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"Chilling Effects" Clearinghouse for Free Speech & Fair Use Announced

"Chilling Effects" Clearinghouse for Free Speech & Fair Use Announced

Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the EFF, and law school
clinics at Stanford, Berkeley, and USF today announced the launch of the
Chilling Effects clearinghouse: Chilling Effects

Chilling Effects aims to protect free expression and fair use online.

Chilling Effects will be a collection point for Cease and Desist notices
concerning online activity -- we invite visitors to enter C&Ds they have
received or sent. The website will collect the C&Ds in a searchable
database and hyperlink them to explanations of the legal issues. As it
gathers data, we'll begin to analyze trends in the use and abuse of legal
threats. How much legitimate activity is stopped by baseless claims?

I hope you'll browse the site and add any notices you've received. We cover
topics including anticircumvention, the DMCA safe harbor for ISPs,
trademark, and anonymity.

Press release follows.


Berkman Center Announces Project to Counter Chilling Effects
of Legal Threats

Project Aims to Educate Internet Users About Online Rights

San Francisco -- The Berkman Center for Internet & Society,
four major law school legal clinics, and the Electronic
Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced the launch today of a
project and website to empower Internet users with detailed
information about their legal rights in response to
cease-and-desist letters designed to restrict their online

The project brings the Berkman Center together with the EFF
and Internet law clinics at Harvard, Stanford, the University
of California at Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco,
and is expected to grow to include additional law schools.

Called "Chilling Effects" in reference to the way legal
threats can freeze out free expression, the project invites
Internet users to add their cease-and-desist letters to an
online clearinghouse at ChillingEffects.org. Students at
the participating law school clinics will review the
letters and annotate them with links to explain applicable
legal rules.

"The Internet makes it easier for individuals to speak to
a wide audience, but it also makes it easier for other
people and corporations to silence that speech," said
Berkman Center Fellow Wendy Seltzer, who conceived the
project and programmed the website. "Chilling Effects aims
to level the field by helping online speakers to understand
their rights in the face of legal threats."

The Chilling Effects project works by publishing
cease-and-desist letters received by Internet users and
providing detailed information about the relevant law.
For example, if an Internet user receives a letter
demanding that she remove a synopsis of a "Star Trek"
episode from her website, members of the Chilling Effects
team would post the letter online, embedding it with links
to information about basic copyright protections, the rules
governing synopses, and the fair use doctrine.

"EFF receives hundreds of requests for help and information
from recipients of cease-and-desist letters," said EFF
Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "This project should help
individuals gain access to greatly needed information as
well as allow us to track who is sending these letters and
research larger trends."

The project currently provides basic legal information on
issues like fan fiction, copyright and the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act, trademark and domain names,
anonymous speech, and defamation. New topics will be added
as new issues arise. In addition to publishing
cease-and-desist letters, the Chilling Effects team will
offer periodic "weather reports" assessing the legal
climate for Internet activity. The reports will seek to
answer such questions as what types of Internet activity
are most vulnerable to the chilling effects of legal

The Chilling Effects project website:

Chilling Effects

About Berkman Center for Internet & Society:

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is a research
program at Harvard Law School founded to explore
cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
maintains one of the most-linked-to websites in the world at
Electonic Frontier Foundation

About Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic:

The Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at
Boalt Hall was the first clinic in the country to provide
law students with the opportunity to represent the public
interest in cases and matters on the cutting-edge of high
technology law. Since January 2001, students participating
in the Clinic have worked with leading lawyers in nonprofit
organizations, government, private practice, and academia
to represent clients on a broad range of legal matters
including Internet free speech and online and wireless
Samuelson Clinic

About Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society:

The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) is a public
interest technology law and policy program at Stanford Law
School. The CIS brings together scholars, academics,
legislators, students, hackers, and scientists to study the
interaction of new technologies and the law and to examine
how the synergy between the two can either promote or harm
public goods like free speech, privacy, public commons,
diversity, and scientific inquiry. The CIS strives as well
to improve both technology and law, encouraging decision
makers to design both as a means to further democratic

About University of San Francisco Internet and Intellectual
Property Justice Project:

This University of San Francisco School of Law program
provides legal services to parties who require help with
intellectual property matters. The project is currently
available to help parties in domain name disputes under
ICANN online dispute resolution proceedings as well as with
other trademark and copyright work that the faculty
supervisors feel is appropriate. Legal work is performed
free of charge by students under the direction of faculty



Wendy Seltzer


Berkman Center for Internet & Society at
Harvard Law School


+1 212-715-7815

Diane Cabell


Clinical Program in Cyberlaw

Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Harvard Law School

+1 617 495-7547


Cindy Cohn

Legal Director

Electronic Frontier Foundation


+1 415 436-9333 x108 (office), +1 415 823-2148 (cell)

Jennifer Stisa Granick

Clinical Director

Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society


+1 650 724-0014

Deirdre Mulligan

Acting Clinical Professor and Director

Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic,

Boalt Hall School of Law,

University of California at Berkeley


+1 510 642-0499

Professor Robert Talbot

Professor of Law and

Director of
Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Project

University of San Francisco School of Law

+1 415 422-6218 (office), +1 415 717-2826 (cell)