weiss. NIH Proposes Free Access For Public to Research Data. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 6, 2004.

See also:
Peter Suber. NIH Open-Access Plan Frequently Asked Questions. Sept. 6, 2004.

Susan Morrissey. NIH Weighs Open Access. Chemical & Engineering News. Sept. 6, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 07, 2004

Skype (and VoIP) Picks Up

"Skype, a made-up term that rhymes with "tripe," is the most popular and sexiest application of VoIP, which doesn't rhyme with anything. VoIP - sometimes pronounced letter by letter, like C.I.A., and at other times as a word - stands for voice over Internet protocol. Essentially, it is a way of allowing a computer with a broadband connection to serve as a telephone.

"This new form of conveying voice messages has so many advantages over traditional systems that the whole telecommunications industry is scrambling to see how fast it can shift traffic onto the Internet. AT&T;, for example, is no longer recruiting new home customers, but it is offering many new VoIP services. Dozens of other companies - new ones like Vonage and established ones like Verizon - are selling VoIP services, too."

Editor's note: As it celebrates its first birthday, Skype -- long a Windows-only application -- now has made its Web phone application available for the Mac platform. Skype for Mac is in beta testing now (version 0.8) and requires the Panther operating system (Mac OS X version 10.3 or higher). (Sorry, Jaguar users, you get no love.) Skype also runs on the Linux and PocketPC platforms.

James Fallows. In Internet Calling, Skype Is Living Up to the Hype. The New York Times. Sept. 5, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

See also:
Rob Pegoraro. It Takes Time to Judge the True Impact of New Technology. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 5, 2004.

Roy Mark. Congress Hangs Up on VoIP for 2004. Internetnews.com. Sept. 3, 2004.

Washington Post. Make Phone Calls Online. Aug. 29, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:27 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

China Cracks Down on Internet Porn

"China has intensified its battle against Internet and mobile phone pornography by threatening distributors with life in prison, Xinhua news agency said.

"Beijing has stepped up its battle against smut in recent weeks, saying it is worried that the easy access to such material on the Internet and elsewhere will have a bad effect on youth and society."

No author. China Threatens Internet Porn Merchants with Life. Reuters. Sept. 5, 2004.

Xinhua News Agency. Porn Producers Face Severe Punishment. China Through A Lens. Sept. 6, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:43 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Another Lawsuit for Google

"A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that a trademark infringement suit filed by the Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) against Internet search giants Overture Services can proceed.

"Judge Leonie Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed a motion filed by Google and Overture to dismiss the case, which charges that Google and Overture violated GEICO's trademark by selling advertising, or 'sponsored links' to GEICO's name.

"If successful, the lawsuit by GEICO could hobble the engine that has fueled Google's growth: search advertising."

Paul Roberts. Google May Face Another Lawsuit. PCWorld. Sept. 3, 2004.

See also:
Matt Hicks. Google, Overture Trademark Case Moves Forward. eWeek. Sept. 3, 2004.
Stefanie Olsen. Geico Gets Green Light to Sue Google, Overture. News.com. Sept. 2, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:17 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 06, 2004

Civil Liberties Group Join in Appeal Over Wiretapping

"In an unusual twist, civil liberties groups are joining the government's request to the full 1st Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit a three-judge panel's decision in June that cleared Bradford Councilman, formerly vice president of online bookseller Interloc, of federal wiretapping charges.

"Both legal briefs say that the 2-1 ruling sets an unfortunate precedent that effectively creates an unintentional loophole in Internet wiretapping laws--at least in the New England states that make up the 1st Circuit.

"'Internet service providers would be free to access the private e-mail of their customers without criminal liability (and) criminals and corporate spies could monitor private e-mail without violating the Wiretap Act,' warns the government's brief, filed last Friday. 'Under the rule adopted by the panel, (digital) phone calls could be captured without violating the Wiretap Act.'"

Declan McCullagh. Feds Try Again for Wiretapping Conviction. News.com. Sept. 3, 2004.

Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center and American Library Association Amicus Brief in US v. Councilman. (.pdf) Sept. 2, 2004.

Update: Electronic Frontier Foundation. Court to Rehear Email Privacy Case. Oct. 5, 2004. (The original panel decision has been withdrawn and the First Circuit will rehear the case in December.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:13 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Drivers Opt to Swap Privacy for Insurance Discounts

"For two months, Jacob Sevlie's insurance company tagged along whenever he slid behind the wheel of his Honda Accord. An electronic monitor the size of a matchbook closely tracked Sevlie's driving time and behavior. If he had a heavy foot or was a sudden braker, the auto data recorder would betray him.

"Disconnected from the car and hooked to a PC, the device relayed Sevlie's digital driving diary to his auto insurer, Progressive Corp., with the click of a mouse during a pilot program earlier this year.

"The monitoring has the potential to cascade through the insurance industry, said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Minnesota."

Associated Press. Drivers Trade Privacy for Insurance Discounts. CNN.com. Sept. 3, 2004.

See also:
BusinessWire. Innovative Auto Insurance Discount Program To Be Available To 5,000 Minnesotans - Progressive to Use Data-Logging Device To Help Drivers Save Money On Auto Insurance. Forbes.com. Aug. 9, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:02 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 03, 2004

Sssshhhhh!!! (Or Pay Up)

"City leaders in Huntington Beach, CA have adopted an ordinance, which takes effect Sept. 15, that bans all cell phone use in libraries, including talking, text messaging and ringing tones of any kind.

"First-time violators will be warned, then fined $250 if they don't comply. A second offense gets a $500 fine and a third offense gets a $1,000 fine."

Associated Press. Cell Phone Use In Huntington Beach Libraries Could Cost $1,000. The Mercury News. Aug. 27, 2004.

See also:
Katie Fehrenbacher. Talk On A Cellphone, Pay A Grand. Engadget. Sept. 2, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:18 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 02, 2004

Subpoena Issued for Delegate Information

"The Secret Service is investigating an Internet posting of some Republican delegates' phone numbers, e-mail addresses and the hotels where they would stay during the party's national convention, federal law enforcement officials said Monday.

"Law enforcement sources acknowledge an Internet Service Provider was asked to produce information about those who posted the Web information. When the ISP, Calyx Internet Access, refused to hand over the requested data, agents requested and obtained a grand jury subpoena (.pdf) ordering the information to be produced.

"The American Civil Liberties Union, which is defending Calyx, says the subpoena sought contact information for the Indymedia Web site which allowed the anonymous postings of the delegate information."

Terry Frieden. Internet Posts of Delegates' Info Leads to Probe. CNN.com. Aug. 30, 2004.

See also:
Ann Harrison. Feds Hunt Source of GOP Data. Wired News. Sept. 1, 2004.
American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU Criticizes Secret Service Investigation of News Website That Posted RNC Delegates' Names. Aug. 30, 2004.
Electronic Frontier Foundation. Best Practices for Online Service Providers. (.pdf) Aug. 19, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:31 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Appeal Issued for Cable Broadband Ruling

"The Bush administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn a decision that requires cable companies to open their high-speed Internet networks to rival online providers.

"The cable industry has been pushing for an appeal of a lower court's decision, saying the ruling would dramatically reduce its incentive to continue investing in Internet services and expanding their reach.

"In the past year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco has ruled twice that the Federal Communications Commission erred when it allowed cable companies to bar rivals from their networks. However, those decisions have been put on hold while the Bush administration considered its options. If the Supreme Court rejects the Justice Department's appeal,(.pdf) cable companies would be required to share their lines with rivals, potentially creating more choice for consumers and a vast new market for independent Internet service providers."

Christopher Stern. High Court Petitioned on Cable Net Access Rule. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 31, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:28 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Challenging Secret Court is Easier Said than Done

"The Justice Department has argued in a recent court case that librarians, booksellers and other businesses can easily challenge a controversial provision of the USA Patriot Act by appealing to a super-secret court that approves surveillance of terrorists and foreign intelligence agents.

The only problem, according to a document released last week, is that the same court does not allow anyone but government attorneys and agents inside its doors.

"The rules governing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court also do not include procedures for outside litigants to file memorandums or otherwise influence a case, according to a copy of the rules (.pdf) obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union."

Dan Eggen. Secret Court Poses Challenges. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 30, 2004.

See also American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU Obtains Rules of Secret Wiretap Court But Says Much of Government’s Spy Power Remains Shrouded in Unnecessary Secrecy. Aug. 25, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:19 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

FTC Seeks Civil Penalties for Violation of Do-Not-Call-List

"The Federal Trade Commission, seeking its first civil penalties against a telemarketer for violating the federal do-not-call list, has sued a Las Vegas firm, saying it called more than 300,000 numbers on the registry to sell time-share properties in Atlantic City.

"In a lawsuit filed Monday in a Nevada federal court, the agency said Braglia Marketing Group LLC also broke federal rules governing the use of automated dialers. If consumers answer such calls, they must be connected to a sales representative within two seconds.

"More than 63 million telephone numbers have been registered on the national do-not-call list and more than 100,000 complaints have been filed at the FTC since enforcement began in October 2003."

Caroline E. Mayer. Marketer Sued for Do-Not-Call Violation. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 1, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:14 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

Web Service Offers Caller ID Spoofing System

"Overdue debtors beware: You may not be able to rely on Caller ID to screen out those annoying bill collectors much longer. A California entrepreneur has a plan to bring the hacker technique of Caller ID spoofing to the business world, beginning with collection agencies and private investigators.

"Slated for launch this week, Star38.com would offer subscribers a simple Web interface to a Caller ID spoofing system that lets them appear to be calling from any number they choose.

"Caller I.D. spoofing has for years been within the reach of businesses with certain types of digital connections to their local phone company, and more recently has become the plaything of hackers and pranksters exploiting permissive voice over IP systems. But Star38.com appears to be the first stab at turning Caller I.D. spoofing into a commercial venture.

Kevin Poulsen. US Website Offers Caller ID Falsification Service. SecurityFocus. Aug. 30, 2004.

Update: Ken Belson. Citing Threats, Entrepreneur to Quit Caller ID Venture. News.com. Sept. 4, 2004. (Founder, Jason Jepson, said the people who threatened him already tapped his phone calls and had obtained details about how much money he last deposited into his checking account.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:36 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

The Internet Continues to Mature

"Thirty-five years after computer scientists at UCLA linked two bulky computers using a 15-foot gray cable, testing a new way to exchange data over networks, what would ultimately become the Internet remains a work in progress.

"University researchers are experimenting with ways to increase its capacity and speed. Programmers are trying to imbue Web pages with intelligence. And work is underway to re-engineer the network to reduce spam and security troubles.

"All the while threats loom: Critics warn that commercial, legal and political pressures could hinder the types of innovations that made the Internet what it is today."

Associated Press. The Internet at 35: Still Evolving. CNN.com. Aug. 29, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:11 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 30, 2004

Software Captures Music from Satellite Radio

"Catching Blondie's reunion tour broadcast at 4 in the morning wasn't an option for XM Satellite Radio subscriber Scott MacLean. 'I was missing concerts that were being broadcasted when I was asleep or out,' he said.

"So the 35-year-old computer programmer from Ottawa, Ontario, wrote a piece of software that let him record the show directly onto his PC hard drive while he snoozed.

"The software, TimeTrax, also neatly arranged the individual songs from the concert, complete with artist name and song title information, into MP3 files.

"Then MacLean started selling the software, putting him in the thick of a potential legal battle pitting technically savvy fans against a company protecting its alliance--and licensing agreements--with the music industry."

Reuters. MP3 Tool Pulls Satellite Radio Into Piracy Fight. News.com. Aug. 27, 2004.

Update: Paul Festa. XM Radio Pulls PC Hardware Amid Piracy Concerns. News.com. Aug. 30, 2004. (XM Radio discontinues radio receiver that could be outfitted with TimeTrax, software that allows unit users to record songs onto their PC hard drive; unit is being sold on eBay.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:38 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Technology Aiding Protesters at GOP

"Technology has changed how protests are organized.

"Activists are using the Internet to arrange housing for out-of-towners, organize a mass-flash of underwear emblazoned with anti-Bush messages and tell protesters what to say if they're arrested ('I am going to remain silent. I would like to speak with a lawyer.').

"Cell phones work well for on-the-fly mobilizations, and text messages add to their power. Some protesters are signing up for 10 p.m. daily text updates telling them where the next day's events will be.

"Mobile bloggers, or mobloggers, are expected to show up in droves and quickly post on the Web photos, text and even video chronicling events as they happen."

Ellen Simon. Technology Playing Role in GOP Convention Protests. eWeek. Aug. 27, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:59 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Broadcast Treaty Negotiation Reaches Crucial Stage

"An international treaty to give broadcasters the right to control who may record, transmit, or distribute their signals is reaching a crucial stage of negotiation by the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva.

"The current draft (.pdf) incorporates many proposals, but the main ones most countries agree on give broadcasters 50 years' worth of legal control over the recording, retransmission, and reproduction of their broadcast signals. These rights are separate from those of the owners of the actual content being broadcast and if members at the next meeting of WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, in November approve the treaty, it could take effect by 2006.

"The idea that broadcasters should have rights enabling them to combat signal piracy is relatively uncontentious. Opponents such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Union for the Public Domain are concerned, however, that broadcast rights might lock up materials that should be freely available to the public."

Wendy Grossman. Broadcast Treaty Battle Rages On. Wired News. Aug. 28, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:36 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Court Dismisses VeriSign Lawsuit

"Internet domain name registry VeriSign just can't seem to convince anyone that redirecting misspelled Web addresses to its own site is a good thing.

"A federal district court judge on Thursday threw out VeriSign's legal arguments that ICANN's ban on this tactic amounted to a violation of U.S. antitrust law.

"VeriSign, which runs the master database for .com and .net addresses, had argued that its competitors had succeeded in stymieing VeriSign's plans for its Site Finder service by providing advice to the board of directors of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers."

Robert Lemos. VeriSign's Antitrust Suit Against ICANN Dismissed. News.com. Aug. 27, 2004.

See also Jim Wagner. VeriSign Loses Round Against ICANN. InternetNews.com. Aug. 27, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

Feds Nab Spammers and Cyber-Criminals

"The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that it has taken action against more than 150 individuals accused of spamming and other Internet-related crimes, a crackdown welcomed by the industry but seen as doing little to curb the spam plague.

"The Justice Department announced that Operation Web Snare, begun June 1, has produced the arrests or convictions of more than 150 individuals and the return of 117 criminal complaints, indictments and information.

"The effort, thought to be the largest one yet taken against cyber-criminals, is largely directed against those who run 'phishing' schemes–sending e-mails designed to look like they're from legitimate companies such as banks and online retailers in an effort to harvest credit card numbers or other personal information from unsuspecting consumers."

Dennis Callaghan. Federal Sweep Nets Spammers, Cyber-Criminals. eWeek. Aug. 26, 2004.

See also Paul Roberts. Merchant Group Helps DOJ in Fraud Stings. InfoWorld. Aug. 26, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

FBI Targets Copyright Violators

"Federal authorities searched computers in six locations yesterday in an attempt to disrupt a network used to trade copies of movies, software, games and music.

"The Justice Department said the searches represented the first time that so-called peer-to-peer networks had been singled out for a criminal enforcement action under copyright law.

"The department has stepped up enforcement of copyright law this year, but until now it has focused on organizations known as warez groups, which steal copies of movies and other materials to make them available to downloaders."

Saul Hansell. U.S. Searches Computers, Trying to Disrupt Piracy. The New York Times. Aug. 26, 2004.

See also
Peter Kaplan and Andy Sullivan. U.S. Raids Net Song Swappers in Copyright Crackdown. Reuters. Aug. 25, 2004.

Attorney General John Ashcroft. Digital Gridlock Announcement. Aug. 25, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:15 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Airline Pre-Screening Program Announced

"For months, homeland security officials have privately debated how to blunt criticism of their planned aviation screening system that passengers and airlines complained was overly intrusive.

"Yesterday, officials announced a friendlier version with a new name, 'Secure Flight,' and a new slogan, 'Preserving our freedoms.' But the system still will rely on key elements of the earlier, controversial program.

"Yesterday's announcement was part of an effort by homeland security officials to come up with a way to implement a viable passenger pre-screening system."

Robert O'Harrow Jr. Airport Screening System Touted as Improvement. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 27, 2004.

See also
Associated Press. 'Secure Flight' Replaces CAPPS II. Wired News. Aug. 26, 2004.
Ryan Singel. Secure Flight Gets Wary Welcome. Wired News. Aug. 27, 2004.


(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 27, 2004

New Proposal for 'Induce Act'

"Electronics manufacturers and some Internet providers are mounting a counterattack to a copyright bill intended to ban peer-to-peer networks and that could also imperil devices like Apple Computer's iPod.

"That measure, called the Induce Act, has been widely panned by the technology industry. Now some groups, including SBC Communications, Verizon Communications and the Consumer Electronics Association, are fighting back with their own proposal that will be sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon.

"Their proposal, dubbed the 'Don't Induce Act,' (.pdf) is designed to provide the Senate with an alternative that's less threatening to the industry. It is far narrower, saying that only someone who distributes a commercial computer program 'specifically designed' for widescale piracy on digital networks could be held liable for copyright violations."

Declan McCullagh. Industry Offers Alternative to P2P Bill. News.com. Aug. 24, 2004.

See also Katie Dean. Copyright Bill Needs Big Changes. Wired News. Aug. 25, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:47 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

'This Land' Belongs to All of Us

"A music company claiming to own the rights to Woody Guthrie's 'This Land is Your Land' may have gotten more than it bargained for when it took on JibJab Media, the Web animators behind a wildly popular parody of the U.S. presidential campaign.

"The animators on Tuesday beat back copyright infringement charges leveled at their work, which was based on the tune. Attorneys for the company also said they had found evidence that the copyright on Guthrie's song expired in 1973, meaning that anyone can use it for free.

"'This song belongs to you and me,' quipped Fred von Lohmann, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which defended JibJab in the case."

Evan Hansen. JibJab Beats Copyright Rap. News.com. Aug. 24, 2004.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Music Publisher Settles Copyright Skirmish Over Guthrie Classic. Aug. 24, 2004.

Editor's note: See also SNTReport.com's prior story on this political parody.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:51 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

RIAA and Colleges Address Illegal File Sharing

"Colleges and universities across the country are taking new steps to fight rampant Internet music piracy by beefing up their education efforts, offering legal music downloading options and stiffening penalties for illegal file sharing, according to a report released today.

"The report, which was prepared by a coalition of higher education institutions and the recording industry, said that schools are adopting new policies as well as technological and educational measures to ensure that students have access to online music without resorting to illegal downloads."

Jonathan Krim. Justice Dept. to Announce Cyber-Crime Crackdown. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 25, 2004.

See also:
Katie Dean. Music Services Score an A-Plus. Wired News. Aug. 24, 2004.
Cynthia L. Webb. Online Music Goes Back to School. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 24, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 26, 2004

Software Maker Exposes Metadata

"Workshare, a specialist in collaboration software built around Microsoft Office applications, is aiming to alert businesses to the danger of hidden data lurking in their documents.

"The company launched Metadatarisk.org, a Web site with information on the dangers posed by hidden metadata in documents.

"The site includes Metafind, a downloadable tool for automatically analyzing and exposing metadata in documents posted on a given Web site."

David Becker. Software Maker Exposes Hidden Data. News.com. Aug. 23, 2004.

See also Jim Wagner. Scrubbing Content Metadata. Internetnews.com. Aug. 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

August 25, 2004

Shall Sonny Bono Rescue Peter Pan?

It seems that Peter Pan is due to fall out of copyright protection and into the public domain. And the character's British copyright holders are trying their damndest to do a Disney and keep that from happening.

Disney, of course, was one of the chief proponents of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), which Congress passed into law in 1998. The CTEA extended copyright protection another twenty years not only for new creative works, but also for existing creative works -- including those (like Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh) that were about to fall into the public domain.

(Lest we always smack Big Corporate for the CTEA, let it be known for the record that the Gershwin estate -- holder of the copyrights to George's and Ira's songs -- also lobbied hard for the CTEA.)

Now we have a Reuters story that says that London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, the entity that holds the Peter Pan copyright, is desperately seeking an author to write a sequel to the Peter Pan story; the European copyright on the story is due to expire in 2007. According to the Reuters story, royalties from Peter Pan provide "a 'significant but confidential' source of income."

I am unsure of what British or European Union copyright law says on this issue, but given the recent penchant for global "harmonization" of copyright laws, I am almost sure that those foreign laws have been updated to include CTEA-like provisions. (By the way, "harmonization" is just another way to say for "the U.S. needs foreign companies to make its IP laws just like ours in order to make sure that domestic creativity gets the same protection everywhere in the world.")

The irony here is that author J. M. Barrie donated the Peter Pan character to the Hospital in the late 1920s. Apparently, the hospital is not interested in being similarly charitable.

This may be occurring across the pond, but it is sooooo Hollywood.

Reuters. Author Sought So Peter Pan Copyright Never Grows Up. Aug. 23, 2004.

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ACLU Urges Consumers to Protect Privacy

"A score of large enterprises, including CVS Corp., The Home Depot Inc. and Thrifty Inc., were targeted this month by privacy advocates who want them to refrain from voluntarily giving sensitive data about customers to the government.

"Concerned that federal agents are pressuring companies to turn over electronic data even when they're not legally required to do so, the American Civil Liberties Union is leading a 'no-spy pledge' campaign."

"The campaign urges consumers to write to the stores, airlines, banks and car rental agencies they frequent and request that these companies not hand over customers' personal data unless required by law.

Caron Carlson. Privacy Advocates Ask Retailers to Guard Personal Data. eWeek. Aug. 23, 2004.

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Justice Department Re-visits Patriot Act

"A top Justice Department official on Monday took a swipe at one of the recording industry's favorite ideas: a law encouraging federal prosecutors to sue copyright infringers.

"Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general for antitrust, expressed skepticism toward a bill called the Pirate Act that the Senate overwhelmingly approved in June. It's designed to curb peer-to-peer piracy by threatening individual infringers with civil lawsuits brought by the government.

"That idea is 'something that people should take with a grain of salt,' Pate said at a conference held by the Progress & Freedom Foundation. While 'the Justice Department is there to enforce the law, there's something to be said for those who help themselves.'"

Declan McCullagh. Justice Dept. Takes P2P with 'Grain of Salt'. News.com. Aug. 23, 2004.

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August 24, 2004

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Online Gambling

"An Internet company that publishes information about online gambling has asked a federal district court in Louisiana to decide whether advertisements for Internet casinos are protected forms of speech.

"Casino City Inc., which operates CasinoCity.com, an online casino directory, charges that the Justice Department violated the Constitution by threatening American publishers with criminal penalties if they broadcast, print or display advertisements for gambling Web sites.

"The company is asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment that advertisements for online casinos are constitutionally protected speech."

Matt Richtel. Lawsuit Claims Free Speech for Online Casino Ads. The New York Times. Aug. 23, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Inspector General Claims Legal Use of JetBlue Data

"An Army data-mining project that searched through JetBlue's passenger records and sensitive personal information from a data broker to pinpoint possible terrorists did not violate federal privacy law, according to an investigation by the Army's inspector general.

"The inspector general's findings (.pdf) were accepted by some, but critics say the report simply highlights the inability of the country's privacy laws to cope with 21st-century anti-terrorism efforts.

"JetBlue, which turned over the data at the request of the Transportation Security Administration, was the first airline fingered for secretly sharing data with the government. But it is now known that six of the 10 largest airlines, along with two of the largest airline reservation centers, also did so."

Ryan Singel. Army: JetBlue Data Use Was Legal. Wired News. Aug. 23, 2004.

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Congress Seeks a Federal Civil Liberties Commission

"A recommendation to establish a federal civil liberties commission -- which would oversee all antiterrorism information-sharing among government agencies -- is gaining support and could be implemented relatively soon, government officials and outside observers say.

"But it remains to be seen just how much power the commission would have, and whether it would be accountable to the president or Congress.

"The idea comes from the 9/11 commission's report (.pdf), which said "at this time of increased and consolidated government authority, there should be a board within the executive branch to oversee adherence to the guidelines we recommend and the commitment the government makes to defend our civil liberties."

Ryan Singel. Congress Wants Rights Board. Wired News. Aug. 21, 2004.

See also Sarah Lai Stirland. Panel Queries Officials About Intelligence Oversight, Privacy. GovExec.com. Aug. 20, 2004.

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August 23, 2004

Government Using Secret Evidence in Secrecy Fight

"The Justice Department is using secret evidence in its ongoing legal battles over secrecy with the American Civil Liberties Union, submitting material to two federal judges that cannot be seen by the public or even the plaintiffs, according to documents released yesterday.

"In one of the cases, the government also censored more than a dozen seemingly innocuous passages from court filings on national security grounds, only to be overruled by the judge, according to ACLU documents."

Dan Eggen. U.S. Uses Secret Evidence In Secrecy Fight With ACLU. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 20, 2004.

See also American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU Files Motion Today to Exclude Secret Evidence. Aug. 19, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of these challenges to the Patriot Act through a posting in beSpacific, edited by Sabrina Pacifici.

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August 21, 2004

Court Rules in Favor of File-Sharing Companies

"The makers of two leading file-sharing programs are not legally liable for copyrighted works swapped online by their users, a federal appeals court ruled (.pdf) in a blow to the entertainment industry.

"Among other reasons, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc., unlike the original Napster LLC, were not liable because they don't have central servers pointing users to copyrighted material.

"The panel noted that the software firms simply provide tools that let individual users share information over the Internet, regardless of whether that shared information is copyrighted."

Associated Press. Appeals Court Ruling Favors File-Sharing. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 20, 2004.

See also John Borland. Judges Rule File-Sharing Software Legal. News.com. Aug. 19, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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E-Mail Privacy Law Clears Assembly

"California's Assembly has voted to require the state's employers to inform their workers in writing if e-mail and other Internet activity is monitored at the office.

"If it becomes law, supporters said the bill would place the state at the forefront of protecting employee privacy online and may serve as a model for similar bills in other states."

Reuters. California Lawmakers Back E-mail Warning. News.com. Aug. 18, 2004.

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VoIP Company Struggles With Telephone-Numbering Plan

"A dispute between SBC IP Communications and state utility agencies over how to distribute phone numbers promises to shape regulations that are key to the future of the fledgling Net telephony industry.

"SBC IP Communications, a subsidiary of SBC, wants to sidestep the usual procedures and get telephone numbers directly from the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), without first obtaining a state telephone operator's license.

"Last month, SBC IP asked (.pdf) the Federal Communications Commission for a temporary waiver of the licensing requirement.

"Without an unfettered supply of phone numbers from NANPA, SBC IP argues, it and other carriers' rollouts of Net phone service will be hampered."

Ben Charny.VoIP Firm Tussles With States Over Phone Numbers. News.com. Aug. 19, 2004.

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August 20, 2004

Now Apple is Really Ticked Off

"RealNetworks on Tuesday unveiled its 'Freedom of Choice' marketing push, featuring 49-cent singles, $4.99 albums and a message that it has the only music store compatible with both iPods and portable devices based on Windows Media. The result: a major challenge to Apple Computer, a boost for Windows Media, and a new imperative for music labels to back Apple rivals to break down compatibility barriers."

Forrester Research. Commentary: RealNetworks Lobs Another Grenade. News.com. Aug. 17, 2004.

See also:
John Borland. RealNetworks Slashes Song Prices. News.com. Aug. 17, 2004. (RealNetworks has kicked off a digital music marketing campaign by highlighting Harmony, a new iPod-compatible technology, and offering song downloads from its music store for 49 cents for a limited time.)

John Borland. Can Glaser and Jobs Find Harmony? News.com. Aug. 17, 2004.

Update: John Borland. Real Curtails Half-price Music Sale. Sept. 9, 2004. (RealNetworks closed down its three-week promotional campaign, selling more than three million singles.)

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August 17, 2004

Copyright Crusaders Target Schools

"For the third year in a row, software companies are supplying schools with materials that promote their antipiracy position on copyright law.

"But for the first time this year, the library association is presenting its own material, hoping to give kids a more balanced view of copyright law.

"The ALA sees a need for this because materials offered by groups like the Business Software Alliance and the Motion Picture Association of America are designed to influence kids with one-sided information."

Katie Dean. Copyright Crusaders Hit Schools. Wired News. Aug. 13, 2004.

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August 16, 2004

Is Google Bungling Its IPO?

"The IPO lexicon has a myriad of colorful words, such as 'green shoe,' 'blue sky,' 'flipping' and 'red herring.' There is a new word we can add: GOOG-plosion. Definition: IPO disaster.

"Google has certainly committed a variety of major blunders. While no initial public offering is perfect, investment banks such as Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston (which are co-managing the Google deal) have tremendous experience in the IPO process and rarely goof.

"As everyone knows, it is Google's two 30-something founders who are running the IPO circus. True, their management techniques have been hugely successful for its search engine business--but these skills do not translate well to the tricky business of raising billions of dollars. This is something that should be left to the pros."

Tom Taulli. Google This: Disaster. News.com. Aug. 13, 2004.

See also
Dawn Kawamoto. Google Says Playboy Article Could Be Costly. News.com. Aug. 13, 2004. (Founders' interview published in Playboy could put the company in violation of IPO mandatory quiet period.)

Stefanie Olsen. Gmail By Any Other Name?. News.com. Aug. 13, 2004. (Google may lose trademark rights to "Gmail" name.)

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August 14, 2004

'Push to Talk' Over WiFi

"Cellular carriers are creating 'push to talk' services that travel over Wi-Fi networks, federal regulators say--a move that could expand the one-push cell phone calls to VoIP systems.

"The technology development was disclosed by the Federal Communications Commission in a notice of proposed rulemaking on the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), a 160-page document released last week that discusses how to regulate Internet services.

"In the same document, the FCC reiterated its belief that push-to-talk calls are subject to federal wiretapping requirements."

Ben Charny. 'Push to Talk' Meets Wi-Fi. News.com. Aug. 11, 2004.

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August 12, 2004

Copyright Issues in Digital Media

"The Congressional Budget Office released a new study on digital copyright issues, outlining economic problems that Congress should keep in mind as it grapples with making new laws.

"While stopping short of specific legislative recommendations, the paper offers a set of principles for lawmakers that's largely focused on avoiding being tied too closely to past practices or to the interests of powerful companies or consumer groups.

"The paper could provide a strong working text for legislators, as they face growing calls from both copyright holders and consumer groups to reshape laws that have been severely tested by the growth of the Net and digital copying technologies."

John Borland. Congressional Economists Tackle Copyright Issues. News.com. Aug. 10, 2004.

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August 11, 2004

Google Pays Off Yahoo!

"Google Inc. settled a major patent dispute with rival Yahoo Inc. yesterday for about $328 million in stock, removing a legal threat to its online search business and eliminating some of the uncertainty surrounding its impending initial public offering.

In exchange for 2.7 million shares, Yahoo dropped its two-year-old lawsuit, which had alleged that Google infringed on Yahoo's patents for the technology that matches advertising with Internet search results. Google relies on that advertising for more than 90 percent of its revenue."

David A. Vise. Google Ends Its Dispute With Yahoo. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 10, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:43 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Continuing to Address the Digital Divide

"As the nation's transformation to a wired society has accelerated, many policymakers have shelved fears of a gulf between Internet haves and have-nots. Internet use at all income levels has gone up. The government program known as E-rate helped subsidize the wiring of schools and public libraries, while recent government efforts have focused on proving broadband to rural areas.

"Yet a significant digital divide based on income persists, largely affecting the urban poor."

Jonathan Krim. Program Aids Urban Poor In Accessing The Internet. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 9, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Opposition to Cell Phone Directory

"Darlene Mickey is among a minority of cell phone users: She actually wants her wireless number listed with directory assistance. 'I live by my cell phone.' 'It's my lifeline for my business. I'd like my clients to be able to find me.'

"Almost 90 percent of the 160 million U.S. cell phone consumers have another opinion. They don't want their numbers listed, according to a survey by a market research firm. Nonetheless, the cell phone industry plans to launch a database to list numbers at customers' request.

"Consumer groups say that such a directory would open a door to unwanted marketing and other harassing calls that not only would hassle cell phone users but also cost them valuable minutes for incoming calls."

Yuki Noguchi. The Wireless Industry and the 411. WashingtonPost.com. August 7, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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August 10, 2004

ALA's Copyright Network

The American Library Association Washington Office's Office for Information and Technology Policy is in the process of developing the Copyright Advisory Network, an online resource that will allow librarians to post questions about copyright issues, and receive answers to those issues. The answers will come from the Association's copyright experts, presumably including Carrie Russell, who writes the "Carrie on © column in School Library Journal, and is the author of Complete Copyright.

"The ALA should be appluaded for taking this step. It will be interesting to see how the Association navigates unauthorized practice of law concerns, and it also will be interesting to see the volume and nature of questions that may be posted to the Network.

Above all, this initiative highlights how important copyright knowledge is to all information professionals, including librarians. It is a shame, however, that so few graduate information science programs devote a full course to the topic. When last I checked about a year ago, no more than five of this nation's ALA-accredited graduate library science programs offer a course in copyright law. (Fortunately, my alma mater, Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, is one of them.)

American Library Association. Copyright Advisory Network.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of the Copyright Advisory Network through a posting in LibraryLaw Blog, edited by Mary Minow.

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Getting Behind the BSA's Piracy Story

"A nonprofit trade group formed by more than a dozen major software makers -- including Microsoft and Adobe -- the Business Software Alliance is charged with enforcing licensing and copyright protections. Personal contact with the software group usually comes in the form of a 'software audit,' in which the BSA, often acting on a tip from an angry current or former employee, combs through a company's PC stock, matching installed programs with licenses. Companies that come up short can be forced to pay big fines and buy tons of new licenses.

"But BSA executives say the group's role isn't to be the tough guy. Instead, they're around to protect the interests of software makers, through a combination of enforcement action, education and governmental lobbying."

David Becker. Software Piracy: Hype Versus Reality. News.com. Aug. 2, 2004.

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Apple Really Blindsided

"RealNetworks' RealPlayer program once defined digital multimedia online -- it was the only way to listen to scratchy Web radio or watch grainy Web video. Today Apple's iPod holds a similar role in the MP3-player market -- it's the gadget everybody seems to want.

"Both of these products were recently updated: Apple's newest iPod adds the best design features of the iPod mini, while RealPlayer 10.5 adds the unprecedented feature of iPod compatibility."

Rob Pegoraro. RealPlayer's iPod-Compatible Update 'Stunned' Apple. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 8, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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August 09, 2004

States Continue Pressuring File Trading Companies

"A group of 46 state attorneys general sent a deeply critical letter to file-sharing companies Thursday, asking them to take stronger action on privacy and intellectual-property violations.

"Thursday's letter asked makers of file-sharing software to take 'meaningful steps' to prevent the dissemination of child pornography, invasion of privacy and copyright infringement. The group stopped short of citing specific legal action that states might take against companies but said they could target individuals using file-swapping networks for fraudulent purposes."

Kudos to News.com, which continues to chronicle the entertainment industry's moves to legislate copyright at the state level, in addition to it's increased efforts at the federal level.

Back in March, SNTReport.com cited a News.com report that outlined how the entertainment industry was assisting the states in portraying peer-to-peer networking companies as manufacturers of defective or potentially dangerous products. If classified in such a manner, file sharing products would have to bear extensive warning labels, and aggrieved copyright owners may be able to win damages from the products' manufacturers under state product liability statutes, in addition to any damages available pursuant to federal copyright infringement laws.

Additionally, Borland's article chronicles a trend amongst law enforcement officials and legislators at both the state and federal levels to portray P2P networks as harbors for adults who trade freely in child pornography. If such activity does occur on P2P networks, it is reprehensible and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

But these allegations have been offered by entertainment industry lobbyists, then spoon-fed to state and federal officials -- almost always without the slightest shred of study or independently verifiable evidence. Clearly, the entertainment lobby has a vested interest in such a campaign, and any of their claims that concern copyrighted works always should be held to the strictest scrutiny.

Unfortunately, state and federal officials often fail to investigate such claims before acting.

John Borland. State AGs Warn File-Sharing Companies. News.com. Aug. 5, 2004.

See also:
Declan McCullagh, et al. P2P Faces New Legal Scrutiny from States. News.com. March 15, 2004.

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August 07, 2004

Wiretapping Internet Calls

"The FBI wants to force Verizon Communications to make sure that its broadband-over-fiber service can be easily wiretapped by police and spy agencies.

"In a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission last month, the FBI said that Verizon's Fios service must be required to abide by a 1994 law that levied complex and expensive eavesdropping requirements on traditional phone companies. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department joined the request.

"The request made to the FCC marks the latest skirmish in the war over what wiretap rules should apply to the Internet and who will pay for the costs of buying equipment to provide police and spy agencies with backdoors for secret surveillance."

Declan McCullagh. FBI Wants to Eavesdrop on Fiber Links. News.com. August 3, 2004.

See also Cynthia L. Webb. FCC Serves Up a Ruling Smorgasbord. WashingtonPost.com. August 5, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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August 06, 2004

Kerry's Tech & IP Agenda

"The Democratic National Convention is over, some $65 million has been spent on a week-long party in Boston, and what do we now know about John Kerry?

"The Massachusetts senator barely mentioned technology in his convention speech, except to marvel at ever-shrinking microchips and implore everyone to visit JohnKerry.com. That's not much to work with.

"A careful review of Kerry's history in the Senate shows that his record on technology is mixed. The Massachusetts Democrat frequently sought to levy intrusive new restrictions on technology businesses that could harm the U.S. economy. He was no friend of privacy and sided with Hollywood over Silicon Valley in the copyright wars."

Declan McCullagh. John Kerry's Real Tech Agenda. News.com. Aug. 2, 2004.

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Software Company Forced Out of Existence Due to DMCA

"A maker of software that enabled users to copy DVDs and computer games folded Tuesday under the mounting weight of lawsuits by deep-pocketed movie studios and video game producers.

"321 Studios Inc. quietly announced 'it has ceased business operations including, but not limited to, the sale, support and promotion of our products.'

"The company said that despite its 'best efforts to remain in business,' unfavorable court rulings by three federal courts this year assured its demise."

Jim Suhr. DVD-Copying Software Company Folds. WashingtonPost.com. August 4, 2004.

See also Katie Dean. 321 Studios Shuts Its Doors. Wired News. August 3, 2004.

Update: Jim Hu. MPAA Wins Settlement in DVD Copy Case. News.com. Aug. 10, 2004. ("The Motion Picture Association of America has settled a copyright infringement suit against 321 Studios for an undisclosed financial amount.")

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Google Searches Reveal Stolen Credit Cards

"Simple queries using the Google search engine can turn up a handful of sites that have posted credit card information to the Web.

"The lists of financial information include hundreds of card holders' names, addresses and phone numbers as well as their credit-card data. Much of the credit-card data that appears in the lists found by Google may no longer be valid, but several people verified that the credit cards numbers were authentic.

"The query, the latest example of 'Google hacking,' highlights increasing concern that knowledgeable Web surfers can turn up sensitive information by mining the world's best-known search engine."

Robert Lemos. Google Queries Provide Stolen Credit Cards. News.com. August 3, 2004.

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Possible Internet Chat Regulation

"Tiago Bittencourt Silva started an ambitious programming project last month: an open-source utility that lets small groups of Internet users communicate through instant messages, video links and audio chat.

"Silva's project, called p2pCommunity, is designed to appeal to groups of 2 to 100 people who want to collaborate on writing papers or designing software applications. He's already made a pre-alpha release available at no cost on the SourceForge distribution site.

"Thanks to a bizarre move by Congress last week, p2pCommunity and hundreds of similar projects could end up paying taxes to state governments to prop up the antediluvian scheme of running copper wires to rural households for analog phone service."

Declan McCullagh. Taxes on Tap for Internet Chat? News.com. July 26, 2004.

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August 05, 2004

Click Fraud's Exposure Increasing

"Click fraud -- the practice of clicking on a text advertisement served by a search engine for the sole purpose of forcing the advertiser to pay for the click -- is emerging as an important concern for search engine marketers.

"Click fraud is not a new phenomenon. It has been happening for years, since the original installation of the cost-per click (CPC) pricing model. Click fraud has been increasing in frequency and impact as more advertisers launch CPC campaigns and as the overall cost of online advertising (both search and non-search related) continues to rise.

"A notable example is the case of affiliate click fraud uncovered by the Times of India. This is certainly not the first click fraud case of its kind, nor is it limited to India and Nigeria -- this activity has been, and is occurring all over the world. Unfortunately, it takes the Google IPO for the industry to start lifting the hood on what has heretofore been considered a perfect - and perhaps even brilliant - online pricing model."

Jessie Stricchiola. Lost Per Click: Search Advertising & Click Fraud. Search Engine Watch. July 29, 2004.

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August 04, 2004

Can Public Records Be Restricted by Copyright?

"'These truths we hold self-evident…'" Thomas Jefferson in writing the words of the Declaration of Independence down on paper created an 'original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.' Could he have claimed copyright in it?

"The Continental Congress made a few amendments to Jefferson's draft. In making amendments and thus creating a derivative work, would they have infringed on his copyright? Could Jefferson or the Congress have demanded royalties from the newspapers and broadside publishers printing the Declaration?

"That's absurd, you may say. 'The Declaration of Independence is a public record. Public records can't be copyrighted.' Governmental bodies, however, are claiming copyright in public records.

"A Virginia legislative committee created this year by House Joint Resolution 6 will be studying issues about electronic public records, including copyright. A subcommittee of Virginia's Freedom of Information Council is now examining issues about Geographic Information Systems, including copyright."

Becky Dale. Can The Government Copyright Public Records? Virginia Laywers Weekly. July 26, 2004.

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August 03, 2004

Possible Patent Infringements by Linux

"OSRM, a provider of open-source consulting and risk mitigation insurance, announced (.pdf) that the group has found that there are 283 issued, but not yet court-validated, software patents that could conceivablly be used in patent claims against Linux.

"That's the potential bad news for Linux developers and users. The good news is that the Linux kernel contains no court-validated software patents.

"OSRM won't publicly say what the specific software patents are that potentially affect Linux because it 'would put the whole developer community at risk.'"

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Open-Source Insurance Provider Finds Patent Risks in Linux. eWeek. August 2, 2004.

See also Stephen Shankland. Group: Linux Potentially Infringes 283 Patents. ZDNet.com. August 1, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Combating Intellectual Property Theft

"File-swapping wasn't such a big deal when all you had to lose was a lousy download. But ever since the RIAA has gotten serious about making people pay for what they play, it's a different story.

"The RIAA is one of the industry groups that have joined forces with a Justice Dept. task force formed to combat intellectual-property theft.

"The task force is chaired by David Israelite, deputy chief of staff and counselor to Attorney General John Ashcroft. In contrast to the RIAA, which has focused on filing civil lawsuits against accused pirates, Israelite can slap scofflaws with criminal charges."

Patricia O'Connell. Piracy and "Economic National Security". BusinessWeek Online. August 2, 2004.

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Copies of Doom 3 Appear Before Release

"The eagerly awaited blockbuster computer game, Doom 3, has been leaked on the internet.

"Copies of the game on file-sharing networks and newsgroups are being downloaded by thousands of people. The cost to the game's makers, id Software, could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost sales.

"The sci-fi horror title has been four years in the making and is due to go on sale in the US on Tuesday and next week in the UK."

Alfred Hermida. Long-Awaited Doom 3 Leaked Online. BBC News. August 2, 2004.

See also Mike Snider. Long-awaited 'Doom 3' Begins Onslaught at 12 a.m. Tuesday. USA Today. August 1, 2004.

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August 02, 2004

The New Copyright

"Copyright law gives NBC and other broadcasters the power to deny anyone the use of its content, at least presumptively. If you want to rebroadcast Meet the Press or sell copies on the Internet, you need NBC's permission. There are exceptions, at least in theory. The law, for example, exempts 'fair uses' of copyrighted material from the control of its owner. If a clip is short enough, or if its use is sufficiently transformative or critical, then the law allows its use, whether permission is granted or not.

"In practice, however, the matter isn't that simple. The costs of defending a fair use right in court - and, more important, the costs if any such defense should fail - make the risk prohibitive for most creators. Defense of fair use could run hundreds of thousands of dollars - several times the budget of a typical documentary. And losing this type of claim could expose the filmmaker to $150,000 in damages for each copyright infringed. In a world in which Fox News sues comedian and author Al Franken for parodying 'fair and balanced,' a cautious director can't be too careful."

Lawrence Lessig. Copyrighting the President. Wired. Aug. 2004.

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July 31, 2004

Microsoft to Double Patent Applications

"Microsoft plans to increase its storehouse of intellectual property by filing 50 percent more patent applications over the next year than in the previous 12 months.

"Microsoft increasingly regards the legal protection of its programming ideas as essential to safeguarding its growth opportunities.

"The planned surge in Microsoft patent activity would come at a time when it faces increasing competition from open source software like the Linux operating system, which is distributed free."

Steve Lohr. Pursuing Growth, Microsoft Steps Up Patent Chase. The New York Times. July 30, 2004.

See also Keith Regan. Gates Says Microsoft Will Increase Patent Push. E-Commerce Times. July 30, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:54 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Apple Challenges Real's Harmony Technology

"Apple Computer sharply criticized RealNetworks, the maker of media-playing software, on Thursday, saying it was investigating the legal implications of RealNetworks's decision to sell songs in Apple's music format.

"Apple issued its angry statement just four days after RealNetworks started giving away software called Harmony that lets people download songs from its online music store and play them on Apple's popular iPod portable music players.

"RealNetworks quickly shot back with its own strongly worded response, vowing to continue letting consumers play songs bought on its music service on any of the 70 music players on the market, including Apple's iPod."

Laurie J. Flynn. Apple Attacks RealNetworks Plan to Sell Songs for iPod. The New York Times. July 30, 2004.

See also:
Jefferson Graham. Apple Lashes Real Networks' Music Move. USA Today. July 29, 2004.

John Borland. Is Real's iPod "Hacking" Legal? News.com. July 30, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:08 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

July 30, 2004

RIAA Wins Preliminary Victory

"A federal judge has handed a preliminary victory to the recording industry by granting its request to unmask anonymous file swappers accused of copyright infringement.

"U.S. District Judge Denny Chin ruled (.pdf) Monday that Cablevision, which provides broadband Internet access in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, can be required to divulge the identities of its subscribers sued over copyright violations.

"This ruling is the latest decision to clarify what legal methods copyright holders may use when hunting down people who are trading files on peer-to-peer networks."

Declan McCullagh. Judge: RIAA can unmask File Swappers. News.com. July 27, 2004.

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July 27, 2004

Senate Hears Opposition Involving Induce Act

"The Senate heard strong opposition from the technology industry on Thursday about a bill (.pdf) that would hold tech companies responsible for creating devices that could be used to pirate digital content.

"In its current form, the bill proposes to slap technology companies for making any device that could 'induce' or encourage buyers to make illegal copies of songs, movies or computer programs. But technology companies say it would kill innovation and potentially outlaw some of the most popular devices, including Apple's iPod.

"The Business Software Alliance surprised some observers, as the group initially supported the bill but is now asking for clarifications to protect innovation. Representatives of IEEE and NetCoalition, which represents Internet companies and Internet service providers, also expressed opposition to the bill."

Katie Dean. Techies Blast Induce Act. Wired News. July 23, 2004.

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Federal Governement Defines VoIP as Information Service

"Internet telephony may yet avoid government regulation, as legislation progresses through Congress

"A Senate committee has approved a bill to exempt voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service from most government regulation. The VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004 exempts such technology from state taxes and regulations and defines it as a lightly regulated information service in the eyes of the federal government.

"It met the approval of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, with a few amendments.(.pdf)"

Grant Gross. Voice over IP Rules May Loosen. PCWorld. July 23, 2004.

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July 23, 2004

Controversy Surrounds Piracy Study

"A study (.pdf) released two weeks ago by the Business Software Alliance, which estimated the yearly losses from software piracy at $29 billion, has managed to stir real passion.

"The piracy study has become an issue because of a copyright bill, introduced in the Senate last month, that is strongly supported by the business alliance.

"In a letter last week to the Business Software Alliance, the heads of two other trade groups, who oppose the Senate bill, wrote that the results of the software piracy study were deeply troubling."

Steve Lohr. Software Group Enters Fray Over Proposed Piracy Law. The New York Times. July 19, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:50 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Website Deciphers Government Documents

"While legislators in Washington work to outlaw peer-to-peer networks, one website is turning the peer-to-peer technology back on Washington to expose its inner, secretive workings.

"But outragedmoderates.org isn't offering copyright music and videos for download. The site, launched two weeks ago, has aggregated more than 600 government and court documents to make them available for download through the Kazaa, LimeWire and Soulseek P2P networks in the interest of making government more transparent and accountable.

"Steven V. Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, says the site answers a growing demand from the public to examine original source documents."

Kim Zetter. Downloading for Democracy. Wired News. July 19, 2004.

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July 21, 2004

How Law can Help Bridge the Digital Divide

"My regular Toronto Star Law Bytes column discusses how law can help bridge the digital divide.

"The column reflects on a recent United Nations sponsored meeting on e-commerce law in Asia which highlighted not only great enthusiasm of the developing world, but also how many are being poorly advised by conflicted consultants, self-interested companies, and some members of the intellectual property law community.

"The column coincides with my launch of the Techlawed Project, which will seek to provide pro bono technology law training assistance in the developing world as well as the announcement of a global Internet law conference featuring experts from 16 countries."

Michael Geist. Bridging the Digital Divide. Toronto Star. July 19, 2004.

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Patent Busters Face Challenges

"A small company called Acacia Research Corp. went after some of the biggest names in broadcasting last month, suing nine companies for an estimated $100 million for allegedly violating its patent on streaming video.

"That earned Acacia a spot on what the Electronic Frontier Foundation considers a top 10 list of intellectual property ignominy: patents the online civil liberties group is seeking to strike down as unwarranted and harmful to innovation.

"Only 614 of the nearly 7 million existing patents have been revoked, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The hardest part for challengers is qualifying for a re-exam at all."

Associated Press. Tough Road for Patent-Busters. CNN.com. July 16, 2004.

Editor's note: See also SNTReport.com's prior story on patent busting.

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July 20, 2004

Chairmain Powell Suggests Removing Old Regulations

"By trying to fit companies into old regulatory categories, the U.S. government is picking winners and losers in the telecommunications industry, said FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

"The FCC must follow laws that categorize companies based on the various types of telecommunications pipes—from the wireline phone network to coaxial cable—even though the companies increasingly are blurring the distinctions.

"The courage we need is to throw it out,' Powell told a packed crowd of Silicon Valley executives and venture capitalists at the opening of the AlwaysOn 2004 conference being held at Stanford University."

Matt Hicks. FCC's Powell: It's Time to Throw Out Old Regulations. eWeek. July 14, 2004.

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