The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
October 7, 2003: Hackers to Face Tougher Sentences: The washingtonpost.com reports that convicted hackers and virus writers soon will face significantly harsher penalties under new guidelines that dictate how the U.S. government punishes computer crimes.
Starting in November, federal judges will begin handing out the expanded penalties, which were developed by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
In U.S.A. v. Thomas Michael Whitehead, Case No. 2:03CR53 (C.D.C.A. Sept. 19, 2003), the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California alleged that Whitehead purchased software code needed for reprogramming DirecTV access cards, paid a coconspirator to periodically update the code to circumvent current DirecTV security measures, and then used the code to reprogram DirecTV access cards, which he sold nationwide. In addition to charging Whitehead with conspiracy, and sale of devices to illegally decrypt satellite programming under 47 U.S.C. Section 605(e)(4), the U.S.
Hyperphrase Technologies sued Microsoft for patent infringement of three of Hyperphrase’s patents relating to storage and retreival of information in computer systems. The first patent is for automatically storing and retreiving data records in computer systems. The other two are for improvements of the method disclosed in the first patent, such as resolving ambiguity in recognized terms, using a variety of techniques. One of the features of Microsoft Office XP is called Smart Tags.
Geoffrey Davidian publishes The Putnam Pit, a tabloid and website that monitors corruption in Cookeville, Tennessee. Davidian lives in California but developed an interest in Cookeville after learning of an unsolved murder in the Cookeville area. After years of interacting with city officials, Davidian requested a hyperlink from the city’s website to his online newspaper. In response, the city created and modified a policy on establishing links, finally denying Davidian’s request. Additionally, the city refused Davidian’s request for electronic copies of city parking tickets.
The District Court of Massachusetts denied plaintiff's motion for class certification in a copyright infringement suit by three freelance photographers against Copyright Clearance Center Inc. Defendant acts as an agent for magazine publishers, licensing rights to photocopy magazine articles.
On September 23, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a proposed consent order settling complaints with AOL and its subsidiary, CompuServe.