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cyberlaw informer #52

Welcome to the 52nd issue of the Mishpat Cyberlaw Informer - 
Law on the net newsletter from http://mishpat.net

This newsletter is sent only to subscribers. If you no longer 
wish to receive the Cyberlaw Informer, follow the unsubscribe 
instructions at the bottom of this newsletter.

--------------------------------------------------------
 
In this issue:

1. Introduction
2. Computer & Internet law news and updates


--------------------------------------------------------


################
1. Introduction
################

I would like to welcome the new subscribers who joined the Cyberlaw
Informer since the previous issue. I want to thank the many readers
who helped spread the word about this newsletter, and recommended it
to their friend and colleagues. 
Your efforts and assistance is always helpful. These efforts helped
the Cyberlaw Informer grow, and the newsletter is now sent to more
than 2,000 subscribers! The next goal is reaching 3,000 readers by the
end of the year.
 
I would like to recommend Dr. Donald E. Wetmore's Time Management
newsletter. It is a free Timely Time Management Tips to increase your
personal productivity and give you more time and balance for your
personal life. 
Subscribe now at: http://www.topica.com/lists/timemanagement or visit
The Productivity Institute web site at http://www.balancetime.com/


Since its been a while since sent out the previous issue, there are
many technology law news items in the news section. Therefor this
issues will be dedicated only to legal technology news. Hopefully,
next week I will send out another issue, including articles and site
reviews, including the first of a series of articles describing the
challenges law enforcement is facing in an era of hi-tech crime.

I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter. Comments, tips, and articles
are always welcome. Send them to mailto:editor@mishpat.net

The Mishpat Cyberlaw Informer Archive (issues 1-48) is located at:
http://mishpat.net/cyberlaw/archive

Feel free to use any of the material, or forward the newsletter to a
friend. Just don't forget to mention that they can subscribe to the
Cyberlaw Informer by visiting http://CyberlawInformer.com


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#############################
2. Cyberlaw news and updates
#############################

The Cyberlaw Informer brings you the latest news about online and
technology law, with links to the full reports available on the web.


Top news
========

* New EU directive governs online consumer rights *
A new European Union directive, that gives consumers the right to
cancel orders made over the internet, recently came into force. Under
the EU's Distance Selling Directive, shoppers buying goods or services
online will be given an automatic right to cancel an order and claim a
refund of any money paid, even after goods are dispatched. The
directive applies to all contracts not conducted face-to-face,
including online, phone, fax or mail orders.
http://www.vnunet.com/News/1102430


* Employer liable for harassment in online forum *
The New Jersey Supreme Court expanded employer liability into
cyberspace. A unanimous Court held that an employer who has notice
that employees are engaged in a pattern of retaliatory harassment
using a work-related online forum has a duty to remedy that
harassment. 
Tammy Blakey, a Continental Airlines pilot filed a sexual harassment
suit against the airline. The forum at issue was a CompuServe
electronic bulletin board known as the "Crew Members Forum." The forum
was maintained by CompuServe as part of a package that provided online
access to an internal Continental site that pilots and crew members
were required to consult for their schedules and flight assignments.
The court ruled that the fact that the electronic bulletin board might
be located outside the workplace, was not enough, standing alone, to
relieve an employer of any duty to correct harassment by fellow
employees. 

http://164.109.144.131/cgi-bin/gx.cgi/AppLogic+FTContentServer?pagename=law/View&c=Article&cid=ZZZQPSLO49C&live=true&cst=1&pc=5&pa=0&s=News&ExpIgnore=true&showsummary=0


* US Court rules online child protection law is unconstitutional *
Sixteen months after a lower court declared that The Children's Online
Privacy Act (COPA), a law designed to protect children from
pornography on the Internet, was unconstitutional, the 3rd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.
Judge Leonard Garth said that "curtailing constitutionally protected
free speech will not advance the public interest". However, Judge
Garth did note that while the laws enacted so far haven't been crafted
to meet constitutional challenges, the day will probably come when an
enforceable Internet pornography law will be enacted. 
COPA made it a federal crime to use the Internet for the commercial
distribution of materials that could be considered "harmful to
minors," with penalties of up to $150,000 for each day of violation
and up to six months in prison.
Full text of the decision:
http://pacer.ca3.uscourts.gov/recentop/week/991324.txt


* ISPs win university students' nude online video case *
Judge Charles Kocoras, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, rejected a lawsuit against two Internet
providers, PSINet and GTE, filed by dozens of Illinois State
University athletes after their nude images were marketed online. The
athletes were secretly videotaped in various states of undress by
hidden cameras in restrooms, locker rooms and showers. The videotapes
were sold on sites whose service is provided by the two companies.
Judge Kocoras granted motions by the ISPs to dismiss the case after
concluding that they could not be held liable as service providers
under the US Communications Decency Act. Judge Kocoras said that ISPs
have federal immunity from any cause of action that would make service
providers liable for information originated by a third-party using
their services. ISPs can not be held liable for any editorial
functions such as deciding whether to publish, withdraw, or alter that
content. 
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-2130302.html
I want to thank Cyberlaw Informer reader Kyle G. French for sending me
the information and his comments.


* Lexis wins over Jurisline.com *
Jursline.com agreed to take Lexis' database of case law and statutes,
that Jurisline made available on its site free of charge, by July 6.
Jurisline will replace the deleted materials with opinions and
statutes drawn from public domain sources.
In the spring of 1999, Jurisline's founders licensed about 160 of
Lexis' CD-ROMs containing all state and federal opinions and statutes
and then offered that material to the public without charge on
Jurisline. Jurisline now acknowledges that the licensing agreements
signed is valid and enforceable.
http://www.llrx.com/extras/jurisline8.htm


* Computer damage is physical damage *
Arizona Senior Judge Alfredo C. Marquez ruled that a property
insurance policy covering "physical damage" covers business losses
from loss of computer data, access, use and functionality. The lawsuit
followed an outage that shut down computer distributor Ingram Micro
Inc.'s  computer systems and although service was restored within a
half hour, three mainframe computers remained inoperable because
programming information was lost. Ingram contended that "physical
damage" should include loss of use and function, and Judge Marquez
agreed.
http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/000531/pa_mealey_.html


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Intellectual Property
===============

* British Telecommunications claims ownership of hyperlinks *
British Telecommunications (BT) claims it owns a patent on
hyperlinking and wants ISPs in the US to pay for the privilege of
using them. BT claims that a patent filed in 1976 and granted in 1989
proves it owns the intellectual property rights to linking web
content. The patent covers:
"Information for display at a terminal apparatus of a computer is
stored in blocks the first part of which contains the information
which is actually displayed at the terminal and the second part of
which contains information relating to the display and which may be
used to influence the display at the time or in response to a keyboard
entry signal ... the second part of the block could include
information for providing the complete address of an another block
which would be selected by the operation of a selected key of the
keyboard..."
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/06/19/1624214
Full patent information:

http://164.195.100.11/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1='4873662'.WKU.&OS=PN/4873662&RS=PN/4873662


* Bidder's Edge utilizes eBay search *
Responding to an injunction that barred it from spidering eBay's web
site, Bidder's Edge has modified its search of eBay. Instead of
listing eBay's auctions alongside those of Amazon.com, Yahoo and other
auction sites, Bidder's Edge now sends eBay customers directly to
eBay's own search engine. 
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1007-200-2040238.html


* Financial deep linking dispute *
HK Finance.com is seeking unspecified damages from Prosticks.com for
infringement of copyright. HK claims unauthorized hyperlinks were
placed on Prosticks.com's site for five days. The "deep" links enabled
visitors to bypass HK's front page and go directly to HK's content. 
http://technology.scmp.com/internet/DAILY/20000531081411150.asp?Section=Main


* Xerox looses patent claims against 3 Com *
A lawsuit filed by Xerox, contending 3Com infringed a Xerox patent
when it developed the handwriting recognition system for the Palm
handheld computer has been dismissed by a federal judge. U.S. District
Judge Michael A. Telesca granted 3Com's dismissal motion saying there
was "no genuine issue as to any material fact." 
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1006-200-2036200.html


* Online VCR sued by movie industry *
The motion picture industry and a dozen TV and movie studios sued
RecordTV.com, charging that it violates their copyrights. RecordTV
acts as a kind of online VCR, recording TV shows for later playback.
The industry is charging that RecordTV has committed massive copyright
infringement by recording TV shows online and is asking for up to
$150,000 per work copied and distributed. 
http://www.mpaa.org/Press/RecTVComplaint.htm


* Hitachi and Rambus settle patent dispute *
Rambus sued Hitachi in January, claiming that its patents entitle
Rambus to royalties on a memory chip technologies. Hitachi announced
that it had settled the dispute and agreed to pay royalties on memory
chips. The move follows a similar agreement from Toshiba. Analysts say
the deal could earn Rambus $1 billion in revenue by 2003
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-2132438.html


* TVT the latest to sue Napster *
TVT Records, a large independent record label, filed a lawsuit against
Napster, alleging violations of copyright law. TVT seeks damages and
an injunction barring Napster from allowing TVT's songs to be listed
on directories that allow the music to be traded and downloaded.
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,36856,00.html


* eBay bans Apex DVD player *
eBay banned the Apex A-600AD DVD player from auctions on its site.
This move came at the request of Macrovision, a copyright protection
company that claims the DVD player contains material which violates
their copyright and trademark rights. Early models of the A-600AD had
a hidden menu that allowed users to disable Macrovision's DVD copy
protection technology as well as regional encoding. 
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,37072,00.html


* Pennsylvania busts software pirate ring *
Pennsylvania State Police cracked an alleged global software piracy
operation that illegally obtained Microsoft software worth millions of
dollars. 
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,36944,00.html


* Thundercloud changes its name *
Loudcloud convinced Thundercloud to change its name back to PFN Inc.
in order to settle a lawsuit brought by Loudcloud Inc. Loudcloud,
founded by Netscape founder Marc Andersen, filed a trademark
infringement suit in March against Thundercloud, a
business-to-business e-commerce firm. 
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2587008,00.html


* Geoworks counter sues Phone.com *
Geoworks filed a countersuit against Phone.com in its ongoing battle
over microbrowser technology. Geoworks claims it has intellectual
property rights on its microbrowser technology, based on patents from
1994. Phone.com filed a lawsuit in April contesting the validity of
the Geoworks patent. 
http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/00/150744.html


* Lucent and Cisco fight over employee proprietary information *
Lucent Technologies, one of the world's largest developers of optical
networking equipment, filed a lawsuit accusing 10 former workers of
revealing proprietary information to their new employer, Cisco
Systems. Cisco said the lawsuit is a desperate act by a desperate
company.
http://www.digitalmass.com/news/daily/06/20/lucent.html


* Digital video patent dispute *
SeaChange International Inc., a maker of hardware and software to
provide television movies and commercials, accused rival nCube Corp.
of infringing a patent for digital video systems.
http://www.digitalmass.com/news/daily/06/15/seachange_ncube.html



Domain names
===========


* Loblaw loses domain disputes * 
Canadian supermarket giant Loblaw Lost another battle for an Internet
domain name containing its famed "President's Choice" trademark. The
arbitrator refused to order the transfer of presidentschoicesocks.com
from an entity called Yogen international which did not even file a
response to Loblaw's complaint. The arbitrator said he was unable to
find evidence that Yogen international had actually used the name in
"bad faith." The arbitrator disagrees with the finding of another
arbitrator who ruled that the mere threat to infringe trademarks by
registering a domain name constitutes bad-faith use. The recent
decision came just two days after Loblaw failed to win the transfer of
three other domains including  presidentchoice.com,
presidentchoice.net, and presidentchoice.org.
http://www.globetechnology.com/archive/gam/News/20000621/RLOBL.html


* ICANN sued by rejected registrar *
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the
Internet's administrative body, was sued by Afternic.com, a New York
company that ICANN did not accredit as a registrar. Afternic.com says
ICANN violated its own regulations in refusing to approve Afternic's
application. ICANN denied treating Afternic unfairly. 
http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/biztech/articles/26doma.html


* Ikea wins Chinese domain dispute *
Swedish furniture giant Ikea won a lawsuit against a Beijing
cybersquatter that registered a domain name based on Ikea's mark. The
Beijing Court ruled that Ikea's mark, registered in the Chinese
mainland in 1983, extended to the virtual world. 
http://www.chinaonline.com/topstories/000622/1/c00062103.asp


* PETA Parody site looses domain name *
PETA is an acronym for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
However, since 1995, Michael Doughney used www.peta.org as the home
page of the fictitious group for those who enjoy eating meat, wearing
fur and leather, and hunting, named People Eating Tasty Animals
(PETA). Last week a US federal judge ordered Doughney to relinquish
the domain name  to PETA and limit his use to domain names that are
not confusingly similar.
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/ap/docs/118641l.htm


* Kasparov's latest victory - wins domain name arbitration *
Garry Kasparov, the world's most famous chess champion won the rights
to kasparov.com held by an estranged business partner. Arbitrator John
Bender ruled that holding the domain name hostage to enforce an
alleged debt was bad faith usage.
http://www.globetechnology.com/archive/gam/News/20000623/RKASP.html


* Julia Roberts wins domain arbitration *
Actress Julia Roberts won a domain name WIPO arbitration against
Russell Boy, a dealer in famous names, who has been found to have no
rights to use  juliaroberts.com. Boyd said he selected
juliaroberts.com as a tribute to the actress, however he put the
domain name up for auction on eBay.
http://abcnews.go.com:/sections/tech/DailyNews/roberts000602.html


* Canadian domain registration changes *
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), a not-for-profit
group created in 1998 to oversee Canada's system for registering
domain names agreed to pay $4.35-million to the University of British
Columbia, which has voluntarily managed the system for 12 years. CIRA
plans to eliminate past barriers to getting .ca domain (.ca is
Canada's top-level domain name) such as requiring an applicant to have
an incorporated company, a trademark or offices in more than one
province, and preventing individuals from owning more than one
address.
http://www.globetechnology.com/archive/gam/News/20000606/RNETT.html


* Internet.com victim of domain hijacking *
Internet.com, one of the largest providers of Internet news and
information resources, was the latest victim in a string of Net
attacks. The hijackers took Internet.com's administrative contact
information from registrar Network Solutions' (NSI) database and then
changed and redirected it to another registrar. 
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/internet/docs/66968l.htm


* Web.net domain hijacked *
Hijackers took over the Internet domain name Web.net, a site hosting
700 charities. The hijackers made crucial changes to the database of
domain registrar NSI, and changed the official owner of Web.net. 
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,36715,00.html


* Yahoo want Thai site's domain name *
Yahoo! wants a Thai web site, Yoohhoo.com, to hand over its domain
name, even though it has very little in common with the Yahoo network
of directories - it doesn't look similar, has little content and does
not even cover similar categories. 
http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/00/150862.html


* Philip Morris wants Phillipmorris.com *
Tobacco and food giant Philip Morris filed a trademark lawsuit against
the current owners of Phillipmorris.com (an extra 'l'). Currently the
site shows Phillip Morris's contnt, but the page title is "Quit
smoking and live longer!". Earlier visitors were automatically
redirected to the anti-smoking site ButtOut.net. 
http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/00/150785.html



Cyber crime
=========

* Draft of International Cyber Crime Convention awaiting comments * 
The council of Europe released a draft version of a Convention on
crime in cyberspace for public discussion. This will be the first
international treaty to address criminal law and procedural aspects of
various types of offending behavior directed against computer systems,
networks or data as well as other similar abuses. This legally-binding
text aims to harmonize national legislation in this field, facilitate
investigations and allow efficient levels of co-operation between the
authorities of different States. 
http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/projets/cybercrime.htm


* CD Universe electronic evidence compromised *
Six months after a hacker broke into CD Universe and stole 300,000
credit cards, U.S. authorities have been unable to find the thief,
because electronic evidence collected from the company's computers was
not adequately protected. Full report from ZDNet:
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2584330,00.html

* Political hacking in Malaysia *
Hackers broke into dozens of Malaysian political web sites, leaving
government officials and opposition leaders looking at pictures of
rotting skulls and obscene messages, as part of an online war between
government supporters and opposition supporters
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-2056489.html


*  British man accused hacking in United Arab Emirates *
A 26 year-old British man has been arrested on suspicion of hacking
into the United Arab Emirates' monopoly Internet company. The offense
could carry a maximum jail term of 10 years. 
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/1/11533.html


* Gun control Web site hacked *
A site run by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit gun-control
group, was defaced and its web address was  hijacked by a pro-gun
hacker. 
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,37146,00.html


* Road Runner Server hacked *
Hackers broke into Time Warner Communications' Road Runner cable-modem
Internet service in Houston and may have gotten access to a database
of e-mail logons and passwords. 
http://www.infowar.com/hacker/00/hack_060500b_j.shtml


* Woman accused of online auction fraud *
A new Internet enforcement unit in Boston's Attorney General's office
filed its first case charging a woman who allegedly defrauded numerous
consumers by accepting $20,000  in online bids at Amazon.com for
computer equipment she failed to deliver. 
http://www.digitalmass.com/news/daily/06/08/internet_fraud.html


* Credit card prank *
A hacker who broke in to the server at a mass-emailing company sent
bogus warnings to 10,000 customers, warning their credit-card numbers
had been compromised from the database of a major Canadian electronics
dealer. In fact, the actual database containing credit-card
information wasn't compromised at all, the hacker sent a command to a
third-party mass-mailing vendor to send the announcement, but did not
break in to the vendor's shop. 
http://www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/00/06/09/000609hncanadian.xml


* Slot machine extortion *
WMS Gaming is suing Zues Yaghi, an Edmonton software consultant, for
$10 million, alleging that he threatened to publicize a software flaw
in its slot machines that allowed players to consistently win large
amounts of money. The flaw involves players doubling their bets on an
electronic poker game in conjunction with several other commands
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,37190,00.html


* Mitnick barred from Ezine writing *
Kevin Mitnick, the world's most famous computer hacker who spent more
than five years in jail, has been barred from writing a column for an
online newspaper. Under Mitnick's terms of probation he is not allowed
to access a computer until January 2003, or access the Internet using
any other communication device.
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2593948,00.html



Policy & Regulation
===============

* US legislator approve digital signature bill *
The US Senate unanimously approved a law that gives electronic
signatures and documents the same force in law as their paper
counterparts, two days after the House passed the bill. The measure
goes to President Clinton  who has said he will sign the legislation.
Consumers will still be able to choose whether to use an electronic or
traditional handwritten signature, but the bill requires certain
documents (such as cancellation of basic services like water, power
and gas as well as court orders, eviction notices, and cancellation of
life insurance) to be sent on paper to carry their full force.
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/bursts/0,7407,2589585,00.html


* Philippines adopts e-commerce law *
Philippines  President Joseph Estrada signed an e-commerce law,
following the criticism that the Philippines had no system to punish
creators of last month's "I love you" computer virus. Under the new
law hackers and those who spread viruses can be fined a minimum of
$2,350 and a maximum of the damage caused, and can be imprisoned for
up to three years. 
http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/biztech/articles/15virus-law.html
(Free registration with the NY Times required)


* Quebec won't appeal non-French software ruling *
The Quebec government said that it won't appeal a court decision
allowing businesses to make computer software available to employees
in languages other than French. The Quebec Superior Court ruled that
companies must see to it that the use of French in the workplace is
protected and encouraged, but employees can't be denied access to
software in English or other languages.
http://www.globetechnology.com/archive/gam/News/20000622/RSOFT.html


* California legislator approves online tax *
The California Assembly approved an Internet tax measure. The bill
must still go through the state Senate and Gov. Gray Davis, who is
generally opposed to the idea of Internet taxation. The proposed
legislation would not tax sales from companies that have no bricks and
mortar stores or warehouses in the state. 
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/internet/docs/48581l.htm


* Morocco prepares e-commerce law *
The Moroccan government is finalizing the first draft of a law that
would regulate electronic transfer of data. 
http://www.africanews.org/north/morocco/stories/20000607/20000607_feat14.html



Privacy Spam and Consumer protection
=============================

* White House restricts cookies on U.S. government sites *
The U.S. federal Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is
stopping the use of cookies to track the Internet browsing habits of
visitors to its anti-drug site. In a memorandum sent to the heads of
federal executive departments and agencies the director of the White
House's Office of Management and Budget, announced restrictions on the
use of cookies. The directives came as privacy advocates began
clamoring for Congress to investigate how the government handles
online privacy. 
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,37173,00.html


* Does Mattel spy on children users *
A program called DSSAgent that is automatically installed along with
the installation of Mattel's "Arthur's Reading Race CD-ROM". DSSAgent
contained a copy of the developer's kit for the Pretty Good Privacy
(PGP) encryption system, and contains the ability to send email and
post forms to web pages, and automatically send information to Mattel. 
http://www.salon.com/tech/col/garf/2000/06/15/brodcast/


* California anti-spam law unconstitutional *
San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia ruled that a
California state law aimed at reining in unsolicited bulk email is
unconstitutional. The decision marks the second time a state anti-spam
law has been struck down, after Washington state's anti-spam law was
ruled unconstitutional. Judge Garcia found that the law violates the
Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by placing inconsistent
restrictions on interstate use of the Internet. 
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-2047482.html


* China plans online advertising regulations *
China plans new rules on Internet advertising which include forcing
online firms to obtain licenses. The rules aimed to close legal
loopholes and cut off the posting of deceptive and fake advertisements
online. 
http://technology.scmp.com/internet/Daily/20000621185149643.asp?Section=Main


* No online smoking in New Zealand *
Tony Hart, owner of Havana House Cigars in Auckland, New Zealand, was
been told by New Zealand's Ministry of Health that his website could
breach the country's law against tobacco advertising.
http://wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,36612,00.html


* Class action suit against AOL moves forward *
A Florida judge approved a class-action, lawsuit against America
Online (AOL), on behalf of 2.5 million hourly subscribers who were
forced to view "pop-up" advertisements. Plaintiffs claim that AOL
blocked customers' access to its services during the time that the
pop-up advertisements were not on the screen. 
http://www.cnn.com/2000/LAW/06/25/aol.lawsuit/index.html


* Michigan AG threatens sites over privacy *
Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm threatened legal action
against four web sites that she said have not told consumers whether
their privacy rights are being protected under state law by using
cookies. Michigan AG focused on sites containing sensitive information
such as vendors for products aimed at AIDS patients and children.
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,36967,00.html



Securities
=======

* MGM poster settles with regulators *
The California Department of Corporations, which regulates securities
trading, reached  a settlement with Victor Idrovo, an investor accused
of posting fraudulent messages to influence the stock price of MGM.
The state alleged that Idrovo posted two messages on a Yahoo! message
board using the nickname "FrankGMancuso,'' leading others to believe
he was the former chairman and CEO of MGM. The settlement does not
require Idrovo to admit any wrongdoing. Idrovo is barred from posting
any more fraudulent messages. He must also  pay the state $4,500 in
fines and costs. 
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/ap/docs/118197l.htm



Online Speech
============

* Chinese man arrested after publishing Tiananmen information *
Chinese police arrested Huang Qi and his wife, Zeng Li, on suspicion
of subversion after they published information about the 1989 military
crackdown in Tiananmen Square online. 
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,36824,00.html


* Professors sue a teacher review site *
Several professors from San Francisco City College are suing the
webmaster of a site that posts evaluations of their classes. Teacher
Review provides a forum for students at the college to voice their
opinions about their professors. The entries range from enthusiastic
raves to personal attacks. 
http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,36720,00.html


* Chinese authorities fight Cybercafes *
Chinese officials cracked down on cybercafes after a regulation banned
them from operating within 200 meters of schools.  Police in Xiamen
shut down 45 Internet cafes.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/1/11480.html



Microsoft News
============

One of the best reviews about the development of the Microsoft
antitrust trial, and the different phases in it, is Joel Brinkley and
Steve Lohr "Special report: Pursuing a giant" published by the New
York Times (free registration required): 
http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/biztech/articles/09trial.html


* Microsoft's appeal heads to the Supreme Court *
Microsoft and the US Justice Department agreed to speed up their 
antitrust battle in a move that could allow the US Supreme Court to
decide by September whether to hear the case directly or send it to a
federal appeals court. Microsoft's appeal will urge the justices to
send the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit. The Justice Department wants the Supreme Court to
hear the case directly, under a federal law that allows major
antitrust disputes to skip the appeals court step and move from a
trial court to the Supreme Court. 
http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/0,1151,16278,00.html


* Microsoft wins consumer suits *
Judge Gene Porter in the Clark County District Court in Las Vegas
granted Microsoft's motion to dismiss a class action suit alleging
that the software giant charged too much for its Windows software.
This is the second victory on the issue for Microsoft after a judge in
Oregon ruled that consumers there could not sue Microsoft over
software they did not buy from it directly. There are still more than
130 similar class action suits that have been brought against
Microsoft in dozens of states.
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-2111061.html



Open Access
==========

* Netherlands approves Open Access *
The Dutch government ruled that cable network operators must open them
to competing ISPs in two years. Originally the government wanted to
leave the cable operators alone, but pressure from almost all the
sides the Dutch parliament is leading to the amendment of the cable
bill.
http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/0,1151,15922,00.html


* AT&T wins open access appeal *
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that cities have no right to
compel Internet "open access". In 1998, the city of Portland demanded
that AT&T allow a variety of Internet providers to sell services over
AT&T's cable system in the city. A federal District Court upheld
Portland's right to do this, but the 9th Circuit disagreed. The court
held that AT&T's Internet service is a telecommunications service
similar to a telephone company, and according to the 1996
Telecommunications Act passed cities cannot issue regulations that
preempt federal authority in this area.
AT&T critics say the decision has a bright side. Local phone companies
must let rival firms have access to their wires; by the same logic,
the federal government could require cable companies to offer access
to multiple Internet providers.
The full ruling is available from FindLaw:
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=9th&navby=case&no=9935609



Misc. cyberlaw news
===============

* Computer companies liable for plane crash *
A US federal jury found that a software company and the manufacturer
of a flight computer were partly responsible for the 1995 crash of an
American Airlines jetliner in Colombia that killed 159 people. The
pilots entered an incorrect code into the flight computer, sending the
Boeing 757 into a mountainside near Cali. The lawsuit  alleged that
products made by computer maker Honeywell Air Transport Systems and
software manufacturer Jeppesen Sanderson helped cause the crash. The
jury said Jeppesen was 17 percent responsible and Honeywell was 8
percent at fault. 
http://news.findlaw.com/news/s/20000613/computercos.html


* Online pretrial conference *
Two lawyers separated from a judge by miles of road held an online
pretrial conference. All three parties happened to have America Online
accounts and trusted their private chat room would be free of
intruders. 
http://news.findlaw.com/news/s/20000602/onlinechat.html


* TheStreet.com Countersues Fox *
Financial web site, TheStreet.com, filed a counterclaim against Fox
News in response to the news channel's lawsuit filed after
TheStreet.com canceled its television program in May. TheStreet.com
alleges breach of contract and seeks an injunction to keep the 24-hour
news channel from interfering with programs launched on other TV
networks.
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,36809,00.html


* AltaVista sued by British free service provider *
The Free Internet Group (TFIG) filed suit against AltaVista for
alleged breach of contract. According to the lawsuit the two companies
reached a three-year agreement for TFIG to provide "free" branded Net
access for AltaVista in Britain. Just one day after reaching the
agreement, AltaVista raised concerns about the TFIG technical
abilities, and later walked away from the deal.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/11404.html


* Bomb brakes Microsoft's Windows *
A bomb explosion rocked the South African office of software giant
Microsoft. There were no injuries, but some windows were broken ... 
I did not make this up :-)
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-2000111.html



That is all for this time,

Yedidya (Didi) M. Melchior 
Editor 


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