Being sued for doing what you designed your system to do — wonder if this is going to revolve around “intent?” – Keeper of Expired Web Pages Is Sued Because Archive Was Used in Another Suit
Beyond its utility for Internet historians, the Web page database, searchable with a form called the Wayback Machine, is also routinely used by intellectual property lawyers to help learn, for example, when and how a trademark might have been historically used or violated.
[…] In preparing the case, representatives of Earley Follmer used the Wayback Machine to turn up old Web pages – some dating to 1999 – originally posted by the plaintiff, Healthcare Advocates of Philadelphia.
Last week Healthcare Advocates sued both the Harding Earley firm and the Internet Archive, saying the access to its old Web pages, stored in the Internet Archive’s database, was unauthorized and illegal.
The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Philadelphia, seeks unspecified damages for copyright infringement and violations of two federal laws: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
[…] Mr. [William F.] Patry also noted that despite Healthcare Advocates’ desire to prevent people from seeing its old pages now, the archived pages were once posted openly by the company. He asserted that gathering them as part of fending off a lawsuit fell well within the bounds of fair use.
Whatever the circumstances behind the access, Mr. Patry said, the sole result “is that information that they had formerly made publicly available didn’t stay hidden.”
A growing number of the online pundits of various political persuasions are urging the Federal Election Commission to explicitly grant them the same wholesale exemptions from regulations governing contributions to political candidates that mainstream reporters, editorial writers and pundits get.
From CNet: Time for a Digital Age Communications Act
In fact, the statute entrenched too much of the legacy regulation put in place when communications markets were characterized by monopolistic power. Even though the 1996 Act acknowledged the Internet’s existence for purposes of attempting to legislate control of offensive content, when it came to foreseeing the Net’s marketplace impact, and that of other new technologies, Congress didn’t look far enough ahead.
Thanks to the technological advances spurred by the digital revolution, no sooner was the ink dry on the 1996 Act than the long-predicted convergence of communications services and emergence of new market entrants began gathering steam.
[…] So today we live in a world in which businesses we still call cable television companies provide voice services. Those we call telephone companies are racing to provide video services in competition with cable and satellite providers. Upstarts like Vonage, which utilize super-efficient Internet connections to carry voice traffic, call themselves a broadband telephone company. Wireless companies integrate voice, video and data for delivery anytime, anywhere, to a screen you carry in your pocket. And popular Web sites and blogs compete with traditional broadcasters and cablecasters for viewers’ eyeballs.
[…] Here’s the problem: Even while technology forces changes in the marketplace, the 1996 Act’s regulatory regime continues to act as a drag on investment in new networks and on innovation in new services. Services are classified based on technofunctional constructs that no longer make sense in a digital world in which a bit is a bit is a bit.
Something that I’ve been working on for another project — the ways in which personalization software is changing the online experience, and the potential undersides of reliance upon a digital intermediary: Software Helps Musicians and Fans Find Each Other [pdf]
And on the Internet, [Daryl] Scairiot’s haunting country tunes are lost in a crowd of songs being given away by obscure artists trying to attract a following.
“It still puts you in a position of having to launch a gigantic marketing campaign in order to get a sizable number of people to notice you,” he said in a recent interview.
But technology is giving musicians such as Scairiot another, more efficient way to find their audiences. New software pushes independent artists’ songs through the Internet to the people with matching tastes, exposing their music to the people most likely to become fans.
Note that one of the tools profiled, Change.TV’s Indy, has Freenet’s Ian Clarke in the background.