EFFector Vol. 18, No. 32 September 23, 2005
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 349th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert: Don't Let Congress Ignore the Broadcast Treaty!
- Google's Card Catalog Should Be Left Open
- EFF Hosts 15th Anniversary Party, October 2
- Election Reform Commission Urges Secure E-voting
- EFF, Florida Disability Rights Advocates Fight to Avert E-voting Debacle
- EFF in Canada: Protect Your Northern Rights!
- CopyNight Reminder: Cocktails & Copyright, September 27
- miniLinks (10): Hollywood to Waste $30 Million Believing It Can Build Better Copy Protection
- Staff Calendar: 09.24.05 - 09.25.05 - Annalee Newitz emcees Webzine 2005, San Francisco, CA; 09.25.05 - Jason Schultz speaks at ResFest, San Francisco, CA; 10.02.05 - EFF hosts 15th Anniversary Party, San Francisco, CA
Action Alert: Don't Let Congress Ignore the Broadcast Treaty!
Lobbyists at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) want to give broadcasters a brace of undeserved rights in the content that they transmit. That's right, another group of companies is seeking to control what you do with your television or computer. If they get their way, these middlemen will seize 50 years of copyright-like control over the material they merely broadcast, including public domain and Creative Commons-licensed works. If that wasn't bad enough, the US is pushing to extend this new layer of rights to "webcasters."
EFF believes that there should be a demonstrated need for such rights, and a clear understanding of how they will impact the public, educators, existing copyright holders, and new Internet technologies. Write to Congress now and ask them to take a close look at this new WIPO treaty!
Join EFF as a member today:
Google's Card Catalog Should Be Left Open
San Francisco, CA - The Authors Guild filed a class-action copyright infringement suit Tuesday against Google over its Google Print library project. Working with major university libraries, Google Print aims to make thousands of books searchable via the Web, allowing people to search for key words or phrases in books. The public may browse the full text of public domain materials in the process of such a search, but only a few sentences of text around the search term in books still covered by copyright.
EFF applauds Google's effort to create the digital equivalent of a library card catalog and believes the company has a strong case.
"Just as libraries don't need to pay publishers when they create a card catalog, neither should Google or other search engines be required to when they create an improved digital equivalent," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann.
In defending the lawsuit, Google is relying on the copyright principle of fair use, which allows the public to copy works without having to ask permission or pay licensing fees to copyright holders. EFF believes Google is likely to prevail on its defense. One key point in Google's favor is that Google Print is a transformative use of these books - the company is creating a virtual card catalog to assist people in finding relevant books, rather than creating replacements for the books themselves.
In addition, it is almost certain that Google Print will boost, rather than hurt, the market for the copyrighted books. "It's easy to see how Google Print can stimulate demand for books that otherwise would lay undiscovered in library stacks," said von Lohmann. "It's hard to see how it could hurt publishers or authors."
For additional legal analysis, EFF recommends "The Google Print Library Project: A Copyright Analysis," a recently published white paper by noted Washington, DC, copyright attorney Jonathan Band of Policy Bandwidth.
For this release:
"The Google Print Library Project: A Copyright Analysis" http://www.policybandwidth.com/doc/googleprint.pdf
EFF Hosts 15th Anniversary Party, October 2
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're 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 between 18th and 19th on Shotwell.
Election Reform Commission Urges Secure E-voting
EFF Applauds Commission Recommendations But Opposes National ID Card Endorsement
Washington, DC - The Carter-Baker Commission, formally known as the Commission on Federal Election Reform, this week released an extensive report on the country's electoral health, along with a wide range of suggested reforms. Most of the Commission's recommendations should cheer those concerned about the security of electronic voting.
The report found that there is an urgent need for the nation to increase transparency in voting processes and to institute robust security measures, and that the lack of transparency and robust security is undermining public confidence that votes are being accurately recorded.
"The Commission joins a growing chorus of concerned groups and citizens urging that electronic voting technology and related procedures be overhauled," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "This high-level, bipartisan panel confirmed that e-voting has introduced an unacceptable amount of uncertainty into voting, which should be the most trusted task performed by government. Congress and the states need to move quickly to ensure that another election doesn't go by with the same systemic flaws. Luckily, on the federal level, HR 550 could help us reach some of those goals by mandating a voter-verified paper trail and mandatory audits." HR 550, currently seeking support in the House, could become the biggest beneficiary from the report's strong pro-paper trail findings. [Follow this link to tell your member of Congress to support HR 550: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=109]
Zimmerman noted that while most of the Commission's recommendations were on-the-mark, others - such as permitting states to decide for themselves whether paper or electronic ballots would rule in the event of disparities - don't go far enough to ensure accountable elections. In addition, EFF strongly opposes the Commission's privacy-invasive recommendations regarding voter identification. The report suggests that voters should be required to present the national ID card mandated by the recently passed Real ID Act at the voting booth.
"Tying voter ID requirements to the REAL ID Act is bad for voting and for privacy," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "There's scant evidence that inadequate voter ID is a factor in election fraud. And the Commission admits to concerns that voter ID requirements could disenfranchise eligible voters, adversely affect minorities, or be used to monitor whether voting behaviors are 'serious and legitimate' - a vague and subjective standard."
"Moreover, the REAL ID Act turns drivers' licenses into de facto national IDs by forcing states to link their DMV databases so that drivers' personal data will instantly be available to a wide range of state, local, and federal officials," added Tien. "Once created, history has shown that law enforcement, employers, landlords, credit agencies, mortgage brokers, and direct mailers will find a way to access and abuse those databases."
For the full press release:
For the Carter-Baker Commission report:
EFF action alert to support HR 550:
More about e-voting:
EFF, Florida Disability Rights Advocates Fight to Avert E-voting Debacle
Case Puts Security and Auditability at Risk in the Next Election
Volusia County, FL - EFF filed a friend-of-the-court brief last week with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals supporting Volusia County, Florida, in an ongoing legal battle to permit the county to consider voting systems that are both accessible to the disabled and auditable for everyone.
EFF's brief strongly urged the court to reject an argument by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) that Volusia County should be forced to purchase paperless touchscreen voting machines for the upcoming October 11th election. This deadline would require the county to rush to prepare for the election, possibly jeopardizing its efforts to program the machines, train election and pollworkers, and educate the public. Instead, argued EFF, the county should be given the chance to acquire voting technology that creates an auditable paper trail, as well as provides accessibility features for a wider range of disabled voters.
"As a blind voter, I'm strongly opposed to the paperless e-voting machines that the NFB is trying to force onto us," said David Dixon, president of Handicapped Adults of Volusia County (HAVOC). "I want a voting system that is accessible to as many voters as possible and that also produces an audit trail. The paperless machines are simply the wrong approach, and I support the county's efforts to try to find a better way."
"We're disappointed that national disability rights groups have taken such a counter-productive step despite opposition from local disability rights leaders," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "At a time when people devoted to meaningful election reform should be working together, it's unfortunate that the NFB is making the dangerous argument that election integrity should be sacrificed for otherwise laudable accessibility goals."
For the full press release:
EFF in Canada: Protect Your Northern Rights!
EFF is pleased to announce that we are strengthening our
work in Canada. We'll be tracking issues like Bill C-60
(copyright reform), "lawful access" (privacy and surveillance),
and other digital rights issues that matter to Canadians.
Ren Bucholz, EFF's Policy Coordinator in the Americas, is
now based in Toronto, Ontario, where he'll be following
these developments full time. If you're interested in
staying up-to-date on EFF's work in Canada, sign up for
special bulletins here:
CopyNight Reminder: Cocktails & Copyright, September 27
It's that time again! Join your fellow copyfighters this upcoming Tuesday, September 27th, for drinks and discussion at CopyNight meet-ups all across North America. Details about topics and which cities are having meet-ups are available at the CopyNight website: http://copynight.org/
The San Francisco meet-up will take place from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the 21st Amendment Brewery & Cafe, 563 2nd St (between Bryant and Brannan). We'll be talking about Google Print, WIPO's Broadcasting Treaty, and anything else you may want to discuss. Your host will be Danny O'Brien, EFF's activism coordinator.
See you there!
miniLinksminiLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.
Don't Blame the User for Security Screw-ups
Jakob Nielsen says stop shouting at poor consumers for problems caused by badly designed security software. Spoilsport:
Practical Guide to Political Blogging and Activism
Reporters Without Borders publishes an outstanding how-to for bloggers seeking to make their voices heard in the face of government monitoring, censorship, and worse:
EFF's own Legal Guide for Bloggers, which provides a collection of FAQs on the wide range of legal issues bloggers confront:
Levy Breaches in Sweden
A company that makes MP3 players refuses to pay the copyright levy on players, arguing that it's "outdated":
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=530 (The Local)
A Christian band from San Diego is helping fans circumvent industry-mandated DRM, explaining, "We refuse to allow corporate policy to taint the family we've developed together":
Obscenity Regs to Hit the Net?
Susan Crawford looks at a draft telecom bill that could put the FCC in charge of "national consumer protection standards" aimed at stopping broadband, VoIP, and broadband video services from being used for annoying or "indecent" speech:
Piercing the Copyright Reality-Distortion Field
EFF pal Wendy Seltzer and friends annotate the USPTO's one-sided copyright quiz for kids, highlighting its unfortunate distortions:
Boucher Seeks to Cut Copyright's Red Tape
Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) says he's working on new legislation to make it easier to license musical works:
Hollywood to Waste $30 Million Believing It Can Build
Better Copy Protection
That's the spot-on headline for a Techdirt piece criticizing Hollywood's plans to create home-grown DRM:
http://techdirt.com/articles/20050919/0124222_F.shtml Edward Felten's take: http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=898
Fair Use as...Illicit Housecleaning?
EFF's own Jason Schultz criticizes the strained analogies being used to describe the Google Print furor:
Red Hat and Patents
The deputy general counsel for Red Hat discusses patent reform and free software:
For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with
locations and times), please visit the full calendar:
September 24-25 -
Annalee Newitz emcees Webzine 2005, San Francisco, CA
September 25 -
Jason Schultz speaks at ResFest "Copy Fight" panel
4:15 p.m., Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco, CA
October 2 -
EFF hosts EFF 15th Anniversary Party
EFF Headquarters, 454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA
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