What To Do When Goliaths Roar?
AS shoppers arm themselves for post-Thanksgiving bargain hunting later this week, they’ll also indulge in another, newer annual tradition: surfing the Web for advance information about Black Friday retail sales. By organizing sale prices from scattered newspaper circulars into a single database, the Internet has made it easy to search for particular items and compare prices — too easy, at least in the eyes of many major retailers.
Ms. Seltzer oversees the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a Web site that publicizes what it calls corporate misuse of cease-and-desist letters to curb legally protected speech on the Internet. The clearinghouse, sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the clinics of seven law schools, posts copies of cease-and-desist letters that Wal-Mart, Macy’s and others send to Web publishers. One aim of the project is to publicly shame companies that casually dash off the letters.