Legal Issues

Aligning Against UCITA

Slashdot told me Infoworld is running This Story on UCITA.

There\'s a new coalition called Americans for Fair
Electronic Commerce Transactions (AFFECT), formed by merging several anti-UCITA groups. If you are in the states of California, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Arizona or Texas you need to be aware of this law.

AFFECT\'s website is at http://affect.ucita.com, check it out.

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Copyright or Copy Wrong?

Wired has a Story on The DMCA and the looming showdown in the US congress. Orrin Hatch wants to open up hearings to discuss the effects of the Napster ruling.

\"I have been troubled by the possible practical problems that may arise from this decision,\" Hatch said. \"I am troubled as a strong supporter and prime author of much of our copyright law and intellectual property rights.\"

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Libraries becoming battlefield over Internet pornography

A Story from the Washington Times talks about
what they call the \"cultural war raging inside America\'s
libraries\", piting Conservative groups that watn
unrestricted access to Internet indecency in the nation\'s
public schools and libraries threatens to create virtual
sanctuaries of smut across the land against the
American Library Association and others who say
patrons have a right to view pornographic material.

\"There is no constitutional right to view this kind of
obscenity in public places like our towns\' libraries,\"
says Janet LaRue, senior legal studies director at the
Family Research Council (FRC).\"

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UCITA on legislative agenda in four states

UCITA was passed in Maryland and Virginia last year, things are only getting worse, Arizona, Oklahoma, Delaware, and Texas are scheduled to take up the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) this year. UCITA is opposed by leading bar associations, the attorneys general of more than 20 states, consumer groups, and everyone else with more than 2 active brain cells. CNN has the Full Story.

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How things would work in a copyright-free universe

The National
Post
has a rather I
nteresting Story
on copyright. Ilana Mercer
says the copyright system shoul be abolished because
there can be no justification for the use of force against
legitimate property owners.

\"And force is, very
plainly, what flows from the enforcement of the law.
Since ideas should not be treated as property, laws that
target those who have not violated person or property
are wrong.\"

I can\'t say I agree or disagree, but it is a very well
thought out argument.

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Library Web Suit Revived

SF Gate has a story on a woman whose 12-year-old son downloaded pornography at a CA public library, has reinstated her lawsuit that would require parental consent for minors to access the Internet at libraries.

\"We have to do a little more to protect children from themselves than to protect adults from themselves,\"


UPDATE from SF Gate. Hearing Was Held.
A panel of three justices of the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco did not indicate when or which way it would rule. But one justice noted that a Virginia library was subjected to a successful suit when it blocked pornographic access and was ordered to reinstate full access.

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John Gilmore on Content Protection

As seen on the Freenet page and elsewhere, this essay by John Gilmore (of the EFF) explains why you should care about the efforts of industry to protect content through arbitrary technical means. Read it and send a copy to your colleagues. :)

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Copyright: Your Right or Theirs?

Wired has a Story on The DeCSS Case and the The DMCA

\"A copyright is a right to own and exploit your work. The copyright law is a property right of your creations,\" said Lehman. \"That includes the right to stop anyone from getting your copyrights. That is a fundamental right of the creator. Most creators don\'t do that, and want people to have access because they want to earn a living off that. That was the idea of the DMCA.\"

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American Library Association votes to challenge CIPA

The executive board of the American Library Association (ALA) voted
yesterday to initiate legal action challenging the recently enacted
Children\'s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), signed into law on December
21. The decision came after more than a week of intense discussion
among leaders and members during the association\'s annual Midwinter
Meeting. The ALA contends the act is unconstitutional and creates an
infringement of First Amendment protections.

CNET has a Story and so does ZD Net.

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UCITA: What Does it Mean for Libraries?

Online has a nice Feature on UCITA and what it means for you as a librarian.

\"Copyright laws have always provided for fair use exceptions for nonprofit educational and research use, and criticism, to name just a few exceptional areas. Opponents of UCITA fear the effective extinction of such fair use rights under UCITA. Librarians also fear they will have imposed on them contract clauses that prohibit lending materials or that prohibit activities or uses that libraries may make in carrying out their preservation efforts.\"

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