EFFector Vol. 16, No. 28 October 18, 2003
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 267th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert: USA-PATRIOT Act Reform: Tell Congress to Ask Tough Questions
- RIAA Gets Ready to Sue More Music Fans: EFF's "The Great MP3 Caper" Tells the Story
- EFF Defends Alleged Filesharer: Another Error in Record Companies' Crusade
- ISP Rejects Diebold Copyright Claims Against News Website: EFF Defends Right to Publish Links to Electronic Voting Memos
- SunnComm Threatens Princeton Student Over "Shift Key" Research; Backs Down
- EFF Thanks SnapGear for Hardware Donation
- Deep Links (11): FCC May Give DTV Hollywood Ending
- Staff Calendar: 10.20.03 - Wendy Seltzer speaks at ISPCon, Santa Clara, CA.; 10.24.03 - Lee Tien speaks at BayNet, San Francisco, CA.
USA-PATRIOT Act Reform: Tell Congress to Ask Tough Questions
A nationwide movement to reform the USA-PATRIOT Act is gaining steam, and you can help. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on Tuesday, October 21st, to assess the government's use of its broad new surveillance powers. Let's make sure that the proceedings aren't just for show. Tell the committee members that you want them to ask tough questions about protecting your civil liberties!
Recording Industry Gets Ready to Sue More Music Fans
EFF's "The Great MP3 Caper" Video Tells the Story
San Francisco - The recording industry has started a second round in its campaign against music fans who use file-sharing programs, sending a flood of letters this week to threaten them with lawsuits.
"The record companies still aren't listening to their fans," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer. "Instead of continuing their litigation crusade, the record labels should give their customers the option of paying a reasonable fee to continue file sharing."
EFF has urged the recording industry to craft a rational solution to the conflict over file sharing: offering fans a legal way to use file-sharing services while ensuring that artists get paid.
EFF this week released "The Great MP3 Caper" video, which provides a fun way to tell the serious story of the recording industry's crusade against music filesharers. The video is available for free at the EFF website.
- For the press release
- EFF "Let the Music Play" campaign
- EFF "The Great MP3 Caper" video
- Alternative ways to get artists paid
- How not to get sued by the RIAA
EFF Defends Alleged Filesharer
Another Error in Record Companies' Crusade
San Francisco - EFF this week announced that it will defend Ross Plank of Playa Del Rey, California, against a wrongly filed complaint, among the 261 copyright infringement lawsuits the recording industry has filed against individuals.
The federal lawsuit filed against Plank in Los Angeles accuses him of making hundreds of Latin songs available using KaZaA filesharing software earlier this summer. Plank does not speak Spanish and does not listen to Latin music. More importantly, his computer did not even have KaZaA installed during the period when the investigation occurred.
The recording industry previously withdrew a lawsuit against Sarah Ward, an educator, artist, and grandmother from Massachusetts who owns only a Macintosh computer which cannot run KaZaA.
"Whether the error was made by Comcast or the RIAA, the issuance of a federal complaint on such slim evidence demonstrates the serious flaws in the recording industry's litigation campaign," said Wendy Seltzer, an EFF staff attorney representing Plank. "If the labels don't dismiss the complaint, we'll look forward to discovery into how they made this misidentification in the first place."
- For the full release.
- Recording industry withdraws lawsuit in Sarah Ward case.
- EFF "Let the Music Play" campaign.
- CNET op-ed: "RIAA's College Lawsuits a Wrong Answer".
ISP Rejects Diebold Copyright Claims Against News Website
EFF Defends Right to Publish Links to Electronic Voting Memos
San Francisco - Defending the right to link to controversial information about flaws in electronic voting systems, EFF announced this week that it will defend an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a news website publisher against claims of indirect copyright infringement from the electronic voting machines' manufacturer.
"What topic could be more important to our democracy than discussions about the mechanics and legitimacy of electronic voting systems now being introduced nationwide?" said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer. "EFF won't stand by as corporations like Diebold chill important online debate by churning out legal notices to ISPs that usually just take down legitimate content rather than face the legal risk."
- For the full release
- Cease-and-desist letter sent by Diebold to OPG
- Security researchers discover huge flaws in e-voting system
- Chilling Effects Clearinghouse on DMCA safe harbor provisions
SunnComm Threatens Princeton Student Over "Shift Key" Research; Backs Down
CD copy-protection vendor SunnComm Technologies Inc., threatened last week to sue Princeton graduate student J. Alex Halderman for publishing a paper that reveals that simply holding down the shift key can defeat its latest copy-protection technology. One day later, the company backed down. EFF had offered to represent Mr. Halderman if SunnComm made good on its litigation threat.
"We're glad that cooler heads prevailed at SunnComm," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF senior staff attorney. "But this is just the latest example of the chill that the DMCA has injected into the computer security research community. These irresponsible legal threats imperil not only First Amendment values, but also scare future generations of researchers away from important computer security investigations."
EFF Thanks SnapGear for Hardware Donation
We at EFF would like to thank SnapGear for their generous donation of a sme570 firewall appliance router. The router will allow EFF's office to load balance and automatically switch over service between our T1 and DSL lines in the event of an outage. Donations like this one help to ensure that EFF has the resources necessary to continue to fight the good fight for online freedom.
Thank you, SnapGear!
Deep Links features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.
- Bad Grades for a Voting-Machine Exam
Salon on shoddy security measures for electronic voting machines. (Ad-viewing nonsense required.)
- All the President's Votes?
Contains a good synopsis of the many problems with e-voting.
- EPIC Looks Into Justice Department's Pro-PATRIOT Act Lobbying
It's generally frowned upon when a political appointee engages in lobbying. So why did Attorney General Ashcroft tell all 93 United States Attorneys to fight PATRIOT Act reform legislation?
- Brits Tap the U.S. for Anti-Spam Recipes
Our neighbors from across the pond want the U.S. to pass more legislation banning salty, processed email.
- Movies Come from Hollywood - Especially on P2P Networks
Researchers at AT&T Labs downloaded 285 movies from P2P nets and found that 77% had been leaked by industry insiders.
- Illegal Art in the City of Brotherly Love
The exhibit is ending its national tour in Philadelphia.
- "TIA's Not Scary; It's Necessary!"
The National Review on how much safer we'd be in DARPA's surveillance-based dystopian future.
- FCC May Give DTV a Hollywood Ending
If a broadcast flag mandate is adopted, be prepared to buy more expensive equipment with fewer features.
- Four Jewish Websites Deemed "Terrorists" by U.S. State Department
Two of the sites are held by cybersquatters, not a suspected-militant Jewish group. Evidently, the State Department doesn't know how to use "whois".
- Bad Database Bill Clears First Hurdle
The Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act of 2003 is bad mojo. We're not excited that copyright-like protection for facts lived through subcommittee.
- Fighting to Preserve Old Programs
Wired on EFF Board Member Brewster Kahle's fight to save digital history.
For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with locations and times), please visit the EFF calendar.
- October 20 - Wendy Seltzer will speak at ISPCon Santa Clara, CA. - 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. "ISPs: Carriers or Nannies?"
- October 24 - Lee Tien will speak at BayNet, San Francisco Public Library San Francisco, CA. - 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.
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)
Donna Wentworth, Web Writer/Activist
To Join EFF online, or make an additional donation, go to:
Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express permission. Press releases and EFF announcements and articles may be reproduced individually at will.
To change your address or other information, please visit: http://action.eff.org/subscribe/
If you have already subscribed to the EFF Action Center, please visit: http://action.eff.org/login.asp/
To unsubscribe from the EFFector mailing list, send an email to email@example.com with the word "Remove" in the subject.
(Please ask firstname.lastname@example.org to manually remove you from the list if this does not work for you for some reason.)
Back issues are available at:
You can also get the latest issue of EFFector via the Web at:
Please send any questions or comments to email@example.com