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EFFector - Volume 16, Issue 28 - USA-PATRIOT Act Reform: Tell Congress to Ask Tough Questions

EFFector       Vol. 16, No. 28       October 18, 2003

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 267th Issue of EFFector:


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!

Links:


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.

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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!

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Deep Links

Deep Links features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.


Staff Calendar

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.

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