Lumen (website)

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Motto Monitoring the legal climate for Internet activity
Formation 2001
Type Web site
Official language
Wendy Seltzer
Key people
Diane Cabell, Berkman Fellow
DePaul University College of Law
George Washington University Law School
Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic
Santa Clara University, School of Law High Tech Law Institute
Stanford Center for Internet & Society
University of Maine School of Law
USF Law School, IIP Justice Project

Lumen, formerly Chilling Effects, is a collaborative archive created by Wendy Seltzer and founded along with several law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to protect lawful online activity from legal threats. Its website, Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, allows recipients of cease-and-desist notices to submit them to the site and receive information about their legal rights and responsibilities.


The archive was founded in 2001 by Internet activists who were concerned that the unregulated private practice of sending cease-and-desist letters seemed to be increasing and was having an unstudied, but potentially significant, "chilling effect" on free speech.[citation needed]

The archive got a boost when Google began submitting its notices in 2002. Google began to do so in response to the publicity generated when the Church of Scientology convinced Google to remove references and links to an anti-Scientology web site, Operation Clambake, in April 2002.[1] The incident inspired vocal Internet users and groups to complain to Google, and the links to the Clambake site were restored. Google subsequently began to contribute its notices to Chilling Effects, archiving the Scientology complaints and linking to the archive.[1][2]

Since 2002, researchers have been using the clearinghouse to study the use of cease-and-desist letters, primarily looking at Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 512 takedown notices, non-DMCA copyright issues, and trademark claims.[3][4]

On November 2, 2015, Chilling Effects announced its renaming to Lumen, effective immediately.[5] At the same time, it announced a number of international partnerships.

Praise and criticism

Copyright holders have complained that by republishing the URLs of infringing content, after those URLs were legitimately taken down from Google, the database subverts the intent of the DMCA and has "become the largest repository of URLs hosting infringing content on the internet."[6] The Copyright Alliance representative has described the project as "repugnant".[7] The critics, in turn, have been labelled by some as "censorship defenders".[7] The site's supporters have commended it for being a major supporter of transparency regarding copyright take-downs.[7]


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gallagher, David (April 22, 2002). "New Economy; A copyright dispute with the Church of Scientology is forcing Google to do some creative linking". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Don Marti, "Google Begins Making DMCA Takedowns Public", Linux Journal (2002/4/12) (describing Google's response to the Scientologists and subsequent decision to contribute to
  3. J. Urban & L. Quilter, "Efficient Process or 'Chilling Effects'? Takedown Notices Under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal (March 2006)
  4. Heins, Marjorie; Beckles, Tricia. "WILL FAIR USE SURVIVE? Free Expression in the Age of Copyright Control" (PDF). The Free Expression Policy Project. National Coalition Against Censorship. Retrieved 6 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Chilling Effects Announces New Name, International Partnerships". November 2, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Copyright Alliance Attacks As 'Repugnant,' Wants DMCA System With No Public Accountability". Techdirt.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Chilling Effects On Chilling Effects As DMCA Archive Deletes Self From Google". Techdirt.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links