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Category Archives: Digital Rights

Harvard’s Groundbreaking Project Documenting Online Content Removals Changes Name to Lumen

News release: “Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society is pleased to announce exciting changes to our pioneering Chilling Effects project, including an expanded mission and a new set of international research partnerships. To better reflect this evolution in scope as well as the changes in the landscape over the fourteen years since it was launched, the project has changed its name to “Lumen,” and can be found at The name borrows from the unit of measurement for visible light, highlighting the use of data for transparency reporting. “Since Chilling Effects was founded in the wake of the passage of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the project has been essential to the collection and study of notices sent to online platforms requesting the removal of content,” said Chris Bavitz, Faculty Co-Director of the Berkman Center and Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “We are excited for Lumen to continue this important work with an expanded scope, in partnership with a collection of extraordinary institutions.” Started in 2001 by then-Berkman fellow Wendy Seltzer and current Berkman Faculty Director Jonathan Zittrain, Chilling Effects was founded to provide a database of requests for content removal, to assist scholars and others in understanding trends in content removal demands and practices, and to facilitate research into how online intermediaries make their content removal decisions. “Both the variety of online communications and the range of takedown demands have grown enormously since we started transparency reporting with Chilling Effects in 2001,” said Wendy Seltzer, now a member of the Berkman Center’s Fellowship Advisory Board, “The new Lumen partnerships will enable us to shed light on takedown claims and responses around the world, further supporting academic research and news reporting on the climate for online expression. I look forward to its next decade.” Over time, the project has expanded in the types of notices it hosts, the sources they come from, and the sheer volume of requests it receives. In addition to DMCA notices, request types now include removal demands grounded in trademark, patent, locally-regulated content, and private information removal claims. Companies sharing notices they receive include Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, WordPress, and Reddit. The number of notices collected has grown from a few notices per week, to approximately 4,000 per day. As of July 2015, the Chilling Effects database contains more than three million notices and is the definitive source for online content removal requests. “While people may differ about the wisdom of censorship in one case or another, it shouldn’t take place secretly,” said Jonathan Zittrain, Faculty Director of the Berkman Center and George Bemis Professor of International Law. “Lumen stands for the proposition that demands for online redaction should be available for study, so that we can know the shape of what we are not seeing, whether the elisions are caused by a government or by a private party.”

Library of Congress 2015 DMCA 1201 Rules

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS U.S. Copyright Office 37 CFR Part 201 [Docket No. 2014-07] Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies. AGENCY: U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress. ACTION: Final rule. “In this final rule, the Librarian of Congress adopts exemptions to the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright ActContinue Reading

European Court of Justice

Decision of Europe’s top court on the validity of data transfer regime between the EU and US

EFF – Europe Blocks Progress for Libraries and Educators at WIPO

EFF – “Last week negotiators from around the world came together as the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) standing committee on copyright (SCCR) resumed consideration of its two current work items: the on-again, off-again broadcasters’ rights treaty, and the harmonization of minimum copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries, archives, and education. EFF has opposed theContinue Reading

Report – Who Has Your Digital Back?

Who Has Your Back? 2015: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests. July 2, 2015 | By Parker Higgins: “We live digital lives—from the videos shared on social networks, to location-aware apps on mobile phones, to log-in data for connecting to our email, to our stored documents, to our search history. The personal, the profound, andContinue Reading

Robots, Pirates, and the Rise of the Automated Takedown Regime

Carpou, Zoe, Robots, Pirates, and the Rise of the Automated Takedown Regime (April 6, 2015). Available for download at SSRN: “The notice-and-takedown provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has become increasingly controversial, particularly with the ever-increasing use of “robo-takedown” requests — an automated procedure by which a copyright holder locates allegedly infringing contentContinue Reading

Boing Boing’s Doctorow leads campaign to ban digital locks on ebooks, music

James Bridle – UK Guardian: “In my last column I wrote about Tesco’s graceful exit from the ebook business, offloading its customers – and their precious libraries – to Kobo. While applauding the commitment to preserving customers’ purchases, it remains a shame that this sort of transfer is even necessary. Storing books – or anythingContinue Reading

EFF – Automakers Say You Don’t Really Own Your Car

News release: “EFF is fighting for vehicle owners’ rights to inspect the code that runs their vehicles and to repair and modify their vehicles, or have a mechanic of their choice do the work. At the moment, the anti-circumvention prohibition in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act arguably restricts vehicle inspection, repair, and modification. If EFFContinue Reading

UN Report – Copyright policy and the right to science and culture

“Science and culture are not only of great importance to the knowledge economy; they are also fundamental to human dignity and autonomy [this is the link to the report, Word doc.] In that area, two influential paradigms of international law — intellectual property and human rights — have evolved largely separately. Recent developments, however, haveContinue Reading

Over 310,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations

“Finding free images of high quality is a tedious task – due to copyright issues, attribution requirements, or simply the lack of quality. This inspired us to create Pixabay – a repository for stunning public domain pictures. Your source for free vectors, free drawings and free photos. You can use any Pixabay image without attributionContinue Reading

Houston, We Have A Public Domain Problem – Commentary

Parker Higgins is an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “I received a bogus copyright takedown notice for using public domain audio on SoundCloud yesterday. The sound in question—the famous “Houston, we have a problem” snippet of the Apollo 13 mission—is incontrovertibly available to all, for any use, without copyright restrictions. The fact that it’sContinue Reading

Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books

Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books, Jean-Baptiste Michel, et al. Science 331, 176 (2011); DOI: 10.1126/science.1199644 “We constructed a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4% of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. We survey the vast terrain of ‘culturomics,’ focusing on linguistic and cultural phenomena that wereContinue Reading