Cyber Liberties Under Attack

In the modern world, Civil Liberties include Cyber Liberties also.

Recent laws, proposals and court cases have restricted civil liberties related to technology and communications, including Internet blocking in libraries, helping media conglomerates deny Fair Use of copyrighted materials to their customers and prohibit the right to reverse-engineer software (DMCA), requirments on how computer hardware is designed (CBDTPA), etc.

How do these trends affect the future of ideas? How do they relate to the constitutional rationale for copyrights and patents: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts"

Notes by Neal McBurnett, available at

It is increasingly the case, especially as the Internet gains increasing attention among lawyers, that the rights of users are being affected. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has been construed to not only prevent people from reverse engineering technology and freely sharing the results, but even from including relevant hyperlinks on their web pages. The success of Napster at allowing individuals to find and share copyrighed music from the big record labels has threatened the ability of emerging artists from using the same technology to promote their work. We must preserve the right share our own work in the spirit of the Constitution's actual language on the subject.


John Gilmore's Copy Protection paper.

Future of Music Coalition - Artists representing themselves.

EFF "Intellectual Property Online: Patent, Trademark, Copyright" Archive

DVD for Linux et al (DeCSS) - Reverse-engineered version of DVD CSS (Content Scrambling System)

DeCSS Central Gallery of CSS Descramblers - excellent exposition of techniques for communicating and hiding information via the Internet (text, pictures, MIDI, steganography, from DVD-CCA's own DNS servers! ...): CSS/Gallery/
See also:

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): effector/HTML/effect13.11.html#I

Napster and peer-to-peer networking: ssroom/001013.html - Gnutella network - Much harder to shut down than Napster.

League for Programming Freedom (patents, user-interface copyrights):

FRUUG presentation on "Legal constraints on Netizens: DeCSS, Napster,, etc.", Thu 2001-02-15.'s legal battle:

Considerations for innocent domain name owners:

Neal McBurnett
Last modified: Fri Nov 8 17:59:35 MST 2002