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EFFector - Volume 15, Issue 29 - Rep. Tauzin's Draft TV Mandate Bill Freezes Innovation


EFFector - Volume 15, Issue 29 - Rep. Tauzin's Draft TV Mandate Bill Freezes Innovation

EFFector     Vol. 15, No. 29      September 23, 2002 

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation	    ISSN 1062-9424 

In the 228th Issue of EFFector: 

  * Rep. Tauzin's Draft TV Mandate Bill Freezes Innovation
  * Civil Liberties Groups Challenge Ashcroft Attempt to Expand 
    Wiretap Powers
  * EFF Peer-2-Peer Slogan Contest
  * Share-In Thanks, Pics
  * Deep Links: How Poor Countries Can Avoid the Wrongs of IP Rights
  * Administrivia

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* Draft TV Mandate Bill Freezes Innovation

Electronic Frontier Foundation Opposes Consumer Threat

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) strongly
criticized a draft bill that would create a "broadcast flag" mandate
for digital television (DTV). The draft, prepared by Rep. Billy Tauzin
and released ahead of committee hearings to be held later this month,
calls on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue
regulations that would force the redesign of consumer electronics
equipment, eliminating broad swaths of functionality in the name of
advancing the U.S. transition to DTV.

"This bill is hostile to innovation, consumers, and fair use," said
EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "In order
to solve a non-existent problem, this bill puts digital television
innovators under the thumb of federal technology regulations and harms
the long-awaited transition to DTV."

"In order to make Hollywood movie studios more comfortable with
digital TV, this bill takes away the benefits consumers are poised to
receive from open TV and video standards," said EFF Staff Technologist
Seth Schoen. "Instead of allowing free and broad competition among
technology developers, it would restrict video equipment features and
obsolete millions of today's TVs and VCRs by preventing interoperation
with equipment made after 2005."

Recognizing that this bill will hinder the DTV transition, EFF urges
Rep. Tauzin to revise substantially his legislation before its
possible introduction.


For this release:

Tauzin Broadcast Flag legislation draft:

EFF Fair Use FAQ:


* Civil Liberties Groups Challenge Ashcroft Attempt to Expand Wiretap

A coalition of civil liberties groups, including EFF, recently urged a
secret appeals court to reject a Justice Department (DOJ) proposal to
expand government wiretap powers and evade constitutional protections
against surveillance.

At issue in the case is whether the 1978 Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act (FISA) may be used for ordinary criminal wiretaps,
which are tightly regulated by the courts: for instance, the
government must show "probable cause" that a crime has been or will be

FISA wiretaps, however, are allowed if the government simply shows
that the target is probably a "foreign power" or an "agent of a
foreign power"; evidence of criminal conduct is not required.

Unsurprisingly, FISA wiretaps may not be used when the government's
main goal is to gather evidence of a crime -- if the government could
do so, it could bypass the Fourth Amendment's "probable cause"

The case began in May after the mysterious Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court (FISC), which hears all FISA wiretap requests in
secret, rejected a DOJ proposal to allow FISA to be used for criminal
investigations and to allow prosecutors to direct and control FISA
surveillance. Instead, the FISC modified the DOJ proposal, reciting a
history of government abuse that included serious errors in at least
75 cases.

The secret May decision came to light in August when the FISC, in an
unprecedented move, released the decision to Congress and authorized
its publication. Only once before has a FISC opinion been published --
and that time, DOJ had asked for it to be published. That the FISC
allowed the opinion to be published strongly suggests that the FISC
was very concerned that the Ashcroft proposal would seriously harm
civil liberties.

Last week's amicus brief was filed in the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR). Because no FISC decision has
been appealed, this is the first time the FISCR has ever heard a case.
If the FISCR again rejects the DOJ proposal, DOJ may appeal to the
Supreme Court.

The ACLU-led coalition includes EFF, the Center for Democracy and
Technology, the Center for National Security Studies, the Electronic
Privacy Information Center, and the Open Society Institute.


* EFF Peer-2-Peer Slogan Contest

Help get the word out! EFF is planning to run banner ads on some of
the major online filesharing services. We want to spread the word that
we are protecting peer-2-peer networks and filesharing on the
internet. We need help devising some short, snappy banner slogans. Got
any good ideas? Please send them to:


* Share-In Thanks, Pics

The Second Annual Music Share-In was another great success! EFF would
like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who gave of their tme,
resources, and talents to make it happen. We're already looking
forward to next year. Thank you to:

~Our gracious hosts:
John Perry Barlow
Mountain Girl Garcia

~Share-In 2002 Bands and Performers:
Box Set -
Atticus Scout -
Shady Lady
Hy Brassyl -
Ashley the One Wheeled Wonder
Existential Circus
Metronome Ballroom Dancers
Frantastic Hands
Eleanor Ruckman

~Share-In 2002 Media Sponsors:
Craig's List
Guitar Center
San Francisco Bay Guardian

~Share-In 2002 Vendors:
Ben and Jerry's
Cartwheels Catering

And of course, a thank you to all the volunteers, interns, and EFF
staff who worked so hard to make the Share-In a success.

Check out some pictures of the event:


* Deep Links
Deep Links features noteworthy news items, victories, and threats from
around the Internet. 

~ How Poor Countries Can Avoid the Wrongs of IP Rights
Report from the Economist on the pitfalls of intellectual property
policy for developing nations. Check it out at:

~ Industry Blamed for Missing Content-Protection Deadline
How the movie industry failed to devise a new DRM scheme for DVDs by
their self-appointed date. Available here:

~ Cybersecurity Plan Lacks Muscle 
Declan McCullagh and Robert Lemos on the new Cybersecurity proposal
from the government. Read it at:


* Administrivia

EFFector is published by: 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax) 

Ren Bucholz, Activist 

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