Computer underground Digest Sun Aug 6, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 65 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji
Computer underground Digest Sun Aug 6, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 65
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow Master: Stanton McCandlish
Field Agent Extraordinaire: David Smith
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
CONTENTS, #7.65 (Sun, Aug 6, 1995)
File 1--FWD>House Telecommunications Bill Passes with Amendments (fwd)
File 2--CDT Testimony for Today's Sen. Hearing (fwd)
File 3--VTW BillWatch #12
File 4--Re: Intellectual property
File 5--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 19 Apr, 1995)
CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN
THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE.
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 1995 22:18:58 -0500 (CDT)
From: David Smith
Subject: File 1--FWD>House Telecommunications Bill Passes with Amendments (fwd)
From--Vigdor Schreibman - FINS
Subject--HOUSE TELECOM PASSES WITH AMENDMENTS (fwd)
HOUSE TELECOM PASSES WITH AMENDMENTS
Broadcast Limitation & Parental Choice Approved
Washington, DC--The House of Representatives, this afternoon, passed the
"Communications Act of 1995" [HR 1555], in a final vote of 305 yeas to 117
nays. An amendment (2-5) offered by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), was
agreed to earlier by a vote of 228 yeas to 195 nays to limit the
ownership by any person of television stations which have an aggregate
national audience reach exceeding 35 percent.
Another amendment (2-6) offered by Reps. Markey, Dan Burton (D-IN), John
M. Spratt, Jr (D-SC), and James P. Moran (D-VA), was agreed to by a vote
of 224 yeas to 199 nays, would establish a plan to facilitate parental
choice in television programming. The amendment would establish a
voluntary television rating system, and require that televisions be
equipped with program-blocking technology known as the "V-chip or "choice
The "V-chip" agreement was a surprise outcome. A vote of the House
first approved a substitute amendment (2-7) offered by Rep. Tom A. Coburn
(R-OK) that was agreed to by a vote of 222 yeas to 201 nays. The Coburn
amendment would have replaced parental control with a Federally mandated
industry study. However, on a motion to recommit offered by Rep. Markey
with instruction to insert the language of the Markey amendment (2-6), the
House approved the motion by a vote of 224 yeas to 199 nays and, thereby,
mandated the provisions of both amendments. Rep. Burton was evidently so
thrilled by the result, which he had passionately supported, that he was
seen weeping in joy after the final outcome was announced.
Vigdor Schreibman - FINS
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 1995 22:23:53 -0500 (CDT)
From: David Smith
Subject: File 2--CDT Testimony for Today's Sen. Hearing (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date--Mon, 24 Jul 1995 13:24:25 -0400
Below is CDT Executive Director Jerry Berman's testimony for today's
hearing on the Dole/Grassley bill.
We will post a review of the hearing later tonight and will make the
testimony of other witnesses available as soon as we get it.
Jerry Berman, Executive Director
Center for Democracy and Technology
The "Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act of 1995" (S. 892)
the Senate Judiciary Committee
July 24, 1995
Mr. Chairman and Member of the Subcommittee:
My name is Jerry Berman, Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and
Technology. The Center is pleased to have opportunity to address the
subcommittee on one of the critical civil liberties issues of our day: the
question of the most effective and constitutional means of protecting
children from inappropriate material on the Internet. We are pleased,
therefore, the have the opportunity to offer our views on the proposed
"Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act of 1995." (S. 892) =
The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) is an independent, non-profit
public interest policy organization in Washington, DC. The Center's
mission is to develop and implement public policies to protect and advance
individual liberty and democratic values in new digital media. The Center
achieves its goals through policy development, public education, and
The Center is also the coordinator of the Interactive Working Group (IWG),
an ad hoc working group of over 85 organizations from the computer and
communications industries, and the public interest community. Since
January 1995, the IWG has been working to address the question of how to
protect children from inappropriate material online in a manner which is
consistent with Constitutional values and continued innovation in
I. Broad reach and sweeping impact of the "Protection of Children from
Computer Pornography Act of 1995."
The "Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act of 1995" (S.892)
has been presented as a narrowly drawn statute, designed to target the "bad
actors." Unfortunately, based on CDT's analysis, the proposed statute is
in fact strickingly broad. In some senses, it is even more sweeping than
the Communications Decency Act.
A. The Grassley bill creates broad criminal liability for online servi=
providers, video dialtone network operators, full service network
providers, schools, libraries, private businesses, and many content
Notwithstanding the intent of the drafters, the Grassley bill sweeps a
number of commercial and noncommercial entities into its ambit. Covered
* commercial online service providers,
* universities which offer access to the Internet,
* other public information resources,
* small and large businesses which provide their employees with access to=
In addition, since the bill covers all "electronic communications service"
providers (see =A72(b)(1(B)), S. 892 also threatens criminal liability for:
* video dialtone networks operated by local telephone companies, and
* full service networks operated by cable television companies.
Included as well would be any commercial or noncommercial provider of
content which operates its own computer to distribute that content. As a
result, all of the individuals and institutions which publish through the
World Wide Web and operate their own computers attached to the Internet
would face liability under this bill. To the extent that a content
provider -- whether an individual or a large publishing company -- operates
a computer which makes information available to others, that publisher
would be subject to the provisions of S. 892.
B. Broad scienter requirements in S. 892 would force the segration of =
Internet into a children's network and a separate adult network
The scienter requirements in the proposed statute appear to have been
designed in order to limit the scope of the statute. However, as drafted,
the statute is subject to broad, sweeping interpretation when applied by
criminal courts. These overly broad scienter requirements would force all
who provide access to the Internet or other online services to create, in
effect, separate networks for children and for adults. Such a stark
separation would likely be the only way to for online service providers and
system operators to avoid liability under S. 892.
The new proposed =A7(b)(2) of 18 U.S.C. =A71464 would criminalize the "know=
transmission of indecent material to minors by any electronic communication
service provider. According to one interpretation, the application of this
knowledge requirement could apply to any provider who knows that a specific
individual is a minor, and then transmits indecent material to that
individual. Or, another interpretation could hold that service providers
know that minors are on their service and that there is indecent material
on the Internet. Thus, service providers -- including schools, libraries
and private businesses -- would be criminally liable for merely providing
minors with access to the Internet. Nothing in the statute or relevant
case law suggests that courts applying this law would be compelled to adopt
the former, more narrow, interpretation. Rather, it is perfectly plausible
to read the proposed =A7(b)(2) as a punishment for any service provider or
system operator who makes indecent material publicly available to an
audience that may include minors.
The threat of a broad interpretation of this new statute would compel all
who provide access to the Internet to restrict all public discussion areas
and public information sources from subscribers, unless they prove that
they are over the age of eighteen. Under this statute, a service provider
could not even provide Internet access to a minor with the approval of the
child's parent. Since every online service provider would have to
similarly restrict access to minors, this proposed statute would create two
separate Internets, one for children and one for adults. Access by a child
to the adult network would create criminal liability for the service
II. The vagueness of the "Protection of Children from Computer Pornogra=
Act of 1995" will create a chilling effect on all forms of speech o=
the Internet and great confusion among schools, libraries, business=
and online service providers who offer access to the Internet.
A. Application of "willful" standard is unclear in the bill as drafted=
will lead to confusion among service providers and users
The 'willful' standard also creates the possibility for significant
confusion, given the widely divergent readings of the 'willful'
requirement. In some instances, 'willful' is read as a so-called "tax
standard," implying that to be convicted one must manifest a voluntary and
intentional act which is violation of a known legal duty. Cheek v. United
States, 111 S.Ct 604 (1991). However, courts have also found that
willfulness means nothing more than a person acted knowingly and
deliberately. United States v. Peltz, 433 F.2d 48, 54-055 (2d Cir.1970),
cert. denied, 401 U.S. 955 (1971). The drafters of the Model Penal Code
define willful as merely knowing action, and do not require specific
intent to violate a known legal duty. Recent Supreme Court jurisprudence
in the area of money laundering, on the other hand, has required that the
defendant's actions demonstrate knowledge that his or her conduct is, in
fact, a violation of the law. United States v. Ratzlaf, 114 S.Ct 655
A broad reading of "willful," requiring primarily purposive action leading
to a minor's access to indecency, but not knowledge of the fact that such
actions constituted violations of the law, would subject many service
providers to liability under =A7 1464. A more narrow reading of this
requirement, could diminish the overreaching impact of the statute,
however, such an interpretation is by no means guaranteed. While Ratzlaf
may offer some support in this regard, the Court also noted that "
'Willful,' ... is a 'word of many meanings,' and 'its construction' [is]
often ... influenced by its content.' " Id. at 659 (citations omitted).
The context was supplied, in part, by the statute in question, which had
previously construed "willful" as knowing violation of a known legal duty.
Id. No such context is available in 18 U.S.C. =A7 1464 to aid a court in
Confusion as to providers legal duty will create a tremendous chilling
effect on all online communications. In order to minimize their risk,
service providers will be forced to adopt rules governing their users
behavior that are likely to be highly restrictive.
B. Heavy-handed content regulation will squander the democratic potent=
of interactive media
As the popularity and accessibility of the Internet and commercial online
services grows, and as the medium becomes easier to use, the political uses
of the net have flourished. Political discourse is facilitated by a
variety of different communications techniques possible online, including
newsgroups, mailing list discussion groups, chat sessions, and a host of
electronic publishing capabilities. Any regulation creating criminal
penalties for communication of indecent material would have a substantial
chilling effect on all who use interactive media. Such a chilling effect
would severely inhibit the growth of the Internet as a political forum.
Political groups left, right, and center are using the Internet to
communicate, to organize, and to advocate their own views. Advocacy
organizations have found World Wide Web services are critical to political
education activities, and an increasing number of grass roots and community
groups are coming to rely on the Internet to keep in touch with members and
constituents. In fact, even some Senators offices are using the World Wide
Web to communicate with and solicit feedback from constituents. As a
nation we should be encouraging political discourse in this new medium,
because of its potential to raise the level of political discussion beyond
the sound bite and to involve more citizens in the political process. One
aspect of encouraging political discourse in interactive media is to assure
all users that their First Amendment and privacy rights will be respected
Indeed, the Internet and other online services are fast becoming a new
public forum for political discourse for American citizens. In order to
preserve the freedom and openness of this new political arena, it is
critical to avoid creating a chilling effect on individual expression.
III. The "Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act of 1995" =
unconstitutional under the First Amendment for failure to adopt the
least restrictive means
The proposed statute extends indecency restrictions enacted to apply to the
broadcast radio and television media to new interactive communications
media such as the Internet, commercial online services, and electronic
bulletin board systems. Though indecency restrictions have been applied to
broadcasting for some time, reflexive extension of the same restrictions to
new interactive communications media is simply unconstitutional. The
Supreme Court has long held that "each medium of expression presents
special First Amendment problems." In light of the substantial control
that users and parents have over content that enters their homes via
interactive media, government restrictions on indecency as proposed by the
Grassley bill are unconstitutional.
A. Censorship of indecent, but not obscene, communications for the pur=
of protecting minors must employ the least restrictive means availa=
to accomplish their goal
Indecent communications are protected by the First Amendment, unlike
obscenity which is altogether unprotected. Sable Communications of
California v. FCC, 492 US 115; 109 S.Ct. 2829; 106 L.Ed. 2d 93 (1989).
Indecent communications, which do not rise to the level of obscenity, can
only be limited in order to serve a compelling state purpose and must be
done using the least restrictive means possible. Id. at 125. The Sable
court found that the protection of minors from access to indecent material
is a compelling state purpose, but that "it is not enough that the
Government's ends are compelling; the means must be carefully tailored to
achieve those ends." Id.
As a threshold matter, the Sable court found that the constitutional basis
for upholding indecency regulations in broadcast media articulated in
Pacifica Foundation v. FCC, 438 US 726, 98 S.Ct. 3026, 57 L.Ed. 2d 1073
(1978), were inapplicable in any other media besides over-the-air
broadcasting. 492 U.S. at 127. Pacifica accepted that the FCC had
authority to enforce content regulation based on the dual finding that 1)
radio was a "uniquely pervasive medium" that intruded (dirty words and
all) into peoples homes, and 2) the only way to protect children from
exposure to objectionable content was to keep it off the air altogether. =
Sable rejects this finding of "pervasiveness" as "emphatically narrow" and
irrelevant to other media such as telephone audiotext services. 492 U.S. at
Thus, the Sable "least restrictive means" standard became the test by which
all regulations on access to constitutionally protected indecent material
were judged. Nearly ten years of litigation along with adjustment of the
statute and regulation were required before the current statute was found
constitutional under this standard. See Dial Information Services v.
Thornburg, 938 F.2d 1535 (2d Cir., 1991)(finding FCC regulations
implementing =A7 223(b) constitutional). During the course of the dispute
over the application of =A7 223 to audiotext services, courts considered an=
rejected a number of means by which carriers were required to shield minors
from access to indecent information. First, time channeling rules,
requiring that services only be accessible during hours when children were
asleep, were found to violate the First Amendment because they had the
effect of denying access to adults as well as children. Carlin
Communications v. FCC, 749 F.2d 113, 121 (2d Cir. 1984) (Carlin I). Next,
the courts rejected a requirement that carriers provide access to indecent
services only once customers entered access codes or passwords, which were
to be issued after verification that the customer was over 18. Carlin
Communications v. FCC, 787 F.2d 846 (2d Cir. 1986)(Carlin II).
The finding of the Dial court, approving the constitutionality of =A7 223 a=
associated regulations depended on the legislative determination that the
telephone company blocking of service pending age verification or use of a
credit card are the only means to enable parents to restrict their children
from access to indecent audiotext services.
B. Background on dial-a-porn rules: lack of user control leads to inde=
As was the case for broadcast indecency restrictions considered in
Pacifica, the dial-a-porn restrictions were only found constitutional
because of the uniquely intrusive and uncontrollable nature of the
audiotext services. A key legislative motivation for imposing these rules
during the 1980s was that indecent information available through audiotext
services in the telephone system were openly available to children in such
a way that it was difficult for parents to control access by their
children. The views of Congressman Bliley recounts the prevailing view of
the need for the legislation: "It constitutes an attractive nuisance in
every home in America where children are present. There is no completely
effective way to prevent children from being exposed to "indecent" or
"obscene" dial-a-porn so long as it is lawfully and commercially marketed.
. . ." Bliley continues:
"Telephones are precisely like radio and television because of their easy
accessibility to children and the virtual impossibility for parents to
monitor their use . . . . [D]ial-a-porn is presently in the home whether
the homeowner wants it or not. Today one cannot have telephone service in
the privacy of one's family environment without being required to [have]
dial-a-porn with it. Families with children must give up telephone service
to be "left alone" from exposure of their children to this intruder."
The current statute and Federal Communications Commission regulations
promulgated thereunder were found constitutional only after nearly ten
years of litigation and efforts by Congress and the Commission to bring the
statute within constitutionally acceptable bounds. Indecency restrictions
applied to interactive media would require a wholesale review of the
constitutionality as applied to new media such as online services and the
Internet. Interactive media operates in such a different manner that the
constitutional issues must be considered afresh given the new factual
C. Reliance on government censorship to restrict access to indecency
to take into account the fact that interactive media offers parents=
much greater degree of control then broadcast services or 900 numbe=
Indecency restrictions in interactive media would presumably be motivated
by the same goal of protecting minors as the existing statute. However,
the means adopted for achieving the goal are impermissible under the First
Amendment because they are not the least restrictive means of accomplishing
the legitimate government purpose. Interactive media is materially
different than analog telephone and audiotext technology in that it offers
users the ability to exercise control over precisely what information one
accesses. Given the dramatic difference between telephone technology and
interactive services such as the Internet and other interactive media, we
believe that blocking by the carrier as demanded by =A7 223 would not meet
the "least restrictive means" test.
Just as the Sable court found broadcast indecency regulations inapplicable
to the telephone system because of differences in the medium, regulations
designed for audiotext services in the telephone system are
constitutionally inapplicable to new interactive media. Indeed, indecency
restrictions on material transport by US Mail have also been struck down by
the Supreme Court precisely because "the receipt of mail is far less
intrusive and uncontrollable" than broadcast information that was the
subject of the Pacifica case.
Technologies already exist that enable users to access certain information
based on a variety of characteristics, or, to exclude certain types of
information from access. With such filtering technology, users, instead
of the government or network operators, can exercise control over the
information content that they receive in an interactive network
environment. User control could be exercised in two ways. First, one
could screen out all messages or programs based on information in the
header. If a parent wanted to prevent a child from seeing a particular
movie or from participating in a particular online discussion group, then
the computer or other information appliance used by the child could be set
by the parent to screen out the objectionable content. Such features can
often be protected with passwords which would be assigned, for example, by
the responsible adults in the house. Second, the same systems can be used
to enable blocking of content based on third-party rating systems.
Given the flexibility of interactive technology, we need not rely on just
one rating system. In fact, a single rating system or a single set of
filters would merely replace a single government censor with a single
private censor, with no real gain for the free flow of information.
Properly implemented, interactive media can accommodate multiple filtering
systems, giving users and parents the opportunity to select and block
information based on a true diversity of criteria. The national Parent
Teachers Association or different religious organizations could set up
rating systems which would be available on the network to those who desired
them. Rather than relying on the judgment of the government, or of the
service provider, viewers can limit access to content based on the judgment
of a group whose values they share.
Interactive media can enable individuals and parents to prevent themselves
or their children from using their PCs or TVs to access certain kinds of
content. With such control mechanisms within the practical reach of
parents, the governmental purpose generally cited for indecency regulations
-- the protection of children -- could be accomplished without government
content restrictions. In particular, the reasoning of Pacifica (intrusion
of the indecent message into homes) and Sable (inability of parents to
exercise control) would no longer justify most content regulation.
Date: Sat, 5 Aug 1995 03:06:49 -0400
From: "Shabbir J. Safdar"
Subject: File 3--VTW BillWatch #12
VTW BillWatch: A weekly newsletter tracking US Federal legislation
affecting civil liberties. BillWatch is published every
Friday afternoon as long as Congress is in session.
Issue #12, Date: Sat Aug 5 03:01:07 EDT 1995
Please widely redistribute this document with this banner intact
Redistribute no more than two weeks after above date
Reproduce this alert only in relevant forums
Distributed by the Voters Telecommunications Watch (email@example.com)
*** Know of someone in NY/NJ with a fax machine but without net ***
*** access that's interested in VTW's issues? Tell them to ***
*** call and get on our weekly fax distribution list at ***
*** (718) 596-2851. ***
To get on the distribution list for BillWatch, send mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "subscribe vtw-announce Firstname Lastname"
in the subject line.
Email email@example.com with "send billwatch" in the subject line
to receive the latest version of BillWatch
For permission to reproduce VTW alerts in your own publication
What happened in the last 48 hours?
Rumor Central (RC)
Internet Freedom and Family Empowerment Act (HR 1978, S n.a.)
(passed in the House, nothing in Senate)
1995 Communications Decency Act (HR 1004, S 314)
(passed Senate, a last-minute version passed in the House)
1995 Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act
(HR n.a., S 892, Senate hearing scheduled for July 24th)
Anti-Electronic Racketeering Act of 1995
(HR n.a., S 974, not currently moving in the Senate)
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LAST 48 HOURS?
On Monday we released an alert asking the net to call their
Representatives about supporting parental control as the best method of
monitoring children's access to material on the Internet. You
responded in spades. We're still digging out of the email, and Steven
Cherry (VTW - firstname.lastname@example.org) has been covering most of the mail reply
Fast forward to Friday (8/4) when the House voted on the
Telecommunications Reform bill. The Cox/Wyden Internet Freedom and
Family Empowerment Act (HR1978) was brought up as a proposed amendment
to the Telecomm Reform bill. HR1978 advocates a "parental control"
approach to the issue of children accessing the Internet. It was
On the same day we saw another amendment proposed that would restrict
constitutionally-protected expression online. It also was passed, and
now goes onto conference with the House-endorsed HR1978 and the
Senate-endorsed net-censorship bill (the Exon/Coats Communications
Decency Act). What is most disturbing about these new net-censorship
amendments is that they were intentionally obscured from any careful
HR1978 had been available and well-discussed for weeks before this vote
was proposed. In addition, a free demonstration of the "parental
control" software discussed in HR1978 was done in mid-July for
Congress by members of the Interactive Working Group. As is obvious,
every effort was made by sponsors Cox and Wyden to ensure that
supporting votes were well-educated votes on this issue.
On the other hand, the sponsors of the new net-censorship amendment
brought it out at the last-minute. Neither civil liberties groups or
even undecided legislators had enough time to examine it, much less
poll their constituents about their feelings on it. Furthermore the
summary of the legislation did NOT EVEN MENTION the fact that it would
create new restrictions on speech.
When Steven Cherry (VTW) phoned his Representative's office on Friday
to express his displeasure with the new net censorship amendment, a
staffer blindly insisted that it wouldn't be voted on, because it
wasn't in the summary. It is clear that this Representative isn't the
only one who unknowingly cast a vote in favor of censorship today. VTW
finds these tactics reprehensible but predictable.
Starting in September, the House/Senate conference committee will have
to decide what parts of the passed legislation are resolved into the
final bill. VTW is optimistic about our odds in this process.
But what really happened in the *larger* context of net censorship?
Tremendous gains were made today. 420 Reps went on record saying
they had thought about the issue and supported a method of monitoring
children's acces to the net without endangering free speech. Many of
them did so because you called them and told them that's what you wanted.
In going through the letters you sent to email@example.com, we saw several
cases like this:
Caller #1: I called Rep. Snodgrass about parental control being
a better approach to children on the net (such as HR1978),
and opposed net censorship. This was the first they've
heard of it.
Callers #2-5: I called Rep. Snodgrass about HR1978 and parental
control and Snodgrass currently has no position.
Caller #6: I called Rep. Snodgrass, and a staffer told me Snodgrass
will vote for HR1978!
YOU HAD AN EFFECT on this process. Just one month ago we had lost this
same battle in the Senate (84-16). The best the pro-censorship forces
were able to do this time was to sneak in something less than the
Communications Decency Act during the last second of the process,
hoping that by hiding their legislation they could accomplish their
goals. Although it would have been nice to have won this round
conveniently and neatly, we have to take our victories as they come to
us. In this case, with the help of Reps Cox and Wyden, we were able to
tell our legislators that they could do something about the issue of
"cyberporn" while preserving the First Amendment.
Every one of you that called, wrote, faxed, or drove to DC to speak to
your rep should be very proud of yourself. You have made an impact and
affected the way that politicians think about this issue. You've
also created a record for them about how they've voted on this issue.
Democracy does behave as designed sometimes, and we hope your
enthusiasm about this motivates you to vote in the next election.
VTW will keep you informed about the progress of the conference committee
where possible throughout September.
RUMOR CENTRAL (RC)
[Big news this week on the net censorship issue, see the
other sections for details. -Shabbir]
Quote of the week
"I'm real green at internet. I have no idea where this is going, but
I wanted to say thanks, because I had a chance to participate
in this vote on restricting Internet. I called my Rep. Nadler
and told him how I felt and was glad to be told that he felt
the same way and voted against the Exon/Coats CDA."
-Submitted by a new net user turned beginning activist
A big VTW kudos to Tim Mattox (firstname.lastname@example.org) who let us
know of a problem in BillWatch last week. We had some problems
with the mailer daemon that sent back the hearings file.
Send your interesting rumors (anonymously or not) to email@example.com.
All mail headers will be destroyed.
Internet Freedom and Family Empowerment Act (HR 1978, S n.a.)
HR 1978 is an attempt to recognize the unique medium that is
online systems and avoid legislating censorship. It would:
-prohibit the FCC from regulating constitutionally-protected
-absolve sysops and services from liability if they take
good faith measures to screen their content or provide
See directions below for obtaining analyses from various
House sponsors: Cox (R-CA), Wyden (D-OR)
HR 1978 was passed today (8/4/95) by the House in a vote (420-4).
It will continue to be refined during the conference process.
House actions anticipated:
Representatives Cox and Wyden will track their bill through the
House/Senate conference committee.
Where to get more info:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (with "send hr1978" in the subject line)
Gopher: gopher -p 1/vtw/exon gopher.panix.com
1995 COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT (CDA) (Passed Senate, HR 1004)
The CDA would criminalize electronic speech currently protected
in print by the First Amendment.
House CDA sponsors: Johnson (D-SD)
Although HR1004 will probably never leave committee,
legislation that would censor the net in a similar manner was
introduced into the Telecomm bill at the last minute. It will
now go into conference for examination by the House/Senate
The Senate affirmed the Communications Decency Act (84-16)
as amended to the Telecommunications Reform bill (S 652).
Where to get more info:
Gopher: gopher -p 1/vtw/exon gopher.panix.com
Email: email@example.com (with "send cdafaq" in the subject line)
1995 Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act (S 892)
Would make Internet Service Providers liable for shielding
people under 18 from all indecent content on the Internet.
Senate sponsors: Dole (R-KS), Coats (R-IN), Grassley (R-IA), McConnell (R-KY),
Shelby (R-AL), Nickles (R-OK), Hatch (R-UT)
A hearing was held Monday July 24th. No action on the bill
has happened yet as a result of that hearing.
Senate citizen action required:
Request bill and analysis below and familiarize yourself with it.
House of Representatives status: No House version is known about, although
similar language was attached at the last minute to the Telecomm
Where to get more info:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (with "send s892" in the subject line)
Anti-Electronic Racketeering Act of 1995 (HR n.a., S 974)
S 974 has many effects (not good) on law enforcement's use of
intercepted communications. It would also make it unlawful for
any person to publicly disseminate encoding or encrypting
software including software *currently allowed* to be exported
unless it contained a "universal decoding device". This
more than likely means that Clipper-style key escrow systems
could be disseminated, but not strong, private cryptography.
Senate sponsors: Grassley (R-IA)
Senate status: Currently not active and probably won't move before the
Senate citizen action required:
Request bill below and familiarize yourself with it. VTW is
tracking this bill, and will alert you when there is movement.
There is no Congressional action to take right now; as other
bills (such as the Communications Decency Act) pose a greater,
more immediate threat.
House of Representatives status: No House version is currently enrolled.
Where to get more info:
Email: email@example.com (with "send s974" in the subject line)
From: Dave++ Ljung
Subject: File 4--Re: Intellectual property
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 95 10:43:13 MDT
Reply to: : Intellectual Property (CuD 7.60, 7.51)
|Keith Graham in CuD #7.60 makes some thoughtful points in response to my
|article "Against intellectual property" (CuD #7.51). None of them, though,
|undercuts my original arguments.
|There is a strong tendency among those defending intellectual property
|(IP) to look only at its benefits and to ignore the benefits of not
|having IP. For example, in the case of movies it's easy to point to
|the big-budget movies that might not be made without IP. But without
|IP, there would be vastly greater opportunities for small producers,
|with a great flourishing of film production for niche audiences and
|different cultures around the world. These need not be low quality, as
|anyone who has attended a film festival should realise.
|Without the monopoly protection of IP, less money would flow to
|certain big producers, to be sure. But this would mean that more money
|would be available elsewhere, including for jobs for those who modify
|existing intellectual products.
|My article did not always distinguish between ideas and information
|products, but the distinction is not as great as it may at first
|appear. Certainly in the case of writing, ideas are not just altered
|but also in a real sense produced in the process of expressing them.
|In any case, my point applies in both cases. It doesn't make a lot of
|sense to have ownership of things that can be cheaply and easily
|Does it really require an IP incentive to "clean up" a computer
|program? I suggest contacting the Free Software Foundation
|(firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out about its GNU Project. (It uses
|copyright basically to get around the constraints of copyright, a
|process that would be unnecessary without IP.) There's a vast amount
|of high-quality free software available. Some say that it's greater in
|quantity and quality than commercial software. I know of no impartial
|examination. The point is that the existence of such free software
|undermines the argument for IP.
|Dave Ljung (#7.60) presumes that because my ideas about IP don't seem
|to fit in a box called capitalism then they must fit in a box called
Sorry, but that doesn't explain what I was thinking. Perhaps I should
clarify my terms. When I spoke of Capitalism and Socialism I should have
realized that they were heavily loaded phrases. I wasn't making any
links to any governments that exist or may have existed at some point.
I was simply referring to the economic concepts - Capitalism being
market/profit based and Socialism being an egalitarian economic system,
i.e., spreading the wealth.
It seems to me that removing IP will 'spread the wealth.' You even
refer to this in your discussion with Keith Graham, claiming:
"...less money would flow to certain big producers, to be sure.
But this would mean that more money would be available elsewhere,
including for jobs for those who modify existing intellectual products"
(As a side note, I wonder why you keep ignoring the point that the most
money would flow to the people who directly copy existing intellectual
products instead of modifying them)
You also point out that there would be great opportunities for smaller
producers. In a Capitalist system those opportunities are already there
if the producers are actually creating marketable products. I don't see
how IP is holding them back, I've never heard an art house film producer
complain about how they can't make any films because of Jurassic Park.
In that sense, then, these opportunities you speak of suggest that they
would be creating films for niche audiences that they otherwise could
not afford to create. If that is the case, then it is apparent that they
are producing something that is worth less (monetarily) than general society
is willing to pay for it. When that occurs, the extra money has to come
from somewhere, and I don't see where else it would come if it wasn't for
Another problem that you seem to ignore is how you would deal with direct
copying. How would any movie get created if someone else could just copy
it and show it? The only solution I see for this is Socialism (government
support of the original director). If you have some other economic system
in mind, let me know.
|There are many other areas where most people would oppose having free
|markets, such as family members, human organs, university degrees, and
There is a difference between life and software (for most people, that is ;).
Besides, your analogy doesn't hold up, because none of these can just be
copied and passed on. (Except maybe degrees, but degrees aren't under a
free market simply because a bought degree would be worthless to a perspective
|But there are also many who favour varieties of libertarian socialism, in
|which people organise themselves locally to provide goods and services
|collectively, but there is no government.
Libertarian Socialism either assumes something about human nature or else
is an oxymoron. Using IP as an example, if you remove IP and also don't
use government Socialism to protect the information providers, than people
will copy and reproduce. Please tell us, what is your solution for this?
< personal mode >
I myself am a Libertarian, but I find some of the concepts in your paper
to be offensive to my rights. I agree that there are some problems with
IP, but I think the removal is far worse.
< end personal mode :) >
Regardless - I didn't want this to get into an economic discussion. I'm
not upholding Capitalism over Socialism. It just seems (from reading your
arguments so far) that removal of IP would be tending towards Socialism
(whether it be USSR Socialism or Libertarian Socialism), which is something
you don't support directly in your paper.
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1995 22:51:01 CDT
From: CuD Moderators
Subject: File 5--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 19 Apr, 1995)
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