posted Sep 03, 2001

No free speech for animal rights Web sites
'On Thursday, EnviroLink Network, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Internet service provider, took offline two Web sites belonging to the animal-rights activist group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. The action came in response to a letter sent to the ISP earlier in the week by Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British medical research firm. Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Huntingdon accused the activists of violating its copyright. Although no charges have yet been filed, under the terms of the DMCA, Envirolink was forced to remove the sites to avoid potential legal liability...'

'Bill Strazza, an attorney in Union City, N.J., representing Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, sees the use of the DMCA to preemptively shut down the sites as an infringement on free speech: "On simple notification they're (the ISP) compelled to take a site down or risk liability. It puts hosts in a very difficult position which could ultimately have a chilling effect on free speech."'



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