Legal Issues

Battling Censorware

The Standard has a great round up on the battle between Mattel and two hackers, Eddy Jansson of Sweden and Matthew Skala of Canada who wrote CPHack, a program that lets people see a list of the sites that Cyber Patrol blocks. This is a very important case, it has issues in The DMCA, the freedom to link, copyright law, the First Amendment, and other info science interests.

\"The argument rests upon the anticircumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA prohibits trafficking in devices whose primary purpose is to circumvent a technology meant to protect copyrighted works. CPHack would constitute such a device; mirroring it, as the law has been interpreted, would constitute a violation of the DMCA. So Mattel could prevail against distributors of CPHack whether or not the program itself was a violation of Mattel\'s copyright.\" -- Read More

slashdot: Protesting DMCA

Yesterday a number of Washington, D.C. area Linux User Group (LUG) members met outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the deconstruction of fair use implied by the DMCA. Timothy of slashdot wrote up the experience; his writeup and a bunch of great photos are available here.

Comment on the DMCA

The deadline for filing reply comments in this rulemaking
has been extended to Friday, March 31. Reply comments must
be received in the Office of the General Counsel of the
Copyright Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 31,
2000.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Public Law
105-304 (1998), added a new Chapter 12 to title 17 United
States Code, which among other things prohibits
circumvention of access control technologies employed by
copyright owners to protect their works.

1. If by
electronic mail: Send to 1201@loc.gov a message
containing the name of the person making the submission, his
or her title and organization (if the submission is on
behalf of an organization), mailing address, telephone
number, telefax number (if any) and e-mail address. The
message should also identify the document clearly as either
a comment or reply comment. The document itself must be sent
as a MIME attachment, and must be in a single file in
either: (1) Adobe Portable Document File (PDF) format
(preferred); (2) Microsoft Word Version 7.0 or earlier; (3)
WordPerfect 7 or earlier; (4) ASCII text file format; or (5)
Rich Text Format. -- Read More

Comments on the DMCA

The U.S. Copywrite Office has posted the comments they
received on the Digital Millenium Copywrite Act
HERE.

You can also read more on the DMCA
HERE.

Library liability measure is stalled

Story on the death of an scary law in SC.

A Senate bill that would have held public libraries criminally liable for allowing children to view smut on the Internet has stalled.
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee decided to not deal with the bill after a public hearing this week.
\"I\'m confident it (the bill) won\'t go anywhere,\" said Jim Johnson, director of the South Carolina State Library.
\"I don\'t think it\'s appropriate for anybody to set library policies other than a county\'s local library board,\" Johnson said. \"It would be the same thing if the state told the library what books to buy.\" -- Read More

lawsuit by Laura Ingalls Library still in court

Someone sent in This Story about the little library on the prarie case.

A little library in the Ozarks got a boost this week in its suit to recover copyright
income from the works of its famous benefactor, author Laura Ingalls Wilder, best
known for her book \"Little House on the Prairie.\"

U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith rejected the request by HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
of New York to throw out the suit over its claim the library missed the deadline to
claim copyrights. Smith said more fact-finding is needed to decide that issue.

Rulings on Book Covers Worry Publishers

The IP Law Center has a must read legal
Story on the legalities of book covers.

Beyond that, other media companies worry that any favorable rulings for the plaintiffs could spur additional class action suits against book publishers, magazine publishers and broadcasters. In fact, attorneys representing the plaintiffs in both cases have other class action suits pending against Penguin Putnam and Simon & Schuster based on false statements on the cover of \"McNally\'s Dilemma.\" Plaintiffs in these suits also allege that the cover of the book is commercial speech that must conform to false advertising statutes. -- Read More

Coping with Database Protection Laws

Andy Oram wrote an article on the consequences of database protection Laws, HERE that is worth a read.


The 1990s have witnessed the creation of an entire new category of intellectual property—the collection—as well as a new (sui generis) right of ownership. In this article I will try to summarize the issues that content providers and their representatives should be alert to when dealing with laws concerning “collections of information”, a term I will use interchangeably with the term databases. -- Read More

Free The Chinese Librarian!

Dickinson College has set up a site where people can
check for updates on the status of Dickinson College scholar and librarian Yongyi Song who was arrested in China on charges of \"the purchase and illegal provision of intelligence to foreign people.\" on Christmas Eve. They have started an online petition and awareness campaign aimed at securing his release.

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