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IEEE Adds DMCA Clause for Submitted Papers 159

xpccx writes: "Newsforge has this blurb about the IEEE changing its 'IEEE Copyright Form' for submissions to the 'IEEE Copyright Transfer & Export Control Compliance Form.' From the IEEE site: 'While the IEEE standard manuscript submission process has always required authors to represent that the necessary clearances and approvals have been obtained, the newly revised Form now requires the author's explicit affirmation that the manuscript does not violate U.S. export laws or restrictions.' And specifically from the new form, 'The undersigned further warrants that the publication or dissemination of the Work shall not violate any proprietary right or the Digital Copyright Millennium Act (the "DCMA").' Maybe the IEEE just wants to protect itself from DMCA lawsuits, but I hope their intention is not to abandon authors who get sued."
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IEEE Adds DMCA Clause for Submitted Papers

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  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @12:44PM (#3339185) Journal
    From IEEE to USEEE.
    • when the US chapter launched its campaign against forgeign programmers working in the US (under H1-B visas).

      • Yup. Dumb, dumb and dumber.

        Every tech company I've worked at in the States has had around a 40-50% foreign engineering crew. Same usually goes for CS graduate students.

        I know a number of people who cancelled their IEEE membership over the H1-B campaign, and I'm betting many more will cancel over this. The IEEE seems to have forgotten who its members are.

        A.
      • by BitMan ( 15055 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @06:14PM (#3340375)

        The problem isn't immigrants in general, it's underpaying immigrants so they can replace higher salaried Americans! That's what H1B VISA's promote! The IEEE has been trying to get this fact out, but people think it's an immigration v. anti-immigration issue. Not so! It is more complex than you realize -- and American companies are here to dupe you! Trust me, immigrants, the IEEE-USA is your friend in this!

        What the IEEE-USA does is actually promote giving real green cards to immigrants who are engineers instead of H1B VISAs. They recognize the real problem and how companies abuse the H1B VISA system whereas they cannot "abuse the system" with green cards. Unlike H1B VISAs where companies can "put the screws" to immigrants who cannot change their sponsor, so they work for less, so they can replace Americans. So why does this matter?

        Green card holders can change jobs so they demand the same salaries as Americans! As such, Americans don't get fired, nor do their salaries decrease! Green card immigrants are only brought in to augment them as necessary and become Americans themselves. H1B VISAs are used to temporarily gain access to lower-costing employees and destroy America in general for corporate profits (this still happens despite the supposed "loophole changes" in H1B VISAs). The IEEE promotes an "accelerated program" to allow real engineers to get green cards faster than the normal process. Linux Torvalds is one of their "poster childs" showcasing the enormous amount of BS he had go through.

        Furthermore, they have tried to "educate" the public on a "technician" and the so-called "IT shortage" versus "engineers" who do not deal with IT!

    • From their FAQ [ieee.org]:


      Q.
      What does IEEE stand for?

      A.
      The initials I-E-E-E represent the legal name of the IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. IEEE is pronounced "EYE triple E." The IEEE is a global technical professional society serving the public interest and members in electrical, electronics, computer, information & other technologies.


      I is not for international. Personally I don't think that an institution which only accepts membership fees in $ and has no decent payment sheme for non-USians besides credit cards is hardly international.

      • The IEEE is a global technical professional society...

        I is not for international.

        Although global implies more than just the US.

        Personally I don't think that an institution which only accepts membership fees in $ and has no decent payment sheme for non-USians besides credit cards is hardly international.

        And yet I am able to pay my membership fees in Australian dollars if I so choose... In fact, the IEEE sets an exchange rate anually which tends to be more favourable than the actual exchange rate, meaning I effectively save money by paying with a personal cheque in Aussie dollars.

        However, I am getting more and more concerned that the IEEE is becoming far too US-centric. There is less and less distinction between the IEEE and IEEE-USA.

  • protect themselves from lawsuits - that's all.
  • by sanermind ( 512885 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @12:46PM (#3339196)
    One of the few organizations that has the power and/or clout to stand up to it, instead retreats into capitulation. They are a huge orginization, that is not just american, but has influence worldwide. And they are a research orginization ...for shame. I'm seriosly considering cancelling my membership.
    • Why aren't they fighting what? The DMCA? Probably because they are an organization representing primarily for-profit engineers, and the DMCA helps for-profit engineers (at least if you believe that copyright law helps for-profit engineers).

      If you don't think there should be laws to enforce copyright, you should seriously consider cancelling your membership.

    • From the form: The IEEE, a not-for-profit organization headquartered in the State of New York in the United States of America

      I strongly agree with your sentiments, but it is an American organisation and thus very bound by US laws. Perhaps a better solution would have been to relocate the headquarters to a country with more sensible IP laws.

    • by Paul the Bold ( 264588 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @01:50PM (#3339371)
      Right now, it is a small group of people devoting a limited amout of resources to fighting the DMCA. As the Felten case showed, it is possible to use the threat of lawsuit to prevent publication, no matter how constitutionally unsound (remember, when it looked like it was headed for the Supreme Court, the plaintiff backed down). This announcement by IEEE should send shockwaves around the world. With "more than 377,000 individual members in 150 countries" and as the producer of "30 percent of the world's published literature in electrical engineering", this will make more than a little noise.

      IEEE has clout and reputation, it is doubtful that something like this is going to kill their journals. I am an optimist; I like to think that they are stepping up to the plate rather than backing down.
    • ...for shame. I'm seriosly considering cancelling my membership.

      Damn, I would too but I cancelled when they came out with their "ethics" statement. If I agree to donate my labor for some cash it doesn't mean I'm a serf who can't check my e-mail on my lunch break because I'd be using my employer's computer. IEEE might as well fault me for using employer air, at least that is used up in the process.
  • Is it DCMA or DMCA? The article seems to be confused...
    • Shhh! No one tell them they made a mistake. It kinda gets me wondering if a lawyer made that IEEE document up or some intern making peanuts an hour typed it out (maybe both).
    • Is it DCMA or DMCA? The article seems to be confused...

      It is DMCA.

      They are confused because they are retarded. The DMCA does that to people.
  • After he published the special relativity theory he said:

    "If I hadn't written it, it would've taken only a few month for somebody else to publish it. The time was ripe."

    Whose ideas are the ideas we write?

    (c) copyright 2002 Slashdot.org
  • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @12:57PM (#3339229) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps in the future, a good case could be made infront of the Supreme Court that the DCMA does stifle free speach - and this will be some of the evicence.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In these days and times its not only the society they are trying to protect but the volunteer editors and staff as well. I am good friends with one the editors of the larger societies and he is constantly worried about getting sued for the smallest things. Yes its a shame that they have to do this, but they really have little choice in protecting themselves. If you feel disgusted then direct your anger and resources at the cause (The DCMA) and not at who its affecting.
  • DCMA? (Score:4, Funny)

    by APDent ( 81994 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @12:58PM (#3339231)
    The IEEE "Export Control Compliance Form" at the IEEE web site reads "Digital Copyright Millennium Act" (DCMA), and not "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" (DMCA). Is this a clever ruse by the IEEE to confuse dyslexic lawyers?

    • Is this a clever ruse by the IEEE to confuse dyslexic lawyers?

      ...or encryption which will get them into trouble once they correct the--ahem--"typo"?
    • (* IEEE web site reads "Digital Copyright Millennium Act" (DCMA), and not "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" (DMCA). Is this a clever ruse by the IEEE to confuse dyslexic lawyers? *)

      If it was "Digital Act of Millennium Copyrights", then we would have the cliche, "DAMC if you do, DAMC if you don't".
    • IEEE web site reads "Digital Copyright Millennium Act" (DCMA), and not "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" (DMCA). Is this a clever ruse by the IEEE to confuse dyslexic lawyers?

      No, it's just a scientifically accurate statement. This is not the "Digital Millennium"; it's the "Copyright Millennium". (Though they could stand to learn some correct hyphenation.)
  • who can't get the name of the copyright act correct, on a legal form no less. DMCA.
  • legal issues (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @01:03PM (#3339241) Journal
    This has been an issue that no one really wants to confront, making sure that the stuff submitted to the organization or the site does not not present a legal issue.

    You can have flame wars over this stuff. I can recall watching the folks who put this ageement [radiofreenation.com] together have an all out brawl over three or four months before they got it nailed down.

    Of course people freak when they see a long license agreement. Paranoia takes over.

    But there is the other angle, that people are being held responsible for the material they submit, so that the publication (web or otherwise) doesn't take the penalty for your stupidity if you put up something that could cause a legal problem.

    • Of course people freak when they see a long license agreement. Paranoia takes over.

      But there is the other angle, that people are being held responsible for the material they submit, so that the publication (web or otherwise) doesn't take the penalty for your stupidity if you put up something that could cause a legal problem.


      This is true. From this angle, it looks just like a case of CYA.

      But in the context of censorship, this could be seen as the manifestation of a chilling effect. Our society needs certain important forums, such as this, to take a stand at key moments. Now is one such moment.

      What is the ultimate purpose of these forums? To dissemate relevant information and encourage the progression of our thoughts? The DMCA hinders these things. To pass along its oppression is to forfeit the right to be a significant forum for our discussions.

      If the City Lights Press hadn't been willing to fight a legal battle, no one would be reading Alan Ginsberg's "Howl" today.
    • But there is the other angle, that people are being held responsible for the material they submit, so that the publication (web or otherwise) doesn't take the penalty for your stupidity if you put up something that could cause a legal problem.

      Is it stupidity that a researcher from Germany does not know the DCMA?
      I have studied math, and not law for good reasons. And anyway, I wouln't have studied US law. If it wasn't for my hope to be able to play DVDs on my linux box, I wouln't know nothing about the DMCA.
      I wonder which of my collegues does. - I'm quite sure, they don't, and they regulary submit papers to IEEE journals.
      • very simply, would you be willing to assure the publication that the papers you submit will not incur any legal liability for them?

        In your case this involves the laws of your country and the laws of the country where the publication is printed, etc.

        • Fortunately, my research area seems not to be infected by the influence of the DMCA, but given that the papers are peer reviewed anyway, it would be lots simpler, if the editor points the author to issues with local law, instead of forcing authors from all over the world, to learn about some very special US-law.

          Of cource, there is the option to publish in another journal and to avoid conferences in the USA ...
  • come on guys is IEEE run by the US govt? This is an insult to researchers in the rest of the world. My membership is out of the window for sure.
  • 2 questions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mocm ( 141920 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @01:06PM (#3339248) Homepage
    What about foreign authors, are they required to be aware of US law and abide by it even if their own country doesn't have such a law?
    And who decides what violates the DMCA, if not a court of law?
    • Didn't you even read the Slashdot blurb? "The undersigned warrants"...

      It's the same thing as napster saying "you will not use our network for trading copyrighted files". "For tobacco use only". "Do not use to copy works in violation of copyright" - on copy machines. Etc.

      It's just a cover your ass clause, but it also apparently means that the IEEE doesn't want to be party to any DMCA (DCMA? huh?) suits.
    • WTC. if your country is a member of WTC, then you can be sued/sent to jail/fined for violating the laws/code of another members country.
      This has already been done several times.
      So if you think U.S. laws don't affect your, think again.
  • by Biedermann ( 70142 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @01:10PM (#3339260)
    As a body that tries to appear International without explicitly saying so [ieee.org], shouldn't they also adhere to the Icelandic Indecency Act of 1536 or the Samoan Code Against Sodomy as well as the Kansas Internet Cleanup Code?
    • Actually, you have a good point...
      If they were an International Organisation(Think the UN, WIPO, WTO, ITU, ISO, CERN, etc) they would have immunities against lawsuits in all the countries who ratified their constituting treaty.
      Now, as much as we like the IEEE, there's just a US based group subject to US laws. They don't really have a choice but to cover their butts comsidering the current trigger happy climate for intellectual property violations.

      And you'll find that any other standardisation group (ANSI for example) is doing pretty much the same thing with their own standards right now.
      • They don't really have a choice but to cover their butts comsidering the current trigger happy climate for intellectual property violations. And you'll find that any other standardisation group (ANSI for example) is doing pretty much the same thing with their own standards right now.

        The difference being of course that ANSI is the AMERICAN NATIONAL Standards Institute, while the IEEE blabbers about being a "technical professional association of more than 377,000 individual members in 150 countries."
  • The IEEE does not pay authors - it is all academics and professionals. They do not pay editors or review boards - again all volunteer. They charge very high fees to libraries and even individuals. The online subscriptions cost almost as much as the print subscriptions.

    In short they do very little for the huge amount paid to them. Why can the academic community not form a purely web based journal that is of the same academic peer review quality of the IEEE and available to all for free? Seems like this might be a good time to figure out the answer to that questions.
    • (* In short they do very little for the huge amount paid to them. Why can the academic community not form a purely web based journal that is of the same academic peer review quality of the IEEE and available to all for free? Seems like this might be a good time to figure out the answer to that questions. *)

      I got an idea: People submit papers, and peers rank the papers from -1 to 5. The top ranked papers move to the top of the list (unless you change your sort preferences). And then .......... wait. Silly me. That is Slashdot.

      (Except I wish the moderators would give details on whey they bump certain things. It is frustrating to see what looks like solid logic get bumped without having a clue why. This "hit-and-run" moderation is one of the most frustrating things about /.)

    • I think some people have started to implement this (a free implementation of the academic journal model) but I wouldn't know where I put the link to it.

      Historically, lots of people were pissed that the IEEE took ridiculous amounts of money to pay for peer-reviews of these journals, but that the reviewers themselves got a pittance.

      Under the new system, the journals are available free of charge, but access to the journals is forbidden to any organisation which contributes to paid journals. I think there was a voluntary-contribution scheme to reward reviewers more generously than the IEEE, but don't quote me on the details.

      This got a lot of attention on slashdot, for the obvious comparaisons between free software and free publishing. (Nov 2001?)

      Please post a link if anyone knows more
  • Instead of publishing in an IEEE journal or an IEEE-affiliated conference, researchers with ideas that could be affected by the DMCA will publish in lesser-known venues. This not only hurts the IEEE, but the academic world at large since such conferences are high-profile and the IEEE database of papers is a very convenient source of information. Now it will take even longer to find the information you want.

    Let's hope the ACM doesn't follow suit...
    • Yes I agree. As a graduate student and an IEEE member researching in computer security, which also involves breaking security of certain products, I think I'll have to start thinking of publishing my papers elsewhere. This is such a shame. IEEE has some of the best conferences around. But making me sign that form is way too much.
  • by b.foster ( 543648 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @01:17PM (#3339278)
    I will freely admit that the DMCA, U.S. export regulations, and puritanical restrictions on pornography [cornell.edu] have made a veritable legal minefield out of the tech industry in this country. I oppose any limits on free speech on the net, and feel that techies, industry, and the nation-at-large is ill-served by all of the regulations dreamt up by content holders and elected luddites.

    However, cutting to the chase, the IEEE and the authors it represents really have little to fear in reality. The IEEE isn't "2600" Magazine; it doesn't deal with controversial subject matter on a regular basis. They aren't in the computer security business and they are unlikely to accept any remotely controversial manuscript in the first place. They changed their rules for one simple reason: they think it will make people care about the injustices of the law.

    Unfortunately, they are sadly mistaken. Engineers have zero political clout, here and anywhere else in the world. If we had clout, the CDA wouldn't have seen the light of day; Clinton wouldn't have been able to get away with jacking up the H1-B visa quota by 1.5 million every year during the tech boom; and the USA-PATRIOT act wouldn't have come to fruition. The IEEE wants to bring about public awareness of the injustices of our government, but they're just preaching to the choir. We, as computer professionals (especially the academics among us), understand the problem and want a solution. But we don't vote; we don't lobby; and we don't rent hookers for our congressmen.

    What is the solution? The solution is to get the right people on our side. We need to forge a partnership with major corporations; we need to practice give-and-take to arrive at a compromise. That's hard for most techies to do because most of us hate corporations. But if we don't join them, they will beat us. The choice is ours.

    bill

    • (* Engineers have zero political clout *)

      Doctors and lawyers have trade unions, or at least PAC groups. How come computer and engineering geeks can never get together?

      Perhaps we are too anti-social to organize?
      • Do you read slashdot? Geeks hate unions and union members more then anything else in the world. I suspect this is because they see themselves are superior to the blue collar workforce. Somehow they don't want to sink themselves to the level of plumbers, electricians, police, firefighters, teachers etc.

        It's to their detriment and stupidity though. The doctors and the laywers also don't want to taint themselves with the stink of the unwashed masses so they form "associations". The American Medical Association, the bar association etc. There is the ACM but most geeks don't join it. There is the FSF but most slashdotters hate RMS more then they hate teachers.
        • (* The doctors and the laywers also don't want to taint themselves with the stink of the unwashed masses so they form "associations".......There is the ACM but most geeks don't join it. *)

          Perhaps we should explore the why's of this more. Is the "fault" with geeks or ACM?
          • I suspect the former. It takes at least a miniscule amount of selflessness and collectivism to join a union and geeks don't have those. You have heard the term herding cats? cats are not pack animals, they live solitary lives much like geeks.
            • (* You have heard the term herding cats? cats are not pack animals, they live solitary lives much like geeks. *)

              1. We wouldn't be here on slashdot if we were truly solitary. Perhaps geeks don't like *personal* contact.

              2. Some dumpsters seem to have an awful lot of cats. Perhaps they are simpy after the same grub rather than like to be together. But, it just seems like there are other dumpsters to "share".

    • However, cutting to the chase, the IEEE and the authors it represents really have little to fear in reality. The IEEE isn't "2600" Magazine; it doesn't deal with controversial subject matter on a regular basis. They aren't in the computer security business and they are unlikely to accept any remotely controversial manuscript in the first place. They changed their rules for one simple reason: they think it will make people care about the injustices of the law.
      You could not be more wrong about that. The IEEE Computer Society Tecnical Committee on Security and Privacy [ieee-security.org] runs some of the most significant security conferences, including the "Oakland" security conference [ieee-security.org] and the Computer Security Foundations Workshop [sri.com]. It is entirely likely that the IEEE may end up considering publishing DMCA-related papers, making this change highly problematic.

      Crispin
      ----
      Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.
      Chief Scientist, WireX Communications, Inc. [wirex.com]
      Immunix: [immunix.org] Security Hardened Linux Distribution
      Available for purchase [wirex.com]

      • You could not be more wrong about that. The IEEE Computer Society Tecnical Committee on Security and Privacy [ieee-security.org] runs some of the most significant security conferences, including the "Oakland" security conference [ieee-security.org]

        After this, perhaps the correct tense is "ran" instead of "runs". It certainly doesn't sound like anyone would expect them to support anything *controversial*.

        I have occasionally been a member of the IEEE in the past. I consider it unlikely that I will be one in the future.
    • I'm sure you're aware that the above link is concerning child pornography right? Sure, you can argue about where the line is drawn, however, the phrase itself means the depiction of sexual acts with sexually undeveloped humans. There are plenty of studies showing the damaged caused by what amounts to sexual abuse, in addition the link between a) the desire to view said material b) having been sexually abused at a young age and c) committing such abuse as an adult.

      Now you can chose to sacrifice a small but slowly increasing number of peoples lives for the sake of free speech, and you can certainly express that this is true, but chosing to think think otherwise is in my opinion not Puritanical, but a hard decision that should not be thrown around to validate arguments that have nothing to do with it, like technical implications of copyrights.
    • ...jacking up the H1-B visa quota by 1.5 million every year during the tech boom...

      After all the raising of the quota, the number is between 180,000 and 200,000 per year, so the above figure has no basis in reality...
    • actually, we need to unionize.
      Are dues should go to 2 things.
      1)umbrella insurance, so my family can stayed insured regardless of where I work, or when I change jobs. You get 1,000,000+ memeber, the insurance would be dirt cheap.
      2)lobbiest.

      the single most important unionization item is seniority. If I have the skills I need to do my job, I should not have to fear loosing my job because I'm older, or paid more.
      This whasen't been much of a problem in the software programming area, but it will be.
      Ask any engineer that went through the 70's.

  • by ipfwadm ( 12995 )
    I think the lawyers who wrote "Digital Copyright Millennium Act" unintentionally summed it all up for us: so far this has been the "copyright millennium."

    Though I wonder if this mistake has any effect on the validity of the agreement.
  • by Royster ( 16042 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @01:18PM (#3339283) Homepage
    The Felton suit failed because the RIAA and the Justice Department ran away from a defendant who was clearly falling under the researcher exemption.

    Now we have a publisher of academic papers ignoring the same exemption and asking authors to censor themselves. If that isn't strong evidence of the chilling effects of the DCMA, I don't know what is.
    • Alternatives ? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by maZZZooo ( 573658 )
      Although I believe the IEEE only protects _itself_ from legal issues, its time for the IEEE-members and other people to show how much they believe in DMCA. What are the Alternatives to IEEE - where can people publish tech stuff? Mind the IEEE values: 1) reputation (died today) 2) size 3) influence (shouldn't matter to publishers, but does) The voice here are consistent: cancel your IEEE membership. m
  • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @01:22PM (#3339299)
    How explicit a disclaimer do you need? It's obvious that not only does IEEE have no intention to stand up to DMCA claims brought against papers submitted for publication or presentation, but that if such claims are brought, that IEEE fully intends to recover (from the offending author) any costs they incur in the process of kowtowing to the offended media concern.

    Why else would they make authors warrant that their work does not conflict with the DMCA? If the IEEE finds themselves named in a DMCA suit, they will go after the author (more probably, the author's employer) to recover their costs in a breach of contract action.

    Bottom line, IEEE is folding like a full-service laundry. (Boo, hiss as appropriate)

    -Isaac

  • After quoting new contract language: > "The undersigned further warrants that the > publication or dissemination of the Work shall > not violate any proprietary right or the > Digital Copyright Millennium Act" xpccx writes: > Maybe the IEEE just wants to protect itself > from DMCA lawsuits, but I hope their intention > is not to abandon authors who get sued. What's the difference? The IEEE is asking authors to "warrant" that their works don't violate the DCMA, which means the author is accepting full responsbility if the work does violate the DCMA. What was NOT quoted was this: > "The undersigned agrees to indemnify and hold > harmless IEEE from any damage or expense that > may arise in the event of a breach of any of the > warranties set forth above." This is interesting language -- it requires the author to pay any damages or expense arising from a breach, so if the DCMA is violated, the author is responsible for all attorney's fees and damages. The IEEE does not expressly require that the author pay all defense costs from the time an action is filed, nor at all if there is no breach. The bottom line, though, is that if a lawsuit is filed, the IEEE and author will need to somehow hire an attorney to defend against the claim, and if the ultimate verdict is that the "work" violates copyright, DCMA, or other laws, then the author is on the hook for all the fees, costs, and damage awards. This is "chilling effect" is not the IEEE's fault, it is an intrinsic, intentional feature of the DCMA and other recent changes to intellectual-property laws in the USA. The goal is not to actually outlaw everything, but to create a cloud of uncertainty that will cause most people to simply avoid the clouds entirely.
    • After quoting new contract language:
      "The undersigned further warrants that the publication or dissemination of the Work shall not violate any proprietary right or the Digital Copyright Millennium Act"

      xpccx writes:

      Maybe the IEEE just wants to protect itself from DMCA lawsuits, but I hope their intention is not to abandon authors who get sued.

      What's the difference? The IEEE is asking authors to "warrant" that their works don't violate the DCMA, which means the author is accepting full responsbility if the work does violate the DCMA.

      What was NOT quoted was this: "The undersigned agrees to indemnify and hold harmless IEEE from any damage or expense that may arise in the event of a breach of any of the warranties set forth above."

      This is interesting language -- it requires the author to pay any damages or expense arising from a breach, so if the DCMA is violated, the author is responsible for all attorney's fees and damages. The IEEE does not expressly require that the author pay all defense costs from the time an action is filed, nor at all if there is no breach.

      The bottom line, though, is that if a lawsuit is filed, the IEEE and author will need to somehow hire an attorney to defend against the claim, and if the ultimate verdict is that the "work" violates copyright, DCMA, or other laws, then the author is on the hook for all the fees, costs, and damage awards.

      This is "chilling effect" is not the IEEE's fault, it is an intrinsic, intentional feature of the DCMA and other recent changes to intellectual-property laws in the USA. The goal is not to actually outlaw everything, but to create a cloud of uncertainty that will cause most people to simply avoid the "cloud" entirely.

    • "The undersigned agrees to indemnify and hold harmless IEEE ...

      IANAL, but this sounds like the author is agreeing not to sue IEEE for actions arising out of publication, NOT that the author is agreeing to pay IEEE's expenses if someone sues the IEEE.
      • Well, IAAL*, and indemnify generally means to assume liability for any valid claims, and for expenses associated with such claims.

        That's what "indemnify" means -- a guarantee of reimbursement in the event of specified events. The dictionary definitions:

        • Merriam-Webster [m-w.com]:
          1: to secure against hurt, loss, or damage
          2: to make compensation to for incurred hurt, loss, or damage.

        • Microsoft Encarta [msn.com]:
          1. insure against loss: to provide somebody with protection, especially financial protection, against possible loss, damage, or liability
          2. reimburse after loss: to pay compensation to somebody for damage, loss, or liability incurred.

        It sounds as if you interpret the term as a promise not to sue the IEEE, which arguably is included under "hold harmless" (certainly the contract makes clear that the author, by signing, waives the right to sue IEEE alleging that the publication of his work was not authorized).

        The issue here, because of the precise language of the IEEE contract, is whether the author will be required to "indemnify" against unsuccessful claims (e.g. pay the costs to defend a lawsuit, if the defense wins). That's what your auto insurance policy does: covers all costs associated with claims, including defense costs, regardless of the outcome (except for certain exclusions).

        * IAAL = I Am A Lawyer (IANAL = "I Am Not A Lawyer"). This is NOT legal advice, and I withdrew from the full-time practice of law in 1998, but I'm pretty sure the legal meaning of the word "indemnify" has not changed since 1997.

  • One email (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2002 @01:33PM (#3339330)
    Once voice probably won't matter, but here goes:

    To: webmaster@ieee.org

    Please make this available to those in IEEE who may be monitoring public opinion on this issue. Thank you.

    As a graduate student of Computer Science and former student member of IEEE, I was horrified to read (http://newsvac.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=02/04 / 4/0039211) that you require submitters of papers to represent that their research is politically correct wrt the DMCA. If anything, the IEEE should be taking an active stance against this law and using its lobbying resources to speak out against it, not bowing before the corporations that purchased this unjust (and inapplicable to academic security research, I might add) law.

    It is bitterly disappointing to see an august organization like the IEEE acquiesce to those who would chill freedom to speak and publish in the technical arena.

    Unless IEEE rapidly reverses this blunder, I will have to stop recommending IEEE membership for students of Electrical Engineering and to forcefully disassociate myself from the organization.

    Respectfully,

    <name>

    ~~~

    • Why hasn't the above post been moderated to +5 insightful?
      • Why hasn't the above post been moderated to +5 insightful?

        Because webmaster is the wrong destination? I don't know what the correct email address to protest this is, but I doubt that it's webmaster.

        Anyone got a better address?
    • Re:One email (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      try one of these

      member-services@ieee.org
      marketing@ieee.org

      or take your pick from

      http://www.ieee.org/about/location/

  • So, the copyright transfer form also says this:
    (1) the information contained in any materials submitted to the IEEE in connection with the Work is not subject to any restriction related to its disclosure, because it is not defense-related, classified, or subject to any other disclosure restrictions by any government, including the United States government, that has authority to restrict the dissemination of such information
    If I understand this ritght, the author is supposed to make sure the work is not restricted in any way in any country. I.e. the author has to know the law of every country on this planet! Am I reading this correctly?

    (disclosure: I have signed one of these once, but I do not remember this clause either. It's possible it was there already but that I didn't pay enought attention.)

    Also, it seems like all foreign authors now also must comply with the DMCA if they want to be published in an IEEE publication. I wonder what happens if they sign, but the work is later found to be in violation of the DMCA. Can you be prosecuted for that even if you don't live in the US, or performed the work in the US?

    This leaves me with a lot of questions...

  • If you download the PDF version [ieee.org] of the form, open it in Acrobat Reader and choose Document Info, you'll see that this form was actually created back in October 24, 2001. Plus, the name of the form NewCRform101901.htm should also hint that it was done a pretty long time ago (the date is right there).

    However I don't know whether the form was already up there all along, or perhaps the Newsforge submitter just spotted it recently and thought it was new.
  • Heres the form in PDF for anyone who's interested.

    http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/nevek/IEEE_FORM. PD F
  • Why should the DMCA apply to, say, an author from India? Is the IEEE in the business of enforcing laws from all over the world?? So, shouldn't they adopt the "lowest common denominator" as the law that they'll adhere to?
    • because of trade ageements, and treaties.
      If you violate an american law, and live in a country that has signed a treay with us, we can prosecute you.
      This is why WTO is bad.
      • because of trade ageements, and treaties. If you violate an american law, and live in a country that has signed a treay with us, we can prosecute you. This is why WTO is bad.

        OK, I'll bite. There are 1000s of laws around the globe that are violated by Americans (among others, but lets pick on the good ole USofA for now) every day. Examples: possession of porn; conversion from one religion to another; visiting "banned" sites; reverse engineering things; etc. Should Joe Sixpack be prosecuted/extradited because he broke some obscure law in Lower Mongolia?
  • by Jagasian ( 129329 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @02:16PM (#3339446)
    ...just publish your tech reports, research papers, etc, on your own University web page. Use your own University's department to organize conferences and other get-togethers.
    • And peer-review by people who know what they're doing? We could just use Slashdot! *smirk*
      • And peer-review by people who know what they're doing? We could just use Slashdot! *smirk*

        Smirk if you must, but the most valuable thing about scientific journals (and, actually, coincidentally, Slashdot, by the way), is peer review. University professors and graduate students provide this service to scientific journals for free and then the journal rips them off for copyright of other researchers' papers.

        The journals and copyrights could be removed entirely from the equation without really being missed. You just need to establish respectible web sites to organize and review papers, and a moderation system for community discussion that is a little better moderated than Slashdot, and voting on peer-review ratings by registered and qualified people only.

        A group of universities should get together and organize such a "publication".
    • Yes, just an additional comment (whose importance should not easily be underestimated):

      Especially when it comes to the European scientific community (of which I used to be a part of), the existance of the DMCA will now be made clearly apparent even to "elderly" researchers and, therefor, hopefully, to the political bodies. The consequences can be easily imagined!

      If this is the case, this step by the IEEE might even be a good one :-)
  • IEEE (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I guess the link to the IEEE IPR Office [mailto] could be put to good use to let them know what you think about this move.

    For the record the IEEE presents itself as an international organization, with chapter is many countries [ieee.org]. The problem is that its headquarters are in the US and it is very much US centered, and run by a purely US management, with a US legal counsel. For exemple IEEE-USA was the only national chapter to voice their opinion [ieee.org] (against!) on the extension of H1-B quotas, which might be detrimental to US engineers but probably not so much for foreigners. Oh, and it also gave an award [microsoft.com] to Microsoft for "Outstanding Contributions in Technology"...

  • by EccentricAnomaly ( 451326 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @02:27PM (#3339481) Homepage
    Since when does ITAR apply to scientific papers written by civillians?? If ITAR and DMCA apply to scientific papers isn't that a blatent violation of the first amendment??

    Sure the flying monkeys behind ITAR and DMCA have threatened to sue to censure academics... but there's no way that they would go to court and risk overturning their precious little law.

    Besides, ITAR doesn't apply to information that's in the general literature of a field. If you publish results in the public domain frequently and often you avoid the major hassle of ITAR. Otherwise you'll have to get a state department waiver to have a meeting with a foreigner to discuss basic science that they already know anyway.

    It seems is IEEE would have stood up for academic freedom they would have had a good chance of overturning ITAR and DMCA in court.

    Actually, I bet the new pollicy comes from the company that publishes for the IEEE and wants to protect DMCA from any constitutional challenge because they make piles of money appropriating copyrights for other people's work.
    • Since when does ITAR apply to scientific papers written by civillians?? If ITAR and DMCA apply to scientific papers isn't that a blatent violation of the first amendment??

      It might be, but publishing the results isn't the only thing you can be nailed for. The publication of said paper could simply be used as evidence against you that you violated the portions of the DMCA that forbid you to even do said research.

      The ban on said research may suck, and may set back science ten thousand years, but it isn't unconstitutional.

      It's a little like a gang of morons who thought they would be cute and videotape themselves trashing a new house. Nobody questioned their legal right to make the videotape (they questioned their intelligence for making a videotape of themselves causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, but that's a different issue), but the videotape provided a nearly open and shut case against them.

      You don't necessarily have to restrict people's right to publish directly, you just have to restrict their right to do the research.

      It seems is IEEE would have stood up for academic freedom they would have had a good chance of overturning ITAR and DMCA in court.

      No, they probably would have only overturned the portions of it that say you can't legally publish. You would still be stuck with the rest of the abomination, and it would be more entrenched.

      Actually, I bet the new pollicy comes from the company that publishes for the IEEE and wants to protect DMCA from any constitutional challenge because they make piles of money appropriating copyrights for other people's work.

      More likely it's just a simple case of CYA. Every large organization does this. It really isn't that big of a deal..
      • You don't necessarily have to restrict people's right to publish directly, you just have to restrict their right to do the research.

        Interesting point, Freedom of Speech does not protect freedom of thought. Speech is legal, but can be evidence of illegal thought which can be punished.

        "Don't even think of breaking our encryption." is now enforcable by law.

        What we need is to ressurect a modern version of pythagorus' math cult that is built around the coding and decoding of cyphers... If God wants information to be free then decryption becomes a religious ritual that will be protected by the first amendment.
  • I'd call this more like a "frozen solid effect" ...
  • by chathamhouse ( 302679 ) on Sunday April 14, 2002 @02:36PM (#3339512) Homepage
    Ok, first, I don't work for the IEEE, but I am a member, and have had a couple of discussions with the Institute's current President w.r.t. legal issues in the past. Nevertheless, I'm not speaking for or on behalf of the IEEE here.


    The IEEE isn't exactly a rich organization. They exist to promote research, education, & the development of standards in the Electronics/Electrical/Computer/Software engineering fields. This is their main concern. They wish to distance themselves from any possible liability because one large lawsuit, whether just or not, could bankrupt the entire organization. This is why they probably aren't taking a stand against the DMCA - holding themselves blameless is the lesser evil.


    The IEEE takes the same approach with their code of Ethics. The code is a recommendation, one which many groups have worked hard to meticulously craft. Nevertheless, the IEEE cannot back up someone who is coming under legal fire for abiding by their Code of Ethics' principles. The reason is again that any large organization/corporation with deeper pockets than theirs could wipe them out, and then all the greater good that the IEEE accomplishes would be lost due to an attempt to stand their ground for one minuscule portion of what they represent.


    While the DMCA stands as a law in the USA, the IEEE will respect it. There are many other organizations and people (& hopefully you, the Slashdot reader) who can fight the DMCA with much less risk. Support the EFF, or it's variant in your country. Spend a few hours working on any government initiated review of Copyright law, if this is happening in your country. Win the big fight, and non-profits like the IEEE will lift the restrictions that they are legally obligated to enforce.

  • I am surprised at the IEEE. It was, as I see it, a truly international organization. Sure it has closer ties industry than most professional organizations, but generally the industries it represents are hurt by DMCA pirateering. Most IEEE directors

    http://www.ieee.org/organizations/corporate/bod. ht ml

    represent hardware companies. These companies benefit from the free distribution of content as they provide the methods for that distribution and profit from them. The other powerful people (Fellows, conference chairs) in the IEEE are academics who general support the distribution of all relevant research material. Why would they do this? The IEEE is the largest professional organization in the world with ties to businesses more powerful than MGM etc on a global scale. You would of thtought that if any reputable organization had the clout and motive (they have both) to stand up to the DMCA it owuld be them. I am sincerly dissapointed.

  • I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again: From what I know, IEEE International as a whole tries to avoid getting involved with local politics. I can understand them trying to maintain a legal distance.

    The United States branch of the IEEE, IEEE-USA [ieeeusa.org], *does* get involved with local legal and politics. See their public policy [ieeeusa.org] section, which has a number of position statements [ieeeusa.org].

    In summary: If you want to know what IEEE International [ieee.org] thinks about the DMCA, etc., you're in for a long wait. Look to see what the IEEE-USA [ieeeusa.org] branch is doing instead.

  • Time to move to Open Content [opencontent.org] publication in engineering and computer science. The

    I've been a member of the IEEE for many years. I've published in IEEE publications. But I don't publish in them any more.

    Why? They don't add any value, and they want too many rights. For one thing, they want ownership of the content. That's not customary; the usual arrangement for magazine publication is that the publisher gets the right to first publication in serial form. The author can then reissue the material in other media, such as a book. And real magazines pay authors. A writer friend who heard about the IEEE deal described them as a "vanity press".

    IEEE journals don't pay reviewers. Yet what they'r e really doing is trading on the reputations of the reviewers. The review process needs to be separated out from the publication process, which is what the Open Content people are trying to do.

    More to the point, I get more hits on my web site than the IEEE sells copies of most of their technical proceedings. The publications aren't in Google.

  • Time to replace the US-centred IEEE with an International one.

    IEEE an international organisation? I'd always thought so. Not any more.

    Thinks: Registration of domain name IIEEE, or I2E3? Anyway, what would be the logistics of keeping the same basic organisation, just moving it off-shore?

  • What's the problem here? Of course the IEEE doesnt want to take responsibility for any violations of any law on the part of the author. It shouldnt have to either -- its job (in this area) is to collate journals of the best new work using peer-review to sift through it all.

    If it had to hire teams of lawyers to read over each paper and explore the legal background, then I shudder to think how much my subscriptions would cost.*

    indecision

    * Declarations: I am a member of the IEEE and ACM, and have so far published 3 papers through them. I've signed the forms. I've thought about their implications.

    • Of course the IEEE doesnt want to take responsibility for any violations of any law on the part of the author. It shouldnt have to either
      You're right, they shouldn't have to. Because the law in question sucks, bigtime, largely due to the "chilling effect" that it is likely to have on precisely the type of academic and professional research that the IEEE exists to publish.

      But here's the rub: who besides the IEEE is in a position to fight this law, both because of their clout and their position as a "concerned party" WRT to this legislation which buys them a level of instant credibility that many other groups would have a hard time matching?

      Face it, right now the IEEE and ACM are the closest things we have to a "geek lobby" (so far; I'm holding my breath to see what kind of influence we can exert through digitalconsumer.org [digitalconsumer.org] and AOTC/GeekPAC [thelinuxshow.com]); ACM has done the right thing and taken an official position against the DMCA and the IEEE should follow suit. It would suck for the IEEE to get sued because of the DMCA, but such an occurence would hopefully serve to bring the issue to the fore as much as the Felten case promised to, and one would hope that its membership would step up to make sure that it wasn't financially ruined as a result. I honestly don't think that the IEEE being wiped out as one poster predicted is a realistic outcome at all.

  • by MrFredBloggs ( 529276 ) on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @08:40AM (#3349364) Homepage
    Article in New Scientist, available online (but with annoying popup ad) at

    http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns9 99 92169

    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which publishes 30 per cent of all computer science journals worldwide, is to stop requiring authors to comply with a controversial US digital copyright law.

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