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EFFector - Volume 17, Issue 24 - Action Alert - The Induce Act: Innovation Under Attack


EFFector - Volume 17, Issue 24 - Action Alert - The Induce Act: Innovation Under Attack

EFFector       Vol. 17, No. 24       June 28, 2004

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 296th Issue of EFFector:

Action Alert - The Induce Act: Innovation Under Attack

Senator Orrin Hatch's new Inducing Infringement of Copyright Act (S.2560, Induce Act) would make it a crime to aid, abet, or induce copyright infringement. He wants us all to think that the Induce Act is no big deal and that it only targets "the bad guys" while leaving "the good guys" alone. He says that it doesn't change the law; it just clarifies it.

He's wrong.

Right now, under the Supreme Court's ruling in Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc. (the Betamax VCR case), devices like the iPod and CD burners are 100% legal - not because they aren't sometimes used for infringement, but because they also have legitimate uses. The Court in Sony called these "substantial non-infringing uses." This has been the rule in the technology sector for the last 20 years. Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs have depended on it. Industries have blossomed under it. But the Induce Act would end that era of innovation. Don't let this happen on your watch - tell your Senators to fight the Induce Act!

Make your voice heard:

Join EFF today:

Will the Inducing Infringement Act Kill the iPod?

EFF Attorneys Play Devil's Advocates, Post Mock Inducement Complaint Against Apple

San Francisco, CA - With Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and his colleagues pushing hard to bring the Induce Act to the full Senate for a vote, EFF is already dreading the loss of all technologies this legislation has the potential to destroy.

To dramatize how the Induce Act might harm innovators and consumers, EFF posted a mock complaint in a lawsuit that could be brought against Apple, accusing the corporation of selling its popular iPod music player to induce people to infringe copyright. The complaint, which mimics the format of an actual complaint that record companies might draft, also named Toshiba as a defendant for manufacturing the iPod hard drive and CNET for writing a review of the iPod that instructs users on how to copy music files between computers.

Because the Induce Act defines "intent" as being "determined by a reasonable person taking into account all relevant facts," it's unlikely that a technology company like Apple would be able easily to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it under the Act. It would instead face the prospect of an expensive trial, with all the attendant legal fees and negative publicity. One such company, SonicBlue, recently fought against a group of copyright holders in court over its ReplayTV and spent close to $1,000,000 per month in legal fees alone. The inducement theory thus enables copyright owners to inflict an arbitrarily large penalty on any tech company that builds a device they don't like.

EFF hopes that the mock complaint, brought by a hypothetical "group of major recording labels" against Apple, will raise awareness about how the Induce Act will destroy incentives to innovate. "We knew we could draft a legal complaint against any number of the major computer or electronics manufacturers for the everyday devices we all know and love, like CD burners and MP3 players," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "We picked Apple as our mock target because one could argue it's 'reasonable to know' that having an iPod enhances the lure of using P2P to download music."

For the full press release:

For the mock complaint:

EFF Partners with No Starch Press

Civil Liberties Group and Technical Publisher Work Toward a Common Goal

San Francisco, CA - No Starch Press has announced a partnership with EFF in which the progressive technical publisher will donate a percentage of its sales to the organization.

When customers purchase books from a special area on the publisher's website, No Starch will donate 30% of the purchase price to EFF. No Starch published former EFF client Andrew "bunnie" Huang's "Hacking the Xbox" last year and is dedicated to providing the public with information about open source software and network exploration.

"I am so pleased to be supporting EFF, an organization I greatly admire," said Bill Pollack, founder of No Starch Press. "Whether fighting to protect our right to remain anonymous, or fighting against wrongheaded laws like the DMCA or the USA PATRIOT Act, EFF is the one organization watching our backs."

EFF recently entered into similar partnerships with 321 Studios and Slim Devices. "EFF is proud do have the support of these innovative companies," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "It's important to see creative companies understand that technology can and should be freedom enhancing."

For the full press release:


miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.


Last Chance to Voice Your Support for CA Privacy Bill
The California legislature will hold a hearing on an EFF-backed privacy bill on Tuesday, June 29th. Hundreds of California residents have already sent letters to support the bill - if you haven't yet, we'd love to have your support as well:

The Social Effects of Strong IP Enforcement
Our friends at the Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech) recently filed comments with WIPO on how IP rights enforcement can be harmful to society:

Even E-Voting Supporters Say Tests Are Inadequate
Computer scientists from all sides of e-voting debate are criticizing the shoddy testing procedures that are supposed to ensure voting security:

Collective Licensing Makes the NY Times
University of Iowa professor Kembrew McLeod advocates a P2P payment plan that involves voluntary licensing - the flavor that EFF supports:
(Registration unfortunately required.)

Harvard's William Fisher on the compulsory model:
(Registration unfortunately required.)

Interview with a DMCA Reformer
CNET sits down with Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), the man behind H.R. 107, the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act:

Rallying the Troops for DMCA Reform
EFF, Public Knowledge, Intel, Sun, Verizon, and others have formed the Personal Technology Freedom Coalition to support H.R. 107:

Fighting Internet Filtering in PA
The Center for Democracy and Technology is standing up in court against a Pennsylvania law requiring that ISPs use inherently flawed filtering technology:
(Registration unfortunately required.)

Yet Another TSA Cover-Up
The acting head of the Transportation Security Administration admitted to Congress that even more airlines were involved in the secret transfer of private passenger data in 2002 and 2003:,1283,63958,00.html

Laughing to Keep from Crying
The Masked Engineer skewers the FCC's maddeningly ill-conceived broadcast flag mandate:

Felten on Universities and P2P
The good professor has excellent advice for schools pressured to adopt technical "solutions" to P2P on campus:

More Reasons to Oppose the Induce Act
Julian Portillo's take on the Induce Act is spot-on, and he's only 17:

Staff Calendar

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

July 30 - August 1 -
Kevin Bankston, Seth Schoen, Wendy Seltzer, and Annalee Newitz speak at Defcon 12, Las Vegas, NV


EFFector is published by:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Donna Wentworth, Web Writer/Activist

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