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The Courts Government News

Eavesblogging the Internet Law Program 76

Last week the Berkman Center held their second annual Internet Law Program, an intensive course in (surprise) internet law and developments. You probably didn't spend the time/money to attend, but the topics covered are interesting enough (to me anyway) to check it out even second-hand. Dan Gillmor attended and posted his notes: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 part 1 and Day 5 part 2. Donna Wentworth was there, trying to record the seminar in real-time; hopefully she's learned her lesson. There is tons of interesting stuff in there - it's worth your time to read through if you have any interest in the subject matter at all.
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Eavesblogging the Internet Law Program

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  • how? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Could someone shed some light on this one. I don't understand how they are possibly going to be able to prosecute people since the internet doesn't really have political boundaries. I am guessing they may do it based on where the server or client was located, but wouldn't that border on unreasonable search and seziure (at least in the US)?
    • Good point, but alas, there is more to it.

      For instance, since the Italian government, egged on by the Vatican, today shut down several "blasphemous" web sites written by Italians but hosted in California, I think there is definitely something to worry about.

  • More info (Score:4, Informative)

    by maynard-lag ( 235813 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @05:01PM (#3859960)
    Silicon Valley has more info, check it out: us iness/columnists/3612625.htm
  • "First thing to point out about free software is that it's very hard to ignore. Not about free as costless, but a lot of enterprises with money running on question of whether server is running, and what they're using is free software."

    It is very interesting (to me anyway) that so much money is spent on making sure that free software works.

    It tends to make it much more obvious how much better free (as in open source) software is, as compared to the competition. See, if it were just free, and companies used it, you could say, "Cheap companies!" However, the fact that companies sink a lot of money into a server running free software shows that there is a serious lack of competitive comercial packages for the job.

    For instance, I know my company would rather pay $5,000 for a good comercial package, rather than go with a more complex free software, that requires someone who knows someting to run it.

    Of course, the fact that there aren't a lot of good comercial server platforms is good for me. If there were, I would not have my job....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can we do something to eliminate this stupid net-born "word"?
  • Now how many Judges out there should take this?
  • Tragic, Really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Furd ( 178066 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @05:46PM (#3860309) Homepage

    Too bad the trolls have come out in force for this. Speaking as an attendee, it was a great conference for anyone interested in the direction of the Internet. Sadly, those posters who seem baffled by the notion that the law matters in this area are probably those who fail to understand that the law evolves in response to social needs - and the extent to which the Internet is something that you use means that the law will emerge to shape that environment. You can either participate in that shaping, or you can stick your head in the sand (or put your fingers in your ears and yell LA-LA-LA). If you choose the latter, don't complain when you suddenly find that

    • Only Palladium/DRM capable/compliant hardware is for sale
    • You have to pay each time you open Microsoft Word, or boot your computer, or open an MP3
    • Your domain name is taken from you because of a nasty e-mail you wrote or because your WWW page was offensive to someone, somewhere
    • Every ISP you can afford to use monitors all of your WWW traffic, screens your e-mail and blocks your Gnutella port
    • You can't use e-mail until you are positively identified via a thumbprint/retina scan/ID card
    • And every time you try to circumvent these and like restrictions, every resource of the Internet is employed to track you down, hunt you out, and collect the evidence in your eventual trial for conspiracy to commit any number of felonies.

    Do I sound paranoid? Maybe, but the fact is, these things are part of the debate - today! Hollings, Berman and others are working on it, and there is already enough legislation (DMCA, PATRIOT) to get you. And it's not just a US thing - international treaties are being signed and revised.

    So, wake up! This stuff matters! And it's beyond parties - this is going to hit you where you live!

  • In the Day 2 notes, DG writes this in his notes. It's actually an important point for the Eldred v. Ashcroft (formerly Eldred v. Reno) case.

    Because the term extension under the Sonny Bono act is "not severable", the extension for future works needs to be stricken if the extension for existing works is stricken.

    The reason is that Judges may not rewrite a law to make it constitutional. They may strike part of a law but only if that which remains is still meaningful. The term extension was written (and I'm paraphrasing here)

    the term of copyright for all works is to be ...

    If they had written this in two sections, then the extension for existing works could have been severable:

    Sec 1. The term for works created after [effective date] shall be...

    Sec 2. The term for existing works shall be the same as in Sec 1.

    Then Sec 2. could be stricken leaving us with term extensions for future works, but the old terms for existing works. But it didn't happen that way, so it's either all or nothing when the SC eventually rules.
  • Still confused (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aliks ( 530618 )
    Well I read it from cover to cover and found it interesting, stimulating and all that.

    But short on practical advice.

    I've been to a few of these legal seminars and the trouble is that virtually every legal topic of interest is still in flux. The common feature seems to be, if you think you have an Internet problem then you must consult a lawyer. The law is still so uncertain that you cannot possibly be sure that you are applying best practice. Or even that last quarter's advice is still valid.

    Mind you, a lot of e-commerce companies know this and aren't too worried.

    The UK has a reasonable Data Protection act that should allow some redress if a UK site does bad things with your personal details. It was passed a few years ago now and to date there have been approximately ZERO prosecutions.
  • I was there... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dreamword ( 197858 )
    And it was a truly great program. I recommend it highly to those who have a deep interest in the legal and political issues surrounding the internet.

    All of the professors, and most of the attendees, were extremely clueful. Though Larry Lessig painted a very convincing and very dire picture of the future of the internet, I was given hope by the fact that many of the attendees both "get it" and are in the position to influence the powerful towards the implementation of good policy.

    One of my favorite moments was during a discussion of deep linking, when the recent NPR linking policy issue came up as an example of how some large organizations, even those ostensibly seeking wide dissemination of quality news and information, really didn't understand how central linking is to the way the web works. At this point, the deputy general counsel of NPR, who happened to be in attendance, introduced herself and gave an excellent description of why the NPR policy was wrong-headed. She'd always thought it was a bad policy (I believe her word was "stupid"), and was glad it had come to light.

    Once my hosting provider [] overcomes some technical problems, I'll post my notes from the conference.

    Any other attendees have good stories to share? I know a significant portion of the crowd there reads slashdot.

    Joe Gratz

This login session: $13.99