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The Mishpat-Update #10

Welcome to the tenth issue of the weekly Mishpat-Update, Law on
the net from

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In this issue:

1. What's New
2. Bestseller
3. Award Winner
4. Cyberlaw News


1. What's New

I would like to welcome the 16 new subscribers who joined the list this

The Mishpat Update archive (updates 1-8) can be found at:

As I told you last week, the Mishpat Update is listed in the Ezine seek
at which is a good resource for locating
electronic newsletters. If you want to rate the Mishpat Update (and
help it get in to the top 25 ...) go to

April's Mishpat award winner was chosen this week, details below.

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2. Bestseller

"Cyber Rights : Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age" by Mike
Godwin, was announced the number one bestseller in category "Civil
Rights and Law" on during 1998.

Cyber Rights is an exceptionally rational and compelling account of the
most explosive and controversial issues surrounding freedom in
cyberspace. Author Mike Godwin is the well known outspoken activist for
online civil liberties and counsel to the Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF). 

The book is available from at a 30% discount:

Other cyberlaw books can be found at:

3. Award Winner

April's Mishpat award winner is HARP - Health Administration
Responsibility Project

The site is devoted to helping patients and their lawyers obtain
justice from
Managed Health Care Organizations. 

A full review of the winning site will appear in update #11.

To apply for the Mishpat Award or view the winning sites, visit

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4. Cyberlaw 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.

* EU passes electronic commerce rules *
The European Parliament approved legislation designed to promote
electronic commerce. The two most important rules are:
1. Companies selling goods or services online across borders should
generally be regulated by the EU country where they are established.
However, disgruntled buyers should be allowed to invoke their own
national consumer protection laws if the transaction was not protected
by EU wide rules. The new rule favors e-commerce operators who argued
that complying with 15 different national regimes would put a burden on
the development of electronic commerce within the EU.
2. Consumers should be able to sign registers to opt out of receiving
junk email or "spam." The EU did not ban spam altogether and did not
adopt a rule requiring opting in systems. (for example, Mishpat Update
is an opt in list - you must ask to subscribe [by Email or online]
before you are added to the list. Spammers add people to their junk
mail lists without consent. The new rule only requires them to remove
recipients ' ask to be removed from the list).

* U.S. export limits on encryption are unconstitutional *
In a 2 to 1 vote a federal panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
affirmed U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel's 1997 landmark ruling in
Daniel Bernstein vs. the Justice Department. That decision states that
software source code is a language, and therefore the export controls
violate the University of Illinois math professor's First Amendment
Bernstein had wanted to post cryptography (scrambling of electronic
communications) code on his Web site as part of an international course
he teaches, but was blocked by a Clinton administration policy
regulating software cryptography as falling within the interests of
national security. The ruling makes unconstitutional the U.S.
Department of Commerce regulations that require encryption software
makers to go through a regulation process that ensures their products
are "consistent with U.S. national security and foreign policy
interests." The Justice Department is expected to appeal the ruling to
the Supreme Court, in which case the Appeals Court ruling could be
The full text of the decision is available at:
Further details about the story:

* WIPO call for restrictions on cybersquatters *
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has released its
anticipated plan for curbing cybersquatting (speculators who register
scores of domain names in hopes of reselling them to top bidders),
which would require domain name registrants to provide accurate contact
information and pay for names up front. Currently names can be put on
hold for 60 days without payment, allowing speculators to shop names
around for resale buyers before they even own them. (Even WIPO itself
has problems with a cybersquatter who has registered a site under the
domain name "" and is offering to sell it for several thousands
of dollars.)
The proposal also includes a controversial provision that gives special
rights to "famous" trademark holders around the globe, which observers
say could be very problematic. The report does ot spell out criteria
for determining what names specifically would fall under the
restrictions. While the rule would cover only the exact name of the
famous or well known mark, an individual would have the burden of
justifying registration of a domain name that was misleadingly similar
to the exclusive mark.
The WIPO report was passed on to the Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit corporation that oversees the
new competition in the domain name registration market.,1087,3_109531,00.html

* How are hacking damages calculated? *
Companies targeted by the notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick (including
Motorola and Sun Microsystems) claim his illegal operations cost them
nearly US million. But those losses were not reported either to the
IRS or to shareholders, raising doubts about the actual impact on the

* An unskilled hacker faces a prison sentence *
A federal jury convicted Nicholas Middleton of hacking into the San
Francisco ISP last year and knocking it offline for several
hours. Because Middleton demanded a trial, he faces a prison sentence
of six months to three years. Had he agreed to a plea bargain, he
probably could have managed to get off with probation. 
Middleton was simply tripped up by a caller I.D. box. He left behind so
much incriminating evidence that he all but admitted that he was indeed
the hacker who damaged the ISP's computers.,4586,2254225,00.html

* White House promotes parents' net control *
Following the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, the White House
announced the Parents' Protection Page, a resource that will help
parents block minors' access to violent and other "inappropriate" Net
content. Vice President Al Gore's plan aims to put child safety
resources just "one click away" from parents' grasp. The initiative,
which has been under study for months, aims in part to allay concerns
about the role the Internet may play in violent outbursts. The plan is
being backed by the Internet Education Foundation and major online
companies, including America Online, AT&T, Disney Online, Network
Solutions, and Yahoo.,4586,2253908,00.html

* More stories from the Microsoft antitrust trial *
What remedies are the Department of Justice and 19 state attorneys
general going to seek should they prevail on claims that Microsoft
illegally abused its monopoly power?
While in recess from the Microsoft antitrust trial, David Boies the
government leading trial lawyer, signs up new clients, including
Nations-Rent, a Florida company fighting a hostile takeover.
Nations-Rent decided that the law firm it originally hired, New York's
Sullivan & Cromwell, which, as defense counsel for Microsoft, has taken
a beating from Mr. Boies in the courtroom  was not being aggressive
enough against the hostile bid.
Microsoft plans to attack the credibility of a senior America Online
executive and grill him about his company's  billion acquisition of
Netscape Communications.

* DOJ investigation against NSI *
The US Justice Department (DOJ) is expanding an antitrust investigation
of Network Solutions Inc. (NSI), the dominant registrar of domain
names, to focus on the company's claim that it owns the database used
to route traffic on the Internet (the WHOIS database). In addition to
mapping out addresses, it contains the business contacts behind more
than 3.5 million domain names. NSI has been compiling the database
since 1993, when it won the exclusive right to register domains ending
in ".com," ".net," and ".org" under a cooperative agreement with the
National Science Foundation (NSF). 
The database will be used to build NSI's recently announced Dot Com
Directory, which will allow people to search for companies by name,
place and type of business. It is part of a suite of offerings NSI is
providing now that its domain registration monopoly is about to end. 
The DOJ argues that the list should be made available to competitors
because it was created while NSI was operating under a government
approved monopoly.
Rivals say the database is the only place where such information is
available in bulk form, and is needed to contact and pitch products and
services to individuals and companies with domain names. NSI currently
allows the public to access the whois database one entry at a time, but
competitors want the firm to open it back up to bulk access, so they
have equal opportunity to use whois as a marketing and promotion

* NSI faces Filthy Words Suits *
In another case involving NSI: Several lawsuits have recently been
filed targeting the policy of domain name registrar Network Solutions
Inc., which has refused to sell the objectionable domain names it has
dubbed the "Network Seven." (named after the seven filthy words the
Federal Communications Commission ruled against broadcasting 21 years
ago). A U.S. Supreme Court ruling (FCC V. Pacifica Foundation) upheld
Federal Communications Commission restrictions on the broadcasting of
the seven expletives. With minor modifications, NSI adopted the
guidelines for its own registration policy. A number of domain names
containing the expletives remain in place because they were registered
before the 1996 policy was forged.,25,36003,00.html

* Intel v. Hamidi available online *
As reported last week a judge in Sacramento ordered Ken Hamidi, a
disgruntled former Intel employee, who bombarded Intel Corp. workers
with company bashing electronic mail from sending any more of the
messages. The full judgment is now available online at:

* Intel Sues by mistake *
Intel had been negotiating a deal to cross license technologies with a
Taiwanese chip maker, and filed a suit in US District Court
accidentally, according to Intel officials. The lawsuit was a "draft,"
prepared as a contingency in case talks broke down. It was meant to sit
in the files until needed.

As this concludes this weeks news can someone explain How you
accidentally sue someone?

If you know of any cyberlaw updates, please send them to

That's all for this time,
see you next week

Yedidya M. Melchior 

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