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EFFector - Volume 16, Issue 36 - Victories for Online Freedom Herald Holiday Season

EFFector       Vol. 16, No. 36       December 20, 2003

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 275th Issue of EFFector:


Victories for Online Freedom Herald Holiday Season

Dear EFFector readers,

It's been a banner week here at EFF, bringing news of a number of important victories for freedom and privacy. With the holidays approaching, Internet users have received some great early presents:

  • Under pressure from EFF and a broad, bipartisan coalition of organizations we led, the U.S. Forest Service announced that it would drop plans to block messages from web action centers.
  • The Dutch Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision protecting peer-to-peer software provider KaZaA from liability under Dutch law for copyright infringement by its users. EFF's Fred von Lohmann will argue a similar appeal in the MGM v. Grokster case in January, and while the European law is different, the decision provides a positive context within which to argue that the higher court should uphold our victory before the lower court last Spring.
  • Finally, the DC Circuit ruled Friday to uphold Verizon's right to protect its customers' privacy from subpoenas issued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). EFF helped lead a coalition of 44 privacy and consumer groups, plus a host of ISPs, in an amicus brief in support of Verizon.

While these victories are sweet, the fight is far from over. If you would like to help support EFF in our efforts over the coming year, now is a good time to step forward. EFFector has nearly 50,000 subscribers and EFF has 12,000 members. Join your fellow EFFector readers in becoming a member today so that we can keep on delivering the good news to you every holiday season.

A happy holiday to you and yours, and thank you for your support!

Peace and good wishes,
Shari Steele
Executive Director

Become a member today!


Action Alert: Verified Voting Gains Momentum - Contact Your Senator!

Electronic voting - and its problems - have been all over the news in recent months, and politicians are starting to listen. Three states have announced paper trail requirements for e-voting machines. The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R.2239) now has 94 cosponsors - largely thanks to the tens of thousands of letters that people like you have sent to your representatives. And now we have an opportunity to make the same impact in the Senate. Senator Bob Graham has introduced a companion to H.R.2239, and it needs your support. Tell your Senators that you want e-voting machines to be open and accountable!

Links:


Court Rules Verizon Can Refuse to ID Customers to Music Industry

Washington, D.C. - In a victory for Verizon and the privacy of Internet users, the D.C. Circuit Court on Friday dismissed the recording industry's subpoenas for user identities. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed nearly 3,000 subpoenas in Washington, D.C., as a prelude to lawsuits against 382 alleged filesharers. The court ruled that those subpoenas are not authorized by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

"Internet users are the winners in the Verizon case," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer. "The effect of the appeals court decision is that we do not lose our privacy simply by connecting to the Internet. The ruling stops the record labels from taking our free speech rights as collateral damage in the campaign against the American music fan."

EFF filed an amicus brief supporting Verizon on behalf of 45 consumer, privacy, and Internet industry groups.

Links:


Forest Service Drops Plan to Ignore Public Voice

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Forest Service announced that it is abandoning its plan to reject public comments from online action centers and other "duplicative" sources. EFF led a coalition of 19 diverse organizations, including the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the League of Conservation Voters and the AFL-CIO, that objected to the proposed rule.

"Allowing ordinary people to influence the rules that affect their lives through website 'action centers' is one of the best benefits of the technology revolution," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "The Forest Service is right to listen to the opposition presented by a broad coalition of groups and allow the public to continue to make its voice heard."

Links:


Deep Links

Deep Links features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.

  • Something Else Now Legal in Amsterdam
    The Dutch supreme court has ruled that KaZaA is not liable for how people use its software.
  • Arizona Middle School Gets Face Recognition Cameras (CNN.com)
    This error-prone technology may be coming to a school near you.
  • Babs Loses to Free Speech (Cal Coastline Press Release)
    A judge has ruled that Barbra Streisand's privacy was not violated by a California coastline archive that included photos of her sprawling estate.
  • Precocious Use of RFIDs at Diplomatic Summit (Washington Times; registration unfortunately required.)
    Even we thought it would take a few more years to see these little tracking devices put to nefarious use.
  • Pooling Creativity
    The University of Maine is launching an open-source creative repository for its students to demonstrate that good ideas come from collaboration as well as competition.
  • The Sound of Learning
    Berklee College of Music is making much of its curriculum available to the public under Creative Commons licenses.
  • RIAA and Cypherpunks Unite!
    Clay Shirky argues that the RIAA's lawsuits are doing more for the cypherpunks' cause - ubiquitous crypto - than anything else.

EFF Court Docket

  • January 12
    Newmark v. Turner
    U.S. District Court, Central California
    225 East Temple street
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Courtroom 750
    10:00 a.m.
  • February 3
    MGM v. Grokster
    Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
    Pasadena, CA.
    9:00 a.m.
  • February 9
    OPG v. Diebold
    U.S. District Court, Northern California
    280 South 1st street
    San Jose, CA.
    Courtroom 3
    9:00 a.m.

Staff Calendar

For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with locations and times), please visit our calendar.

January 10
Lee Tien and Fred von Lohmann speak at the ALA Midwinter Meeting San Diego, CA.
- 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Lee Tien on RFIDs
- 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Fred von Lohmann on "Peer to Peer: Implications for Information Policy."


Administrivia

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Editor:
Donna Wentworth, Web Writer/Activist
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