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EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 40 - Announcement Monday on EFF's Plans re: Sony BMG


EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 40 - Announcement Monday on EFF's Plans re: Sony BMG

EFFector       Vol. 18, No. 40       November 18, 2005

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 356th Issue of EFFector:

Announcement Monday on EFF's Plans re: Sony BMG

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will have an announcement on Monday about EFF's plans regarding the First4Internet XCP software and the SunnComm MediaMax software that Sony BMG included in 24 million copies of their music CDs. The software has affected the computers of unsuspecting customers when they used their CDs on computers running the Windows operating system.

For more on EFF's concerns see:

Revolt in Congress Against PATRIOT "Compromise"

Late Friday, there was word that Senators and Representatives began heading home for the two-week holiday recess without voting on the PATRIOT renewal. The Washington Post reports that some lawmakers believe a bill will be passed before the end of the year, but others were not so sure. The PATRIOT Act expires on December 31.

Earlier this week, when the legislative conference tasked with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the PATRIOT renewal bill started circulating drafts of its so-called "compromise," a vote seemed certain by the end of the week. But the civil liberties community recognized the conference report for what it was: the same old PATRIOT with illusory reforms.

Luckily, several dedicated and patriotic Senators and Representatives--yes, Virginia, they do exist!--recognized it too. Now, it seems the stage is set for a public debate on PATRIOT and civil liberties. Stay tuned.

Check EFF's DeepLinks for updates:

Full conference report (three parts):

Diebold Attempts to Evade Election Transparency Laws

EFF Goes to Court to Force E-voting Company to Comply With Strict New North Carolina Law

Raleigh, North Carolina - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is going to court in North Carolina to prevent Diebold Election Systems, Inc., from evading North Carolina law.

In a last-minute filing, e-voting equipment maker Diebold asked a North Carolina court to exempt it from tough new election requirements designed to ensure transparency in the state's elections. Diebold obtained an extraordinarily broad order, allowing it to avoid placing its source code in escrow with the state and identifying programmers who contributed to the code.

On behalf of North Carolina voter and election integrity advocate Joyce McCloy, EFF asked the court to force Diebold and every other North Carolina equipment vendor to comply with the law's requirements. A hearing on EFF's motion is set for Monday, November 28.

"The new law was passed for a reason: to ensure that the voters of North Carolina have confidence in the integrity and accuracy of their elections," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "In stark contrast to every other equipment vendor that placed a bid with the state, Diebold went to court complaining that it simply couldn't comply with the law. Diebold should spend its efforts developing a system that voters can trust, not asking a court to let it bypass legal requirements aimed at ensuring voting integrity."

On November 4, the day that voting equipment bids to the state were due, Diebold obtained a temporary restraining order from a North Carolina superior court, exempting it from criminal and civil liability that could have resulted from its bid. EFF, with the assistance from the North Carolina law firm of Twiggs, Beskind, Strickland & Rabenau, P.A., intervened in the case on behalf of McCloy, the founder of the North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting. In a brief filed Wednesday, EFF argued that Diebold had failed to show why it was unable to meet various new election law provisions requiring source code escrow and identification of programmers.

North Carolina experienced one of the most serious malfunctions of e-voting systems in the 2004 presidential election when over 4,500 ballots were lost in a voting system provided by Diebold competitor UniLect Corp. Local officials were forced to re-run a portion of the election. The new transparency and integrity provisions of the North Carolina election code were passed in response to this and other documented malfunctions that have occurred across the country.

The North Carolina Board of Elections is scheduled to announce winning voting equipment vendors on December 1, 2005.

For the brief filed in the case:

Guide for Student Bloggers Helps Kids Speak Out

Legal Blogging Tips from EFF

San Francisco - Millions of students across the country are speaking their minds in Internet blogs, and some kids are getting punished for it despite their right to free expression. School administrators in one New Jersey district disciplined a student for his website that was critical of the school. The student eventually received a settlement of $117,500 for the violation of his First Amendment rights, but not before he was suspended for a week and barred from going on his class trip.

Just what are students allowed to publish about their school, their teachers, and their classmates? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a guide to student blogging Friday to help kids learn about their rights and how to defend them. These are important issues for millions of students: a study this month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project says approximately 4 million teens keep a blog.

"Teens are blogging everyday, reaching an audience of millions," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "With this legal guide, students will have the tools they need to blog legally, and understand how to defend their rights."

The guide to student blogging addresses the different rules for personal blogs and school blogs, for both public and private school students. It also gives advice on how to speak freely about school and discuss controversial issues.

"Students can and should talk about what's important to them in their blogs," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "That is naturally going to include their school life, and perhaps even topics that make some adults uncomfortable. Students should know their First Amendment rights, so that they can continue to have honest discussions about their lives."

For the guide to student blogging:

Join Our Bloggers' Campaign - Help EFF Help You

Now is the time for all good bloggers to come to the aid of their legal rights!

Here at EFF, we're fighting hard for bloggers' rights. We've created the Legal Guide for Bloggers, we're litigating the reporter's privilege for online journalists and we are working hard to defend bloggers' rights to free expression, political speech, and anonymity, just to name a few.

But we need your help to spread the word, grow our membership and keep fighting. So we're launching a special membership campaign specifically for bloggers. We've created a button for you to put in a permanent space on your blog that declares your support for bloggers' rights and for the work EFF does to support them. The button links to our bloggers' rights campaign at

We'd like to offer all bloggers who put the button up on their blogs discounted EFF memberships. In addition, each month we'll choose one of our favorite blogs to highlight in EFFector, our online newsletter, which reaches over 50,000 people. And the owners of the ten blogs that bring in the most donation money to EFF will receive a pair of EFF's blogger pajama bottoms and an EFF blogger t-shirt. You can support bloggers' rights, spread the word about EFF, and become a member at a lower rate.

Bloggers' buttons:

Help Us Bust the Clear Channel Patent

As many of you know, EFF has gone into the Patent Busting business. We're closing in on our first target -- the Clear Channel Live Recording patent, but we need your help. We've written up a description of the killer prior art needed to take this patent down; now you need to help us find it. Take a look at the description and send it around to any friends or colleagues you might know who are familiar with sound or video recording technology, especially pre-year 2000 technology that could record multiple copies of media simultaneously. In particular, we are interested any information about a system called "EDAT" from the Minnesota- based Telex Communications, Inc., but any information on pre- 2000 multiple-media recording system can help.

Prior art description:

Prior art submission form:

CopyNight Reminder - Tuesday, November 22

Every fourth Tuesday, fans of free culture gather in cities across the United States to talk about the conflicts between freedom and intellectual property regulation. Welcome to this month's CopyNight: Tuesday, November 22, around 7pm.

Find out if there's a CopyNight near you:


miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.

TV Networks Say Digital Recorders Raise Viewership
You see what happens when you try and please customers? Devastation!

Sory Electronics
Putting pressure on Sony to sincerely apologize--and drop the DRM.

Sony Considers Gutting Media Re-sale Market
Sony files patent that would block the lending or selling of second-hand media.

The Ongoing Story of DRM
USA Today gives a compact rundown, with quotes, of the wider DRM future.

DHS: DRM Can Be Bad for Homeland Security
"It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property--it's not your computer," says Stewart Baker of the Department of Homeland Security.

Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge?
Worth reading for the mountainous rise in patent applications over the last few years.

Kill Bill's Browser
The Downhill Battle folk apply their skills to moving net users to Firefox.

"Foul Language" Coming to Congress
The National Journal's Drew Clark weighs in on the analog hole.

Canada's CALEA
The Lawful Access Bill, which will compel ISPs and phone companies to add wiretap capability, will be introduced next week.

Selling by the Page
Wendy Grossman looks at changes in marketing--and authorship- -in the age of Google Print.

Staff Calendar

No entries this week.


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