Soapbox Saturday: What’s Being Removed From the Web?

The Chilling Effects database collects and analyzes legal complaints and requests for removal of online materials, helping Internet users to know their rights and understand the law. A project of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Chilling Effects is an independent 3rd party research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content.

They collect and analyze complaints about online activity, especially requests to remove content from online. Their “goals are to educate the public, to facilitate research about the different kinds of complaints and requests for removal – both legitimate and questionable – that are being sent to Internet publishers and service providers, and to provide as much transparency as possible about the “ecology” of such notices, in terms of who is sending them and why, and to what effect.

“Our database contains millions of notices, some of them with valid legal basis, some of them without, and some on the murky border. Our posting of a notice does not indicate a judgment among these possibilities, nor are we authenticating the provenance of notices or making any judgment on the validity of the claims they raise.

The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is a unique collaboration among law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Conceived and developed at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society by Berkman Fellow Wendy Seltzer, Chilling Effects was nurtured with help from law clinics at Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law.

FMI Chilling Effects Clearinghouse.