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EFFector - Volume 14, Issue 10 - Sharing the News - Changes and Victories at EFF

   
    EFFector       Vol. 14, No. 10       May 25, 2001     editor@eff.org
                                      
   A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424
                                      
    IN THE 170th ISSUE OF EFFECTOR (now with over 27,500 subscribers!):
    
     * Sharing the News - Changes and Victories at EFF
     * EFF Victory with Medinex Case
     * Media Intern Needed at EFF
     * Child Online Protection Act Case Goes to Supreme Court
       
   For more information on EFF activities & alerts: http://www.eff.org
   
   To join EFF: http://www.eff.org/support/
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Sharing the News - Changes and Victories at EFF

   While we usually let the content of our EFFector newsletter speak for
   itself, this issue we'd like to address you, the subscriber, more
   directly. We're excited about some recent changes and victories and
   want to share the news with you. The fight for online civil liberties
   is alive and well! Our readership has grown over the past year, and
   the community of people like you who read our newsletter is now more
   than 27,000, with more and more of you joining as members every day --
   doubling our membership over just the past four months to nearly 4,500
   supporters. You're helping us do what EFF does best, which is to be on
   the cutting edge in identifying emerging threats to Internet freedom
   and acting to stop these threats.
   
   Just last month, supporters packed a New York courtroom as EFF's legal
   team defended free speech in the appeal of 2600 Magazine against eight
   major motion picture studios, based upon the magazine's publication of
   and links to computer code that would enable DVDs to be played on
   computers using the Linux operating system. On April 20th, hundreds of
   people turned out as EFF launched our "Open Audio License" at the New
   York Music & Internet Expo, where EFF board member John Perry Barlow,
   was honored for his work to promote liberty and artist empowerment. As
   you'll read below in this issue of EFFector, EFF just won several more
   victories for free speech rights online as Medinex dropped its law
   suit against anonymous online critics, and the U.S. Supreme Court
   agreed to hear arguments on the unconstitutionality of the Child
   Online Protection Act (COPA).
   
   You probably agree with us that there is a lot at stake for all of our
   rights. Join us -- we really need your support in order to be able to
   continue our important work. If you're already a member, please
   consider making an additional donation to our work.
   
   You can join/donate online at:
   http://www.eff.org/support
   Please don't hesitate to write to us at EFF. Thanks for your support.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Medinex Drops Suit Against Anonymous Online Critics

  EFF Celebrates Another Successful Defense of Free Speech Rights Online
  
    Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Advisory
    
    For Immediate Release -- May 22, 2001
    
    Contact:
    
     Lauren Gelman, EFF Public Policy Director
     gelman@eff.org
     +1 202-487-0420
     
     Robert C. Holtzapple, Farella, Braun & Martel
     bholtzapple@fbm.com
     +1 415-954-4400
     
   San Francisco -- Medinex Systems, Inc., yesterday dismissed its suit
   intended to force disclosure of the identities of 14 John Does who
   participated on a Yahoo! message board devoted to discussions about
   the company. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with San
   Francisco law firm Farella, Braun & Martel, defended the right of
   these anonymous critics to express their views online without fear of
   arbitrary disclosure of their identity.
   
   "It's clear from the dismissal of its lawsuit that Medinex's primary
   goal was to identify and silence their critics," said Lauren Gelman,
   EFF's Director of Public Policy. "This is simply one more example of a
   company dropping a spurious lawsuit once EFF steps in to protect
   individuals right to speak anonymously."
   
   Medinex sued the John Does, identified by their screen names such as
   "zippershut," "awe2bad4mdnx," and "dotcommie2000" after they made
   remarks critical of the company on Yahoo! message boards. Medinex
   stock has dropped precipitously in the past few months and is
   allegedly on the verge of being dropped from the NASDAQ exchange for
   non-compliance with NASDAQ's $1 minimum bid price requirement.
   
   The critics, some self-identified as shareholders and employees of the
   company, stated their opinions about the mismanagement of the company
   and other factors leading to its financial difficulties. Medinex
   alleged defamation, tortious interference with business relationship
   and wrongful interference with a prospective economic advantage. The
   company then issued a subpoena to Yahoo! in California seeking the
   identities of their critics without first proving any illegal actions.
   
   A similar case entitled In re 2theMart.com, in which a Seattle court
   quashed a subpoena seeking the identity of Internet posters on an
   Infospace message board after a motion brought by the EFF and the ACLU
   of Washington, may have influenced Medinex's dismissal.
   
   "These people were simply expressing their opinions. Unfounded
   subpoenas such as these chill everyone's speech on the Internet. Since
   some of the Does claim to be employees, we are also worried that
   Medinex brought this suit in order to identify and retaliate against
   them, rather than because of any real defamation," said Robert
   Holtzapple of Farella, Braun and Martel, which is handling the matter
   pro bono.
   
   Background materials about this case are available on the EFF website
   at:
   http://www.eff.org/Cases/Medinex_v._Awe2bad4mdnx/
   
   Materials concerning the 2TheMart case are available at:
   http://www.eff.org/Cases/2TheMart_case/
   
   The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( http://www.eff.org ) is the
   leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the
   digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges
   industry and government to support free expression, privacy, and
   openness in the information society. EFF is a member-supported
   organization and maintains one of the most-linked-to websites in the
   world.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
EFF Seeks Media Intern

   The Electronic Frontier Foundation seeks a Media intern to focus on
   media tasks such as media interview assignments, media releases, media
   professional relationships, and mediabase and media coverage archival.
   
   Basic HTML skills and general computer competence necessary. Very
   helpful if you have your own laptop and/or home Internet access.
   
   Interns will be in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in the EFF office
   at least two days per week. School credit may be available.
   
   Timeframe: Needed immediately, for each semester. Minimum commitment 2
   days per week for at least three months.
   
   For more information, see the EFF website at:
   http://www.eff.org/jobs#vol0
   
   Or contact Will Doherty, Online Activist / Media Relations
   wild@eff.org
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Supreme Court to Hear Child Online Protection Act Case

  Electronic Frontier Foundation Confident COPA Still Unconstitutional
  
    Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Advisory
    
    For Immediate Release
    
   Contact:
   
     Shari Steele, Executive Director, EFF
     ssteele@eff.org +1 415 436-9333 x103
     
     Will Doherty, Media Relations, EFF
     wild@eff.org +1 415 436-9333 x111
     
   San Francisco -- The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today
   welcomed the United States Supreme Court decision yesterday to hear
   arguments on the Child Online Protection Act (COPA).
   
   "COPA is just as unconstitutional now as when federal courts struck it
   down in 1999 and again in 2000," confirmed Shari Steele, EFF Executive
   Director. "We are pleased the United States Supreme Court has agreed
   to hear the case so that COPA can follow its predecessor, the
   Communications Decency Act, into the dustbin of history."
   
   In a legal challenge argued in 1999 by the Electronic Frontier
   Foundation in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union and
   the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a federal court issued a
   preliminary injunction against enforcement of the law on the grounds
   that it is probably unconstitutional. On June 22, 2000, the Third
   Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction because "we are
   confident that the ACLU's attack on COPA's constitutionality is likely
   to succeed on the merits."
   
   The COPA legislation is overly broad, vague in defining key terms such
   as "commercial," illegally attempts to force adults to give up privacy
   to exercise their right to read, places prior restraints on
   publication, and enforces a flawed "community standards" approach that
   would allow the most conservative jurisdiction in the United States to
   set the "decency" standards for all Web content nationally (indeed,
   globally).
   
   "Providing a safe environment for children online is a laudable goal,
   but COPA unnecessarily sacrifices constitutionally protected free
   speech for adults in a fatally flawed attempt to 'protect' children,"
   commented Will Doherty, EFF Online Activist.
   
   The Children's Online Protection Act, also known as "CDA II," was part
   two of Congress' ongoing attempts to "protect" children while negating
   the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Part one was the
   Communications Decency Act (CDA) and part three is the Children's
   Internet Protection Act (CHIPA or CIPA).
   
   For more information on the COPA case, see
   http://www.eff.org/Legal/Cases/ACLU_v_Reno_II/
   
   For more information on the CHIPA cases, see
   http://www.eff.org/Legal/Cases/Multnomah_Library_v_US/
   
   For more information on the CDA case, see
   http://www.eff.org/pub/Legal/Cases/EFF_ACLU_v_DoJ/
   
   For more information on related online free speech issues, see
   http://eff.org/br/
   
   The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties
   organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded
   in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and
   government to support free expression, privacy, and openness in the
   information society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
   maintains one of the most linked-to Web sites in the world:
   http://www.eff.org
     _________________________________________________________________
   
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   Stanton McCandlish, EFF Technical Director/Webmaster
   editors@eff.org
   
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