Skip to main content

EFFector - Volume 15, Issue 14 - Court Rejects Review of 2600 Magazine Digital Copyright Case

EFFector Vol. 15, No. 14, May 16th, 2002 editors@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 214th Issue of EFFector:

* Court Rejects Review of 2600 Magazine Digital Copyright Case
* Supreme Court Maintains Ban on Internet Censorship Law
* Prevent Court-Ordered Surveillance of TV Users

Creative Commons Opens the Doors to the Public Domain

For more information on EFF activities & alerts: http://www.eff.org/

To join EFF or make an additional donation:
http://www.eff.org/support/

EFF is a member-supported nonprofit. Please sign up as a member today!
Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Advisory
Court Rejects Review of 2600 Magazine Digital Copyright Case
U.S. Supreme Court Appeal Possible on Internet Linking Issue

New York - On May 8, 2002, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied 2600
Magazine's request for review of a November 2001 appeals court decision that
upheld an injunction against the Web publisher. Major Hollywood movie studios
obtained an injunction in 2000, barring 2600 Magazine from publishing or
linking to DeCSS software that decodes DVDs.

Represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Stanford Law
School Dean Kathleen Sullivan, 2600 Magazine in January 2002 asked the entire
appellate court to reconsider the decision that upheld the lower court's
injunction.

The case is one of the first to challenge the anti-circumvention measures of
the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as an unconstitutional
restraint on freedom of speech. EFF and 2600 Magazine are considering whether
to appeal the 2nd Circuit's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For information on the 2600 case and related cases:
http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/

Contact:
Robin Gross
Intellectual Property AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundation
robin@eff.org
+1 415 436-9333 x112 (office), +1 415 637-5310 (cell)

About EFF:
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
and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one
of the most-linked-to websites in the world at
http://www.eff.org/

- end -

[This ACLU media release redistributed with permission by EFF as a courtesy to
the EFFector subscribers. EFF is one of the plaintiffs in the COPA case.]
Maintaining Ban on Internet Censorship Law, Supreme Court Asks Lower Court to
Revisit Ruling
For Immediate Release - Monday, May 13, 2002

NEW YORK--The American Civil Liberties Union today said it was pleased with a
Supreme Court decision maintaining a ban on a law that criminalizes
constitutionally protected speech on the Internet.

In keeping the ban in place, the Court did not decide any of the legal
questions, but asked the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to decide the case on
a wider range of First Amendment issues.

"The Court clearly had enough doubts about this broad censorship law to leave
in place the ban, which is an enormous relief to our clients," said Ann
Beeson, Litigation Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, who
argued the case before the Justices last November.

"As the Court indicated, this case is still very much a work in progress," she
added, noting that a majority of the Court appeared to have grave doubts about
the ultimate constitutionality of the law. "Just as the Court has struck down
other laws that attempt to reduce the adult population to reading only what is
fit for children, we are confident that the Court will ultimately strike down
this law."

The so-called Child Online Protection Act, also known as "COPA," made it a
federal crime to use the World Wide Web to communicate "for commercial
purposes" material considered "harmful to minors," with penalties of up to
$150,000 for each day of violation and up to six months in prison.

In its legal challenge to the Act, the ACLU said constitutional flaws in this
law were identical to the flaws that led the Supreme Court to strike down the
Communications Decency Act, Congress's earlier attempt at Internet censorship,
in a landmark 1997 ruling.

The speech at issue in today's case, Beeson noted, includes sexual advice
columns, discussion boards on gynecology, and websites for a bookstore, an art
gallery, and the Philadelphia Gay News, among others.

It is now up to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether to rule
based on the facts the district court used to grant the preliminary injunction
against the law, or to send the case back down for a full trial before Judge
Lowell A. Reed, Jr., of the District Court in Philadelphia.

In addition to today's case over a federal "harmful-to-minors" law, the ACLU
has brought successful challenges to state "harmful-to-minors" laws in
Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Arizona and Vermont. A case brought in
Virginia also resulted in a "harmful-to-minors" law being struck down. The
ACLU noted that the state challenges were successful because of the
impossibility of verifying the age as well as location of Internet users.

The case is Ashcroft v. ACLU, The Supreme Court's ruling is online at
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/01slipopinion.html

Complete information on the case, including the lower court decisions, is
online at http://www.aclu.org/issues/cyber/Ashcroft_v_ACLU_feature.html

- end -

[This EPIC media release redistributed with permission by EFF as a courtesy to
the EFFector subscribers. EFF signed on to the amicus brief mentioned in the
release.The amicus brief is available on the EFF website at
http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/Paramount_v_ReplayTV/20020513_ami_brf_oppse_discv_
ord.pdf
This media release below is available at
http://www.epic.org/privacy/replaytv/press_release_051302.html.]
Civil Liberties and Consumer Group File Amicus Brief To Prevent Court-Ordered
Surveillance Of Television Users

For Immediate Release - Monday, May 13, 2002

Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and a
coalition of civil liberties and consumer groups today asked a federal court
to overrule a decision mandating enforced surveillance of ReplayTV 4000
television users. Two weeks ago, numerous television studios persuaded a judge
to issue an order requiring SONICblue to monitor and record the TV uses of its
customers.

The ReplayTV 4000, sold by SONICblue Inc., is a personal video recorder (PVR)
that allows users to store television programming to hard disks for later
viewing. The PVR also allows users to pause, fast forward, and skip
commercials. SONICblue has never collected viewing data from ReplayTV 4000
users, assuring users that their privacy "is a right, not a privilege."

Television studios had sued SONICblue on various theories of copyright
infringement. As part of that lawsuit, the television studios made the
unprecedented demand that SONICblue reengineer its product to collect evidence
for the studios to use at trial, and for the studios to file lawsuits against
individual television viewers. Specifically, the television studios asked the
magistrate judge overseeing discovery disputes to order SONICblue to remotely
install on its customers' PVRs certain software that will monitor and record
all PVR usage and to do so without notice to the consumer or his consent.

On April 26, 2002, a magistrate judge in the Central District of California
granted the television studios' request. On May 10, 2002, SONICblue filed with
the lead judge objections to that order, asking it to be reversed. The
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Electronic Frontier Foundation
(EFF), Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility (CPSR), Consumer Action, Media Access Project (MAP), Public
Knowledge, and The Privacy Foundation filed an amicus brief, joining SONICblue
in those objections.

In the amicus brief, the civil liberties and consumer groups argue that the
court order infringes on individuals' privacy rights and intellectual freedom.
According to Megan E. Gray, Senior Counsel at EPIC, "A person's home is one of
the most sacred of private places - the studios have no right to intrude there
to collect data for their own purposes without the individual's consent." The
compelled surveillance also invades intellectual freedom - "People will be
chilled from watching certain programs, whether unpopular, controversial, or
sexually explicit - if they knew that an electronic record would be created,
in perpetuity, about their viewing choices," says Gray.

The amicus brief is available online at www.epic.org.

EPIC maintains a webpage on Digital Rights Management and its implications for
privacy at http://www.epic.org/privacy/drm.

Contact:
Megan E. Gray
EPIC Senior Counsel
202-483-1140 x119
gray@epic.org

EPIC is a public-interest center that was established to focus public
attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First
Amendment, and other constitutional values.

- end -

[This Creative Commons media release redistributed with permission by EFF as a
courtesy to the media professionals on the EFF presslist. Creative Commons is
working with EFF to build on its experience with the EFF Open Audio License,
for which more information is available at
http://www.eff.org/IP/Open_licenses/] -------

Creative Commons Media Release

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 16, 2002
Creative Commons Opens the Doors to the Public Domain

New Nonprofit Provides Tools for Sharing Copyrighted Works

Santa Clara, CA - Representatives from the new nonprofit Creative Commons (
http://creativecommons.org) today outlined the company's plans to help lower
the legal barriers to creativity through an innovative coupling of law and
technology. The Creative Commons will provide a free set of tools to enable
creators to share aspects of their copyrighted works with the public.

"Our tools will make it easier for artists and authors to make some or all of
their rights available to the public for free," Stanford Professor and
Creative Commons Chairman Lawrence Lessig explained at the O'Reilly Emerging
Technologies Conference. "If, for example, an artist wants to make her music
available for non-commercial use, or with just attribution, our tools will
help her express those intentions in a 'machine-readable' form. Computers will
then be able to identify and understand the terms of an author's license,
making it easier for people to search for and share creative works."

Creative Commons was formed by a coalition of academics from a broad range of
institutions, including Duke, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Villanova. Its aim
is to use the flexibility of copyright law to help support a rich public
domain alongside traditional copyrights.

In a separate Creative Commons presentation, Molly Van Houweling, Executive
Director, and Lisa Rein, Technical Architect, previewed the web-based
application that will help scholars, artists, and others make their works
available for copying, modification, and redistribution. Authors and artists
who use the tool may choose to dedicate their works to the public domain or
choose to retain their copyright while allowing creative reuses subject to
custom combinations of conditions. An illustrator seeking exposure, for
example, might choose to let anyone freely copy and distribute her work,
provided that they give her proper credit. An academic eager to build a public
audience could permit unlimited noncommercial copying of his writings.

"The aim," Ms. Van Houweling explained, "is not only to increase the sum of
raw source material online, but also to make access to that material cheaper
and easier." To do this, Creative Commons will translate authors' intentions
into "metadata" associated with their creative works. This will enable people
to use the Internet to find, for example, photographs that are free to be
altered or reused, or texts that may be copied, distributed, or sampled with
no restrictions whatsoever - all by their authors' permission, expressed in
code as well as plain, straightforward language.

Creative Commons expects to launch these applications for general public use
this fall. In the meantime, Creative Commons is inviting feedback on its
prototype and its mission. Creative Commons also announced its longer-term
plans to create an intellectual property conservancy. Like a land trust or
nature preserve, the conservancy will protect works of special public value
from exclusionary private ownership and from obsolescence due to neglect or
technological change. The conservancy will house a rich repository of high-
quality works in a variety of media, and help foster an ethos of sharing,
public education, and creative interactivity.

Contacts:

Molly Van Houweling
Executive Director
Creative Commons
press@creativecommons.org

Glenn Otis Brown
Assistant Director
Creative Commons
press@creativecommons.org

About Creative Commons:

Creative Commons was founded upon the idea that creativity and innovation rely
on a rich heritage of prior intellectual endeavor. We stand on the shoulders
of giants by revisiting, reusing, and transforming the ideas and works of our
peers and predecessors. Digital communications promise a new explosion of this
kind of collaborative creative activity. At the same time, expanding
intellectual property protection leaves fewer and fewer creative works in the
"public domain" - the body of creative material unfettered by law and, to
quote Justice Brandeis, "free as the air to common use" - while the growing
complexity of copyright makes it more and more difficult to know when it is
legal to copy or alter a work. Creative Commons will work within the copyright
system to help reduce these barriers to creativity.

Creative Commons was founded in 2001 with the generous support of the Center
for the Public Domain. It is now based at and receives generous support from
Stanford Law School, where Creative Commons shares space, staff, and
inspiration with the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. It
is led by a Board of Directors that includes law professors Lawrence Lessig,
James Boyle, and Michael Carroll, MIT computer science professor Hal Abelson,
lawyer-turned-documentary filmmaker-turned-cyberlaw expert Eric Saltzman, and
public domain web publisher Eric Eldred. The organization is also advised by a
technical advisory board that includes boardmember Hal Abelson, Barbara Fox
(Senior Architect, Cryptography and Digital Rights Management, Microsoft
WebTV), Don McGovern (Senior Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and
Society at Harvard Law School), and Eric Miller (Activity Lead for the World
Wide Web Consortium's Semantic Web Initiative).

- end -

Administrivia

EFFector is published by:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)
http://www.eff.org/

Editor:
Katina Bishop, EFF Education & Offline Activism Director

To Join EFF online, or make an additional donation, go to:
http://www.eff.org/support/

Membership & donation queries: membership@eff.org
General EFF, legal, policy or online resources queries: ask@eff.org

Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed
articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed
articles individually, please contact the authors for their express
permission. Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be reproduced
individually at will.

To subscribe to or unsubscribe from EFFector via the Web, go to:
http://www.eff.org/signup/mailserv.html

To subscribe or UnSubscribe:

https://www.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/effector

(Please ask marc@eff.org to manually remove you from the list if this does not
work for you for some reason.)

Back issues are available at:
http://www.eff.org/effector

To get the latest issue, via the Web: http://www.eff.org/effector/current.html
JavaScript license information