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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Diebold versus the Internet in the New York Times

There’s a long article in today’s New York Times about Diebold, the voting machine company, and their struggle to prevent internal emails about security weaknesses in their software getting around on the Internet. They’re arguing intellectual property. Their opponents argue “fair use”. First three paragraphs:

Forbidden files are circulating on the Internet and threats of lawsuits are in the air. Music trading? No, it is the growing controversy over one company’s electronic voting systems, and the issues being raised, some legal scholars say, are as fundamental as the sanctity of elections and the right to free speech.

Diebold Election Systems, which makes voting machines, is waging legal war against grass-roots advocates, including dozens of college students, who are posting on the Internet copies of the company’s internal communications about its electronic voting machines.

The students say that, by trying to spread the word about problems with the company’s software, they are performing a valuable form of electronic civil disobedience, one that has broad implications for American society. They also contend that they are protected by fair use exceptions in copyright law.

Hurry if you want to read all of it. NYT stuff seems to go behind a payment wall quite soon. They take their property seriously too, I guess. (By the way, is this NYT policy recent, or is it just me having only recently noticed it?)

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