. From the press release:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
(EFF) and four major law school legal clinics announced the launch today (25. february 2002) 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 activities.
The project brings the EFF together with 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 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.
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 threats.
The Chilling Effects project website
My law firm - vonhaller - has already received a request from the Chilling Effects team to look into an apparant cease-and-desist action against af Danish web-site. More on this later!