Legal Issues

Legal Issues

COPPA Shot Down

Pretty much every new site on the web is carrying a story on COPPA being unanimously ruled unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled The Child Online Protection Act violated the First Amendment right to free speech. Appeals court Judge Leonard Garth said \"Sometimes we must make decisions that we do not like, we make them because they are right, right in the sense that the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result.\"

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More Workers Stealing From Libraries

Michigan Live has this article on another staff theft at a library. This time, it was via an unauthorized bonus. Yeah, when I want to steal money, libraries definitly come to mind first.

\"When Don Dely gave himself an unauthorized bonus of $4,876 last August, it took Ann Arbor District Library administrators three months to discover the misuse of public funds.\"

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20% of children online solicited for cybersex

The Star Tribune has this scary article about a study that concluded that 1 in 5 children who are online get solicited for cybersex...3% of which happens in libraries.


\"The congressional study, the first scientific examination of risks to children online, also found that 1 in 4 children encountered pornographic pictures while researching homework topics or checking their e-mail. Of the 1,500 children, ages 10 to 17, surveyed in the study, teenage girls were most likely to be victims of sexual approaches, while teenage boys were most likely to accidentally come across porn\"

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Supreme Court to review FCC subsidies

A Story from ZDnet tells us how the US Supreme Court is about to hear an important case on FCC subsidies used to help schools and libraries connect to the internet.
the FCC has operated a $2.25 billion annual federal program to subsidize Internet connections for schools, libraries and rural health care facilities. Sounds Nice doesn\'t it?

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Free speech wins again!

Brian writes

\"On May 22, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a law requiring cable TV operators either to completely scramble channels like Playboy and Spice or to transmit those channels only during late-night hours. Justice Kennedy\'s majority opinion in U.S. v. Playboy Entertainment Group (http://laws.findlaw.com/us/000/98-1682.html) is a must-read for librarians, as it includes a beautiful affirmation of free speech and individual responsibility....

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UCITA passed in MD

InfoWorld Has an Article on the UCITA, a potentially damaging law.

\"Although totally outgunned by the deep pockets of the software lobby, the anti-UCITA forces, headed up by 4Cite (For a Competitive Information and Technology Economy, the anti-UCITA coalition to which InfoWorld belongs), did a heroic job of fighting against the bill while it was debated in the Maryland Legislature. And enough Maryland legislators got the message that several amendments to significantly defang UCITA were given consideration, particularly in the Senate.\"

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Napster + ILL + Copyright = Docster

(as seen at oss4lib.org)

If you\'re a librarian and you haven\'t thought through what napster means yet, get thinking. Many folks are perturbed about how easy it is to violate copyright using napster. \"Docster: Instant Document Delivery\" describes a napster-like system for libraries which builds copyright compliance in from the start.
btw Blake suggested reposting this here -- so it isn\'t entirely shameless promotion on my part. :)

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DMCA Threatens Libraries?

HREF=\"http://www.techreview.com/\">TechReview
has a very provocative HREF=\"http://www.techreview.com/articles/may00/stall
man.htm\">Article on how the HREF=\"http://www.tuxers.net/dmca/dmca-guide.html\">
DMCA and E-Books are going to change what we
all take for granted now.

\"We still have the same old freedoms in using
paper books. But if e-books replace printed books, that
exception will do little good. With “electronic ink,” which
makes it possible to download new text onto an
apparently printed piece of paper, even newspapers
could become ephemeral. Imagine: no more used
book stores; no more lending a book to your friend; no
more borrowing one from the public library—no more
“leaks” that might give someone a chance to read
without paying. (And judging from the ads for Microsoft
Reader, no more anonymous purchasing of books
either.) This is the world publishers have in mind for us.
\"

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Creationist wins suit library

JS Online in Milwaukee, has This Story on legal troubles brought on trying to exclude from the library religious services or instructional meetings.

\"The City of West Allis, WI violated a man\'s First Amendment rights when it refused him permission to use the public library\'s Constitution Room for a presentation about creationism, a federal judge ruled in a decision made public Tuesday.


\"The Library\'s Constitution Room is a designated public forum, and no compelling state interest has been advanced to support the exclusion of plaintiff from using it,\" U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in his decision.

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First Amendment lawyers take on DVD cracking case

Cnet is reporting on legal moves in the DeCSS battle.

\"Free speech lawyers have appealed a preliminary injunction granted against
72 Web site operators accused of stealing trade secrets by circulating a
program online that lets people crack the security on DVDs.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
submitted its appeal this week following the January order issued by a
Santa Clara County Superior Court judge in California.

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Battling Censorware

The Standard has a great round up on the battle between Mattel and two hackers, Eddy Jansson of Sweden and Matthew Skala of Canada who wrote CPHack, a program that lets people see a list of the sites that Cyber Patrol blocks. This is a very important case, it has issues in The DMCA, the freedom to link, copyright law, the First Amendment, and other info science interests.

\"The argument rests upon the anticircumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA prohibits trafficking in devices whose primary purpose is to circumvent a technology meant to protect copyrighted works. CPHack would constitute such a device; mirroring it, as the law has been interpreted, would constitute a violation of the DMCA. So Mattel could prevail against distributors of CPHack whether or not the program itself was a violation of Mattel\'s copyright.\"

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slashdot: Protesting DMCA

Yesterday a number of Washington, D.C. area Linux User Group (LUG) members met outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the deconstruction of fair use implied by the DMCA. Timothy of slashdot wrote up the experience; his writeup and a bunch of great photos are available here.

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Comment on the DMCA

The deadline for filing reply comments in this rulemaking
has been extended to Friday, March 31. Reply comments must
be received in the Office of the General Counsel of the
Copyright Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 31,
2000.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Public Law
105-304 (1998), added a new Chapter 12 to title 17 United
States Code, which among other things prohibits
circumvention of access control technologies employed by
copyright owners to protect their works.

1. If by
electronic mail: Send to HREF=\"mailto:[email protected]\">[email protected] a message
containing the name of the person making the submission, his
or her title and organization (if the submission is on
behalf of an organization), mailing address, telephone
number, telefax number (if any) and e-mail address. The
message should also identify the document clearly as either
a comment or reply comment. The document itself must be sent
as a MIME attachment, and must be in a single file in
either: (1) Adobe Portable Document File (PDF) format
(preferred); (2) Microsoft Word Version 7.0 or earlier; (3)
WordPerfect 7 or earlier; (4) ASCII text file format; or (5)
Rich Text Format.

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Comments on the DMCA

The U.S. Copywrite Office has posted the comments they
received on the Digital Millenium Copywrite Act
HREF=\"http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/1201/comments/\">HERE.

You can also read more on the DMCA HREF=\"http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/legislation/dmca.pdf\">
HERE.

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Library liability measure is stalled

Story on the death of an scary law in SC.

A Senate bill that would have held public libraries criminally liable for allowing children to view smut on the Internet has stalled.
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee decided to not deal with the bill after a public hearing this week.
\"I\'m confident it (the bill) won\'t go anywhere,\" said Jim Johnson, director of the South Carolina State Library.

\"I don\'t think it\'s appropriate for anybody to set library policies other than a county\'s local library board,\" Johnson said. \"It would be the same thing if the state told the library what books to buy.\"

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lawsuit by Laura Ingalls Library still in court

Someone sent in This Story about the little library on the prarie case.

A little library in the Ozarks got a boost this week in its suit to recover copyright
income from the works of its famous benefactor, author Laura Ingalls Wilder, best
known for her book \"Little House on the Prairie.\"

U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith rejected the request by HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
of New York to throw out the suit over its claim the library missed the deadline to
claim copyrights. Smith said more fact-finding is needed to decide that issue.

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Rulings on Book Covers Worry Publishers

The IP Law Center has a must read legal
Story on the legalities of book covers.

Beyond that, other media companies worry that any favorable rulings for the plaintiffs could spur additional class action suits against book publishers, magazine publishers and broadcasters. In fact, attorneys representing the plaintiffs in both cases have other class action suits pending against Penguin Putnam and Simon & Schuster based on false statements on the cover of \"McNally\'s Dilemma.\" Plaintiffs in these suits also allege that the cover of the book is commercial speech that must conform to false advertising statutes.

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Coping with Database Protection Laws

Andy Oram wrote an article on the consequences of database protection Laws, HERE that is worth a read.


The 1990s have witnessed the creation of an entire new category of intellectual property—the collection—as well as a new (sui generis) right of ownership. In this article I will try to summarize the issues that content providers and their representatives should be alert to when dealing with laws concerning “collections of information”, a term I will use interchangeably with the term databases.

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Free The Chinese Librarian!

Dickinson College has set up a site where people can
check for updates on the status of Dickinson College scholar and librarian Yongyi Song who was arrested in China on charges of \"the purchase and illegal provision of intelligence to foreign people.\" on Christmas Eve. They have started an online petition and awareness campaign aimed at securing his release.

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