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Electronic voting system criticized - Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc.

Diebold Election Systems sells electronic voting systems used in states including California, Georgia, Ohio and Texas. Diebold demands that webmasters remove internal documents, that include conversations that cast doubt on the company's ability to sell secure software and criticize the company's software, security, certification and sales practices, or stop hyperlinking to the documents.

The cease and desist letters earned Diebold a lawsuit by an ISP (The Online Policy Group) with a client (Indymedia)  who linked to the documents and by two Swarthmore students whose school--acting as their ISP--had removed copies under takedown threat. They pledged to seek a court order spelling out that publishing or linking to the Diebold e-mails doesn't amount to copyright infringement. EFF is representing the Online Policy Group.

"An ISP with knowledge that hyperlinks on its site direct users to potentially infringing material is not immunized from liability," Diebold's filing said. "It is now well established that hyperlinks directing users to websites containing infringing material themselves infringe the underlying copyright." But Diebold soon backed off and told a judge it won't sue websites that post information about possible flaws in its touch-screen machines. Lawyers who represent the Online Policy Group indicated that they had not finished pressing their case against Diebold, that they wanted more: They are seeking a court order that says publishing or linking to the Diebold files on the Web does not violate copyright law, and that ISPs should not face penalties for hosting Web sites that do.

A hearing is scheduled Feb. 9.

U.S. congressional representative Dennis Kucinich, who is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, also provides links to the Diebold e-mail correspondence from his House of Representatives Website.



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