NEWS: Filtering firm, hackers settle copyright case

From Steven Green <>
Date Tue, 28 Mar 2000 00:15:17 -0500 ()

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Filtering firm, hackers settle copyright case 

By Patricia Jacobus
Staff Writer, CNET
March 27, 2000, 3:45 p.m. PT 
Cyber Patrol, a Net content filtering firm, today settled its copyright
lawsuit against two computer experts who cracked into the company's

In a Massachusetts court hearing this morning, Eddy Jansson of Sweden and
Matthew Skala of Canada agreed to turn over the program they created,
which allows others to gain access to Cyber Patrol's proprietary list of
Web sites blocked from children's computers. 

They also promised not to teach anyone else how to decode the software,
said Sydney Rubin, Cyber Patrol's spokeswoman. It was a no-cash

Jansson faces a $100,000 fine if he breaks the condition of the
settlement, and Skala could serve jail time because such a violation in
Canada is a criminal offense. 

"We achieved what we wanted," Rubin said. "We protected our customers and
defended our intellectual property." 

Attorneys for the two alleged offenders could not immediately be reached
for comment. 

The settlement brought to a close a two-week ordeal for the men, who had
argued that their actions amounted to "fair use," meaning that they were
protected under digital copyright laws to decode Cyber Patrol's software. 

But U.S. District Judge Edward Harrington disagreed,  granting a temporary
restraining order against the men. Within hours of the ruling, activists
copied Jansson and Skala's program and began distributing it across the

Cyber Patrol's manufacturer, Microsystems Software, then sought subpoenas
for three young Web operators who distributed the program, called
"cphack," which allows children access to questionable Web sites that had
previously been blocked. 

Attorney Chris Hansen of the American Civil Liberties Union today argued
on behalf of the three operators, asking the judge to lift the restraining
order against his clients. 

"My clients did not act in concert with the two defendants," Hansen said.
"All they did was create a mirror site, copying what the defendants
wrote--not anything that Cyber Patrol wrote. The order shouldn't bind

A decision in Hansen's matter is pending. 

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