November 15, 2004

Banned Censorware Report - SmartFilter Reverse-Engineering

[I'm returning to my series of Censored Censorware Reports, where I describe research I cannot publish due to the lawsuit risk, and corresponding lack of necessary legal and journalistic support.]

There isn't all that much to describe regarding this report, because it was intended to outline some reverse-engineering of the censorware program SmartFilter. It's hard to give details here without actually writing the material, and so defeating the purpose.

However, the following news item, from Susan Crawford, should make the derailed and destroyed report relevant and perhaps even poignant (my emphasis below):

3. Speaking of EFF, they're looking for amicus briefs to be filed by December 22, 2004 in the Blizzard v. Internet Gateway case in the 8th Circuit. The district court decision [pdf] in that case upholds a very broad license agreement forbidding any kind of reverse engineering or fair use; key issues before the appellate court will be preemption and the scope of the 1201(f) exception in the DMCA for reverse engineering.

("Blizzard v. Internet Gateway" is the same case as the previously mentioned Blizzard vs BNETD, that's just a variation in the name)

Note it's unclear if my plight would even be fodder for an amicus ("friend of the court") brief here. There are legal details I don't completely understand, having to do with rules that appeals are supposed to refer only to facts already in the trial record. This is very different from e.g. the (failed) "affirmative" case against N2H2, where the facts there were developed specifically for the legal challenge.

It's not worth years of litigation to publish this research, even if I eventually won. Not when there's so little backing and support.

[Update: I should have explained than an amicus brief is by "someone who is not a party to the litigation, but who believes that the court's decision may affect its interest." - I hope the application is obvious ...]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware , legal | on November 15, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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