January 12, 2005
A Quick Look at the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse
The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse offers background material and explanations about the intersection of free speech and intellectual property. It is targeted at "people whose websites deal with topics such as Fan Fiction, Copyright, Domain Names and Trademarks, Anonymous Speech, and Defamation."
"Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities. We are excited about the new opportunities the Internet offers individuals to express their views, parody politicians, celebrate their favorite movie stars, or criticize businesses. But we've noticed that not everyone feels the same way. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals and corporations are using intellectual property and other laws to silence other online users. Chilling Effects encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to "chill" legitimate activity."
Cease and Desist Notice Database. What law librarians may find interesting as a research tool is the site's searchable database of Cease and Desist notices sent to Internet users. The database currently has about 290 notices submitted by notice recipients. Each notice is annotated with questions and answers by clinical law students.
What does a cease and dissent notice sound like? Check out this one issued by Associated Press challenging the posting of AP articles.
"AP demands that you remove any and all AP content from your Internet site, including any archives, as well as from any site that mirrors or caches your site, that you cease and desist all use of AP copy -- whether verbatim or rewritten -- as well as all use of the facts contained in AP material, and that you confirm for me that you have done so within fifteen days from the date of this letter."
Current Awareness. The site maintains an RSS feed which provides links to notices recently added to the database.
Conceived and developed at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Chilling Effects is a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and clinics at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center, Stanford Law School's Center for Internet & Society, Boalt Hall's Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, and George Washington University School of Law.
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