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F & F


Edelman v. N2H2, Inc. - Requesting Declaratory Judgment
posted by filter_editor on Thursday July 25, @09:57AM
from the can-east-coast-code-beat-west-coast-code? dept.
News edelman writes "I today filed suit in Massachusetts federal court seeking a declaratory judgement to allow me to conduct research into a controversial Internet blocking program from defendant N2H2, Inc.

Internet blocking programs (also known as "filtering programs" and "censorware") are computer programs designed to prevent access to certain Web sites. N2H2 develops, markets and licenses a blocking program that prevents computer users from accessing content that has been categorized by N2H2 as objectionable. Part of the program is a list of sites to block -- a "block list" –- that contains hundreds of thousands of Web sites representing millions of pages of Web content.

Read more below....

Blocking programs such as N2H2's are notoriously inaccurate, often preventing access to sites that should not be blocked while failing to block many that should. And blocking programs are increasingly used in public schools and libraries and by various government agencies. Because of this growing public role, it is especially important that the public be able to check and evaluate how these programs work, and what Web sites are being blocked. However, most blocking program companies, like N2H2, consider their block lists to be proprietary trade secrets, and will only distribute them in an encrypted form that the program itself can understand but people can’t. As a result, current and potential customers, including schools and libraries, cannot effectively evaluate the program’s accuracy, and students, library patrons and other citizens forced to use blocking software are kept in the dark about the extent of web site filtering.

Accordingly, I seek to extract, analyze, and publish this list, and to further share the tools and methods I used to do so. But until the court confirms my constitutional right to engage in these activities -– a right that the DMCA and other legal developments have cast into doubt -– I cannot safely conduct this kind of research, much as I believe that such a project is in the public interest. In particular, I fear that N2H2 might accuse me of infringing their copyrights, of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), of breaching the software license that customers must agree to in order to install the N2H2 program, and/or of misappropriating N2H2's trade secrets (which N2H2’s license agreement makes customers promise to protect).

For more details about the case, including a full copy of the complaint, see postings at the following pages:
 http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/edelman/ edelman-v-n2h2
 http://www.aclu.org/issues/cyber/Edelman_N2H 2_feature.html

Ben Edelman
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Harvard Law School"

Reports from OSCON 2002 | Allowing the MPAA to hack your PC  >


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  • notoriously inaccurate
  • http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/p eople/edelman/ edelman-v-n2h2
  • http://www.aclu.org/news/2002/ n072502a.html
  • http://www.aclu.org/issues/cyb er/Edelman_N2H 2_feature.html
  • Ben Edelman
  • Berkman Center for Internet & Society
  • Harvard Law School
  • edelman
  • filed suit
  • N2H2, Inc.
  • More on News
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    Edelman v. N2H2, Inc. - Requesting Declaratory Judgment | Login/Create an Account | Top | 3 comments | Search Discussion
    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
    For more on this case, see (Score:1)
    by filter_editor on Thursday July 25, @10:06AM (#124)
    User #30 Info | http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/wentworth.html
    I've posted an article + interview with Ben on this case [corante.com], at Copyfight [corante.com].

    Declan McCullagh also has an article, here [com.com].

    Good Luck (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 25, @03:37PM (#126)
    Best of luck ben. I hope you win. iLaw 2002 Participant
    Good luck, seconded (Score:1)
    by Seth Finkelstein ({sethf} {at} {sethf.com}) on Friday July 26, @10:50PM (#129)
    User #31 Info | http://sethf.com/
    For obvious reasons [sethf.com] :-), I hope you win big.

    Seth Finkelstein [sethf.com]

    Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov

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