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The Citizen Media Law Project has unveiled the Legal Threats Database, a collection of a growing number of lawsuits, cease-and-desist letters and other legal challenges faced by those engaging in online speech. The database can be accessed at www.citmedialaw.org/database. It is updated daily and already contains hundreds of entries from 35 states and nine countries. The threats range from copyright infringement lawsuits filed against bloggers to cease-and-desist letters claiming defamation sent to users of the MySpace social networking Web site. The Legal Threats Database allows users to input threat entries, comment on existing threats and search the database in a number of ways. It aims to provide lawyers, citizen journalists and mainstream media with resources for assessing the validity and potential outcomes of legal threats to online speech based on actual cases and legal actions. The database is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It represents the start of several endeavors the Citizen Media Law Project will undertake in upcoming months. Starting next year, the project will roll out state-based legal guides for citizen and non-traditional journalists, which will focus on issues such as defamation, newsgathering, access to government information and intellectual property. The Citizen Media Law Project is jointly affiliated with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Center for Citizen Media.

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