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EFFector - Volume 11, Issue 8 - Digital Copyright Bill Threatens Online Privacy and Security!


EFFector - Volume 11, Issue 8 - Digital Copyright Bill Threatens Online Privacy and Security!

   EFFector       Vol. 11, No. 8       June 13, 1998
   A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424
         1. SUMMARY
         2. THE LATEST NEWS
   See for more information on EFF activities &
     Please distribute widely to appropriate forums, 
     no later than June 19 (action deadline: June 17).
   June 13, 1998

   Consumer Project on Technology ( )
   Electronic Frontier Foundation ( )
   Electronic Privacy Information Center ( )
     * Latest News: House Commerce Committee (following hearing by one of
       its subcommittees last week) will mark-up the "WIPO Copyright
       Treaties Implementation Act" (H.R. 2281) would over-regulate
       emerging technologies, eliminate privacy protections, outlaw
       reverse engineering and encryption security measures, and weaken
       fair use privileges. The Committee is thought to now be more aware
       of the problems, but not interested in shelving this bill in favor
       of H.R. 3048, a better version.

     * What You Can Do Now: Follow the directions below and call members
       of House Commerce Committee. Ask them to, at minimum, amend the
       bill so that it will not attempt to regulate technology itself,
       but rather the behavior that constitutes an infringing misuse of
       the technology. Ask them to substitute the provisions of H.R. 3048
       for those of H.R. 2281.
           For More Information, see the Digital Future Coalition
   On Friday June 5, the House Commerce Subcommittee on
   Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection will held a hearing
   on H.R. 2281, the "WIPO Copyright Treaties Implementation Act",
   already approved over many objections by the House Judiciary Committee
   At the hearing, the subcommittee members asked lots of well-informed
   questions and seemed to understand some of the civil liberties
   concerns. But the pressure from the other side (the US Patent &
   Trademark Office and large corporate intellectual property holders)
   remains great, and it is an uphill battle for us to get any
   mark-up (revision) by the full House Commerce Committee is scheduled
   for June 17, and the Committee is set to release the revised bill on
   the 19th. It is imperative that we get as many people as possible to
   call members of the Commerce Committee and tell them their concerns
   with the bill. All indications are that killing the bill, in favor of
   the Boucher/Campbell alternative, H.R. 3048, is considered out of the
   question. However, a complete substitution of the bad text with the
   alternative language can be made as an amendment, and that is what we
   must ask for.
   As currently written, H.R. 2281 would dramatically alter the
   time-honored balance between content owners and the user community.
   The legislation will also seriously erode the leadership that the
   United States currently enjoys in research and development of
   encryption algorithms, cryptographic products, and computer security
   technology. And the bill seriously threatens privacy online.
   Three sections of the bill are extremely threatening to privacy, free
   speech, and computer security:
   Section 1201: Makes the use, manufacture or sale of ANY technology
   that can be used to circumvent copyright protections illegal. A host
   of vital technologies, equipment and processes "can" be, but are not
   intended, for such abuse, and Congress should not outlaw them, any
   more than they may outlaw the making or sale of crowbars or baseball
   bats because they "can" be used for vandalism. This section will:
     * criminalize the manufacture, import, or use of tools necessary to
       perform research in cryptography. Under HR 2281, the manufacture
       of software tools that test the viability of a proposed encryption
       algorithm would be prohibited.
     * impede the ability of system operators to find and correct
       weaknesses in their systems. System operators have important,
       legitimate reasons to attempt to circumvent such access control
       technologies to confirm the security of the password file or other
       vulnerable elements of the system. They must be able to use or
       create software that circumvents access control technologies to
       determine the robustness of the security system.
     * prevent computer users from protecting their privacy online by
       removing cookies from their computer. Additionally, if cookies are
       used as a copyright protection system it would be unlawful to
       manufacture a device that removes the cookie from the system.
   Section 1202: Allows for the collection of personally identifiable
   information as part of the Copyright Management System. This section
     * allow content owners to collect personally-identifiable
       information about users who access their copyrighted works. This
       will eliminate anonymous reading and allow content owners to track
       not only which online magazines you buy but also which articles
       you read and which pictures you look at.
   Section 201: Encourages system operators to violate the privacy and
   protected speech rights of their users. This section will:
     * exempt service providers from liability if they disable access to
       or remove material claimed to be infringing, regardless of whether
       the material or activity is ultimately determined to be
       infringing. This encourages them to remove potentially protected
       speech without any real proof of infringement. It also allows OSPs
       to violate users' privacy by sifting through customers' electronic
       files, documents and e-mail looking for potential infringements.
   A much better version of WIPO treaty implementation provisions, which
   punish the act of unlawful infringement yet maintain privacy and fair
   use protections, can be found in H.R. 3048, the "Digital Era Copyright
   Enhancement Act." H.R. 3048's language would encourage the development
   of new technologies and markets for copyrighted works in digital form,
   and give intellectual property holders the strong tools they need to
   go after infringing conduct while protecting privacy, security, and
   anonymity. For political reasons, the Committee seems unwilling to
   accept H.R. 3048 on its own, but they may be willing to accept the
   provisions in it, while keeping the same bill number as the currently
   harmful H.R. 2281. It is important that our position not be seen as
   "obstructionist", but constructive, and conducive to the passage of
   some form of WIPO treaty implementation.
   All privacy, encryption, fair use, and security supporters, especially
   supporters from states represented on the House Commerce Committee,
   are asked to IMMEDIATELY contact these key Representatives and ask
   them to work for amendment of H.R. 2281 with the more balanced
   approach in the language of H.R. 3048. Then contact your own
   legislator and urge them to do the same should H.R. 2281 make it
   through the Committee intact.
   We ask you to take JUST TWO MINUTES to contact the offices of the
   Committee members and your own representative and express your opinion
   no this legislation! Urge the Representatives to refrain from
   burdening the development of new technologies and ensure that privacy
   is protected in the digital world.
   If you are unsure who your legislators are or how to contact them, see
   the EFF Congress Contact Factsheet at:
   Feel free to make use of the sample fax and phone "script" below.
   Please at minimum contact your own Rep, and Committee chairman Tom
   Bliley, ranking member John Dingell, Telecommunications Subcommittee
   chair Billy Tauzin, and ranking Subcommittee member Edward Markey (the
   latter two having lead a somewhat sympathetic hearing last week on the
   matter). If you have time, please call/fax as many of the members of
   the Committee as you can.
    ST    PTY   REPRESENTATIVE                PHONE          FAX
    ---------------------------------------- (Use 202 area code)---
    VA 07  R    Tom Bliley (chair)            225-2815      225-0011
    MI 16  D    John D. Dingell               225-4071      226-0371
    LA 03  R    W.J. "Billy" Tauzin           225-4031      225-0563
    MA 07  D    Edward J. Markey              225-2836      226-0340
    FL 09  R    Michael Bilirakis             225-5755      225-4085
    NY 27  R    Bill Paxon                    225-5265      225-5910
    PA 08  R    James C. Greenwood            225-4276      225-9511
    ID 02  R    Michael D. Crapo              225-5531      225-8216
    NC 05  R    Richard Burr                  225-2071      225-2995
    CA 49  R    Brian P. Bilbray              225-2040      225-2948
    KY 01  R    Ed Whitfield                  225-3115      225-3547
    IA 04  R    Greg Ganske                   225-4426      225-3193
    GA 10  R    Charlie Norwood               225-4101      225-0279
    OK 02  R    Tom Coburn                    225-2701      225-3038
    NY 02  R    Rick Lazio                    225-3335      225-4669
    WY AL  R    Barbara Cubin                 225-2311      225-3057
    CA 29  D    Henry A. Waxman               225-3976      225-4099
    TX 04  D    Ralph M. Hall                 225-6673      225-3332
    NY 10  D    Edolphus Towns                225-5936      225-1018
    NJ 06  D    Frank Pallone  Jr.            225-4671      225-9665
    OH 13  D    Sherrod Brown                 225-0123      225-2256
    OR 01  D    Elizabeth Furse               225-0855      225-9497
    FL 20  D    Peter Deutsch                 225-7931      225-8456
    MI 01  D    Bart Stupak                   225-4735      225-4744
    OH 06  D    Ted Strickland                225-5705      225-5907
    CO 01  D    Diana DeGette                 225-4413      225-5657
    OH 04  R    Michael G. Oxley              225-2676        n/a
    CO 06  R    Dan Schaefer                  225-7882      225-3414
    TX 06  R    Joe Barton                    225-2002      225-3052
    IL 14  R    J. Dennis Hastert             225-2976      225-0697
    MI 06  R    Fred Upton                    225-3761      225-4986
    FL 06  R    Cliff Stearns                 225-5744      225-3973
    OH 05  R    Paul E. Gillmor               225-6405      225-1985
    WI 02  R    Scott L. Klug                 225-2906      225-6942
    CA 47  R    Christopher Cox               225-5611      225-9177
    GA 09  R    Nathan Deal                   225-5211      225-8272
    OK 01  R    Steve Largent                 225-2211      225-9187
    WA 01  R    Rick White                    225-6311      225-3524
    CA 27  R    James Rogan                   225-4176      225-5828
    IL 20  R    John Shimkus                  225-5271      225-5880
    VA 09  D    Rick Boucher                  225-3861      225-0442
    TN 06  D    Bart Gordon                   225-4231      225-6887
    NY 17  D    Eliot L. Engel                225-2464      225-5513
    OH 14  D    Thomas C. Sawyer              225-5231      225-5278
    NY 07  D    Thomas J. Manton              225-3965      225-1909
    IL 01  D    Bobby L. Rush                 225-4372      226-0333
    CA 14  D    Anna G. Eshoo                 225-8104      225-8890
    PA 04  D    Ron Klink                     225-2565      225-2274
    MD 04  D    Albert R. Wynn                225-8699      225-8714
    TX 29  D    Gene Green                    225-1688      225-9903
    MO 05  D    Karen McCarthy                225-4535      225-4403

   If you would like to both call and send a fax, this extra action would
   certainly help.
   For best results, try to put this in your own (short!) words, and be
   emotive without being hostile.
   IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT (i.e., you live in the same district as the
   Rep. you are contacting) make sure to say so. For example "I am a
   constituent, and I'm calling/writing because...."
   from Personal Technologies Inc. of Austin. I'm calling on behalf of
   Personal Technologies to ask the Representative to...." Business
   interests carry a lot of weight with many legislators, especially if
   they are in the legislator's home district. Legislators also generally
   heed organizational voices over individual ones.
     You: [ring ring]
     Legislative staffer: Hello, Representative Lastname's office.
     You: I'm calling to urge Representative Lastname to support, at the
     June 17 Commerce Committee markup, amendment of H.R. 2281, the
     "WIPO Copyright Treaties Implementation Act", with the language in
     the more carefully crafted alternative, H.R. 3048, the
     Boucher/Campbell "Digital Era Copyright Enhancement Act". I am
     extremely concerned about H.R. 2281's effects on privacy.
     Additionally, the bill's anti-circumvention provision is overbroad.
     Both bills have the same goals, but the provisions of H.R. 3048
     replacing those of 2281 will protect intellectual property while
     also protecting privacy, security, science and free speech. At bare
     minimum, I ask Representative Lastname to help ensure that the WIPO
     bill is amended to criminalize infringing behavior instead of
     trying to ban technology that simply "could" be used for
     infringement even if not intended for such abuse. Thank you.
     Staffer: OK, thanks. [click]
   It's that easy.
   You can optionally ask to speak to the legislator's technology &
   intellectual property staffer. You probably won't get to, but the
   message may have more weight if you succeed. The staffer who first
   answers the phone probably won't be the tech/i.p. staffer. If you are
   not successful, try contacting your legislator's home-state office
   (contact info is available from the legislator's home page at, and ask them who the appropriate staffer is.
   Then call the DC office and ask for this person by name.
   Relevant Congressional fax numbers are in the contact list above.
   Please, if you have the time, write your own 1-3 paragraph letter in
   your own words, rather than send a copy of this sample letter.
   (However, sending a copy of the sample letter is far better than
   taking no action!)
     Dear Rep. Lastname:
     I am writing to ask you to support, at the June 17 Commerce
     Committee markup, amendment of H.R. 2281, the "WIPO Copyright
     Treaties Implementation Act". The Act has several troubling
     provisions that would impose a variety of civil and criminal
     penalties for the use, manufacture or sale of technologies,
     including multi-purpose computers, home electronic devices and
     software programs, that "could" be used to overcome technological
     safeguards on copyrighted works, even though not intended for such
     abuse. This bill would impede encryption research that helps ensure
     secure networks, prevent legitimate reverse engineering in the
     development of new software, and effectively overrule the Supreme
     Court's decision in Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464
     U.S. 417 (1984), which permitted the home taping of television
     broadcasts. It also could jeopardize education and research by
     allowing copyright owners to "lock up" public domain materials, and
     by frustrating the fair use rights of information consumers.
     H.R. 2281 goes much farther than is necessary under the WIPO
     treaties. Instead, more balanced and rational provisions currently
     in bill H.R. 3048, the Boucher/Campbell "Digital Era Copyright
     Enhancement Act" would solve all of the above problems. H.R. 3048
     is a measure providing protection and legal remedies against the
     act of circumvention itself when that circumvention is undertaken
     for an unlawful purpose.
     Please work for H.R. 2281 to be amended by subsitution with the
     better-crafted provisions of H.R. 3048, or at bare minimum support
     some other effort to change H.R. 2281's focus away from banning
     technology and toward punishing wrong-doing. Thank you.
     My Name Here
     My Address Here
   (Address is especially important if you want your letter to be taken
   as a letter from an actual constituent.)
   For brief tips on writing letters to Congress, see:
   The most important tip is to BE POLITE AND BRIEF. Swearing will NOT
   After calling/faxing members of the House Commerce Committee, please
   contact your own Representatives and urge them to oppose H.R. 2281,
   the WIPO Copyright Treaties Implementation Act.
   You may also wish to follow up your calls and faxes with e-mail.
 ST    PTY   REPRESENTATIVE                PHONE          FAX
 ---------------------------------------- (Use 202 area code)---
 GA  6   R  Gingrich, Newt                225-4501      225-4656
 TX  26  R  Armey, Richard                225-7772      226-8100
 MO  3   D  Gephardt, Richard             225-2671      225-7452
 TX  22  R  DeLay, Tom                    225-5951      225-5241
 MI  10  D  Bonior, David                 225-2106      226-1169
 OH  8   R  Boehner, John                 225-6205      225-0704
 CA  47  R  Cox, Christopher              225-5611      225-9177
 CA  3   D  Fazio, Vic                    225-5716      225-5141
 MD  5   D  Hoyer, Steny                  225-4131      225-4300

   House leaders are, respectively: Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority
   Leader, Maj. Whip, Min. Whip, Republican Conference Chair, Rep. Policy
   Committee Chair, Democratic Caucus Chair, Dem. Steering Cmte. Chair.
   [end of alert]

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