ALA awaits Supreme Court decision before addressin
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Computer underground Digest Wed May 7, 1997 Volume 9 : Issue 35
Editor: Jim Thomas (email@example.com)
News Editor: Gordon Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow Master: Stanton McCandlish
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Field Agent Extraordinaire: David Smith
Cu Digest Homepage: http://www.soci.niu.edu/~cudigest
CONTENTS, #9.35 (Wed, May 7, 1997)
File 1--ALA awaits Supreme Court decision before addressing filtering
File 2--Digital Blocks Alternate Vista
File 3--AOL Users In Britain Warned of Surveillance
File 4--NSF out of DNS, what comes next?
File 5--Re: "Response to K. Arromdee"
File 6--More <gov.*> material and index to articles
File 7--FCC Universal Service Hearing Live on the Net
File 8--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 7 May, 1997)
CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN
THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE.
Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 13:55:38 -0800
From: "--Todd Lappin-->" <email@example.com>
Subject: File 1--ALA awaits Supreme Court decision before addressing filtering
The ALA has punted for now...
Date--Fri, 02 May 1997 14:55:29 -0500
From--Andrea Wiley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Contact: Deborah Liebow
ALA awaits Supreme Court decision before addressing filtering
The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the American Library
Association (ALA) says it will wait for a Supreme Court ruling on the
constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act before issuing a
statement on the use of filtering systems in libraries. The committee met
April 25-27 at ALA Headquarters in Chicago.
*If this were an easy issue, it would not be before the
Supreme Court,* said Ann Symons, chair of the committee which met
April 25-27 at ALA headquarters in Chicago.
The legal challenge to the Communications Decency Act, led by
the American Library Association, is now before the U.S. Supreme
Court which is expected to announce its decision around the ALA
Annual Conference scheduled June 26-July 3 in San Francisco. The
historic case is expected to determine how freedom of speech rights
guaranteed by the First Amendment will apply to the Internet.
Although the committee decided to wait before addressing the
use of filtering systems in libraries, Symons said the committee
developed draft guidelines for libraries that provide public access to the
Internet. These include:
- Educate yourself, your staff, your library board, governing
bodies, community leaders, parents, children and others about the
Internet, and how to take advantage of the wealth of information it
- Establish and implement written guidelines and policies on use
of the Internet that are in keeping with your library's mission and policies
on access to library materials.
- Remind parents they are responsible for their children's
- Create and promote library Web pages with sites that have
been selected by library staff for both adults and children.
- Use privacy screens or arrange Internet terminals away from
public view to protect the confidentiality of users and avoid offending
other users who might not agree with another's viewing choice.
Libraries are encouraged to send copies of their Internet
access policies and educational materials to the ALA Office for
Intellectual Freedom, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. To receive
samples of what other libraries have done or the ALA's interpretation
of the Library Bill of Rights on access to electronic information, contact
the Office for Intellectual Freedom at 800-545-2433, ext. 4223, by fax at
312-280-4227 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 21:04:10 -0500
Subject: File 2--Digital Blocks Alternate Vista
Published in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, April 10, 1997 at page 5.
Digital Wins Suit to Block Alternate Vista
Copyright 1997 by David Loundy
Past articles archived at http://www.Loundy.com/
To receive by e-mail send "subscribe" to Loundy-Request@NETural.com
Domain names have value, as most people reading this article already
understand. In some cases, a domain name may have value to more than one
company, as Digital Equipment Corp. has seen first-hand.
Digital operates one of the best known "search engines" on the Internet--
"AltaVista." The search engine is available on a Digital web site at
http://www.altavista.digital.com/. Digital makes the search engine
available in part to showcase Digital's Alpha workstations, on which the
search engine runs.
When Digital was preparing to offer this search engine, it found that
another computer company was already using the AltaVista trademark, and the
other company already had a web page up at http://www.altavista.com/.
Digital entered into negotiations with the other company, AltaVista
Technology, Inc. (ATI), and purchased the AltaVista trademark. Digital then
licensed certain rights back to ATI. ATI was allowed to continue using the
name "AltaVista," but only in its corporate name, and it was allowed to
continue using the altavista.com domain name. Digital then established its
AltaVista web site at http://www.altavista.digital.com/.
The search engine proved very popular, and word spread about the AltaVista
search engine. In one account, the site was reported as receiving some 20
million "hits" a day. However, a significant number of Internet users
looked for the AltaVista search engine at the address
http://www.altavista.com/ -- a natural place to look for people who are
familiar with common methods for guessing the location of entities on the
Internet, yet who are not familiar with where to find this search engine in
particular. All of these people found themselves looking at the web page
for AltaVista Technology, Inc. Supposedly hundreds of thousands of people
mistakenly found themselves at ATI's page every day.
ATI lost little time in capitalizing on this confusion. Within a few months
after ATI signed the licensing agreement with Digital, ATI had modified its
web site. Accidental visitors to the web site were presented with an
opportunity to download "demo versions of AltaVista software." There was
also a link to an anonymous search engine, labeled "Search the Internet"
(which happened to be Digital's AltaVista search engine). Also, at the top
of the page, visitors would also see, in large type, the word "AltaVista"
sans the rest of ATI's corporate name.
After a few more months, ATI made further modifications to its web page.
Namely, the "Search the Internet" line was replaced with "Digital's
AltaVista." Also, ATI began selling "banner ad" space on its web site.
At this point, Digital sent a letter to ATI accusing it of violating the
companies' license agreement. Specifically, the letter argued that by using
the name "AltaVista" alone on the web page, it was a use beyond the two
allowed in the license agreement-- in the full corporate name, AltaVista
Technology, Inc., and in the Internet address http://www.altavista.com/.
ATI apparently took this letter to heart (perhaps motivated by the threat
to cancel the license agreement under one of the agreement's provisions),
and modified its web page yet again. Underneath the large AltaVista logo,
ATI added the word "Technology" in smaller type. This, however, was not the
only change ATI made to its web page.
In addition to the banner ad that had been added earlier, a link was added
which invited advertisers to "click here for advertising information--
reach millions every month!" Below this legend, was a replica of the
Digital AltaVista search engine interface (complete with logo and a label
that users can Search with Digital's AltaVista), which would then execute
the searches entered using the Digital search engine. In essence, visitors
to ATI's site, who either did not know any better or did not look
carefully, would easily believe they had reached Digital's AltaVista.
In an interview conducted by Newsbytes, Jack Marshall, ATI president,
argues that the changes to the web page were not made to capitalize on the
confusion between the two AltaVistas, and that a certain amount of this
"side traffic" was discussed in the licensing negotiations with Digital.
This side traffic, Marshall states, was one of the motivations to transfer
the AltaVista mark to Digital. Nonetheless, a lawsuit ensued (Digital
Equipment Corp. v. AltaVista Technology, Inc., No. 96-12192NG, D. Mass,
March 12, 1997).
U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner granted Digital a preliminary injunction.
A large portion of the court's decision was spent analyzing whether the
court had jurisdiction. Continuing the recent trend of finding jurisdiction
wherever a web page can be accessed, the court found that the California
software company was subject to personal jurisdiction in Massachusetts.
Also following a recent trend, the court worked to avoid the need to claim
that web page activities alone were sufficient to convey jurisdiction. The
court stressed that ATI had solicited advertising and sales in the forum
state (though from its web page), had a contract with a Massachusetts
company, and could foresee causing damage to trademarks in the forum state.
Nonetheless, Gertner did acknowledge that ATI's sales in Massachusetts were
minimal, the contract was not signed in Massachusetts, and no one from ATI
had dealt with Digital in that state. Furthermore, the court stated that
ATI was chargeable with knowing that its web page was available in the
forum state, and thus ATI was subject to liability there. The court said
that it was not unreasonable to make the defendant defend itself on the
other side of the continent-- rather such a burden was just a cost of doing
business on the Internet-- which ATI should have kept in mind before
engaging in the conduct subject to this controversy.
As to the specific allegations, Judge Gertner agreed that ATI exceeded its
license rights. She stated that the license did not allow ATI to use the
AltaVista name in conjunction of ATI's offer of free software, nor was ATI
allowed to use the name by itself at the top of its web page. When ATI
later added the word "technology" in smaller type, it did not cure the
apparent use of the AltaVista name in a trademark or servicemark like
fashion. These and other uses of the name constituted a likely breach of
the license agreement.
Next, the court turned to the issue of trademark infringement (as well as
unfair competition). The court held that there was a valid trademark used
in interstate commerce in a fashion that was likely to cause confusion.
Specifically, the court found the two companies' AltaVista marks to be
similar, especially in light of their use on both web pages for search
services. Furthermore, the services indicated by the marks were identical--
and more so than usual-- Digital used its mark to identify its search
service, and ATI used the mark to identify its search service, which was
also the Digital search engine. Next, the two companies both provided
computer software and Internet services to a similar market. Furthermore,
not only were people actually confused as to which company's web page they
were using, the court held ATI intended to benefit from the popularity of
Digital's AltaVista mark.
The outcome of this case is not really a surprise. It is, however, a useful
lesson in business planning for Internet use. Just as some companies
acquire common "misdials" of other companies telephone numbers and then
offer a competing service to callers who dial the wrong number, so too can
the same sort of activity occur on the Internet. In this case, Digital
allowed ATI to retain use of the altavista.com domain name. If Digital had
acquired the domain name as well as the AltaVista trademark, or picked
another mark altogether, this case would not have been.
Digital's marketing scheme had some reason to it. The search engine was
intended to showcase Digital technology. Internet users could not use the
service from the official AltaVista web page without seeing that the search
engine was housed at the digital.com domain. Unfortunately, the Digital-ATI
license agreement left open a hole that took litigation to plug.
While the particular facts make this an unusual situation, as new top level
domains (e.g., .com, .edu) are added to relieve the Internet addressing
crunch, such disputes are bound to arise in a new context. I wonder if
anyone has registered digital.biz, digital.corp, or altavista.web yet?
David J. Loundy | E-Mail: David@Loundy.com
| WWW: http://www.Loundy.com/
A good satire will likely | Phone: (847) 926-9744
offend someone. Good law, | Listserv (for my Technology Law column):
however, must allow the | Send a message reading "subscribe"
offense. --H. Dorsen | to Loundyfirstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 28 Apr 97 06:14:07 EDT
From: "K. N. Cukier" <email@example.com>
Subject: File 3--AOL Users In Britain Warned of Surveillance
Source - Fight Censorship <FIGHT-CENSORSHIP@vorlon.mit.edu>
>From the International Herald Tribune, Saturday, April 26, 1997:
AOL Users In Britain Warned of Surveillance
By Christopher Johnston
LONDON - Subscribers logging onto AOL Ltd. in Britain this week
were greeted with news that the Internet-service provider was
imposing a tough new contract giving it wide latitude to disclose
subscribers' private E-mail and on-line activities to law
enforcement and security agencies.
The new contract also requires users to comply with both British
and U.S. export laws governing encryption. AOL Ltd. is a
subsidiary of AOL Europe, which is a joint venture between
America Online Inc. of the United States and Germany's
The contract notes in part that AOL ''reserves the right to
monitor or disclose the contents of private communication over
AOL and your data to the extent permitted or required by law.''
''It's bad news,'' said Marc Rotenberg, director of the
Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based civil
liberties organization. ''I think AOL is putting up a red flag
that their commitment to privacy is on the decline. It puts
their users on notice that to the extent permitted by law, they
can do anything they want.''
The contract also prohibits subscribers from posting or
transmitting any content that is ''unlawful, harmful,
threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene,
seditious, blasphemous, hateful, racially, ethnically or
AOL and its competitors called the move part of a trend to
protect on-line service providers from suits by users in case
they are required to disclose subscribers' activities to law
The contract also beefed up the legal wording relating to
sensitive content such as pornography, and prohibiting the
maintenance of links to obscene Web sites.
The updated contract is also the first to inform subscribers that
they are required to comply with both British and U.S. export
laws governing encryption, or coding, a hot topic of debate
recently between software publishers and security agencies.
AOL Europe will provide similar contracts, which vary according
to local law in each of the seven European countries in which the
AOL executives denied any government pressure in updating the
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 18:22:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: George J Kamenz <z005318b@BC.SEFLIN.ORG>
Subject: File 4--NSF out of DNS, what comes next?
On Mon, 28 Apr 1997, in Cu Digest someone wrote:
> From--Thomas Grant Edwards <tedwards@Glue.umd.edu>
> Subject--File 6--NSF out of DNS, what comes next?
> C-NET is reporting that the National Science Foundation is getting
> out of the domain name business as early as March 1998 if not sooner,
> and will not renew the InterNIC agreement with Network Solutions.
Someone speaking on behalf of Network Solutions said, in effect, that
they would continue DNS registration and resolution. Almost at the
same time that the NSF made its announcement.
> Someone please tell me I'm worrying too much!
You are worrying about the wrong things. At present there is a rather
clearly defined group of root name servers. The process of registering
a name is pretty clearly defined.
What needs to be thought about are issues related to configuring in new
root servers, and deleted old ones comparatively quickly. Expiring
caches quicker. And registering domain names in multiple separate sets
of root servers.
Then, after a while, things will stabilize. If a government sponsored
collection of servers doesn't do the job without too much pooh-pooh, some
bunch on the 'net will start its own collection. It isn't actually all
that important whether the resulting 'monopoly' is government or 'net
The only unfortunate aspect is that the kind of cohesion, discipline, and
persistence needed to actually create and maintain such a set of root
servers and administer the registration process has not been greatly in
evidence in the past.
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 10:17:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ken Arromdee <arromdee@RANDOMC.COM>
Subject: File 5--Re: "Response to K. Arromdee"
Paul Kneisel seems to write as if Usenet is a political pamphlet.
His post is about 4 times as long as it needs be.
The word "paranoid" is not a clinical diagnosis. It's an informal
comment used to refer to someone who believes, especially on
flimsy evidence, that things which he doesn't like are caused by
conspiracies, regardless of what psychiatric tests he does or
doesn't meet. All that verbiage about diagnosis could have been
Finally, he mistakes showing existence for showing relevancy, a
mistake that he also made for the anti-fascism group (when he
acted as if showing that fascism is a problem on the net also
automatically shows that his group was a solution). Here, he
devotes pages to explaining that government conspiracies exist,
but nothing to showing that this situation is one of them or to
showing what is wrong with the alternate, non-conspiratorial,
explanation (i.e. that gov-* is not in the Big 8 and therefore
does not follow Big 8 rules). "Conspiracies exist" is not proof
of "this is a conspiracy".
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 1997 14:55:17 -0400
From: Paul Kneisel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: File 6--More <gov.*> material and index to articles
THE POWER TO MODERATE IS THE POWER TO CENSOR
by tallpaul (Paul Kneisel)
Some 200+ new news groups have just been created on the UseNet part of the
Internet. They are grouped under a new <gov.*> hierarchy.
<gov.*> promises to "take democracy into cyberspace," according to the
press release from the National Science Foundation. "The U.S.
government," said U.S. Vice President Al Gore of the GovNews project, "is
taking a leadership role in providing technology that could change the face
of democracy around the world."
The GovNews project repeatedly stresses how it will support and promote
feedback between governments and citizens. "Millions of people will now be
able to follow and comment on government activity in selected areas of
interest...," the release stated, promising "a wide, cost-effective
electronic dissemination and discussion...."
Preston Rich, the National Science Foundation's leader of the International
GovNews Project, described GovNews as "newsgroups logically organized by
topic from privatization, procurements and emergency alerts to toxic waste
and marine resources and include[s] the capability to discuss such
The vast majority of the new <gov.*> groups are moderated.
The idea of the moderated news
group is increasingly accepted on UseNet. Off-topic posts, flames, and spam
have made many non-moderated groups effectively unreadable by most users.
Moderated groups are one effective way around these problems. New groups
created in the non-<gov.*> "Big 8" UseNet hierarchy have formal charters
defining the group. If the group is moderated then the powers, identity,
and qualifications of the moderators are also listed. Unmoderated groups
might be likened to informal free-for-all debates where there is no check
on who can participate or on the form or content of what is said. Moderated
groups are far closer to a specially-defined meeting of citizens with a
formal Chair, empowered to declare certain topics off-limits for
discussion, and to call unruly participants to order.
An unmoderated UseNet group dedicated to baking cookies might be flooded
with posts advertising bunion cures, reports of flying saucers sighted over
Buckingham Palace, or articles denouncing Hillary Clinton as a Satanist. A
moderator for the group has the power to block all of these posts, ensuring
that they are not sent to the UseNet feed and do not appear among the
on-topic discussion of cookies.
Certainly some moderators on UseNet groups abuse their powers (as do some
Chairs at non-Internet meetings.) But reports of such abuse are relatively
rare given the number of moderated groups. And, of course, many complaints
come from the proverbial "net.kooks" or those who oppose moderation in
Moderators in the "Big 8" UseNet hierarchy are "civilians," not government
employees moderating government-related groups while collecting government
The <gov.*> hierarchy inferentially changes this. I write "inferentially"
because the charters, names and qualifications of the moderators in the
200+ groups has not been formally announced. Nor do routine queries to
members of the <gov.*> leading Hierarchial Coordinating Committee result in
such detailed information.
UseNet is not the entire Internet. Net-based technology like the World Wide
Web and the "File Transfer Protocol" or FTP are designed for the one-way
transmission of data. Few object to the _Congressional Record_ on-line or
crop reports posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture available on the
Web or via FTP. But the news groups of UseNet are designed for two-way
discussions, not spam-like one-way info-floods of data carefully selected
by government bureaucrats.
That creates an enormous problem when government employees moderate the
discussion, regardless of how well, appropriately, or fairly the moderation
For government moderation of any discussion is censorship and it is wrong.
Initial reports also indicate that most of the <gov.*> groups will be "robo
[t]-moderated." In other words, specialized software programs will handle
the bulk of the moderator's tasks. Robo-moderation, however, alters
nothing. A good robo program may catch and eliminate 99% of the spam sent
to the group or identify notorious flame-artists. But the power to
robo-moderate remains the power to censor; the power to select one
robo-moderator is the power to select another; the power to automatically
remove bunion ads is simultaneously the power to eliminate all posts from
Iraq in a political discussion or any message containing the string
In short, moderation on <gov.*> groups by government employees remains
censorship whether conducted by software or humans, whether posts are
approriately banned or the moderation places severe limits on free
political speech. *Any* limitation of posts from any citizen by any
government employee is censorship.
It is also forbidden by law.
 "GOVNEWS: N[ational] S[cience] F[oundation] Press Release for GovNews,"
17 Mar 1997, <http://www.govnews.org/govnews/info/press.html>, accessed 21
 One wonders what technology Gore believes GovNews is providing.
Certainly neither the Internet or UseNet is part of that technology for
both existed long before GovNews.X-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-X
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