Legal Issues

The Continuing Saga of the SSSCA

A hearing on the future of the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act is being held as I type this:

A Senate committee is stepping into the middle of an increasingly vocal spat over the future of technology: how to prevent illicit copying of digital content.

On Thursday morning, Senate Commerce chairman Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina) will convene a hearing on digital copy protection, which he believes should be embedded in nearly all PCs and consumer electronic devices . . .

The SSSCA and existing law work hand-in-hand to steer the market toward adopting only computer systems where copy protection is enabled. First, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) created the legal framework that punished people who bypassed copy protection -- and now, the SSSCA would compel Americans to buy only systems with copy protection on by default . . .

More from Wired, with thanks to Library Juice and Politech.

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Libraries Crack Down On Rude Behavior

Here\'s A Very Short Story on a new county law banning people from library facilities for up to 90 days for rude behavior. Clackamas County, OR, librarians say they\'re seeing an increase in troublemakers, and they want to do something about it.
No details on the law, but they do mention that libraries often double as babysitting services for parents who drop their children off for extended periods of time.

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Bookstore Subpoenas and the First Amendment

Julie Hilden has written an article at FindLaw about the increasing frequency of bookstores, both online and off, being subpoenaed to turn over customer purchase records to prosecution attorneys. She makes reference to an Ohio case in which Amazon.com was subpoenaed to release the purchase records of Ohio customers who bought certain erotic audio CDs. (That Article available at Salon.com) More from FindLaw

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internet archive et al argue copyright to supreme court

Ryan writes: \"If it wasn\'t for the purportedly archaic copyright law, argues law professor Mark Lemley, representing the non-profit Internet Archive, \"digital archives could inexpensively make the other 9,853 books published in 1930 available to the reading public starting in 2005,\" he wrote. If the law \"still stands, we must continue to wait, perhaps eternally, while works disappear and opportunities vanish.\"

Brief filed by Archive and friends.

NYT Story, Login may be needed before long; wasn\'t at 11.40 this morning, don\'t know how long it takes \'fore this is no longer breaking news.
\"

Gary Price pointed to a number of see also\'s over on his Virtual Acquisition Shelf and News Desk.

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State legislative history research

LLRX writes \"
Jan Bisset and Margi Heinen provide a range of Web
resources to assist you with the challenging task of
researching the legislative history of a state statute.
State Legislative History
from llrx.com \"

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Big Brother is watching you read

Someone writes \"Increasingly, the government is demanding that bookstores reveal what books their customers have purchased. Bookstore owners and privacy advocates say that\'s scarier than a Stephen King novel.

Full Story is @ Salon \"

From the article:\"If we allow law enforcement access to customer records whenever they think it\'s convenient, customers won\'t feel secure purchasing books and magazines that are their constitutional right to buy,\" said Chris Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. \"It\'s important because many books are very private, or about sensitive issues, and if they feel booksellers turn over buying information at regular intervals, customers won\'t buy those books.\" By extension, this could have a chilling effect on the types of books that end up being published.

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Search Engines Sued Over Pay-For-Placement Policies

From CNN, with thanks to Metafilter:

The maker of a popular weight-loss system filed suit against four search engines this week, alleging that their policy of letting advertisers pay to appear in top-ranked search results violated federal and state trademark and fair-competition laws.

Mark Nutritionals Inc. [is] asking for at least $10 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages from each company . . .

More (Altavista, Kanoodle.com, FindWhat.com and Overture Services Inc. are named in the suit.)

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Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Site

fairuse.stanford.edu is a super collection of \"stuff\" on fair use.

It includes Primary Materials, Current Legislation, Cases and Issues, Resources on the Internet, and Overview of Copyright Law.

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Time to rewrite the DMCA

News.com has a Great Editorial by Rick Boucher who says traditional \"fair use\" rights are at the foundation of the receipt and use of information by the American people, and those rights are now under attack.

He goes on to say Congress agreed to a fundamentally flawed bill, which created the new crime of circumvention--a crime divorced from over a century and a half of respect for the fair-use rights of consumers. The DMCA, as enacted, quite clearly tilted the balance in the Copyright Act toward complete protection and away from information availability.

\"Consider the implications. A time may soon come when what is available for free on library shelves will only be available on a pay-per-use basis. It would be a simple matter for a copyright owner to impose a requirement that a small fee be paid each time a digital book or video documentary is accessed by a library patron. Even the student who wants even the most basic access to only a portion of the book to write a term paper would have to pay to avoid committing a crime.\"

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Conservative Group Preparing to Sue Non-Filtering Libraries

A bit of rhetoric, plus a petition and (possibly) some lawyers, and we\'re off to the races!

The American Library Association doesn\'t want any libraries to have filtering systems on their computers, yet librarians are seeing rising levels of child abuse occurring and must deal with trench-coated pedophiles who loiter around libraries to view pornographic materials--or to sexually molest children . . .

The Traditional Values Coalition has recently launched an effort to challenge every public library that refuses to install filtering systems on their computers. TVC will be filing a series of class-action lawsuits against libraries refusing to filter pornography from their computers.

Given the wording of the petition itself, I can only imagine this page is being filtered as we speak :)

Thanks to Politech.

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