October 2, 2000

iSONEWS.com says Sega is 'strongarming' them

Author: JT Smith

A reader submitted these comments and a press release: "As many of you have heard by now, strong-arm
tactics used by Sega's lawyers have attacked several web sites that disseminate
non-copyrighted information regarding the Dreamcast console and its line of
products and forced these sites to close their doors. Among the harrassed, my
site, iSONEWS.com, received numerous
threatening letters from Sega's attorneys. Because iSONEWS.com could not afford
to fight Sega in a legal battle, we removed our Dreamcast sections.  After
keeping the sections down for five days, we went balls out and re-opened the
Dreamcast section of our web page (9/27). Thankfully, we have retained legal
counsel, and we are preparing to do battle with Sega.  We are the first
such site to take a stance against Sega - the ball is in their court now. 
If you wish to learn more about iSONEWS' exchanges with Sega's attorneys, all of
the email conversations, including our official reply from our attorney, can be
found by clicking here.  We have prepared
the following press release to inform the public of Sega's activities and
iSONEWS.com's fight for its right to share information."

On September 27, 2000, www.iSONEWS.com took a stand for freedom and
defied a cease and desist order from attorneys representing Sega of America
Dreamcast, Inc.  Sega, in its
much-publicized war on piracy, demanded that the staff of iSONEWS permanently
remove all content that discussed or commented on the Dreamcast and its
supported line of products.  
Segaâs attorneys accused iSONEWS of contributory, and later, direct
infringment upon the console makerâs line of Dreamcast products.  Despite requests for elaboration and
attempts at cooperation, the attorneys for Sega responded to the staff of
iSONEWS with only threats and shortened deadlines.  While the staff of iSONEWS supports Sega
in its anti-piracy efforts, the strong-arm tactics of Segaâs attorneys barred
all efforts of the iSONEWS staff in coming to a resolution that was acceptable
to the involved parties.  Segaâs
attorneys refused to provide any examples of copyright infringement found at the
iSONEWS.com website but insisted that unless all Dreamcast content was removed,
Sega would take the two-year-old website to court.

www.iSONEWS.com is a
nonprofit news and information site that reports alleged acts of piracy while
providing the Internet public a forum to discuss matters of copyright
infringement with the benefit of current information.  While www.iSONEWS.com contains subject matter that
relates to software piracy, the website does not directly or contributively
infringe upon the copyright interests of others.  The staff of iSONEWS.com does not endorse software piracy
and enforces policies that prohibit such activities.  Despite not being given any examples of
wrongdoing, financial restraints and deadlines from Segaâs attorneys forced the
iSONEWS staff to yield to Segaâs demands until legal counsel could be retained
to represent the websiteâs interests in a court of law.

 The battle between iSONEWS.com and Sega has little to
do with the videogame giant protecting its copyright interests.  Instead, this fight is a border dispute
over the boundaries of First Amendment protections for speech and press.  The staff of iSONEWS wishes to defend
not only its ability to share information freely but also to protect the civil
liberties of all users who post and share information on the Internet.
-Alkivar

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