Mattel is trying to rid the world of a "cphack" program that lets customers view what its CyberPatrol blocking software says is off-limits. The toy giant has filed suit in Massachusetts federal district court, and won a temporary restraining order against cphack's authors. Now Mattel attorneys are bulk-emailing subpoenas even to people who linked to the cphack code. --By Declan McCullagh.
22 May 2000 update: I mention the Mattel case in an article about the freedom to link. You can find it on The New Republic's web site.
2 May 2000 update: Mattel's lawyers are still busy, sending out nastygrams to Australian ISPs. Writes one: "We haven't yet found a reason Australian citizens should pay attention to a Massachusetts court order. Until we do the mirror is still up." At http://zem.squidly.org/mirror/cp4break/cp4break.html, that is.
21 April 2000 update: ACLU's motions for a stay are now online.
6 April 2000 update: ACLU files appeal in Cyberpatrol case.
29 March 2000 update: Judge Harrington has ruled. He seems to be inviting Mattel to shut down mirror sites.
28 March 2000 update: Mattel's claim of victory may be premature. Turns out cphack was released under the GNU General Public License, and everyone can copy it in perpetuity.
27 March 2000 update: Mattel has acquired rights to cphack.exe and has threatened contempt of court charges for sites mirroring it. Judge Harrington will decide by Wednesday whether to turn the restraining order into an injunction.
24 March 2000 update: I've asked Mattel for more time to reply. The ACLU is representing three mirror sites and has filed court documents asking to quash the subpoena-spam.
Mirror of the cphack program and analysis, hosted by Steve Mann, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Toronto:
politechbot.com archive on CyberPatrol:
What CyberPatrol doesn't want you to see -- what's banned:
http://www.politechbot.com/p-00995.html (11 March 2000)
William Geiger's near-comprehensive list of mirror sites:
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/03/16/0022227&mode=thread (16 March 2000)
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/03/24/1656234&mode=thread (24 March 2000)
Peacefire.org archive on CyberPatrol:
CyberPatrol press release announcing victory in restraining order:
http://www.politechbot.com/p-01021.html (17 March 2000)
Subpoena-spam from Mattel attorney Irwin Schwartz and replies: schwartz-email.txt 19-Mar-2000 01:57 3k reply-to-schwartz.txt 24-Mar-2000 14:50 1k schwartz-031700.txt 25-Mar-2000 08:34 3k schwartz-032000.txt 25-Mar-2000 08:34 5k Mattel and ACLU press releases: cp-pressrelease.txt 19-Mar-2000 01:57 4k aclu-pressrelease.txt 24-Mar-2000 14:50 1k ACLU legal documents: opposition.doc 24-Mar-2000 14:50 61k opposition.html 24-Mar-2000 14:50 32k opposition.txt 24-Mar-2000 14:50 34k quash.doc 24-Mar-2000 14:50 33k quash.html 24-Mar-2000 14:50 10k quash.txt 24-Mar-2000 14:50 8k Mattel legal documents: cp-brief.doc 19-Mar-2000 01:09 18k cp-brief.txt 19-Mar-2000 01:09 15k cp-complaint.doc 19-Mar-2000 01:09 16k cp-complaint.txt 19-Mar-2000 01:09 13k cp-motion.doc 19-Mar-2000 01:09 6k cp-motion.txt 19-Mar-2000 01:09 4k cp-order.doc 19-Mar-2000 01:09 4k cp-order.txt 19-Mar-2000 01:09 2k cp-subpoena.doc 19-Mar-2000 01:09 4k cp-subpoena.txt 19-Mar-2000 01:09 1k Unicode/TIFF files sent out by Mattel attorney: ~att1210.uni 19-Mar-2000 01:09 66k ~att1211.uni 19-Mar-2000 01:09 28k ~att1212.uni 19-Mar-2000 01:09 239k ~att1213.uni 19-Mar-2000 01:09 280k ~att1214.uni 19-Mar-2000 01:09 71k ~att1215.uni 19-Mar-2000 01:09 177k ~att1236.uni 19-Mar-2000 01:09 81k ~att1237.uni 19-Mar-2000 01:09 77k
Mattel Stays on the Offensive (27 March 2000)
Boston Globe editorial on lawsuit (27 March 2000)
CNET: "Hackers crack online porn filters" (16 Mar 2000)
USA Today: Judge helps Mattel zap effort to undermine filter (20 March 2000)
CNN.com: Cyber Patrol decoding brawl gets ugly and international (21 March 2000)
AP: Judge Allows Delivery by E-Mail (24 March 2000)
Wired News: "Mattel Sues Over Blocking Hack" (16 Mar 2000)
Wired News: "CyberPatrol Hackers Lose Round" (18 Mar 2000)
AP: Porn Software Injunction Issued (17 March 2000)
AP: Software Co. Sues Hackers (16 March 2000)