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Dec 12, 2000

Where Did They Go: CallTheShots.com
Misc.
12/12/2000; 5:18:12 PM It seems that Akamai ate CallTheShots.com, a service that chopped up various websites and re-combined the pieces, probably illegally as it did it without any permission from the website owners. I don't know why Akamai would want them. *shrug*


Permalink
Dec 12, 2000

Judge Blocks Whois Spam
Misc.
12/12/2000; 1:06:45 PM

'In a ruling in U.S. District Court in New York City, Judge Barbara Jones ordered Verio to stop using customer contact information housed in Register.com's Whois database to carry out a massive telephone and e-mail market campaign.

'In issuing the preliminary injunction, Jones determined that Register.com (RCOM) had a significant likelihood of prevailing on its claims that Verio violated usage policies, made unauthorized references to Register.com in marketing messages, and improperly used robotic search devices to obtain information on company servers.'

If I remember correctly, when InterNIC first changed the WHOIS database system to put terms of use on the use of the WHOIS database, there was some question about whether they could do that. (What is WHOIS?) Part of the question was whether InterNIC could actually claim any sort of control over what is effectively a public resource, and part of it was whether they could claim that control retroactively, without permission from the registrants. This case would probably settle that question.


Permalink
Dec 11, 2000

Webcasters Get Copyright Relief
Administrative
12/11/2000; 2:03:53 PM

'The copyright office ruled that terrestrial radio stations that simulcast their content on the Web are subject to paying the same licensing fees as Internet-only broadcast businesses. Previously, only webcasters were forced to sign up for compulsory licenses.

'"This was a very good day for webcasters," said Jonathan Potter, the executive director of the Digital Media Association (DiMA).'


Permalink
Dec 08, 2000

SmartFilter - I've Got A Little List
Free Speech
12/8/2000; 11:34:29 AM

'Censorware blacklists provide one of the best validations ever seen, regarding the slippery slope theory of censorship. Consider the preceding examination of the Extreme or Obscene category. The words certainly sound scary. Extreme ... Obscene ... Child Pornography ... Excessive Violence ... Mutilation. Only upon very careful and precise reading does one realize that the category definition is akin to Mother rapers ... Father stabbers ... and creating a nuisance. They have mixed in very severe and legally-meaningful First Amendment terms such as Obscene and Child Pornography, with vague and broad phrases such as push the limits of acceptability and may be related to sex, bodily functions, obscenity, or perverse activities. This allows them to start the electronic book-burning with a claim of Constitutional justification. But then it reaches everything from Jerry Springer to punk rockers to difficult artists. Or even gay and lesbian Mormons.'

An investigation of the SmartFilter blocking list. I know we've seen these before, but I have to admit it's a little amusing to see what sites are blocked for what reasons.  The page also has a comment on the DMCA's Library of Congress censorware investigation exemption, re-inforcing what I've been telling people:

'BUT, there's a catch involving the DMCA exemption for censorware. As with all things law and legal, this is a fiendishly complicated subject. Does the exemption only technically apply to the actual process of investigating a censorware blacklist? (i.e, "circumvention" itself, provision "1201(a)(1)" ) There's another part of the DMCA ("1201(a)(2)" ) which deals with prohibitions against "manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that -" roughly, are for circumvention. Yet a third section contains a a virtually identical prohibition concerning a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner ("1201(b)(1)" ). Whether the anticensorware circumvention exemption is extremely narrow, or implies some broader protection for making tools to aid in investigating censorware, is the subject of possible future civil-liberties litigation .'

What little exemption there is for this activity is anything but unambiguous. The person at whom the exemption was aimed is too scared to share his techniques, leaving us unable to verify what he's saying. While I believe him to be a trustworthy source, you may not, or others may not, and how is he supposed to prove he's right?


Permalink
Dec 07, 2000

Encryption tears holes in RIP
Country Watch: Britain12/7/2000; 1:59:36 PM

'A group of cryptographers think they have found a way to defeat the RIP Act, by making it impossible to hand over the keys to encrypted information. 'The section of the act that has caused so much controversy in the UK gives the government the right to the plain text of, or key to, enciphered information. However, if a person has used an ephemeral key, they never know what the key is and so cannot pass it on to a third-party, and it is this vulnerability that the group wishes to exploit.... 'Fairbrother, quoted in IT paper Computer Weakly, said: "It is technically impossible to have an effective law, because of the state of cryptography. RIP says you have to give a key but you can use an ephemeral key - where you never knew what the key was."'

You can look at the website for the technology, but I didn't find it helpful. The claims being made for the technology are bold, but I can't get enough info from the website to know how feasible what they are talking about is. Still, this should be interesting to watch.


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