"For computer geeks and civil libertarians, the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act is one of the most despised laws of the
land. But the 3-year-old law passed a major test on Wednesday: To
the dismay of critics, the U.S. Copyright Office evaluated the
effects of the DMCA without calling for a complete revision.
Specifically, the 200-page study judged whether the new
Net-focused law violated two relevant sections of offline copyright
law: the doctrine of "first sale," or the right to resell or make
personal copies of a copyrighted work without a publisher's
permission; as well as a copyright law that permits the owner of a
computer program to make a backup copy.
The study does give critics some ammunition to work with. It
asks legislators, for example, to clarify whether temporary copies
are legal, and advises Congress to give users of digital content
the right to make archival copies. But the report also rejects the
argument that offline copyright law should apply to the digital
world, calling the analogy 'flawed and unconvincing.'"
"EnviroLink Network , a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit
Internet service provider, took offline two Web sites belonging to
the animal-rights activist group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty.
The action came in response to a letter sent to the ISP earlier in
the week by Huntingdon Life Sciences , a British medical research
firm. Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),
Huntingdon accused the activists of violating its copyright.
Although no charges have yet been filed, under the terms of the
DMCA, Envirolink was forced to remove the sites to avoid potential
'It's very clear that Huntingdon Life Sciences just wants to
shut them up,' says Josh Knauer, the founder of Envirolink, which
provides free Web hosting to nonprofits. The animal-rights group's
U.S. site has been replaced with a single page explaining the
conflict, while the main site redirects to another ISP, allowing it
to remain up for the moment. A notice on the Stop Huntingdon Animal
Cruelty Web site taunts: 'If you read this HLS realize that you
will never shut us up and we are as determined to destroy you now
as we were in November 1999 when this campaign began and destroy
you we will.' Calls to legal counsel for Huntingdon Life Sciences
were not returned. Huntingdon's response is hardly the first legal
skirmish between Huntingdon and its critics; most recently, the
company brought suit against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty and
other animal-rights groups last April using racketeering law to
fight the activist's allegedly radical tactics, including
'violence, intimidation and harassment'; the law suit is still
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