EFFector Vol. 17, No. 28 August 4, 2004
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 300th Issue of EFFector:
- Freedom Fest Is Here!
- JibJab Files Suit to Defend Fair Use Rights
- EFF Urgues FCC to Resist a "Broadcast Flag" for Radio
- Ohio E-Voting Update: Progress for Election Integrity
- EFF Court Docket: What's Next?
- Defcon 12 Makes a Splash for Online Freedom
- EFF Thanks Automated Workflows
- MiniLinks (12): Powell Drops the Regulatory Hammer on VoIP
- Staff Calendar: 08.04.04 - EFF Freedom Fest 2004, San Francisco, CA
Freedom Fest Is Here!
Join Us for EFF's Fourth Annual Freedom Fest at LinuxWorld August 4
Today's the day - the EFF Freedom Fest has finally arrived! We're celebrating online freedom and thanking you, our supporters, with a free outdoor concert that takes place today, August 4th, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the gorgeous Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco, right across the street from the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. This year's Freedom Fest is sponsored by Red Hat and features celebrated local artists Austin Willacy, Josh Fix and the Furious Force, and The Megan Slankard Band.
Come meet the EFF staff in a relaxed atmosphere, enjoy the music, and share food and drink. The first 1,000 people through the door get a coupon for a free hot dog. We'll also be simulcasting the event on the EFF website for everyone who can't be there in person.
Freedom Fest is open to everyone attending LinuxWorld and all EFF supporters - please join us!
EFF Freedom Fest website:
JibJab Files Suit to Defend Fair Use Rights
In early July, the two brothers behind a little animation shop called JibJab released a short flash piece that features cartoon versions of President Bush and Senator Kerry slinging insults at each other to the tune of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." The short, called "This Land," has been fantastically popular - but at least one music publishing company didn't get the joke. The copyright holder, Ludlow, Inc., has threatened JibJab and its upstream website hosting providers with copyright litigation.
"This Land" should qualify as a fair use under copyright law. JibJab used only a few lines of Guthrie's lyrics. The short is also a parody, commenting not only on the 2004 elections, but also on Woody Guthrie's famous song. Moreover, Woody Guthrie didn't compose the melody - it looks like he borrowed it from the legendary country artists, The Carter Family.
In response to Ludlow's threats, JibJab asked EFF for help to protect its fair use and free speech rights. Last week, we filed a lawsuit on JibJab's behalf, asking a federal court in San Francisco to declare that the humorous "This Land" is perfectly legal. For more on this ongoing fight, check out the links below and stay tuned to EFF's Deep Links weblog.
Deep Links post:
Wired article: "JibJab Asks for Court's Help":
National Public Radio interview with Arlo Guthrie, folk singer
and son of Woody Guthrie:
EFF Urges FCC to Resist a "Broadcast Flag" for Digital Radio
On Monday, EFF filed its second set of comments urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to adopt a "broadcast flag" for next-generation digital radio (also known as "HD Radio"). The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has asked the FCC to adopt such a flag along with mandatory "content protection" restrictions, for all future digital radio receivers and recorders.
What the RIAA is seeking here is intrusive federal regulations for a broadcast medium in its infancy, on technologies that do not yet exist, to restrict perfectly legal activities - all in the name of addressing an as-yet nonexistent threat. The industry is evidently afraid that music fans will soon be able to buy something that would function as a TiVo for radio - e.g., a device that would record digital radio broadcasts, disaggregate them into individual songs, and "space shift" the recordings to other devices.
EFF believes that a TiVo for radio is a pretty great idea - one that innovators should be allowed to test in the marketplace without preemptive government interference. In our comments, we point out that it is perfectly legal to make and use these kinds of products under existing copyright laws. We also point out that there is nothing unique about digital radio where recording is concerned. Music fans can already record music from analog broadcasts, webcasts, and cable music services, and technologies already exist to disaggregate these recordings into individual songs. In light of these facts, it's clear that the FCC should reject the RIAA's petition.
EFF's second set of reply comments to the FCC:
More about the digital radio broadcast flag:
Ohio E-Voting Update: Progress for Election Integrity
Last week, EFF filed a friend-of-the-court brief in an Ohio
case challenging the use of punch cards for voting. We asked
the court to ensure that, in deciding about punch cards, it
neither required nor encouraged Ohio counties to use
electronic voting machines without a paper trail. (See
The court has now delayed the trial until November 1, 2004 - meaning that for the November elections, no additional counties will move to paperless voting machines. This good news comes in the wake of a number of important victories for election integrity in Ohio. Originally, 31 counties were considering purchasing e-voting machines without voter-verifiable paper ballots. Now, all 31 have chosen to delay these purchases, with the last three doing so under order by the Ohio Secretary of State.
While the tide is turning, challenges remain. A number of counties still have machines without paper trails, and EFF is recruiting lawyers to help with any problems that may occur on election day, focusing specifically on the Columbus and Youngstown areas. We're also helping VerifiedVoting.org recruit technologists for the nationwide "TechWatch" initiative, which is aimed at observing and documenting possible testing and procedural glitches. Follow the links below to learn more or to volunteer your help.
More about e-voting:
EFF Court Docket: What's Next?
EFF is directly involved in several cases that are likely to be decided within the next several months. Read on for a brief overview of three cases in which your rights and freedoms hang in the balance.
* Election Integrity - OPG v. Diebold
After two Swarthmore students posted internal memos from Diebold Election Systems, Inc., the company sent takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to the students and a number of Internet Service Providers, including the ISP Online Policy Group (OPG). EFF is seeking a court order in the case to prevent Diebold's abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting, the very foundation of our democratic process.
* The Freedom to Tinker - Blizzard v. Bnetd
EFF is representing three open source programmers and a small Internet Service Provider called Internet Gateway, which distributed Bnetd - free software that emulates Blizzard's free Battle.net online gaming service. Blizzard is claiming that the emulator is illegal under the DMCA and a violation of their end user license agreement (EULA). EFF argues that Bnetd is perfectly legal, defending the right to "reverse-engineer" for interoperability with Blizzard game products.
* The Freedom to Innovate - MGM v. Grokster
EFF is defending StreamCast Networks, the company that brought you the Morpheus peer-to-peer file-sharing software, against 25 entertainment companies that want to hold StreamCast liable for copyright infringement by its customers. EFF argues that the company should no more be held liable for these infringements than the manufacturers of VCRs are held liable for infringements by their customers.
For more about EFF's ongoing cases and the other work we are doing, check out our website at http://www.eff.org.
DefCon 12 Makes a Splash for Online Freedom
EFF thanks the organizers of the DefCon 12 conference for a generous donation to support our work fighting for civil liberties online. The group raised $3,000 for EFF through proceeds from DefCon's first-ever dunking tank and an additional donation. Numerous DefCon staffers, EFF attorneys, and other conference participants allowed themselves to be dunked in icy water to help EFF continue its challenges against the chilling effects of bad law and legal overreaching.
"Kudos to DefCon for helping us fight the good fight for freedom online," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer, one of the dunk-ees.
EFF staff members also presented an "Ask the EFF" panel and put on a technology demonstration as part of the Digital Television Liberation Project. EFF is grateful to DefCon, our fellow dunk-ees, the dunking booth staff, and everyone else who participated in good spirits in the event.
Digital Television Liberation Front:
Wired article: "Group Warns DVRs Endangered":
EFF Thanks Automated Workflows
Special thanks to Ben Waldie and Automated Workflows, LLC, for helping us use AppleScript to automate our workflow with the Apple Mail application.
miniLinksminiLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.
FBI Wants More Ways to Tap the Net
The Bureau is pushing to ensure that CALEA, a 1994 telecom surveillance bill, applies to broadband-over-fiber:
Powell Drops the Regulatory Hammer on VoIP
Speaking of which, FCC Commissioner Michael Powell has issued a statement that "CALEA requirements can and should apply to VoIP and other IP-enabled service providers" - but also makes clear that he's not indicating a willingness to classify them as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act:
(Dave Farber's IP list) EFF's FAQ on applying CALEA to VoiP services:
The Complicated Life of TiVo
A Washington Post piece explains why TiVo has to ask the FCC for permission to innovate:
(Registration unfortunately required.) ...while the National Journal reports that the company may be in the free and clear - for now:
(Registration unfortunately required.)
ACLU Sues to Keep Michigan Out of MATRIX
We're hoping Neo and Trinity won't have to break out the Uzis to keep Michigan residents safe from the nationwide data-mining program:
HP Exec Worries About DRM and Open Source
Martin Fink, HP's vice president for Linux, observes that the move toward DRM could freeze open source platforms out of desktop PCs:
Beleaguered iPod Threatened Down Under?
The Register thinks that the U.S.-Australia free trade agreement could threaten the world's most beloved MP3 player. We're not so sure about that, but there are already more than enough reasons to dislike this treaty:
Kerry On Tech
Declan McCullagh dissects Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's long history of votes on tech issues:
China: No Smut for You!
The world's largest country recently shuttered 700 porn sites and arrested more than 200 people, winning the coveted government censorship heavyweight title:
Perfect 10 Ruling Far from Perfect
EFF's own Annalee Newitz with an editorial arguing that a court decision interpreting the DMCA has created (yet another) way for businesses to use copyright law to crush the competition:
(AVN Online; warning: link is not work-safe.)
Election Threats, In-Depth
The Nation runs a comprehensive piece on the many ways that technology impacts an election:
A Chorus of Musical Copyright Cases
The Columbia Law Library is assembling an archive of cases involving music and claims of copyright infringement. Ready for your close-up, JibJab?
End of the Road for 321 Studios
The company that made easy-to-use backup software for DVDs has officially folded under the weight of entertainment industry litigation. A sad day for fair use, consumers, and the hundreds of people who lost their jobs at 321:
For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with locations and times), please visit the full calendar.
August 4 -
EFF holds Freedom Fest 2004
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Yerba Buena Gardens
San Francisco, CA
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