Last week I had the privilege of being on a panel of legal experts to discuss the DMCA's "safe harbors" for online service providers, particularly as they might apply in the Viacom v. YouTube litigation. The video of the event has now been made available, so for those who are interested but were unable to make it to Santa Clara Law School last week, the 90-minute video is embedded below, or can be found here.
The Recording Industry v. The People blog reports that the University of Oregon has gone to court to fight a recording industry subpoena seeking the identities of 17 students. Oregon is not the first university to resist a boilerplate subpoena that targets students for lawsuits for file-sharing, but they are among the few that have put up a fight in court.
In its brief, the university makes 5 arguments:
Last week, an alliance of right-wing bloggers joined the progressive public policy organization MoveOn in opposing the Fox News Channel for sending cease and desist letters to Republican presidential candidates that used Fox News clips in their TV ads. The barrage of cease and desist letters came after Fox individually targeted the campaign of presidential candidate John McCain for running an ad with a Fox News clip of a recent Republican debate.
As we've said many times before, DRM is not about preventing piracy, it's about giving entertainment companies control over disruptive innovation. Here's the latest example: tomorrow DVD-CCA (the entity that controls the CSS encryption standard for DVDs) will be voting on an amendment to the CSS license that is designed to put a disruptive innovator, Kaleidescape, out of business (read Kaleidescape's letter about it here).
Telecommunications technician and AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein is in Washington D.C. this week, meeting with journalists and congressional staffers to speak out against legislation that aims to immunize lawbreaking telecoms by halting cases like EFF's class-action lawsuit against AT&T. The New York Times and the Washington Post have both published articles after interviewing him about his discoveries while working at AT&T.
UPDATE: The video link below was limited to the live stream of this morning's press event. A posted video clip of Mark Klein can be found here.
On Wednesday, November 7, at 10:30 a.m. EST, telecommunications technician and AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein will speak out at a press conference on Capitol Hill, explaining why he is asking lawmakers to reject immunity for telecoms who assisted the Bush administration's spying on millions of Americans.
Video will be streamed live from 10:30 to 11 a.m. EST (7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. PST) through this link:
Senator Chris Dodd has posted a YouTube video of an interview with AT&T Whistleblower Mark Klein:
EFF has partnered with a coalition of government watchdog groups in launching governmentdocs.org, a site that consolidates government documents produced by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from various organizations. The FOIA is a law that forces the federal government to disclose documents detailing its activities when asked.
Often, organizations making FOIA requests seek to hold the government accountable for abuse, corruption, and unfulfilled promises to citizens. Governmentdocs.org allows visitors to search a database of government documents uncovered by watchdog groups, facilitating broad citizen review of critical records of government activity. In addition, registered users of the site can comment on documents, bringing their own insight and expertise to the table.
- NSA Sought Data Before 9/11
A National Journal article provides the details on Qwest's
history with the NSA.
- A Response to Rockefeller on Immunity
Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald dissects the senator's New
York Times op-ed. [requires browser cookie to view]
- A Response to Ashcroft on Immunity
Huffington Post blogger John Seery responds to former
attorney General John Ashcroft's New York Times op-ed.
- Congressman Defends Fair Use
Congressman Mike Doyle says the mashup artist Girl Talk
Last week, AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein headed to Washington D.C. to ask lawmakers to reject immunity for telecoms that assisted with the Bush administration's warrantless spying program. Mr. Klein's story deserves ample attention, as his first-hand experiences at AT&T deliver a concrete picture of dragnet spying in contrast to empty, pro-immunity rhetoric being delivered by high-powered telecom lobbyists, Bush administration officials, and the administration's allies in Congress and elsewhere.
UPDATE: H.R. 4137 was unanimously approved by the House Education and Labor Committee. Stay tuned for more news and actions you can take to oppose this threat.
After being beaten back in a Senate amendment this past summer, mandatory campus copyright policing is back with a vengeance. The House's latest higher education bill includes nasty requirements for "Campus-Based Digital Theft Prevention," mandating that schools plan to provide legal downloading alternatives and that campuses consider policing copyrights on their networks. Campuses that fail to comply stand to lose massive amounts of federal financial aid funds that go to straight to students. The bill, H.R. 4137, will be marked up by the House Committee on Education and Labor early Wednesday, November 13 so please take action now.
Yesterday, Yahoo! settled a US lawsuit with Shi Tao and Wang Xiaoning, two of the Chinese journalists who were imprisoned and tortured after their identities were handed over by Yahoo! to the Chinese authorities.
"It was clear to me what we had to do to make this right for them", said Jerry Yang in a statement today.
The terms of the settlement are secret, but the drubbing Yahoo! has received over this case has been excruciatingly public for the company. Few CEOs want to be described as representative of "moral pygmies" in a Congressional committee room.
This week, Google announced the Google Policy Fellowship, a program that gives students the chance to spend the summer working alongside host organizations on topics of Internet and technology policy. Much like how the Summer of Code project aims to develop and promote open source projects, Google is hoping that the policy fellowship project will advance debate on key policy issues affecting the public.
Fellows will receive a summer stipend while working with host organizations on particular topics, and EFF is opening its doors to host interested applicants. Google's application deadline is January 1, 2008--you can find out more about how to apply here.
UPDATE: Another victory -- the House of Representatives just passed the RESTORE Act, which does not give the telecoms amnesty. Read EFF's Media Release here.
With your help, EFF scored a victory today, as the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a surveillance bill without giving legal amnesty to telecoms that participated in warrantless spying programs. Telecom amnesty is aimed at derailing dozens of lawsuits against the telecoms for participating in a massive warrantless domestic surveillance program -- including EFF's class-action suit against AT&T.
Today the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Bush, returning the case to the District Court for further consideration. Al-Haramain had sued the government, alleging that they had a document proving the Islamic charity was subject to the NSA warrantless surveillance program. The government asserted the case should be dismissed based on the state secret privilege. The Ninth Circuit found that while the very subject matter of the case was not a state secret, the document (which had been inadvertently disclosed by the government) remains a state secret, and returned the case to the lower court to determine whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act preempted the common law state secrets privilege.
Earlier this week, EFF filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Quanta v. LG Electronics, a case that asks whether patent owners can impose restrictions on what you can do with a product after you buy it. The brief, filed on behalf of EFF, Consumers Union, and Public Knowledge, makes a simple point: when a consumer buys a patented product from an authorized seller, the patent owner is not entitled to use patent law to restrict the purchaser's subsequent ability to use, repair, or resell the product.
In other words, you bought it, you own it.
Next week, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 28, noted cyberlaw scholar Jonathan Zittrain will deliver a presentation called "The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It." Zittrain will cover the pitfalls and solutions he sees looking forward, as freedom in the Internet ecosystem becomes increasingly threatened by the spread of closed, "appliancized tools" and rash approaches to security challenges. The event is being hosted by News.com at CNET Networks in San Francisco, and it's free and open to the general public. RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the event page for more information.
As Congress gears up to debate giving amnesty to telecoms involved in illegal spying, the terrific Frontline documentary "Spying on the Home Front" will be rebroadcast Tuesday on many PBS stations across the country. This program examines just how far the government has gone with its surveillance program, and features EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn discussing EFF's ongoing case against AT&T for its illegal collaboration with the NSA. AT&T whisleblower Mark Klein also tells his compelling story about his discovery of a "secret room" diverting AT&T network traffic to the NSA.
An Arizona appellate court today joined a growing judicial consensus recognizing the need to protect the anonymity of online speakers from overreaching discovery requests.
Princeton's Professor Ed Felten (full disclosure: he's an EFF board member) in a recent post on his blog reminds us that one of the core "Darknet premises" -- that DRM systems on mass media content will inevitably be broken -- continues to prove itself true. The victim this year, AACS:
We’ve been following, off and on, the steady meltdown of AACS, the encryption scheme used in HD-DVD and Blu-ray, the next-generation DVD systems. By this point, Hollywood has released four generations of AACS-encoded discs, each encrypted with different secret keys; and the popular circumvention tools can still decrypt them all. The industry is stuck on a treadmill: they change keys every ninety days, and attackers promptly reverse-engineer the new keys and carry on decrypting discs.
Today, EFF took action in our latest representation aimed at protecting the anonymity of an online speaker. And in this case, for a slight change of pace, the at-fault litigant is a governmental entity.