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Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:11 PM EDT

As soon as I heard about the Supreme Court decision in RIAA v. Verizon, Inc., I asked Sarah Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon and their lead attorney on the case, if she would be willing to be interviewed by Groklaw, because I knew you would be interested in learning more about this important case and Verizon's victory. In case you didn't read about it, here's a bit from Wired's coverage:

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a lower court decision holding that the recording industry can't force internet service providers to turn over the names of users trading music files online, effectively stopping one of the legal tactics of the music business as it tries to stamp out piracy. . . .

"Verizon hailed the court's action Tuesday as a victory for personal privacy, free-expression rights and 'safety' for internet users across the United States.

"'This decision means copyright holders and their representatives -- or identity thieves and stalkers posing as copyright holders -- will not be allowed to obtain personal information about internet users by simply filing a one-page form with a court clerk,' said Sarah Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon."

Ms. Deutsch graciously agreed to be interviewed.

For background, you can find all of the court filings on EFF's page on the case and Groklaw's earlier coverage of the Court of Appeals victory, and media coverage here on Infoworld. There was a ruling in Pennsylvania just today that likely will interest you as well, on EFF's home page, that they describe as "requiring, before the ISPs turn over these names, they must send notices to the individuals advising them of their rights. This allows a targeted individual to make an intelligent decision about what steps to take before his or her identity is disclosed."

The Lexmark case is mentioned, and I'll have it for you shortly, as well. All of this background will help you to understand what was involved in the RIAA v. Verizon case, and how extraordinary it was for the company to be willing to take this case all the way as a matter of principle.


Groklaw: What were the issues that caused you to decide to fight this case all the way to the Supreme Court? (And may I say personally that I thank you and Verizon very much for having made the process much fairer?)

Sarah Deutsch: I am very proud of the stance Verizon took in this case and the company's resolve to fight this case all the way to Supreme Court. We understood early on that the Recording Industry's push for a new form subpoena process was unprecedented. By paying a $35 filing fee and filing a simple one page form with any clerk at the district court house, RIAA would open the door for anyone who made a mere allegation of copyright infringement to gain complete access to Internet users' private subscriber information without the due process protections afforded by the courts. The case raised serious privacy, due process and safety issues for all Internet users. Although Verizon does not condone copyright piracy, in our view, the case was really about protecting the privacy of the vast majority of consumers who have not engaged in illegal activity. As a company who negotiated the DMCA Section 512 provisions back in 1998 with the content community, including RIAA, it was also clear that RIAA was distorting the law we had negotiated, which clearly distinguished between the service provider acting as a host of third party content and the service provider acting as a mere conduit for communications.

Groklaw: The case has implications for Verizon and for users. Please feel free to comment on both, but if you can you please address the latter particularly, that would be helpful. What were the dangers had you just capitulated? And what benefits do you see from this win? Obviously, the privacy benefits to all of us are clear as individuals. But do you see any implications from the standpoint of ISPs?

And with respect to clerk-issued subpoenas opening the door for abuse by not only the RIAA, but potentially by pedophiles, stalkers and the like, can you see other ways that such a system could be misused? Can you please address the First Amendment issue and anonymous speech here?

Deutsch: This case involved considerable dangers for privacy, safety and First Amendment and anonymous speech because the form subpoena could have been used not only to find out subscriber information for P2P file sharing, but for any website you visited, chatroom you participated in or even an email you sent. Many people do not realize that your IP address is visible everywhere you go on the Internet – when you send an email, visit a website, or chat room, these numbers are visible. The service provider holds the key to link this IP number with a name, address or phone number. The one-page form subpoena would have been an unprecedented new tool to reveal the identity behind an IP address and frighteningly, to associate it with the particular content a user sends or receives over the Internet. From the ISP perspective, the concern is that it would have turned the ISP into Big Brother -- automatically handing over millions of names without any protections from a judge or the judicial process.

From the consumer perpective, the dangers were many. The 512(h) form subpoena power could be used not only by large copyright owners of federally registered copyrights but by anyone claiming to own a copyright. Because copyright protection automatically applies to any form of "tangible expression" (writings, drawings, computer code, scribbles) virtually anyone can claim to be a valid copyright owner. The 512(h) subpoena power has been used and abused by parties far less responsible than the recording industry, without any of the normal checks and protections that apply to John Doe lawsuits filed under the supervision of a judge. Over 92 separate groups, including consumer groups and privacy and safety groups like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and WiredSafety filed briefs against RIAA raising concerns about this unsupervised process. Anyone could have gained access to your identity from spammers, blackmailers, pornographers, pedophiles, stalkers, harassers, and identity thieves. It unravels all the state and federal privacy laws to date that have so carefully been enacted to protect consumers from abuse.

RIAA's misuse of this form subpoena process resulted in significant privacy abuses throughout the country. Last year, SBC Communications sought a court order in California to protect itself from turning over customer names under this false subpoena power to an entity called Titan Media Group. Titan Media, a purveyor of pornographic videos over the Internet, sent one form copyright subpoena to SBC seeking the names, addresses and phone numbers of 59 individual subscribers whom Titan asserted were infringing its "copyrights" in pornographic videos by exchanging them over the Internet. Titan Media, imitating a so-called amnesty program offered by RIAA, announced its own "amnesty program." They told Internet users that they must reveal their identity to Titan and agree to purchase a copy of their pornographic material or Titan threatened to use the form subpoena process to expose their identity. Luckily, this case was dismissed when Verizon won its case at the DC Court of Appeals.

In addition, there is generally a further chilling of expression from the outsourcing of copyright enforcement actions to copyright "bounty hunters" -- enterprises that search the Internet for possible instances of copyright infringement spurred on by economic incentives. The use of automated robots, known as "bots" or "spiders" has also led to a significant number of mistaken claims of copyright infringement. These bots operate much like the spiders that crawled through buildings in the movie Minority Report, scouring the Internet in search of file names that look like they match the names of copyrighted works or artists. In 2001, Warner Bros. sent a letter to UUNet demanding that they terminate the Internet account of someone allegedly sharing a Harry Potter movie online. The small text file was entitled "Harry Potter Book Report.rtf., with a file size of 1k. The file was not an unauthorized copy of the movie, it was a child's book report, but the bot could not tell the difference and such an "investigation" can quickly form the basis for a DMCA subpoena. RIAA also admitted numerous cases of "mistaken identity" based on the mistakes of these bots. In one case, RIAA demanded the take down of Penn State University's astronomy department's servers during finals week, based on a claim that it contained infringing songs by the artist Usher. In fact, "Usher" is a professor's last name and the file at issue was his own creation. RIAA later admitted sending at least two dozen other mistaken notices to Internet users as part of its campaign to warn peer-to-peer file-sharers.

Groklaw: In looking at the Lexmark, Online Policy Group v. Diebold, and other cases, in addition to your own, it seems copyright holders are trying to stretch the DMCA beyond even its intended scope, vast though it already is. And there is some pushback, thinking particularly of DMCRA. Do you have an opinion on the future of the DMCA? No doubt you've analyzed it thoroughly. Do you see any legal approach that no one has yet tried, to invalidate or at least limit its reach? (By the way, my readers are not as much interested in the issue of file-sharing, to my knowledge, as much as in the areas of fair use, free speech, access to public domain works, and the ability to reverse engineer software. It's a tech/legal crowd. And I think it's safe to say that they worry about what has happened to the balance that existed in the pre-digital world, where fair use was a broader right.)

Deutsch: I think that's exactly right. There is a clear strategy afoot by the content community to use litigation to push the DMCA beyond any rational interpretation. Luckily, in the RIAA v. Verizon case, the court refused to accept their aggressive interpretation. Similarly, in Chamberlain v. Skylink, the court struck down the ridiculous notion that a plaintiff could sue a competitor under the anticircumvention sections of the DMCA (Section 1201) for manufacturing a universal garage door opener. And now, just yesterday, the 6th Circuit in the Lexmart case overruled the lower court holding:

"...I believe the consumer has a right to use the Printer Engine Program for the life of the printer. Because the consumer has this right, there is no right of the copyright owner to prevent the consumer from using the Printer Engine Program, and therefore, Defendant cannot be found in violation of the DMCA."

Undoubtably, the content community will try to re-open many other areas of the DMCA to their advantage, but I'm hopeful that all three cases discussed above will send a powerful message to potential plaintiffs not to waste their time trying to re-write the DMCA through litigation test schemes. Verizon has endorsed Congressman Boucher's DMRCA (HR 107), which tries to restore much of the balance to the DMCA in areas that benefit the reasonable expectations of consumers.

Groklaw: In the SCO situation, which is what my readers particularly are interested in, they have mentioned the DMCA. In a worst case scenario, were SCO to actually demonstrate it has ownership of the relevant copyrights, what exactly could SCO do to Linux users? They have in the past threatened actions against end users for contributory infringement, a plan that seems to have been derailed for the moment by Novell claiming that it still holds the copyrights that are relevant. That matter is still being resolved, but should SCO prevail, what exactly could they do? Here is a snip from a transcript of a July 21, 2003 teleconference in which David Boies mentioned contributory infringement:

Boies: Well, the copyright laws provide a wide range of penalties. There are statutory penalties that permit you to recover a amount per violation without having to prove actual damages. In addition, if you can prove actual damages, you are entitled to recover those as well. There are also additional penalties for what are described as willful violations. And I think one of the points of what the company is doing is to try to make sure people are aware of their obligations in the hopes that they will decide that they do not want to knowingly violate the copyright laws. . . .

Boies: It is, and under the copyright law, you may sue both for infringement and for what is called contributory infringement. Which is that if anyone contributes to somebody else's infringement, that is somebody who can be sued directly under the copyright laws. So that if a third party distributor was found to have engaged in conduct that contributed to an end user's infringement, that person would also be liable, under the copyright laws. . . .

Follett: Hello. You were talking earlier about contributory infringement. I was wondering would that also create liability for VARs or integrators that might be implementing Linux? And if so, do you have plans to pursue litigation against those people?

Boies: I think that it could include those people. It would depend on the circumstances. But certainly in a number of situations, contributory infringement could include those people.

Deutsch: I'm not very familiar with this case, but am very concerned about a push by the content community to expand the doctrines of contributory infringement to create a new cause of action for "inducing" infringement. Senators Hatch, Leahy, Daschle and Frist introduced the Induce Act, S. 2560 last session of Congress. The bill was extremely controversial because it created a new cause of action for inducement for any company or individual who simply offered a product or service that the copyright owner could allege resulted in someone else infringing another's copyright. The intent was to go after some "bad apples" (certain P2P companies) but the actual language targeted virtually every digital product and service on the market today and it would certainly have chilled innovation in new technologies. We participated in negotiations with the content community and tried to narrow that bill, but the negotiations collapsed last month. That bill could be introduced again in some form next year.

Groklaw: I think it's fair to say that Groklaw's readers are concerned deeply about what they view as an erosion of their fair use rights. What, if anything, can individuals do to reverse this trend? Was there anything you wished we had done in support of your efforts that we failed to do?

Deutsch: Our case had more to do with privacy rather than fair use rights, but I think it's fair to say these issues are converging. We were thrilled with the outpouring of support we received from the user community and organizations advocating for consumers' interests -- just to name a few -- EFF, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, Wired Safety, ACLU, Public Knowledge, Digital and the Center for Democracy and Technology. There are many ways consumers --through these groups -- can become directly involved in advocacy efforts to ensure that reasonable expectations for uses of digital works are not eroded. Copyrights deserved to be respected, but at the same time, the consumer should expect that the same rights they enjoy in the physical world will not disappear as code is used to control content in the digital world.


Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon | 345 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:24 PM EDT

Should change the name of the site to GrokPiracy, since
this is advocating piracy and theft of people's property.

Hi PJ. Hope you are having a great day.

Hugs and Kisses

User Account: Nuke'Em right away and all their posts.
Found it in the NetDetective Stuff and criss cross of
phone directories (and a stupid field service tech at
GO-DADDY who gives out info to anyone who calls)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thanks PJ
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:26 PM EDT
PJ, you work too hard... :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Please remove my account from Groklaw.
Authored by: tintak on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:27 PM EDT
Hi PJ. Could you delete my account please, and remove all my posts from your
servers? I do not want them converted to anon. status.

Thanks,and Good Luck.

Darl's folly.
"Somebody said it couldn't be done, and he knew it. So he tackled this thing
that couldn't be done,... and he found that he couldn't do it!"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections, if any are needed
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:27 PM EDT

--Bill P, not a lawyer. Question the answers, especially if I give some.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:28 PM EDT

Hey PJ,

Could you delete all my posts and/or convert them to
anon status.


Nuke'Em right away and delete their posts.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ I love you work
Authored by: skip on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:44 PM EDT
Thanks for producing the first information+debate site on the internet to take
and hold my interest.
You've gone from a site I visited from time to time to the site I visit most on
the web.
This is only because you're editorial content is the most fair and informative
that I've found.

well done



"Mumbo, perhaps. Jumbo, perhaps not!"

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - I sense a disturbance in the Force...
Authored by: N. on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 07:59 PM EDT
I get the feeling that there's now a recalibration in progress as people realise
that Groklaw is a research site, not a free-for-all discussion site.

I also get the feeling that some of the people who are annoyed by this sudden
gust of reality will try to undermine Groklaw, stirred up by the various groups
of people who'd like to devalue it.

Another feeling I get is that us by-standers are in for a bumpy ride - expect
this recalibration to last a few days, coincidentally around the time that some
hefty judgements are due in.

I'm getting so many feelings that perhaps I should change my name to Mystic

"I've got a bad feeling about this."

(Recent [well, since mid-2003] convert to Linux)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Moles and Sleepers
Authored by: Ted Powell on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 08:11 PM EDT
The SCO Group's fiscal year end is October 31, with tomorrow being the last trading day before that.

Call me a mean, nasty, cynic if you will, but I can't avoid the thought that this is somehow connected with all the things that have been surfacing in the past day or so.

Of course, it could just be ego problems, and the date is only coincidence. Time will tell, I suppose.

The cost of a Windows-to-Linux conversion is irrelevant over the longer term, because you only have to do it once.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Schizophrenic comments, and a proposed sollution
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 08:11 PM EDT
Hi all.
I rarelly post anything so i have not created an account,
but i'm following Groklaw since day one.
There are a LOT of schizoid comments, I have never seen
before, in this two last articles about deleted accounts
and posts, to the level that nothing is understandable.
I firmly support PJ and the Groklaw community, and I
believe this is an attack to Groklaw orchestated from "you
know who".
So I have a proposal to avoid this. Like a thread has been
created as proof of SCO is not posting in Groklaw but
lying as they usually do, a change should be done to
groklaw code to avoid "deleted posts and accounts" trolls:
1) PJ should never delete an account. A button should be
available to delete one's own account, if desired. Posts
from deleted accounts should not change to anonymous, but
the poster name be preserved as plain text, like
"Anonymous" is.
2) Deleted posts shouldn't dissapear totally, no matter
how outrageous they are. Instead, the post's title could
be replaced by a link showing CLOSED or DELETED or
something else, and the post text could be a phrase like
"deleted for being inapropiate" or something else. The
link in the title should link to the original post, so if
somebody really *wishes* to read such post he can. Reply's
to the deleted post shouldn't be possible to close the
thread. Other restrictions to deleted posts could be
implemented if needed, like allowing reading only from
registered accounts, etc.

What do you think?

Best regards to all from Spain.
Miguel Angel

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 08:15 PM EDT
Keep up the good work PJ. I love your site. You have shown ample integrity over
the last many months that I have no doubt about your motives here. The fact that
you refuse to go into the "gory details" is just another manifestation
of that integrity. It can be dificult to stay quiet, but some things just should
not be aired publicly. To me you gain further respect by keeping quiet during
what I assume is a trying episode. Hang in there!

Many thanks for all your good work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good bye Pam, you know why
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 08:47 PM EDT
Ahhhh... With your absence, I'm sure I will...

Now, that means you must really leave you know, not lurk about and pretend to be
various other folks all posting anonymously. Such antics are too, well,

(GL) Groklaw Lurker
End the tyranny, abolish software patents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Trying to turn Groklaw against itself won't work...
Authored by: ShawnX on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 09:04 PM EDT
Ok, Is it me or, some one/people are trying to clutter
Groklaw with garbage and thus try to discredit PJ by trying
to accuse her of deleting accounts that well, never existed
in the first place?

Pretty lame attempt I must say, we'll just ignore and
continue to show the REAL truth. They know the end is
coming, we can see the light beginning to show brigher near
that tunnel. If you want to troll, please use slashdot :-)

- ShawnX

[ Reply to This | # ]

Stealing a good name
Authored by: Groklaw Lurker on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 09:12 PM EDT
Well, look at the bright side, now you don't have to wait for it from Darl.
Hark, is that someone calling your name over on the SCOX board or /.? Yes, I
think it is. Please go there now.

(GL) Groklaw Lurker
End the tyranny, abolish software patents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good bye Pam, you know why
Authored by: eggplant37 on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 09:14 PM EDT
Sir, what you seem to disagree with is the fact that Pam has ownership control
here, she has the final say about what gets posted and who gets to post. This
isn't your toy bulletin board system on your home computer to play with and
allow your friends to post whatever you or they want. This isn't the Yahoo
Stock board, which has been turned into a miasma of *mee too* posts and useless
bickering between a few feeders and their pet trolls. This isn't Slashdot,
which has a completely different message board style and set of rules.

This is a site where people are *allowed* to post as a privelege. That
privelege can be revoked at any time *by the owner*. If PJ decides to take
those steps, I stand by her decision as *the owner* of this site.

PJ, don't let this silliness get to you. It's just the board growing up a bit

[ Reply to This | # ]

I'm glad Verison saw the bigger picture.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 09:15 PM EDT
This was a really important case. More needs to be done to curb the RIAA and
similar groups from destroying hard fought copyright equality. Disney has
already done substantial damage with non-ending copyright extensions, and
allowing big media to employ police like powers with less restrictions is an
unthinkable combination.

Bad RIAA, no biscut.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Stealing a good name
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 09:19 PM EDT
If I delete a post, the software automatically deletes the name and leaves
comments as anonymous. It's how it works.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Woe is me!
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 10:00 PM EDT
very good!

but you should have started it with: "Oh, woe is me!"

and since you are shy & have not named yourself. I hearby dub thee "drama queen"!


[ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
    Authored by: eric76 on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 10:05 PM EDT
    I thought it was ridiculous when I found out the grounds on which the RIAA was
    requiring IPSs to provide that information.

    As an employee at a company that, among other things, is an ISP, I had already
    read through those sections and never dreamed that was the grounds for the
    subpoenas for information. It clearly did not apply to that situation at all.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Theme Song
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 10:05 PM EDT
    Set to the Music theme "Cops"

    GrokHo, GrokHo
    What ya gonna do
    What ya gonna do when they come for you

    GrokHo, GrokHo
    What ya gonna do
    What ya gonna do when they come for you

    O'Gara is loading her lawyers
    LinuxWorld duckin'' and hidin'
    Friends are fleein' like roaches
    accounts in 13 filed

    GrokHo, GrokHo
    What ya gonna do
    What ya gonna do when they come for you

    GrokHo, GrokHo
    What ya gonna do
    What ya gonna do when they come for you

    Novell is sayin' don't know her
    IBM is turnin' its back
    LinuxWorld spinnin' in circles
    Cause they printed GorkHo's lies

    GrokHo, GrokHo
    What ya gonna do
    What ya gonna do when they come for you

    GrokHo, GrokHo
    What ya gonna do
    What ya gonna do when they come for you

    SCO is sharpenin' their pencils
    Darl is gettin' his line
    PJ on the menu
    Groklies swarmin' like flies

    GrokHo, GrokHo
    What ya gonna do
    What ya gonna do when they come for you

    GrokHo, GrokHo
    What ya gonna do
    What ya gonna do when they come for you

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Complaints, complaints -- IBM-330.pdf
    Authored by: rand on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 11:16 PM EDT
    If we can all get back on point for a moment, the next part of the saga is out:

    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED as follows:

    (a) IBM's Memorandum in Opposition to SCO's Motion for Leave to File a Third
    Amended Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rules fo Civil procedure 15(a) and 16(b)
    shall be due on November 23, 2004; and

    (b) SCO's Reply Memorandum in Support of its Motion for Leave to File a Third
    Amended Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rules fo Civil procedure 15(a) and 16(b)
    shall be due on December 21, 2004.

    DATED this 27th day of October, 2004.

    The wise man is not embarrassed or angered by lies, only disappointed. (IANAL
    and so forth and so on)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    There is no copywrite on comments...
    Authored by: Mecha on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 11:17 PM EDT
    I have yet to see someone copywrite it. The terminology used is "Comments
    are owned by the individual posters" This does not imply copywrite. This
    implies that GROKLAW is not responsible for what you write. Next, I am pretty
    sure that the name being removed and replaced with Anonymous is actually a bug
    in the software being used to maintain this site and "NOT" the full
    intention of PJ.

    LINUX! Because Microsoft should have no business in your business!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    jgabriel: Sometimes respectable/Sometimes not
    Authored by: chefkyler on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 11:26 PM EDT
    I hate to discuss this forever and ever, but.... I've read a number of John
    Gabriel's posts both here and at yahoo. He put a lot of effort into research
    here at Groklaw. However, I did a little looking around myself to see if there
    are any issues with John Gabriel... at first you'll find plenty of respectable
    posts, but keep digging and you'll see his dark side. Specifically some of his
    completely disrespectful comments on the yahoo forum... msg # 199556 for
    instance. PJ has stated that she deletes posts with language like that.
    There's no 3 strikes here on groklaw. One inappropriate post and *poof*, your
    previous posts and account are gone. Irregardless of all of the great things
    you did before.

    Just my opinion, but it seems to be an appropriate action for inappropriate
    material. I also manage a forum and I don't tolerate inappropriate behaviour
    either. One wrong post and I delete their accounts. What do you expect when
    you call someone a prison-****?

    kyle reynolds

    PS. Here's something you should've seen when you post here at Groklaw:

    Important Stuff

    * Please try to keep posts on topic, stay polite and ignore trolls, no
    swearing, foul language or the use of *'s to suggest it.
    * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads.
    * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply
    duplicating what has already been said.
    * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about.
    * Your IP address will be recorded, but NOT made public. We reserve the
    right to edit or delete inappropriate contributions.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Time to turn off comments
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 11:42 PM EDT
    PJ, it's time to turn off comments. Your great value to us is as a legal
    commentator of events as they transpire.

    The controversies, and I fear liabilities which have opened up recently have all
    been due to interpretations, right or wrong related to comments.

    We would like to see GrokLaw continue both as an archive site and for your
    commentary. Perhaps you and your moderators could select a handful of
    insightful letters to post each day, possibly allowing those from people you
    know and trust through with only cursory examination. But this wild west
    behaviour on all sides of the comments must stop.

    -- TWZ

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Thank you PJ et al
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 28 2004 @ 11:52 PM EDT
    PJ et al,
    First, I have never posted and I wanted to tell you that I
    appreaciate you and all of the volunteers that help out
    the site.

    I have learned much from this site about the law and
    appreciate the crital thinking and writting that is placed
    on the site.

    I have lurked for a long time on the site, watching and
    reading. Clearly your/our site is underattack. This is a
    very interesting attack. Please don't let it discourage
    you. I would like to help. I can code PHP and understand
    databases. (if it would help)

    I am sorry that I am not logged in I forgot my password
    and did not want to wait to reset my password. If you
    want to get ahold of me please look up my account.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • ditto - Authored by: Anthony on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 02:42 AM EDT
    • Thank you PJ et al - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 03:42 PM EDT
    Not apparently OT. Stick to your guns PJ.
    Authored by: Brian S. on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 12:17 AM EDT
    You have thousands of satisfied account holders, tens of thousands of satisfied
    anonymous posters and hundreds of thousands of satisfied readers. It's your
    standards which have lead to the success of Groklaw. You cannot lower them and
    maintain Groklaw's reputation. The contributors and others who are now quitting
    are no loss. Their ego's will not allow them to agree to disagree. Some may well
    know more than you on a particular subject, but that is no reason for
    intemperate or divisive comments. Most are just a bunch of me too's. I firmly
    believe Yahoo Scox has been infiltrated by SCOX "agent provocateurs".
    Let them go their own way and good riddance.

    I don't know Groklaw's internal arrangements but I want to make a suggestion.
    You obviously have some helpers you trust. Can't you get someone to filter your
    emails and perhaps take over deleting inappropriate postings? It only takes
    0.0001% of your readership to turn an article into a farce like this one. As
    Groklaw becomes even more prominent, disruption will become an ever greater
    issue when it happens. Any leader who can keep even 80% on board is doing better
    than most I know. The problem with dealing with it all by yourself is that it's
    soul destroying, not good for the moral and all that. I know it's not comparing
    like with like and you don't want politics but most politicians don't read
    newspapers. They find themselves being pulled apart, not good for their

    The malcontents may think they know more about F/OSS, the GPL and IT than you
    do, but they know nothing of presenting a good case to the General Public.

    Don't give an inch.

    Brian S.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The trolls are trying hard aren't they.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 12:29 AM EDT
    PJ nice site. Thanks for getting rid of the rubbish, I have seen some of it and
    it is a disgrace.

    Why these people want to be associated with it in any way is beyond me.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Why are we here?
    Authored by: DaveS on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 01:31 AM EDT
    Why are we here at Groklaw?

    I can only answer for myself. I am here to learn, primarily from the court
    documents but also from the informed comments of the various posters, both legal
    and programmer.
    The current contratemps is meaningless in reference to my purpose in being
    My view of the importance of Groklaw and PJ is an amazingly successful
    effort to protect the software freedoms that we all enjoy, usually without even
    thinking about them.
    The current SCO?IBM/Novell/Red Hat/Auto Zone/DC case(s) are the current main
    focus of my concern but I fully realize that this is ony the beginning and I
    certanly hope that PJ and Groklaw continue to include other issues (Court
    mostly) which have a direct or indirect bering on those freedoms.
    A very heartfelt Thank You to PJ and all those who have made Groklaw
    especially meaningful to me.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Could SCO be a factor in the current chaos at Groklaw?
    Authored by: one_penguin on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 01:42 AM EDT
    I wonder how much (if any) of the chaos we've experienced are props planted by SCO.

    Is SCO capable of creating props in order to deceive and thwart?

    The following Google link will take you to information about the SCO protest. The information I read indicates that SCO is very capable of planning and implementing props.

    I'm not implicating anyone, but the last several days have been very chaotic and rough Groklaw. I do wonder about where a portion of this comes from.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 01:51 AM EDT
    Thanks for the interview, Sarah and PJ. I think it was very thoughtful to ask
    Sarah for more information.

    I think Verizon deserves kudos from the community for sticking to their guns and
    defending our rights.


    In a sense, we're going thru tumultuous times with various industries completely
    revamping in real-time. There's a lot of money at stake and people will fight to
    keep their revenue streams. (music/movies distribution, copyrights/patents/IP,

    I was sickened by the whole "pay us 5K now" or "at least 10K to
    defend if it goes to court" type lawsuit.

    Keep up the good work, PJ (and posters). I enjoyed reading the IBM work, and the
    analysis. I check GL regularly. (ok several times a day... refresh... refresh...
    refresh...) I am amazed with the speed, thoroughness and rationale the site has.
    (especially Quartermass) I've learned so much about the legal system, lawyers,
    motions, etc. This site really does it in an entertaining way.

    I just cannot wait for the ruling... ah... the agony... at least SCO is down to
    $3 and change. It's the little things that help the time pass... when will
    RedHat get to pursue their "justice"? When will IBM be
    "vindicated"? WHEN? WHEN? WHEN?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • Seconded - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 02:04 AM EDT
    • Ditto (eom) - Authored by: MadScientist on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 12:31 PM EDT
    Misdirected outrage?
    Authored by: Bystander on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 03:52 AM EDT
    I usually check out Groklaw at the end of the day to catch up on any significant
    happenings. Imagine my surprise upon finding so many comments today concerning
    the outrage some posters feel about having certain accounts deleted. Reading
    through many of the related threads, including some that were posted from the
    Yahoo SCOX board, I found the following main points being expressed which I am
    summarizing here so that others can hopefully understand all that has happened
    without wading through dozens of old comments:

    1. A few veteran members of Groklaw appeared to have had their accounts recently

    2. After accounts were deleted, all previous posts made by those former members
    showed up as being posted anonymously.

    3. A certain poster who posted under the name John Gabriel was being very public
    in complaining loudly about the situation both here and on the Yahoo board.

    4. John claims to not know the reason for his account being deleted on Groklaw,
    or won't reveal what he really knows. He speculates it has something to do with
    posts he has made on the Yahoo board critical of certain Groklaw policies. He
    posted a reply message from PJ saying only that he knew the reason for his
    account being deleted.

    5. Among the claims being made were that showing prior attributed posts as now
    being anonymously authored was either "immoral" or a violation of the
    poster's copyrights.

    6. A few posters on the Yahoo board and on Groklaw expressed some sympathy for
    John and his position.

    7. Other posters familiar with the Geeklog code used to run the Groklaw site
    confirmed that removal of a poster account automatically makes references to
    removed members show up as anonymous.

    8. Previous threads have explained that administrator options for managing
    comments and posters is very limited under Geeklog. For instance, PJ cannot edit
    any comments once they are posted. As administrator, she has only one editorial
    option for comments - deletion. There are apparently no options available for
    putting placeholders for deleted comments, rearranging threads after a parent
    post has been deleted, or any number of other ways people have suggested to
    better handle deleted comments.

    9. A few posters have demanded that their accounts also be deleted, but first
    they either want their old comments completely removed from the Groklaw site, or
    packaged together and sent to the original author before removal.

    That's my summary of what has happened within the last few days. Now here's my
    little piece of commentary to add to the discussion (or noise as some would view

    John Gabriel and his sympathizers are seemingly expressing outrage over an
    injustice mostly of their own making. They have contributed bits to the
    discussion conducted on Groklaw in the past, contributions which were often
    greatly appreciated. But now they seem to feel their contributions entitle them
    to have a greater say in the way PJ conducts the way her own site is run. When
    some of their suggestions were not immediately accepted with open arms, John and
    a few others turned to vocal criticism of PJ's handling of her own creation;
    seemingly trying to rally others into putting more pressure on PJ to change her
    stance. Whether done on Groklaw or on another site such as the Yahoo board, such
    behavior illustrates a turn from maintaining a meaningful and constructive
    dialog to merely seeking some form of personal vindication and gratification at
    the expense of someone else.

    It appears John has failed to make the distinction between an unmoderated forum
    and a moderated one. Everyone knows, or should know, that Groklaw is a moderated
    forum. That means moderators have wide latitude in determining what posts to
    allow and what posts to filter out. The only ultimate check on what moderators
    do is the response of the viewing audience to their actions. If they filter too
    little, the forum can self destruct under an avalanche of useless posts that
    cause many readers to leave in frustration. If they filter too much, the site
    becomes uninteresting to a majority of viewers and they also leave. It must be
    noted that there is no setting of filtering level that will not cause some
    portion of the viewing audience to become dissatisfied and eventually leave.
    This is an important point that bears repeating: no matter what policies PJ uses
    for Groklaw, a number of viewers and posters will be unhappy. That's a general
    rule of moderated forums that there's no easy way to get around.

    Was John's account rightfully deleted from Groklaw? Not knowing PJ's actual
    reason and going only by the implied intent of his posts about Groklaw on the
    Yahoo board, I'd say yes. He had seemingly gone from being a well-intentioned
    yet critical contributor to the cause being promulgated by Groklaw to a
    deliberately distracting opponent of the creator of the site. PJ was well within
    her rights to do what she did in the face of a personal challenge. It's one
    thing to allow a free and open discussion about topics relevant to the forum's
    main purpose. It's yet another to be tolerant of people criticizing your
    personal competency to do your job.

    Is there any validity to the charges of immorality or violations of copyrights
    over author names becoming anonymous? There hardly seems to be any moral issue
    in the now anonymous postings, since the action was simply a "feature"
    built into Geeklog. The copyright claims seem unfounded as well. It seems
    unlikely that content freely posted to a public forum under a made-up screen
    name presents many legitimate avenues for claims of copyright infringement just
    because the automatically supplied attribution changes from one untraceable name
    to another.

    Finally, the issue of people asking to have their comments removed may be
    problematic from both a technical and philosophical standpoint. Technically, as
    we've seen with deletions of individual comments, attempted removal of selected
    comments from throughout the archives might leave the state of remaining
    comments in an unacceptable state. Whole threads might become unintelligible.
    Philosophically, the idea that people should be able to take back their words at
    any time from anywhere they appear, simply by asking, would be setting a bad
    precedent for future efforts at historical accuracy.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Objection! Compound!
    Authored by: sjgibbs on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 04:25 AM EDT

    "Groklaw: The case has implications for Verizon and for users. Please feel
    free to comment on both, but if you can you please address the latter
    particularly, that would be helpful. What were the dangers had you just
    capitulated? And what benefits do you see from this win? Obviously, the
    privacy benefits to all of us are clear as individuals. But do you see any
    implications from the standpoint of ISPs?

    And with respect to clerk-issued subpoenas opening the door for abuse by not
    only the RIAA, but potentially by pedophiles, stalkers and the like, can you see
    other ways that such a system could be misused? Can you please address the
    First Amendment issue and anonymous speech here?"

    And tell me about your kitchen sink too!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 05:31 AM EDT
    My favourite piece was how she compared bots and spiders looking for potential
    copyright infringement with the spiders in Minority Report - it's a powerful
    comparison if for no other reason that it will stir up a very disturbing image
    for most people of how it may affect innocent people. Bet she'd do great in
    front of a jury...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 07:06 AM EDT
    General OT comments here please.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • OT - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 07:12 AM EDT
      • OT - Authored by: Peter H. Salus on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 11:43 AM EDT
      • OT - Authored by: alisonken1 on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 01:15 PM EDT
    OT - Deleting accounts may not be the best policy
    Authored by: blacklight on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 07:17 AM EDT
    Deleting accounts from groklaw may create problems with historical accuracy
    similar to what the archives of Communist and post-Communist governments are
    experiencing: a person falls out of favor for one reason or another, that
    person's name is excised from the official accounts, and the governments in
    question end up with archives whose integrity is thorougghly corrupted.

    I suggest that a better solution would be to disable the account, if that's
    doable: change the password of the target. Whatever John Gabriel's conflict with
    PJ or groklaw, JG's contributions to groklaw are undeniable and should be
    preserved as his both as a matter of fairness to him and historical accuracy. On
    the other hand, it is inappropriate and unfair for anyone who comments on
    groklaw to ask that his comments be removed from groklaw: it is about as
    disruptive and disruptive as a kernel code contributor asking Linus Torvalds to
    remove his contributed code from the kernel.

    I'll give another example: American schols still teach the achievements of
    Benedict Arnold during the American Revolution, mentioning both his critical
    contributions and the fact the he changed sides. It's fair, it's open, it's
    transparent, and it's historically accurate. On the other hand, creating memory
    holes is simply not fair to anyone, nor is it historically accurate either. Note
    to anyone who might be potentially offended: I am using "Benedict
    Arnold" simply as an example, and I am not implying in any way that any
    groklaw contributor or former contributor turned coat.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
    Authored by: blacklight on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 07:34 AM EDT
    I have followed Verizon's fight in the courts against the RIAA with great
    interest. Whereas most ISPs have bent over on RIAA subpoena and meekly released
    their customers' private information, Verizon has fought back at great financial
    inconvenience to itself: Verizon's response is a class act, and I will
    definitely remember Verizon the next time I am shopping for an ISP either on my
    employer's or a client of my employer's behalf.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OT: BBC: [Virus] Concerns over Windows Cashpoints (ATMs)
    Authored by: eamacnaghten on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 08:05 AM EDT
    Off topic but may be of interest to people here...

    Concerns over Windows Cashpoints []

    Web link Eddy Currents

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
    Authored by: drh on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 10:49 AM EDT
    I have a small request...

    It seems that there are two discussions here, and I was wondering if it is
    possible to re-post the parent article to allow that discussion to continue
    without the deleted account issue?

    It's just that being on the other side of the world from most of you I seem to
    have missed the subject matter related to the accounts by about 8 hours, and I
    am now a bit confused.

    Just another day...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OT Selfimportance and copyright
    Authored by: NemesisNL on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 11:44 AM EDT
    I'm sorry but I got a bit worked up when I saw all the complaints about posts
    being turned to anonymous after deletion of accounts.

    First, as I understand it these accounts where deleted on request.

    If you request account deletion you request anonimity. You got what you wanted
    so why complain?

    Next I see that these people start complaining about the copyright on their
    posts. I must say this made me laugh. What do you think you are posting here?
    Literary master pieces? Posts that are going to end poverty in the world, bring
    about world peace? They are just comments on someone elses work, nothing more
    and nothing less. I think selfimportance has become epidemic here.

    Once you have posted on this very specific forum it becomes part of this
    community effort. If you do not want to have an account do not make one. If you
    have one but feel you can no longer take part in what this site is trying to
    do.....leave. If you yourself ask for deletion of an account.... do not complain
    about the side effects of that deletion caused by geeklog. If you feel you have
    to complain about that go and complain to the developer. You do not pester ford
    drivers just because you have an issue wiht ford cars. You take it up with the
    manufacturer. Sounds like common sense to me but hey...I'm dutch so what do I

    Some have asked for deletion of their posts....isn't what happened now in effect
    the same? Nobody can see they were yours, your presence has been wiped away. So
    the content of your posts are still visible....just see it as a compliment. We
    just couldn't part with your brilliant writings.

    Now everybody please return to normal. Let PJ do her job as brilliantly as
    always and let me enjoy this site in peace!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
    Authored by: ShawnX on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 03:38 PM EDT
    And now to be ON topic, We had a similar situation in
    Canada but the courts have ruled ISPs do not have to give
    customers information out to content groups.

    Hopefully, we'll continue to resist the content groups urge
    to destroy our copyright laws up here.

    - ShawnX

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Great article, nice feedback, excellent job of cleaning up after the trolls(nt).
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 04:25 PM EDT
    For those that sleep at night in the USA, I can tell you
    it was a mess.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
    Authored by: drh on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 05:25 PM EDT
    Thanks PJ!

    Just another day...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Back on topic
    Authored by: drh on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 05:47 PM EDT
    I am not all that familiar with this case, but these two
    sentences seem to cover all sides of the issues at hand:

    "Although Verizon does not condone copyright piracy, in
    our view, the case was really about protecting the privacy
    of the vast majority of consumers who have not engaged in
    illegal activity. As a company who negotiated the DMCA
    Section 512 provisions back in 1998 with the content
    community, including RIAA, it was also clear that RIAA was
    distorting the law we had negotiated..."

    Were the really involved in creating the DMCA?

    Are they more upset that "the law we had negotiated" has
    been corrupted, or that privacy could have been invaded?

    The tone of the responses would seem to indicate that
    Verizon is indeed interested in privacy, but I also highly
    suspect a commercial motive. They wont do as much business
    if it is known that they allowed the RIAA or whoever to
    rake through their databases. And they make a very
    important and very scary point that ANYONE who suspected a
    copyright violation could get personal information,
    whether they had proof or not. That goes beyond even a
    police state.

    Don't get me wrong, Verizon fought the good fight and won
    something for all of us. Unfortunately they had to fight
    something that should never have happened in the first
    place. Our congressmen, senators, and representatives let
    us all down when this was first passed.

    I wonder if Verizon can bill the US government for their
    legal fees...

    Just another day...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Interview with Sarah Deutsch, Esq. on RIAA v. Verizon
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 06:33 PM EDT
    As someone who wonders about, worries about, and contemplates the existence of
    unintended consequences of laws and projects, I find the comment by Ms. Deutsch

    'As a company who negotiated the DMCA Section 512 provisions back in 1998
    with the content community, including RIAA, it was also clear that RIAA was
    distorting the law we had negotiated, which clearly distinguished between the
    service provider acting as a host of third party content and the service
    provider acting as a mere conduit for communications'

    : a very interesting example of a company coming to grips with the results of
    unintended consequences. There is a well known folkism 'The road to hell is
    paved with good intentions.' that appears to apply here. Every change in the
    status quo generates a plethora of new conditions, and I am pleased to see that
    Verizon, or at least a percentage of Verizon, saw the undesirable outcomes of
    their actions and and worked to correct them.

    We need more companies to follow the example set forth by Verizon.

    Thank you, Ms. Deutsch, for pointing out that there are some mega-corps that
    actually care about their actions.

    I am just an
    -Obnoxious Twit

    Postscript: As much as I hate using the 'Ms.' as a honorific, I fear that Ms.
    Deutsch may have taken umbrage at my normal use of the shortened form of
    mademoiselle, Mlle, instead.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Negotiations with the Content Community?
    Authored by: gleef on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 07:24 PM EDT
    Excellent interview, thank you very much!

    Deutsch casually brings up one concern I have with the entire process in making
    all of these laws. She mentions them being written by "negotiations with
    the content community", presumably the RIAA, MPAA, and various other
    corproate producers of commercial media works and their trade associations.

    I'm very happy that Verizon took a principled stand to protect the privacy of
    ISP customers, but her comments underscore the fact that Verizon was one of the
    corporations that helped author the problem to begin with.

    Why are our laws being written by corporations negotiating with corporations?
    Can this process ever come up with results targeted to help just plain people?
    I don't see any benefit from most of these laws except by freak accidents.

    Whatever happened to laws written by legislators in consultation with their
    constutuents and people affected by the law? This ever-growing corporatism in
    the US is very very threatening. Yes, I know I sound like a naive idealist, but
    don't you agree that it's an issue we should be working towards fixing?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Dangers of the Induce Act
    Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 10:29 PM EDT

    If taken to it's logical extreme, the Induce Act would make it illegal to
    manufacture or sell the following items:

    Musical Instruments
    Art Supplies

    All of the above could be argued to be covered by the act. This does not appear
    it's intent, but an act this badly written to too dangerous to pass into law.

    And if you don't believe me - check the wording in the act, there's no apparent
    limitation on technology that could be considered to Induce Copyright
    infringement. The date that the technology was introduced also does not appear
    to have any bearing on whether or not the technology would be legal under the



    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Thanks to PJ and Sarah!
    Authored by: ray08 on Friday, October 29 2004 @ 11:09 PM EDT
    Man! How do you express the gratitude to those responsible for such landmark
    achievements! I have hope, once again, that the future of individuals rights may
    actually survive. Thank you Verizon (as has been stated many times)! And thank
    you Sarah for doing the interview with PJ (she is so *sweet*)! <sign of

    PJ, you should be an attorney, and I mean that! You work so hard and diligently
    and uncover the real truth. Plus you have a way of describing whats *really*
    going on behind the scenes. You go girl!

    Again, thank both of you fine woman for an *outstanding* job!

    With great respect: Ray08

    Caldera is toast! And Groklaw is the toaster! (with toast level set to BURN)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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