Chilling Effects
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Monitoring the legal climate for Internet activity
Chilling Effects
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Clearinghouse Topic Areas:

  • ACPA
  • Anticircumvention (DMCA)
  • Copyright
  • Copyright and Fair Use
  • Court Orders
  • Defamation
  • Derivative Works
  • DMCA Notices
  • DMCA Safe Harbor
  • DMCA Subpoenas
  • Documenting Your Domain Defense
  • Domain Names and Trademarks
  • E-Commerce Patents
  • Fan Fiction
  • International
  • John Doe Anonymity
  • Linking
  • No Action
  • Patent
  • Piracy or Copyright Infringement
  • Private Information
  • Protest, Parody and Criticism Sites
  • Responses
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Right of Publicity
  • Trade Secret
  • Trademark
  • UDRP
  • Uncategorized
  • This Topic: Chilling Effects

    Cease and Desist? What is this site?

    The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse collects and analyzes legal complaints about online activity, helping Internet users to know their rights and understand the law. Chilling Effects welcomes submission of letters from individuals and from Internet service providers and hosts. These submissions enable us to study the prevalence of legal threats and allow Internet users to see the source of content removals.

    Chilling Effects aims to support lawful online activity against the chill of unwarranted legal threats. We are excited about the new opportunities the Internet offers individuals to express their views, parody politicians, celebrate favorite stars, or criticize businesses, but concerned that not everyone feels the same way. Study to date suggests that cease and desist letters often silence Internet users, whether or not their claims have legal merit. The Chilling Effects project seeks to document that "chill" and inform C&D recipients of their legal rights in response.

    The Chilling Effects clearinghouse is a database of cease and desist notices (C&Ds) sent to Internet users, legal interpretation of those notices, Frequently Asked Questions about parts of the law that affect online activity, and related news and resources. If you have received a cease and desist, we invite you to add it to our database.

    You can use this site in many different ways: choose a topic area and explore its homepage and FAQs; search the database for C&Ds similar to one you've received or sent; submit your own notice for law students at the participating clinics to analyze.

    The site's centerpiece is the database of annotated cease-and-desist notices:

    Clinical law students review the notices submitted and link their legalese to explanatory FAQs. As the number of notices grows, so will the selection of FAQs, which can be read either alongside the notices or on their own.

    Click on a highlighted word to or phrase to see its FAQ explanation.

    annotated notice

    Below each annotated notice is a series of questions and answers explaining the legal terms.

    Site Organization

    The Chilling Effects clearinghouse is organized by topic area. Some topics are related to types of activity, such as fan fiction and reverse engineering, others to areas of law, such as copyright and trademark. Within each topic, you will find the linked notices, FAQs, related news, and resources such as statutes and articles.

    We invite you to report your own notice to the database (received or sent), search or browse the database, or read "Weather Reports" on the legal climate for Internet activity -- compiled based on the notices submitted.


    The Chilling Effects clearinghouse offers two types of searches:
    Quick Search, the box in the left corner of each index page, searches for words or "quoted phrases" among topics, FAQs, news, resources, and the subject lines of C&D notices.
    Search the Database, linked from the header bar, offers a more detailed search of our database of cease-and-desist notices.

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