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EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 31 - Don't Touch That Dial, RIAA!

EFFector       Vol. 18, No. 31       September 15, 2005

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 348th Issue of EFFector:


Don't Touch That Dial, RIAA!

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has seen the future of radio. And it would prefer to live in the past.

Digital broadcast radio is a standard for transmitting digital stations on existing analog radio bands. Known somewhat misleadingly as "HD radio" (the audio quality is about the same as analog FM), its adoption is giving tech companies a chance to experiment and innovate in the world of consumer radio.

TiVo-like functionality could be built into your digital receiver, letting you automatically build playlists and skip across channels based on your personal tastes. Computer-operated radio cards could be enhanced with new features using the standard's metadata. Tomorrow's tinkerers could give us new ways to enjoy radio, just as the engineers who brought us VCRs helped transform the way we watch TV.

As Mitch Bainwol, chairman of RIAA, says, radio has a chance to become active, not passive, entertainment.

But when he and the RIAA say that, they don't say it like it's a good thing.

Last week, with a coalition of copyright holders, the RIAA sent messages to members of Congress requesting that the FCC be given new powers to hobble digital radios so they perform worse than the analog radios of yesteryear.

According to the RIAA, you should be able to record off the radio, but only subject to their "usage rules":

  • * recordings must be for no less than 30 minutes;
  • * recordings cannot be divided into individual songs, nor will you be allowed to jump between songs;
  • * recordings must be encrypted and locked to the individual recording device (no transfers to your iPod!);
  • * recordings can only be triggered by a human pressing a "record" button or by pre-programmed date-and-time (like your old VCR!), which means no smart metadata driven features like TiVo's "Wishlist."

In other words, the RIAA wants to micromanage how you record off the radio!

The most amazing thing about this? There is nothing illegal about recording from digital radio. Congress specifically gave radio fans the right to record off the radio (including digital radio) in the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA).

That law also gave innovators the right to build digital radio recorders (including smart digital radio recorders) without fear of copyright liability. There is nothing in that law that says the recorders have to be made artificially stupid by FCC regulation.

Don't let Congress turn back the dial on digital radio. Write now, and let your representative know that the RIAA is out of line.

Take action, and write to your representative:
http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=157

More info on the latest RIAA lobbying in Congress:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/003967.php

EFF's comments to the FCC on the RIAA proposals:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/EFF-BC%20DAB%20comments.pdf

An informative exchange between the presidents of the RIAA and the Consumer Electronics Association:
http://cryptome.sabotage.org/RIAA-CEA.htm


EFF Hosts 15th Anniversary Party!

When: Sunday, October 2nd, 2005 at 5 p.m. Where: EFF Headquarters in San Francisco, 454 Shotwell Street

Mark your calendars! EFF is 15 years old this year, and we are going to celebrate! We're having an anniversary bash at our San Francisco headquarters on Shotwell Street on Sunday, October 2nd, 2005. The party starts at 5 p.m.

Join us for delicious Mexican food and drinks from Pancho Villa, hear a special address from our founders, John Perry Barlow and John Gilmore, taste our special 3D cake, and enjoy both the grooves of Gypsy Jazz from the Zegnotronic Rocket Society and the hypnotic beats of DJ Ripley and Kid Kameleon.

Our celebration is free of charge and open to anyone, so bring your friends and family. We look forward to celebrating with you!

Please let us know you're coming so we don't run out of food and libations! Send an email to rsvp@eff.org, or call 415-436-9333 x129.

EFF's office is located at 454 Shotwell Street and is BART accessible. Take BART to 16th and Mission, walk to 19th Street and take a left, and take another left on Shotwell Street, three blocks down. We are located between 18th and 19th on Shotwell.


EFF Wins Unsealing of Secret Documents in Apple Case

New Information Shows No Exhaustive Investigation Before Company Subpoenaed Journalists

Santa Clara County, CA - Court documents in the Apple v. Does case were unsealed last week, and they reveal that the software giant sought to subpoena two reporters' anonymous sources without first conducting a thorough investigation inside the company. This is a crucial issue in the case, which will be heard by the California Court of Appeal, because the First Amendment and the California Constitution require that Apple exhaust all other alternatives before trying to subpoena journalists. The unsealed documents, filed late last week, allow the public to see that Apple failed to conduct an exhaustive investigation. It never took depositions, never issued subpoenas (other than to the journalists), and never asked for signed declarations or information under oath from its own employees.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with co-counsel Thomas Moore III and Richard Wiebe, is representing journalists with the online news sites AppleInsider.com and PowerPage.org. After the sites printed articles about "Asteroid," rumored to be a much-anticipated FireWire audio interface for GarageBand, Apple claimed violation of trade secret law. In December, the company sued several unknown parties, known as "Does," who allegedly leaked information about "Asteroid" to the journalists.

Apple also claimed that its internal investigation was itself a trade secret and would therefore need to be sealed from opposing counsel. But EFF and co-counsel successfully argued to the court that it be unsealed. Now the public can examine this new information, which clearly shows that the only computer forensics conducted by Apple were a search of Apple's email servers and a rudimentary examination of a single file server. Apple did not examine employees' individual work computers or other devices capable of storing or transmitting electronic information, examine any telephone records, look at copy machines, or otherwise investigate the possibility that information about "Asteroid" was transmitted by means other than email. Moreover, as public documents already showed, Apple did not even obtain sworn statements from employees who had access to the leaked "Asteroid" specs.

"The First Amendment requires that compelled disclosure from journalists be a last resort," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Apple must first investigate its own house before seeking to disturb the freedom of the press."

A California Superior Court ruled earlier this year that the subpoenas could be issued, both to the journalists' email providers as well as to the publishers of the websites themselves. After the journalists appealed, the California Court of Appeal ordered Apple to show cause as to why the journalist's petition should not be granted. No date is set yet for the hearing in the Court of Appeal.

For this release:
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2005_09.php#003976

The unsealed documents:
http://www.eff.org/Censorship/Apple_v_Does/redacted_zonic_ortiz_decl.pdf

Apple v. Does:
http://www.eff.org/Censorship/Apple_v_Does/


TiVo Owners: Got Macrovision?

Have you noticed that when you "update" a product these days, you have to be on your guard lest the vendor slip in a "downgrade"? Like when Apple "updated" iTunes to reduce the number of burns you could make from the music you bought from the iTunes Music Store?

Well, here's another reminder of how "updates" can hurt you. As reported in the PVRBlog, the latest TiVo OS "update" causes some TiVos to start popping up red copyright warning flags on certain saved programs (including the Simpsons), threatening to automatically erase programs after a certain number of days. These restrictions are part of TiVo's move, as reported last year, to lockdown and auto-erase content that is marked by broadcasters with Macrovision (a technology originally intended to befuddle analog VCRs, but now also being used as a flag to mark analog video for copy restrictions).

It looks like it was a glitch on TiVo's end this time. Only pay-per-view and "premium channel" (i.e., HBO) programs were supposed to be Macrovisioned. (In fact, section 1201(k)(2) of the Copyright Act forbids broadcasters from putting Macrovision on any other programs.)

Of course, the fact that it was a glitch this time is should be no comfort to TiVo owners. When you bought your TiVo, you could record and keep the Sopranos, or Six Feet Under, or that exclusive boxing match. Thanks to the "updates" to your TiVo, now that capability can be taken away from you at the broadcaster's whim.

It's a good reminder that, in an age when Hollywood is calling the DRM shots and technology companies acquiesce, "updates" may no longer be your friend.

PVRBlog breaking of the story:
http://www.pvrblog.com/pvr/2005/09/tivo_72_os_adds.html

The original version of this piece online:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/003979.php


WIPO Development Agenda: Where Does Your Government Stand?

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the UN agency responsible for treaties involving copyright, patent, and trademark laws. Although WIPO, like other UN agencies, is charged with furthering humanitarian aims, historically it has created treaties that ratchet up intellectual property rights no matter the consequences to the developing world.

This is changing. Brazil and Argentina, leading a group of 14 countries (with the support of other developing nations such as India, Pakistan, and the African Group), have demanded that WIPO adopt a "development agenda," whereby all of its new treaties will take into account international development goals. Now comes the hard part: turning this proposal into a concrete plan of action.

In July 2005, WIPO's Member States held the last of three Intergovernmental Inter-sessional Meetings (IIMs) on the proposal to establish a WIPO Development Agenda. The goal was to produce a set of specific humanitarian reform proposals to be discussed in the September 2005 meeting of the WIPO General Assembly.

Unfortunately, the US and Japan blocked consensus by the majority of the Member States to extend the discussions for a year with three further IIMs. They want to shift the Development Agenda discussions to the Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property (PCIPD), a limited and less powerful advisory committee. So instead of moving forward with concrete proposals for reform, Member States must wait for a decision by the WIPO General Assembly about the proper forum to hold future discussions.

Despite this procedural stalling, some countries made excellent proposals during these meetings (in particular, see the Group of Friends of Development proposal, linked from our WIPO table below). A preliminary but substantive debate did take place on a number of key issues identified by the IIM Chair(see Annex 2).

The proposals fell into four main categories:

  1. WIPO mandate and governance: WIPO should amend its constitution to expressly incorporate the UN's Millennium Development Goals, operate in a member-driven manner, and ensure transparency and civil society participation.
  2. WIPO norm-setting: When creating treaties, WIPO should assess the impact on development objectives.
  3. WIPO technical assistance: WIPO should act impartially and take into account countries' individual development objectives when helping implement treaties.
  4. Transfer of technology and access to knowledge: WIPO should promote the transfer and dissemination of technology to developing countries in order to accelerate their economic, social, and cultural development.

EFF has created a table that aims to clarify these complex but important discussions, providing our interpretation of Member States' positions on the proposals that were discussed.(*) That way, you can see where your government stands.

The fight is not over! Next week, on September 16, the third IIM will reconvene for the specific purpose of adopting the report to be put forward to the General Assembly.

What can you do? Contact your government's WIPO representative before the WIPO General Assembly meeting on September 26, and ask him or her to support the proposal to extend the mandate of the Development Agenda IIMs to allow discussions to continue for another year.

EFF's WIPO Development Agenda Table:
http://www.eff.org/IP/WIPO/dev_agenda/iim_table.php Please note that we are providing this information as a public service to our members and the general public. The table is based on our understanding of Member States' public statements at the IIMs. We have made our best effort to provide accurate information. Any errors are unintentional and regretted. We welcome correction of any factual inaccuracies from country representatives.

How to contact your WIPO representative:
http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/

The original version of this piece online:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/003968.php


Boucher by the Bay: Fair Use Congressman To Visit Stanford

The Center for Internet and Society and the Stanford Law and Technology Association present:

Representative Rick Boucher discussing DC Perspectives on MGM v. Grokster and How to Facilitate Legal Online Music Delivery.

Don't miss this amazing opportunity to hear one of Congress' smartest members discuss the future of digital music. Representative Boucher (D-VA) has been at the forefront of action to help preserve user rights in the digital era. He fought for a more balanced approach to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and introduced the Digital Media Consumer Rights Act (DMCRA) to try to create more balance in the law. Monday, he will talk about Congress' response to the MGM v. Grokster decision decided by the Supreme Court last session, and options for ways to facilitate legal music delivery.

According to the Industry Standard, "When it comes to the politicians who truly "get" digital music, Rep. Rick Boucher is way out in front of the pack." This event is free and open to the public.

Monday September 19, 2005 12:30-1:30 PM Room 180 Stanford Law School Open to All Lunch Served

Full details on Stanford's Law Center site:
http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/events/archives/representative_rick_boucher.shtml


Boucher by the Bay: Fair Use Congressman To Visit Stanford

The Center for Internet and Society and the Stanford Law and Technology Association present:

Representative Rick Boucher discussing DC Perspectives on MGM v. Grokster and How to Facilitate Legal Online Music Delivery.

Don't miss this amazing opportunity to hear one of Congress' smartest members discuss the future of digital music. Representative Boucher (D-VA) has been at the forefront of action to help preserve user rights in the digital era. He fought for a more balanced approach to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and introduced the Digital Media Consumer Rights Act (DMCRA) to try to create more balance in the law. Monday, he will talk about Congress' response to the MGM v. Grokster decision decided by the Supreme Court last session, and options for ways to facilitate legal music delivery.

According to the Industry Standard, "When it comes to the politicians who truly "get" digital music, Rep. Rick Boucher is way out in front of the pack." This event is free and open to the public.

Monday September 19, 2005 12:30-1:30 PM Room 180 Stanford Law School Open to All Lunch Served

Full details on Stanford's Law Center site:
http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/events/archives/representative_rick_boucher.shtml


miniLinks

miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.

EU ID Card Protesters Arrested Before They Even Protest
Presumably their faces didn't match the ones on the giant demonstration cards they had brought:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/4225858.stm

Proper Recounts Too Hard, Say E-Voting Officials
California election clerks complain new e-voting recount rules would make their jobs difficult. They would also make e-voting recounts a lot, lot safer:
http://calvoter.org/news/blog/2005_09_01_blogarchive.html#112629252352379333

Yahoo Chief Said Company Passed Info On Dissident to Chinese Authorities
Yahoo says its hands were tied. For them, that's a figure of speech. For the dissident, it's just the beginning:
http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,16574183%5E15306%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html

Notes From the Future
Andrew Raff liveblogs voices from all sides at the Future Of Music conference (including EFF's own Fred von Lohmann):
http://www.iptablog.org/

Your Call May Be Decrypted to Improve Our Government Service
Dan Gillmor wonders if eBay, which happily hands over customer data to law enforcement, will gleefully put backdoors in Skype:
http://bayosphere.com/blog/dan_gillmor/20050912/ebay_buying_skype_the_privacy_question_grows

Songs from the Commons
Lisa Rein produces a podcast that's a celebration, explanation, and example of freely licensed creativity:
http://www.mondoglobo.net/thecommons/

What's on Fred von Lohmann's iPod?
Our senior staff attorney confesses to his hi-fi obsessions, musical tastes - oh, and his views on the politics of IP:
http://p2pnet.net/story/6176

EFF Costume at DragonCon
Some imposter tarnishing our precious intellectual property marks. Note he is not wearing any of our standard biometric identification markers or RFID beacons.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/irtluhc/40875652/

UK Pushes Data Retention
"The longer, the better," says the country's justice minister, remarking that human rights should recognize the "circumstances in the modern world." After all, now we've completely cured tyranny and the use of violence, who needs 'em?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4221364.stm

Grokster Citings
Bill Patry tracks Grokster as it crops up as precedent in court rulings.
http://williampatry.blogspot.com/2005/09/apres-grokster.html


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