Legal Issues

Godsey: Library records wouldn\'t help FBI much

A Story from IA says it\'s unlikely that investigators would find incriminating information in a patron\'s records.

\"We\'re very conscious of any misperception that we\'re violating someone\'s personal rights,\" Holmquist said. \"FBI agents can\'t go out on their own and obtain whatever records they want. There are checks and balances within the system.\"


Must hush

Karl Siewert QuickSubmitted This Story on a case a lawsuit over silence. John Cage and Mike Batt have both released songs made up of mostly silence, and Nicholas Riddle, director of the firm that owns the copyright to Cage\'s music, has vowed to take Batt to court over royalties to the song.


The fiction behind national security

Here\'s An Interesting Story on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Under that Act\'s provisions, the government may conduct covert surveillance of individuals only after seeking an order from a special government-created secret court. However, that court, in its first two decades, granted every one of the government\'s more than 12,000 requests.


A Couple DMCA Updates

Larry Schwartz sent us This CNET Story that says HP is using both the controversial 1998 DMCA and computer crime laws, and has threatened to sue a team of researchers who publicized a vulnerability in the company\'s OS. reports that Benjamin G. Edelman, a first-year student at Harvard University\'s law school, is the latest academic researcher to challenge the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Mr. Edelman, last month filed a lawsuit against N2H2 Inc., a Seattle-based Internet filtering company, in U.S. District Court in Boston. The suit asks a judge to prevent N2H2 from suing Mr. Edelman under the digital-copyright law should he decide to bypass the company\'s encryption, which prevents him from discovering its complete list of blocked Web sites.


Librarians Under Siege

This article was in the August 5th \"The Nation,\" but here is a link to it on Working for Change. Laura Flanders writes... \"It used to be a matter of flashing a badge and appealing to patriotism, but these days federal agents are finding it a little harder to get librarians to spy ... this time around, top librarians are on the warpath to protect reader privacy.\" Read More


Copyright as Cudgel

Lee Hadden passed along This One from that says when Congress brought copyright law into the digital era, in 1998, some in academe were initially heartened by what they saw as compromises that, they hoped, would protect fair use for digital materials. Unfortunately, they were wrong.

Recent actions by Congress and the federal courts -- and many more all-too-common acts of cowardice by publishers, colleges, developers of search engines, and other concerned parties -- have demonstrated that fair use, while not quite dead, is dying.


Your Grocery List Could Spark a Terror Probe

It seems the data people create using store\'s preferred-customer cards is being used by government agents hunting for potential terrorists. They think federal authorities are plugging the information into algorithms, using the complex formulas to create a picture of general-population trends that can be contrasted with the lifestyles of known terrorists. If your habits match, expect further scrutiny at the least. Full Story.

\"Privacy may seem like a luxury in a nation at war, but that moral concept lies at the heart of constitutionally guaranteed liberties. That\'s why so many people are willing to fight for it.\"


All About The CRS Reports

LLRX writes \"Frequent contributor Stephen Young provides an historical introduction to Congressional Research Reports (over 1,000 written reports published yearly), and a variety of avenues online to obtain copies of the small number of these documents actually made available to the public.
See the July 15 issue of \"


Libraries: The new cyberbattleground

SomeOne points to this Great Story that tells those who didn\'t know already, we [Librarians] are emerging as vocal advocates in a debate over who should have rights to what in the information age. It\'s an interview with the ALA legislative counsel, Miriam Nisbet.


Boucher Outlines \'Fair Use\' Fight

Slashdot pointed the way to This One on U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher, who is moving to strengthen \"fair use\"
provisions under federal copyright law, said he is introducing a bill that
would essentially restrict the record industry from selling copy-protected

He also said he would introduce a bill within the week that would update the
U.S. Copyright Office\'s Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP), which he has criticized as being mired in outdated laws that tilt against Webcasters regarding royalties on
streaming music.



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