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Newsletter 3-1-97

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letters/FACTNews #3 - March 1, 1997

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In this issue:

** VITAL BRIEFING ON FACTNET'S INTERNET DEFENSE **
(1) FORGET THE MILLENNIUM: THE NET IS "THE END OF CIVILIZATION"
(2) STORIES BROKEN ON NET MAY GUARD AGAINST PRIOR RESTRAINT
(3) UPDATE: GATEWAY 2000 SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH GATEWAY.COM
(4) MEDIA GIANTS SUE TOTALNEWS WEB SITE
(5) WASHINGTON POST PULLS THE PLUG ON NEWS ARCHIVES
(6) NEVADA MAY BE FIRST TO MAKE SPAM ILLEGAL
(7) COURT SAYS UNIVERSITY CAN RESTRICT INTERNET ACCESS
(8) MAJOR ISPs LOBBY CONGRESS TO GET OFF THE COPYRIGHT HOOK
(9) HOW AMERICAN MEDIA USE THE INTERNET
(10) WILL THE INTERNET BE TAXED?

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** VITAL BRIEFING ON FACTNET'S INTERNET DEFENSE **

FACTNet's defense of the Internet is more than mere advocacy. FACTNet was raided by Scientology and dragged into litigation as part of a calculated program to censor the Net. All totalitarian systems fear free and open dialogue and the exchange of information, which is what FACTNet and the entire Internet community advocate.

Every ISP and user interested in the future of the Net should read the vital briefing at the FACTNet site <www.factnet.org>.

The Net was born free.

Keep it that way.

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(1) FORGET THE MILLENNIUM: THE INTERNET IS "THE END OF CIVILIZATION"

The Internet is definitely proving to be an accurate measure of those systems or minds that cannot tolerate the free and open flow of information. According to Associated Press (17Feb97), an editorial in the Iraqi government newspaper Al-Jumhuriya said that the Internet -- which is not accessible in Iraq -- is "the end of civilizations, cultures, interests, and ethics," and "one of the American means to enter every house in the world. They want to become the only source for controlling human beings in the new electronic village."

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(2) STORIES BROKEN ON NET MAY GUARD AGAINST PRIOR RESTRAINT

Evan Ramstad of The Wall Street Journal reports the Internet is emerging as another way for newspapers and other print publishers to protect a free flow of information. On February 28, the Dallas Morning News chose to first publish a purported confession by Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh on its World Wide Web site rather than waiting for Saturday morning's paper. In doing so, the paper diminished any impact from a possible judge's order against publishing the story.

Newspaper editors and First Amendment attorneys said the Morning News' move could change the way sensitive information is handled. "While the Dallas Morning News may be the first newspaper to use the Internet in this fashion, I'm confident it won't be the last," said Floyd Abrams, a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York. Mr. Abrams represented the New York Times in its battle against the federal government's attempt to restrain publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

See: Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

(From SPJ Press Notes with the permission of the Society of Professional Journalists <www.spj.org>.)

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(3) UPDATE: GATEWAY 2000 SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH GATEWAY.COM

letters/FACTNews has learned that Gateway.com and Gateway 2000 have settled their lawsuit. As reported last month, Gateway 2000 sued Alan Clegg, the owner of the small ISP, to take over the name. On 6 Feb 97, Clegg announced that the court had denied Gateway 2000's request for a preliminary injunction to halt Clegg's use of the name. Since then, the suit has been settled. Clegg told FACTNet that a statement will be issued later but until then he cannot discuss the terms of the settlement.

WWW References:
Raleigh News and Observer (28Jan97) atwww.nando.net/newsroom/nao/biz/012897/biz03_988.htmlgo before the world Wired stories at www.wired.com/news/business/story/1684.html and www.wired.com/news/business/story/1585.html Gateway 2000 is at www.gateway2000.com

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(4) MEDIA GIANTS SUE TOTALNEWS WEB SITE

The Washington Post, CNN, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal have led a group of media companies that are suing Web site TotalNEWS (http://www.totalnews.com) for repackaging their content for profit. The media companies filed suit in a Manhattan federal court, claiming trademark and copyright infringement. At the heart of the dispute is whether it is legal for a news aggregator such as TotalNEWS to sell advertising for offering links to Web sites.

Part of the complaint is that TotalNEWS uses the "frames" technology, which lets the site create more than one scrollable window on the screen, thus allowing advertising in one screen and an active link in the other.

According to TotalNEWS President Roman Godzich, "It's amazing that the owners of Time, Newsweek and CNN feel threatened by a five-person company that started in a strip mall behind Lulu's Tacos in Gilbert, Arizona, especially since other people are using the frames technology in the same way."

Godzich thinks a bigger issue is at stake. "The big boys want to control access to information on the Net just as they have in print and broadcast media," he said. "Every time a little guy raises his head, they want to knock it down. This month it's TotalNEWS, next month who knows?"

See: Cowles/Simba Media Daily
http://www.mediacentral.com
http://www.simbanet.com
(Portions reprinted from SPJ Press Notes 24Feb97 with the permission of the Society of Professional Journalists <www.spj.org>.)
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(5) WASHINGTON POST PULLS THE PLUG ON NEWS ARCHIVES

While going after TotalNEWS for linking to the Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com), the Great DC Daily has also pulled the plug on its news archives. Web sites that were linked to stories at the Post will now get an "error" alert, because of the broken links. Whether or not the two actions are connected (linked?) remains to be seen.

The controversy seems to have been sparked at Fallows Central <http://www.clark.net/pub/rothman/fallows.htm>, the web site of US News & World Report editor James Fallows. Visitors to the site were complaining that links to Washington Post stories were not working. Web master David Rothman, who has his own site, checked and confirmed the situation and vented his frustrations with "The Missing Links of the Washington Post" <http://www.clark.net/pub/rothman/plinks.htm>, arguing that the Post may be shooting itself in its "Yeti-sized foot" for the amount of hits that the Post will now be losing.

In the meantime, when writer Brooke Shelby Biggs <http://www.packet.com/> asked Post Ombudsman Geneva Overholser about the matter, she said she knew "absolutely nothing about the Internet, and didn't particularly care to learn." But the editor of the Post's web site told Biggs the change was the result of some "restructuring of the archive and archiving policy." Links to past articles will expire in 30 days, or about the end of March.

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(6) NEVADA MAY BE FIRST TO MAKE SPAM ILLEGAL

Nevada could be the first state to bar unsolicited electronic mail advertising, The Associated Press reported February 27. A bill presented February 26 to the state senate's judiciary committee would make it a misdemeanor to send unsolicited ads directly to e-mail accounts, a practice known as "spamming." If passed, the legislation would be a victory for on-line users who hate e-mail advertising and for on-line services, who complain their host computers are bogged down with junk e-mail.

See: Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (Reprinted from SPJ Press Notes 28Feb97 with the permission of the Society of Professional Journalists <www.spj.org>.)

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(7) COURT SAYS UNIVERSITY CAN RESTRICT INTERNET ACCESS

A federal judge in Oklahoma has rejected a challenge made by a University of Oklahoma professor to the university's decision to restrict access to Internet news groups in order to protect itself against possible federal obscenity charges. The professor argued that the restriction violated his First Amendment right to free speech, but Judge Wayne E. Alley ruled against him, saying he had not demonstrated that he was "irreparably harmed" by the university's policy and had presented no evidence that anyone had ever tried to reach the news groups. (New York Times 29 Jan 97)

[Reprinted from Edupage, 30Jan97, with permission. Edupage archive is at <http://www.educom.edu/web/pubs/edupage.html>.]

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(8) MAJOR ISPs LOBBY CONGRESS TO GET OFF THE COPYRIGHT HOOK

The Ad Hoc Copyright Coalition, a group of online services and Internet service providers, is lobbying Congress to dissolve any legal liabilities for the transmission of material that would violate copyright law under two international copyright treaties awaiting ratification. The coalition, which includes America Online, CompuServe, AT&T, MCI, Nynex, Pacific Telesis and Netscape Communications, is asking legislators to clarify the copyright treaties, claiming that the language could unfairly punish ISPs for carrying illegal material. It is also asking Congress to revise treaty sections that would make viewing a Web site -- which technically involves a browser temporarily making a copy -- a copyright violation, unless the site owner's permission is gained beforehand.

Source: Cowles/SIMBA Media Daily
http://www.mediacentral.com
http://www.simbanet.com
See also: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,8336,00.html
and http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,7807,00.html?related
(Reprinted from SPJ Press Notes 28Feb97 with the permission of the Society of Professional Journalists <www.spj.org>.)

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(9) HOW AMERICAN MEDIA USE THE INTERNET

The largest study to date of how American journalists use cyberspace has been completed and released. Conducted jointly by Professor Steven Ross of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Don Middleberg, CEO of Middleberg & Associates, a New York public relations firm, the 1996 study reflects the views of more than 600 newspaper and magazine editors throughout the country on how they are using the Internet to communicate, research and develop stories. The survey is based on 636 responses from a sample made up of 2,000 magazine editors and managing or business editors from all 1,795 daily newspapers and Sunday newspapers with independent staffs (a higher than normal response rate of 17%). The survey was mailed in September 1996; responses were accepted until November 15. The study is available at http://www.mediasource.com/study/cont.htm>.

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(10) WILL THE INTERNET BE TAXED?

Advising state and local governments not to consider the Internet as a potential source for new tax revenue, the technology director of the American Electronics Association says that the imposition of a multitude of state and local taxes would "degrade and demean the technology." At the federal level, the Clinton Administration, the U.S. Treasury, and House Republicans have all indicated rejection of the idea of taxing sales on the Internet, but at the state level, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio and Wisconsin are taxing some Internet services. New York Governor George Pataki made his the first state to exempt Internet service providers from state taxes. (AP 26 Feb 97)

Reprinted from Edupage, 27Feb97, with permission. Edupage archive at <http://www.educom.edu/web/pubs/edupage.html>.]

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This editorial/opinion/news alert has been provided or distributed by FACTNet, Inc. (Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network.) Since 1993 we have been the largest online news and referral service as well as research archive for defending freedom of thought and mind from all forms of unethical influence tactics, mind control and mental coercion/torture used in destructive cults and fundamentalist groups. FACTNet is a tax deductible, IRS Approved 501(c)(3) non profit organization.

For breaking news, personal stories, recovery information, support groups, expert referrals, message boards, newsletters and books relating to destructive cults and fundamentalism, mind control, mental coercion and unethical psychological influence, please visit our web site at http://www.factnet.org  If you would like to comment on this editorial/opinion/news or to share your personal experiences, go to one of our many various message boards at http://www.factnet.org/discus/ .

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DISCLAIMER: Because the information provided is obtained from other locations, FACTNet, Inc. cannot verify the accuracy of the statements made by others but provide it and links to those sources as part of the vital dialogue concerning free speech, free thought and the right to privacy. Those links were active when provided but URLs may change or the content may change. Users should make use of search engines such as Google.com or Yahoo.com to fully research the issue or to find active links.

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