EFFector Vol. 14, No. 10 May 25, 2001 firstname.lastname@example.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:
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
Lauren Gelman, EFF Public Policy Director
Robert C. Holtzapple, Farella, Braun & Martel
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
Background materials about this case are available on the EFF website
Materials concerning the 2TheMart case are available at:
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
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:
Or contact Will Doherty, Online Activist / Media Relations
Supreme Court to Hear Child Online Protection Act Case
Electronic Frontier Foundation Confident COPA Still Unconstitutional
Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
Shari Steele, Executive Director, EFF
email@example.com +1 415 436-9333 x103
Will Doherty, Media Relations, EFF
firstname.lastname@example.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,
"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
For more information on the CHIPA cases, see
For more information on the CDA case, see
For more information on related online free speech issues, see
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:
EFFector is published by:
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