Legal Issues

Copyright Office backs content holders

ZD Net is Reporting more on how the U.S. Copyright Office (part of the Library of Congress) has backed the right of companies to limit access to their content when it is offered on the Internet.
The Copyright Office said people should be able to read filtering software\'s black lists, and allow folks to bypass malfunctioning security features of software and other copyrighted goods they have purchased. This gives copyright holders a whole new level of protection.

\"The decision will \'significantly impede efforts for libraries to continue to provide information in the digital age.\'
-- Miriam Nisbet, American Library Association \"

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Copyrights on Web Content are Backed

Lee Hadden sent this in:

\" An article in the Wall
Street Journal by Anna Wilde Matthews, \"Copyrights
on Web Content Are Backed\" (Friday, Oct. 27, page
B10), discusses a decision
by the Library of Congress\'s Copyright Office, to limit
access to the content
of web pages on the Internet. The argument between
libraries and
entertainment companies has been around for some
time, and the decision will
protect the copyright of commercial endeavors with only
minor exceptions.
\"

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Kramerbooks Redux?

The Denver Post reports that \"police will be allowed to search customer purchase records\" at the Tattered Cover Book Store.

Astute readers will no doubt have already drawn a comparison to the 1998 case involving Kramerbooks & afterwords, the Washington DC bookstore that told Ken Starr to mind his own business. So why has a judge given the police carte blanche this time? Perhaps because they said the magic word: \"drugs\".

\"If it only takes one or two records from a bookstore to help us eliminate drugs on the street, then so be it,\" said Lt. Lori Moriarty, commander of the North Metro Drug Task Force, which is seeking the Tattered Cover records.

Ah, so that\'s the problem. It\'s not that Prohibition has failed again -- it\'s just those pesky booksellers who are protecting readers\' right to privacy...

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Public Forum on Warranty Protection

The UCITA Saga continues.
The Federal Trade Commission will hold a public forum on October 26 and 27, 2000 to examine warranty protection for software and other high-tech goods and services marketed to consumers.

The public forum will be held at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2000 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on October 27, 2000 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

You can also see FTC staff comments to NCCUSL during the date
preceeding NCCUSL\'s approval of UCITA, the first on October
30, 1998
, and the second on July 9, 1999.

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UCITA Satellite Teleconference

Rory had this over on Library JuiceThis week, but it is important enough for me to reprint here.

The Association of Research Libraries is sponsoring a Satellite Teleconference on UCITA, the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act. It is important that you do something if you are in the United States. Why?

*   UCITA legitimizes a non-negotiable contract-based system
of intellectual
property with no exemptions and fair use defenses for the research, education,
and library communities as provided for in federal copyright law. 

*   UCITA permits this same kind of contract to apply to mixed
media
transactions where a book accompanied by a CD, for example, could be governed
by
the same restrictions as placed on the CD. 

*   UCITA permits provisions that prohibit reverse engineering
or the public
comment or criticism of a product. 

*   UCITA allows the licensor to electronically disable, remove,
or prevent the
usage of computer information or software that resides on your system creating
significant security issues along with interrupting services and operations. 

*   UCITA allows software firms to waive liability for known
defects in their
software that they failed to disclose to their customers. 

UCITA can directly impact the ability of libraries and educational institutions
to carry out their missions, to effectively manage their operations, and
to
preserve and apply community values in their daily work.

With four panelists who were actively involved in the UCITA debates in
their
states, this teleconference will help you learn more about UCITA and what
you
can do to deal with it in your state!
Details and registration information can be found at arl.org/ucita.html

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Suit Considers Computer Files

A Parent in Exeter, NH has started alawsuit that could determine whether a computer file that tracks Internet use in a New Hampshire public school is a public document, similar in spirit to school budgets and the minutes of school board meetings. The NY Times has the Full Story.

\"Parents have a right to see which textbooks are being used in class and which books are on the school library shelves,\" Knight, who is 44, said in an interview. \"If certain Internet Web sites are also part of the curriculum, then it\'s the prerogative of parents to see those as well.\"

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COPA(A) Quickies

A trio of stories on COPA(A). It\'s either COPAA or COPA, I just can\'t figure out which is what is who. You get the point though.

An Ordeal: Copin\' With COPPA
from
Wired
that says the Children\'s Online Privacy Protection Act is a flawed piece of
legislation, and decides it\'s easier to help kids forge their ages
to set up email accounts than it is to submit a credit card number,


COPA: Peddle Smut, Go to Jail
from
Wired

Conservative members of the
Commission on Child Online Protection
suggested during a
meeting a week ago that the government should shield Junior from dirty pictures by
imprisoning owners of \"obscene\" websites.


Online Children\'s Section
from News.com
Telage said there is a \"50-50 shot\" that new Web domain categories could be created,
such as \".kids,\" reserved for child-friendly content. Others have advocated \".xxx\"
for adult sites, although Telage said the commission has free-speech reservations
about that suggestion.

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Library denies police request

An ugly situation in IA. Ankeny Iowa police needed information on a missing teen-age girl and asked Ankeny\'s Kirkendall Public Library staff for help. The library staff refused, citing a state law that requires all library transactions to be confidential. Luckily the girl turned up a couple days later. The Full Story is at The Des Moines Register

\"Libraries are places for free intellectual inquiry. They\'re not places for you to be watched,\" said Barbara Mack, an Iowa State University journalism professor.

\"It seems like there\'s publication of just about everything: credit cards, bank accounts, you name it. If the library is still able to keep this stuff confidential, more power to them,\"
Library patron Elden Bucher
\"

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US Congress Next in Copyright Tiffs

In what can only be bad news, Wired is predicting a grim battle in Congress next year as a result of the ongoing Napster lawsuit. They Say the loser of the Napster case will be inmportant to this area of law.
The two-day international intellectual property conference was held last week.

\"We must protect the rights of the creator,\" Hatch said. \"But we cannot, in the name of copyright, unduly burden consumers and the promising technology the Internet presents to all of us.\"
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch

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Time Running Out for Key High-Tech Legislation

One of my favorite mags Business 2.0 has a special report on the major internet/techie laws that are pending in the U.S.

With the Internet being such a big part of the library now, this legislation could impact the LIS world in a big way.

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