THE DMCA AND UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has produced a report summarizing the use and misuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the last five years. The DMCA is being used by copyright owners to limit our use of copyrighted materials in unexpected and unreasonable ways. It provides much of the framework for the recording industry’s campaign of terrorism. […] continued

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SUBPOENAS AND COMPUTER CRIME

Here’s a fascinating – and chilling – article by a former head of the Justice Department’s computer crime unit describing a recent decision by a federal appeals court in California. A routine discovery dispute has produced a decision that potentially expands the scope of federal computer crime law to include many activities that have nothing to do with computers. […] continued

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SAVING THE INTERNET

Doc Searls, editor of The Linux Journal, has written an insightful article about the threat to the Internet and how to save it. He brings together the FCC media consolidation ruling, SCO’s copyright litigation over Linux, why broadband is under attack by telcos and cable systems, why we lost Eldred vs. […] continued

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UPLOAD A FILE, GO TO PRISON

Here’s an article about a new bill introduced by Howard Berman, a House representative funded by the entertainment industry, that would land a person in prison for five years and impose a fine of $250,000 for uploading a single file to a peer-to-peer network.

In the past Berman has proposed letting the RIAA attack any computer running Kazaa, and he tried to force the FBI to drop anti-terror investigations in favor of pursuing copyright violators. […] continued

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THE PUBLIC DOMAIN IN THE MOVIES

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen opened in the theatres yesterday. By most accounts it’s a pretty awful movie, but that doesn’t take away from an interesting thought.

The movie features a collection of fictional characters. Guess what they have in common:

Allan Quatermain: A character from H. Rider Haggard stories, the most famous of which is King Solomon’s Mines, 1885.

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THE EROSION OF ONLINE PRIVACY

EBay’s director of law enforcement and compliance, Joseph Sullivan, gave a talk last winter which is only now getting any attention. In it, he offered law enforcement officials open access to EBay customer information – without regard for the legal procedures that you might have believed were in place to protect you from civil rights abuses by the state. […] continued

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LINUX UNDER ATTACK

The Linux community is quickly realizing that Linux faces a serious threat to its very existence. SCO Group owns various copyrights and patents for Unix, and it has filed lawsuits or sent threatening letters alleging that Linux programmers have incorporated copyrighted Unix source code into Linux – perhaps one reason that Linux has improved so rapidly. […] continued

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TIME MATTERS 5.0

Time Matters and Amicus are the market leaders for law office case management. Time Matters just rolled out its first new version in two years, version 5.0, along with a new companion product for billing, Billing Matters. It appears that Time Matters is positioning itself as a general business management program, with special versions customized for accounting and law offices. […] continued

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MICROSOFT TO PAY AOL $750 MILLION

You might have seen the news that Microsoft will pay AOL $750 million to settle AOL’s antitrust lawsuit. AOL acquired Netscape in 1998 and sued Microsoft in early 2002 for playing dirty to obtain market dominance.

The deal makes sense from an economic perspective for obvious reasons. AOL’s fortunes are sinking, it has a mountain of debt, and the payoff is pocket change for Microsoft, which has $46 billion in the bank. […] continued

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NEW COURT DECISION: FILE SHARING PROGRAMS ARE LEGAL

A federal court judge in Los Angeles handed down a decision about file sharing that actually makes sense for a change. Judge Wilson ruled that the parent companies of Morpheus and Grokster are not liable for copyright infringement that takes place using their software. There was a similar decision last year in the Netherlands about the Kazaa software. […] continued

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CD CLASS ACTION CLAIMS

Here’s an odd web site that you might want to visit. A class action lawsuit against CD distributors was settled and a fund has been set up with 67 million dollars in it. Anyone filing a claim before March 3 might get a check up to twenty dollars. Or it might be less, or it might be nothing. […] continued

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BROBECK COMMITS SUICIDE

Lawyers are probably aware that mega-firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison announced yesterday that it’s closing its doors. Here’s an interesting analysis of the firm’s rise and fall.

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KAZAA COUNTERSTRIKE

Kazaa decided if it was going to be dragged into US federal courts, it would go in with guns blazing. It filed its own lawsuit yesterday against the major record labels and movie studios, alleging that they have colluded to drive potential online rivals out of business and they should be precluded from being able to defend their copyrights in court. […] continued

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RIAA v. VERIZON

The federal court decision in RIAA vs. Verizon on Tuesday was a very bad thing.

Legal background: the DMCA has a very unusual provision, allowing copyright owners to obtain a federal court subpoena requiring ISPs to identify users who the copyright owner accuses of copyright infringement, without the copyright owner having to file a lawsuit. […] continued

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COPYRIGHT UPDATES

If you’re interested in the ongoing intellectual property turmoil, pick up this month’s issue of Wired Magazine – an interview with RIAA chief Hilary Rosen, an article with a fascinating description of Kazaa’s structure and its plans, and a marvelous discussion of the tension inside Sony – a hardware arm trying to make devices that move entertainment files around freely, and movie and recording divisions fighting to lock down copyrighted material. […] continued

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