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The cyberlaw informer #35


Welcome to the 35th issue of the weekly Mishpat Update, 
Law on the net newsletter from http://mishpat.net

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

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

In this issue:

1. Introduction
2. German CompuServe porn conviction overturned
3. Free Republic looses copyright lawsuit
4. Cyberlaw resource of the week
5. Computer & Internet law news and updates

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

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

I would like to welcome the 15 new subscribers who joined the list
this week. 

This week the Mishpat.Net site will be moving to a new server; 
Unfortunately, this might cause problems in accessing the site, 
subscribing to the newsletter and unsubscribing from it. I 
apologize in advance for any inconvenience you encounter.
The change of server will also include some design changes and new
features such as online bulletin boards. You can expect further
details about the new features in next weeks' issue. 
As part of the change the site is undergoing, this newsletter will
change its name. From next week the 'Mishpat Update' will be called
the 'Cyberlaw Informer'. The new name is only for marketing purposes,
there will currently be no change in content. All Mishpat Update
readers will be automatically subscribed to the Cyberlaw Informer,
there is no need re-subscribe.


As usual, comments, tips, and articles are always welcome. 
Send them to mailto:editor@mishpat.net


The Mishpat Update archive (issues 1-29) is available at:
http://mishpat.net/mailing-lists/update

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 by
sending a blank email to mailto:join-update@mishpat.net


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###########################################
2. German CompuServe porn conviction overturned
###########################################

In a ruling welcomed by the Internet industry, a German court
overturned the conviction of a former CompuServe manager on charges
of aiding the distribution of child pornography.

In May 1998 a Bavarian district court handed Felix Somm, the former
head of CompuServe Germany, a two year suspended sentence and a
100,000 mark (52,490 USD) fine for failing to prevent illicit content
from being distributed over the Internet. 
The initial conviction shocked the online industry and brought about
fears that the development of the Internet and electronic commerce in
Germany would be hobbled by the country's tough legal line. Even the
prosecution had moved for acquittal during the initial trial, saying
it had been persuaded by the defense position.

Somm's lawyers had argued that an Internet service provider cannot be
held responsible for simply supplying access to a medium over which
third parties distributed objectionable content. 

Last week, a higher court in the state capital Munich reversed the
decision against Somm. It said he would not have been able to block
the pornographic sites himself and was only in a position to ask
CompuServe's U.S. headquarters to do so. 

Judge Laszlo Ember lamented the lack of an effective legal and
technical means to eliminate child pornography and other illegal
content from the Web, saying he expected the issue to continue to
plague the industry in years to come. 

The defense lawyers Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sieber, Dr. Hans-Werner Moritz,
Rechtsanwalt and Wolfgang Dingfelder welcomed the acquittal of Somm.
In a joint statement they added that by its judgment, the court
created some legal certainty for the information and communications
service industry by confirming exemption from punishment for providing
access to the Internet.


                 
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##########################################
3. Free Republic looses copyright lawsuit
##########################################


Following is a summary of Judge Margaret M. Morrow's ruling in the Los
Angeles Times and Washington Post v. Free Republic. As reported last
week, A federal court in Los Angeles enjoined Jim Robinson, the
operator of FreeRepublic.com, from posting articles copied from the
two newspapers.


* Factual background *

Free Republic at freerepublic.com is a "bulletin board" website, whose
approximately 20,000 registered participants, use to post news
articles to which they add remarks or commentary. Other visitors to
the site then read the articles and add their comments. For the most
part, Free Republic members post the entire text of news articles.
Among these are copies of news articles from the plaintiffs in this
case, the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. The site that
receives as many as 100,000 hits per day, and between 25 and 50
million page views each month, is owned and operated by right wing
activist Jim Robinson. The plaintiffs' complaint alleged that the
unauthorized copying and posting of news articles on the Free Republic
site constitutes copyright infringement. 

The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post publish newspapers in
print and online. Plaintiffs' websites also include archived articles
that users must pay to view. The websites also produce advertising and
licensing revenue for the papers. Because advertising is sold "CPM"
(cost per thousand viewers), the revenue generated from this source
depends on the volume of traffic the sites experience during a given
period. The plaintiffs claim that the ability to access archived
articles at a different site for free, affects their ability to sell
advertising and archived articles.

Free Republic claimed that it was protected by the 'Fair Use'
doctrine, which permits the reproduction of copyrighted works for
certain purposes. The defendants also allege that the First Amendment
protects the posting of plaintiffs' news articles to their website,
asserting that in absence of wholesale copying, Free Republic visitors
would be unable to express their criticisms and comments.  


* The Fair Use Defense *

The fair use defense is a limitation on the exclusive right of a
copyright owner "to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies." The
fair use of a copyrighted work, for purposes such as criticism,
comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an
infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a
work is a fair use, the U.S. Code mentions four factors to be
considered (there are similar laws in other countries):

"(1) The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use
is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educations purposes;"

This factor assesses whether and to what extent the new work
is 'transformative'. This means checking if the the new work merely
supersedes the objects of the original creation, or adds something
new, with a further purpose or different character.

There was no dispute that at least some of the articles posted on the
Free Republic website are exact copies of plaintiffs' articles. Free
Republic argued that the posting of plaintiffs' articles on the
website is transformative because registered visitors add comments and
criticism following each article. But judge Morrow ruled that adding
commentary to its verbatim copy of a copyrighted work or portions
thereof does not transform the work, especially where the first
posting of the article by a Free Republic user often contains little
or no commentary.

Free Republic argued that even if their copying wasn't transformative,
the first factor nonetheless should weigh in their favor because their
general purpose is criticism which is a different purpose than that
served by posting the articles on the Times and Post websites. Posting
articles on the Times and Post websites permits visitors to read
current news and research archived articles published in the two
newspapers. In contrast, the purpose of posting articles to the Free
Republic site is enabling visitors to comment upon and criticize media
coverage of current events.
Judge Morrow agreed that the primary purpose of posting articles to
the Free Republic site was facilitating the discussion, criticism and
comment of the registered users that follows the posting. But the mere
fact that criticism is involved, does not warrant an automatic finding
that the first factor favors defendants. The issue, according to the
Judge, is whether the posting facilitates the discussion to an
insignificant or a substantial extent.  

Free Republic solicits donations from visitors to the website who wish
to support its mission and operations. Additionally, the Free Republic
page advertises the website design services available through
Electronic Orchard (owned by Jim Robertson), and contains links to
Electronic Orchard clients. The fact that Electronic Orchard's
services are advertised and that Robinson is able to provide free
links for his clients' businesses demonstrates that he and Electronic
Orchard derive goodwill, if nothing else, from operation of the Free
Republic site. Since the general purpose of the site is to provide a
forum where individuals can discuss current events and media coverage
of them, posting copies of plaintiffs' articles assists in attracting
viewers to the site. This in turn enhances defendants' ability to
solicit donations and generate goodwill for their operation and
Robinson's other business. Consequently, the court concluded that the
use is commercial.

Balancing the above findings, the court found that the first factor
weighs against a finding of fair use in this case.  


"(2) The nature of the copyrighted work;"

The second factor recognizes that some works are closer to the core of
intended copyright protection than others. The more creative a work,
the more protection it should be accorded from copying; correlatively,
the more informational or functional the plaintiff's work, the broader
should be the scope of the fair use defense. While plaintiffs' news
articles certainly contain expressive elements, they are predominantly
factual. Consequently, defendants' fair use claim is stronger than it
would be, had the works been purely fictional. The court concluded
that the second factor weighs in favor of a finding of fair use of the
news articles by defendants in this case.


"(3) The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to
the copyrighted work as a whole;"

The fact that exact copies of plaintiffs' article are posted to the
Free Republic site weighs strongly against a finding of fair use in
this case.  

Defendants argued that copying entire news articles is essential to
the purpose of the Free Republic website. According to Free Republic,
it would be difficult for visitors to comment upon and criticize an
article without having the full text displayed above the comments. The
newspapers claimed that defendants could post a link to the Times and
Post websites so that Free Republic visitors wishing to view an
article being critiqued could access it. Defendants maintain that such
a solution is impractical, since the links would expire approximately
two weeks after the article was initially published (because the
articles are moved to the archive which is pay-per-view).  They also
assert that such an approach would disadvantage unsophisticated
Internet users.

Judge Morrow noted that, another alternative to full text copying
would be to have visitors post summaries of the news articles and
attach commentary to them. Therefore defendants have not met their
burden of demonstrating that full-text copying is essential to their
use of plaintiffs' articles. When contrasted against the minimally
transformative nature of the use and the commercial aspects of the
venture, the wholesale copying of plaintiffs' articles weighs against
a finding of fair use.  


"(4) The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of
the copyrighted work."

Fair use, is limited to copying by others which does not materially
impair the marketability of the work which is copied. 
The Free Republic website allows visitors to read archived news
articles from the Times and the Post without having to pay the fee
they would otherwise be charged for accessing the articles at the
papers' websites. This has the effect of lessening plaintiffs' market
for the sale of archived articles.  Plaintiffs contend that they lose
visitors to their websites because articles are available at the Free
Republic site, and that this results in a loss of advertising revenue
as well. 
Judge Morrow sided with the newspapers and concluded that: "regardless
of its impact on the advertising revenue generated by visits to
plaintiffs' websites, the availability of the papers' news articles in
full text on the Free Republic site fulfills at least to some extent
demand for the original works and diminishes plaintiffs' ability to
sell or license them."


* Balancing The Fair Use Factors *

Balancing the above factors, the court concluded that three of the
four factors weigh against a finding of fair use. The court therefore
concluded that defendants' fair use defense to plaintiffs' copyright
infringement claim fails.


* First Amendment Defense - Freedom of Speech *

Defendants contend that the First Amendment protects their ability to
post copies of the plaintiffs' new articles on the Free Republic
website, because without the ability to post entire articles, visitors
to the site will be prevented from expressing their opinions on media
coverage of current events and politics.  

As discussed above in connection with the third fair use factor,
visitors' critiques could be attached to a summary of the article, or
Free Republic could provide a link to the Times and Post websites
where the article could be found. Judge Morrow concluded that while
defendants and users of freerepublic.com might find these options less
ideal, their speech is in no way restricted by denying them the
ability to infringe on plaintiffs' exclusive rights in the copyrighted
news articles.

The full text of the ruling can be found at:
http://www.techlawjournal.com/courts/freerep/19991108.htm

An interesting comment can be found at:
http://www.salon.com/tech/log/1999/11/10/copyright/index.html




#################################
4. Cyberlaw resource of the week
#################################

This week's resource is IP-Wire at
http://www.ipr-helpdesk.org/en/n_003_en.asp

The Electronic Journal of the Intellectual Property Rights Helpdesk.

The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Helpdesk at
http://www.ipr-helpdesk.org/en is an IPR assistance service created by
the European Commission. The IP-Wire newsletter is published monthly
on the IPR-Helpdesk site http://www.ipr-helpdesk.org/en/n_003_en.asp
and an email version is available by free of charge subscription on
the website. IP-Wire deals with Intellectual Property issues and
examines the latest news from the IP world.


If you would like to recommend an Internet legal resource, please send
it to mailto:editor@mishpat.net



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#############################
5. Cyberlaw news and updates
#############################

Each week Mishpat-Update brings you the latest news about
online and computer law, with links to the full reports available
on the web.


* Lawyers hacking? *
Michael Moore, owner of DigDirt.com's parent, Moore Publishing, filed
suit accusing the Washington law firm of Steptoe & Johnson (which is
among the 100 largest law firms in the U.S) of launching a "cyber war"
against Moore Publishing and Dig Dirt. Moore charges that, among other
things, Steptoe employees cracked into Dig Dirt and other Moore
Publishing sites some 750 times, posted defamatory messages about
Moore on Usenet, and tried to cover it all up by doing it under a
stolen electronic identity.
According to Moore's attorney, somebody from Steptoe cracked into Dig
Dirt, a site that fronts an enormous database of personal data gleaned
from public records. Dig Dirt sells the data to private investigators,
lawyers, and law enforcement agencies. One of the reasons Steptoe
might be interested in Dig Dirt is Moore 's side business --
cybersquatting. Moore owns dozens of domain names including
SteptoeJohnson.com. 
Steptoe & Johnson deny the allegations made against it.
http://www.computerworld.com/home/news.nsf/CWFlash/9911114hacksuit
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,32488,00.html

 
* Acquittal in online racism trial *
German authorities fear that the trial of an Australian Holocaust
revisionist has given the green light for far Right groups to use the
Internet to spread their race hate messages. Former schoolteacher
Frederick Toben was charged with illegally distributing anti-Semitic
and race hate material in Germany by mail and via the Web site of the
Adelaide Institute, of which he is the director. A local court
in Mannheim, Germany declined to punish Toben for the information on
the Web site, which challenges the historic truth of the Holocaust.
The court did convict Toben on charges of inciting racial hatred for
material contained in an open letter he sent to political leaders and
others in Germany, and sentenced him to 10 months in jail. Judge Klaus
Kern said the court could only take into account the material which he
had physically distributed in Germany. Material published on the
Internet was not physically distributed in Germany by Toben. 
http://www.smh.com.au/news/9911/12/national/national2.html


* Disney's Go in logo dispute with GoTo.com *
The Walt Disney Co. won a round in its legal battle with Internet
search engine GoTo.com Inc., for the time being keeping the right to
use its logo for its online Go Network. The ruling by a three judge
panel with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will
allow Disney to use the logo pending disposition of the company's
appeal against an earlier unfavorable order by a U.S. District Court
in Los Angeles.
GoTo.com charges that the logo, consisting of a green circle on a
yellow background with the word 'Go' in the circle, is too similar to
its own, in use since December 1997, and has caused confusion among
customers.
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-1453724.html
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/internet/docs/1100735l.htm


* Changes in Australian domain name administration *
The Australian domain naming system came closer to unified management
last week when Robert Elz, a Melbourne University staff member, agreed
to hand over policy on the crucial .com.au top domain (.au is the
Australian top level domain name). Michael Malone, chairman of the new
.au Domain Administration (auDA) body, efforts to integrate policy on
the whole .au space were progressing. There is already an agreement
made on .net.au and in-principle agreement from the Government on
.gov.au. Malone himself controls the asn.au space (for associations)
and says he will sign it over when contracts have been developed.
http://www.it.fairfax.com.au/industry/19991116/A41269-1999Nov12.html


* IETF votes against wiretapping capabilities *
At its meeting in Washington, members of the Internet Engineering Task
Force (IETF) agreed that standards for assigning Internet protocol
numbers (IPv6) should not improve the ability of law enforcement to
tap online communications, such as phone calls carried over the global
network. As reported in Mishpat Update #31, the IETF debate focused on
the U.S. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994,
which requires telecommunications companies to aid law enforcement in
legally obtained wiretaps by making their network infrastructure
wiretap-friendly. Privacy advocates such as the Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC) spoke out adamantly against a
pro-wiretapping Internet. 
In any event, the whole debate may be moot. The vote just barred
specific development of features solely for wiretapping, but other
pieces already present in the Internet could be used to create an
effective wiretap. For example, the Internet allows servers to do
accounting: Finding out where a packet came from and where it is
going. In wiretapping, such a feature is called a pen register and is
considered the first step in narrowing down the calls that need to be
tapped.
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,32455,00.html


* UK removes controversial section of bill *
The UK Government appears to have given in to pressure to amend
controversial legislation about the internet and e-commerce. The
original Electronic Communications Bill proposal suggested powers to
allow the police to monitor suspicious internet activity in the same
way that they can tap phone calls, and force people to hand over the
software key to encrypted data and convict them if they did not. This
suggested reversal of the burden of proof has been heavily criticized.
With the removal of its investigative powers section, the Electronic
Communications Bill is now largely uncontroversial. 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_524000/524659.stm


* FCC orders telephone companies to share lines *
In an effort to spread deployment of high speed Internet service, the
U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new rules to
require local telephone companies to split their lines with
competitors at cost. The ruling, which will most likely be challenged
in court by the local telephone companies, stands to benefit new
companies specializing in delivering high-speed data services via
telephone lines. The order means that customers will be able to order
telephone service from one provider and broadband Internet service
from another without installing a new telephone line. Currently,
competitors must pay the local telephone companies about 20 dollars
per month to lease a second telephone line to provide those data
services, an amount they say prices them out of the consumer market.
http://www.msnbc.com/news/336770.asp
http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/0,1151,7736,00.html


* Hacking in Singapore *
Last week Mishpat Update brought the story of two youngsters sent to
jail for hacking in Singapore. This week an 18 year old student
pleaded guilty to 17 charges of hacking into the Television
Corporation of Singapore (TCS) website and defacing it. In one account
he broke into the website, Mediacity, renaming it Mediashity. 
http://straitstimes.asia1.com/cyb/cyb8_1116.html
Adding to that, a Singapore Government Website was hacked and Web
pages altered, causing the site to be taken offline and investigators
called in. The Singapore Ministry of Law's Integrated Land Information
Service (INLIS) Website was hacked, but the Ministry of Law says
that none of the transaction records and data held on the government
site were affected or compromised. 
http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/99/139267.html 
And yet another hacking in Singapore. An 18 year old college student
pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a computer service, and
unauthorized access and modifications to a computer. He admitted
hacking into the computer systems of the National Computer Board,
Ministry of Education and Nanyang Technological University. 
http://straitstimes.asia1.com/cyb/cyb1_1117.html
             

* Chinese hacker sent to jail for stock manipulation *
A Chinese court sentenced a former trust firm worker to three years in
jail for hacking into a computerized stock trading system and
manipulating prices. The Shanghai court found Zhao Zhe, 28, guilty of
breaking into the computer system of the Shanghai branch of a Hainan
securities company and inflating the prices of two domestic stocks
which rose by the daily limit of 10 percent in unusually heavy trade
as a result of the price manipulation. Zhao was also ordered to pay
355,200 dollars in compensation for trading losses.
http://news.excite.com:80/news/r/991112/08/odd-china-hacker
I wish to thank Mishpat Update reader Boaz Guttman for pointing out
this resource.


* Microsoft faces secondary suits *
At least two antitrust lawsuits were filed against Microsoft Corp.
after a federal judge called the vendor a predatory monopolist (a
special report about that ruling was included in last week's issue).
Blaine Cox, a PC user in Alabama claimed he and other consumers were
overcharged 10 to 40 dollars every time they bought Microsoft
software. Seastrom Associates Ltd., a New York advertising company,
also filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft. Both plaintiffs hope
to turn their suits into class action suits.
http://www.computerworld.com/home/news.nsf/CWFlash/9911184mssuit
The judge in the Microsoft case, Thomas Penfield Jackson, will hear
oral arguments in February to help him decide whether the company
violated the U.S. antitrust law. Jackson had already set the dates for
written briefs. The government's brief, due December 6, and that of
Microsoft, due January 17, are each limited to 70 pages. 
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-1453339.html


* Judge bars man from Usenet group *
A Judge presiding over a harassment case has barred a Seattle man from
posting any comments to an online discussion group. After hearing from
individuals involved in the civil case, Judge Pro Tem Marcine Anderson
issued a ruling restraining Scott Abraham from "making or responding
to postings on the Internet site rec.skiing.alpine either directly or
indirectly, in person or through others."
The dispute arose after vicious electronic exchanges, known as "flame
wars" were posted on the newsgroup rec.skiing.alpine where
participants can exchange views on alpine skiing. The problem began
after a woman to whom Abraham had given lift tickets distributed them
to others that Abraham disapproved of. One of the participants claims
Abraham has continually harassed and threatened him.
http://www.seattletimes.com/news/technology/html98/harr_19991117.html
A "pro-Abraham" page:
http://www.vix.com/menmag/gagorder.htm


* 70s rock star convicted of child porn possession *
1970s rock star Gary Glitter was convicted last week on 54 counts of
possessing pornographic pictures of children that he had downloaded
from the Internet. Glitter was convicted in a U.K. court in Bristol.
At the time of his arrest, Glitter had transferred about 4,000
pornographic images to the hard drive of his laptop. 
http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/1,1151,7689,00.html


* Tommy Hilfiger sues online jeans store *
Clothing company Tommy Hilfiger Corp. filed a lawsuit alleging that a
Web site owned by Ronnies Club 501 of Inglewood, California, and built
by David Knotek's New Romantics Web Agency of Beverly Hills, has been
used to sell apparel bearing counterfeit Hilfiger trademarks. In
addition, the Tommy Hilfiger complaint alleges the name of the online
store, Tommy Hilfiger Warehouse.com, and its domain name,
tommyhilfigerwarehouse.com also infringe on company trademarks.
http://www.technologypost.com/ecommerce/DAILY/19991116111656615.asp


* New Jersey fights online fraud *
The New Jersey attorney general's office filed civil charges against
nine people as part of an Internet fraud crackdown. Five people were
charged with sales of 531,898 shares of unregistered stock in
Millennium Interactive Technologies Corp., a phony e-commerce services
company. The complaint alleged more than 350 investors were bilked of
850,000 dollar that the defendants took for personal use and which
were not used for legitimate business purposes. Two other people were
charged with selling Viagra over the Internet without a license.
Finally, two more people were charged in the complaint with selling
Beanie Babies, Furbies and other toys for hundreds of dollars through
the on-line auction service e-Bay, but not filling the orders.
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/internet/docs/1086432l.htm


* University fights MP3 *
In reaction to the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA)
recent MP3 piracy crackdown, the University of South Carolina
Spartanburg (UCSC) is now monitoring its network using software that
can search for music downloads. The RIAA recently contacted the
university about a student who had turned his PC into a jukebox and
was selling pirated MP3s. Since the music was copyrighted, the RIAA
was reportedly ready to take the student and the university to court.
USCS appeased the RIAA by installing a hardware/software system which
tracked the student down by his IP address. 
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,32478,00.html


* RIAA against MP3 swapping software *
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) plans to file a
lawsuit against software company Napster for contributory copyright
infringement. Napster recently introduced version 2.0 of its MP3 file
swapping product CuteMX. Napster CEO Eileen Richardson said "we do not
want to help people pirate music. What we want is to help people find
music and build community around genres of music." RIAA CEO Hilary
Rosen said she loved the idea of Napster building communities, "but
not on the backs of artists and copyright owners." 
http://www.mp3.com/news/436.html


* FBI sting operation *
FBI agents arrested a man suspected of child pornography crimes as he
waited at the Santa Barbara bus station for a 14 year old female he
invited to town via the Internet. It turns out that the girl was
actually an undercover FBI detective. For almost two month the man
transmitted messages and photographs of a sexual nature to the
detective who was posing as the girl, and ultimately mailed her a bus
ticket.
http://news.newspress.com/local/1114briefs.htm


* Lucnet wins 9.5 million in patent case *
Lucent Technologies won 9.59 million dollar from Canadian rival
Newbridge Networks for infringing Lucent patents for data transmission
technology. In 1997 Lucent sued Newbridge in the U.S. claiming
Newbridge was wrongly using technology protected by Lucent patents to
control congestion when voice, video or other data are sent over
telephone lines and communications network switches.
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1004-200-1453153.html


* Disbarred lawyer offers online legal advice *
Bob Hirschfeld is a disbarred Phoenix lawyer who cruises World Wide
Web chat rooms, styling himself the Wizard of Laws and advertising
Lexstrat, his new Web site that answers legal questions for 24.95
dollars and up, payable by credit card. As Hirschfeld tells it, his
aggressive advocacy on behalf of fathers in custody disputes caused
Arizona's bar and judiciary to run him out of the profession on
trumped-up charges. His numerous critics, including a unanimous
Arizona Supreme Court, say that Hirschfeld richly deserved disbarment
for over billing and abandoning clients. The surprising fact is that
he is able to offer legal advice on the Internet, more freely than if
he were in good standing with the bar. Although an Arizona Bar ethics
opinion issued this year limits what Arizona lawyers may do on the
Internet, Hirschfeld, as a disbarred lawyer, is not subject to legal
ethics rules. 
http://www.ljx.com/cgi-bin/f_cat?prod/ljextra/data/texts/1999_1107_03.html


* BSA sues 25 software pirates *
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has filed a lawsuit against 25
individuals it claims participated in the "warez4cable" IRC channel,
an Internet forum used allegedly to transmit pirated software. The BSA
said it was the first suit filed against individuals for pirating
software in an IRC channel. 
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,32616,00.html


* Microsoft sues Chinese software pirates *
Microsoft has taken a Chinese company to court for software piracy.
The U.S. software giant has accused Beijing based Yadu Technology
Group of using pirated products, including Microsoft Office and
Windows, on its office computers. It is the first time in China that
an end-user was sued for software piracy.
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-1454172.html


* SEC sues Y2K company *
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a
lawsuit against Accelr8 and three of its executives, claiming the
company misrepresented the capabilities of its Navig8 2000 software.
The SEC alleges that although the software was created to analyze
computer programs only for the Digital VAX/VMS system, the company
claimed it would also work for IBM and Microsoft Corp. products.
Accelr8 CEO said that "The SEC's statements are libelous and I'm going
to sue them". 
http://www.computerworld.com/home/news.nsf/CWFlash/9911184SEC


* Online advertising patent lawsuit *
Online advertiser DoubleClick Inc. filed suit against L90 Inc.,
claiming that L90's advertisement serving and tracking software and
hardware infringes its patent. DoubleClick's patent -- entitled
"Method of Delivery, Targeting and Measuring Advertising over the
Internet" -- was issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in
September. DoubleClick's problem is that claiming rights to a commonly
used method, that might not be patentable.
http://www.lawnewsnetwork.com/stories/A9559-1999Nov12.html


* eBay sued over pirated music items *
ebay Inc. has been sued for the alleged listing for sale of bootleg or
pirate recordings by the auction site's users. The suit contends that
listing of the recordings by Ebay's users violates California's
Business & Professions Code and seeks injunctive relief, restitution
and legal fees. Ebay said that it has meritorious defenses to the suit
and intends to defend itself vigorously. 
http://dowjones.wsj.com/i/law/SB942785824135687910-d-industry-c1-law.html


* Playboy goes after Playdog *
Claiming trademark infringement, Playboy Enterprises is considering a
lawsuit against Steve Sackman and his Playdog.com web site, which
publishes home photos of dogs. According to Playboy, Playdog site's
typeface is too close to the adult entertainment magazine's logo. The
font is used on bowls, leashes and other products sold on the site. 
http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/breaking/merc/docs/050712.htm


* Egyptian secrets stolen on floppy disk *
Egyptian police are investigating a low-tech, computer crime involving
the theft of floppy disks containing highly sensitive information on
the country's national resources from laboratories at Cairo
University. The disks contained classified data respecting Egypt's
oil, gas and uranium reserves as well as the location of gold and
copper deposits.
http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/1999/45/ns-11462.html

That is all for this week,

Yedidya (Didi) M. Melchior 
Editor 

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