Legal Issues

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.


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,, and Overture Services Inc. are named in the suit.)


Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Site 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.


Time to rewrite the DMCA 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.\"


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.


Library Patron Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

Someone passed along This One
on a guy from Wheeling, Ill., who pled guilty
to three counts of child pornography charges for downloading
dozens of images from computers at the Vernon Hills Public

he got 30 months of probation and 6
months of periodic imprisonment in the Lake County Jail.
Dirkes also was ordered to seek counseling, was barred from
using the Internet and ordered to stay in his home until
space became available for him in the jail\'s periodic
imprisonment program.


Group Opposes $25 Million Librarian Discrimination Payout

A homeowner\'s group in Atlanta, GA is opposing the $25 million payout that has been awarded to eight librarians who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Fulton County Library System.
The money will be paid by the city\'s general treasury. More


Sklyarov Heads Home

Dmitri Sklyarov headed home on New Year\'s Eve:

Russian computer software specialist Dmitri Sklyarov charged with violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the United States returned to Moscow on Monday. According to an Interfax reporter, at the airport he was welcomed by his family and close friends.

Sklyarov told Interfax that he would see the New Year in with his \"near and dear ones.\"

He\'s banned from working on projects related to e-books under the terms of his release, however. More from Interfax, with thanks to Politech.


The Year in Internet Law

\"What happened in cyberlaw during the past year that was significant and enduring -- or at least interesting? That\'s the question Cyber Law Journal put to several well-regarded law professors and legal practitioners.

Their answers ran the gamut from the government\'s legal response to the Sept. 11 attacks to Hollywood\'s impressive victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the DeCSS copyright case.\"

Full Story from NY Times


Sklyarov Defends Decision to Testify Against His Employer

Dmitry Sklyarov is agreeing to help authorities in the U.S. in the case against his employer, ElComSoft Co. Ltd, who sold the software that cracked Adobe E-book codes. According to Sklyarov, \"I am extremely disappointed in any implication that I am cooperating with the government. I am a man of integrity and as such am doing nothing more than telling the truth, not for or against anyone.\" More from the Orlando Sentinel.



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