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EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 7 - Hearing Friday Could Determine the Future of Online Journalists' Rights


EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 7 - Hearing Friday Could Determine the Future of Online Journalists' Rights

EFFector       Vol. 18, No. 07       March 3, 2005

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 323rd Issue of EFFector:

Hearing Friday Could Determine the Future of Online Journalists' Rights

San Jose, CA - This Friday, EFF will face attorneys for Apple Computer in a hearing to determine whether three independent online journalists will be given the same legal protections as journalists who work for traditional media publications.

Apple is suing several unnamed individuals, called "Does," who allegedly leaked information about a possible future Apple product code-named "Asteroid." Apple has subpoenaed Nfox, the Internet service provider (ISP) for publisher Jason O'Grady, demanding that the ISP turn over the private communications and unpublished materials O'Grady obtained while he was gathering information for articles about "Asteroid." Apple has also been granted permission to issue subpoenas directly to EFF clients PowerPage and AppleInsider for similar information.

In the first case of its kind, EFF will argue that these online reporters' confidential sources and unpublished material are protected both by the reporter's shield in the California constitution and the reporter's privilege under the federal First Amendment.

The hearing will take place Friday, March 4, at 10:00 a.m. at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, 191 North First Street, San Jose. If you plan to attend, please note that space inside the courtroom is limited and it is important to dress appropriately and observe strict decorum to demonstrate respect for the court.

For this release:

More about Apple v. Does:

Press Conference on Supreme Court File Sharing Case Now Online

With less than a month to go before the Supreme Court hearing in MGM v. Grokster, EFF and Public Knowledge held a press conference Tuesday with the respondents and their supporters.

Twenty-eight of the world's largest entertainment companies are suing Grokster and StreamCast Networks, providers of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software, arguing that they should be held liable for copyright violations by people who use their software. EFF is representing StreamCast, maker of the Morpheus P2P software, to defend the freedom to create technologies that are capable of substantial noninfringing (legal) uses.

This week, twenty-five "friends-of-the-court" came forward to support Streamcast and Grokster, including major technology companies Intel and Sun, Internet service providers, consumers, libraries, emerging technology companies, computer science professors, and more than 60 intellectual property law professors.

The Supreme Court's landmark decision in Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. (a.k.a. the "Sony Betamax ruling") held that a distributor cannot held liable for users' infringement so long as the tool is capable of substantial noninfringing uses. In MGM v. Grokster, the Ninth Circuit found that P2P file-sharing software is capable of, and is in fact being used for, noninfringing uses. Relying on the Betamax precedent, the court ruled that the distributors of Grokster and Morpheus software cannot be held liable for users' copyright violations. The plaintiffs appealed, and in December 2004 the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

"The copyright law principles set out in the Sony Betamax case have served innovators, copyright industries, and the public well for 20 years," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF's senior intellectual property attorney. "We at EFF look forward to the Supreme Court reaffirming the applicability of Betamax in the 21st century."

Follow the links below to listen to the audio recording of the press conference and read the briefs in the case: (MP3, 37M)

Briefs in MGM v. Grokster:

Keep RFIDs Out of California IDs

EFF Supports Legislation to Ban Tracking Devices in ID Documents

San Francisco, CA - EFF this week joined the ACLU and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in voicing strong support for legislation introduced by California State Senator Joe Simitian that would prohibit identity documents issued by the state, including driver's licenses and library cards, from containing a contactless integrated circuit or other device that can broadcast personal information or enable that information to be scanned remotely.

"This is all about individual privacy, personal safety, and financial security," said Senator Joe Simitian. "SB 682 ensures that state and local government will be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

The legislation was introduced days after a company in Sutter, California withdrew its pilot program from an elementary school amidst an outcry from parents who did not want their children tagged like "cattle or inventory." The school district introduced the mandatory use of Radio Frequency Identification tags (RFIDs) to track the students' movements. The students were required to wear the ID badges that included the device along with the student's name, photo, grade, school name, class year and the four-digit school ID number.

"The signals broadcast by this type of badge can be picked up by anyone with the technology to read it, which allows a child's identity and location to be pinpointed with ease. This does not increase security, it lessens it," said Pam Noles, a policy associate for the ACLU of Southern California.

"RFID tags are a very dangerous technology for privacy, especially when used in ID cards," added EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "It allows unauthorized people to access personal information. This bill represents a good first step in managing this problem."

For the full release:

The Identity Information Protection Act of 2005 (SB 682):

More about RFIDs:

Support EFF - Bid on "Freedom to Connect" Pass at eBay!

Here's an opportunity to help EFF while connecting with others who want to keep the Internet open, safe, and free.

David Isenberg, author of "The Rise of the Stupid Network," will hold one of the most eagerly anticipated conferences of the year, "Freedom to Connect," on March 30-31 in Washington, DC. To raise money to defend online freedom and help spread the word about the conference, EFF is auctioning off a conference pass at eBay:

Make your bid today. Every penny from the auction will go to defending your rights!

More about "Freedom to Connect":

CFP 2005: Panopticon - April 12-15

Registration is now open for this year's Computers, Freedom, and Privacy (CFP) conference, "Panopticon."

CFP 2005 will explore the most important issues relating to the Internet and freedom today, focusing on the impact that emerging surveillance societies have on the Net and individuals, particularly in light of the data mining and data sharing of personal information. Other important topics include the role of nascent communications technology in promoting free speech, expansive intellectual property legislation and the role it plays in the way that individuals are able to use the Internet, and much, much more.

CFP 2005 will be held at the Westin Hotel in Seattle, Washington:

Register before March 21, 2005 for early registration rates!


miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.

Gonzalez Urges PATRIOT Renewal in 1st Speech as AG
Not much of a surprise, but a deep disappointment, nonetheless:

Gator to Shed Crocodile Tears for Your Privacy
An executive from Claria, the spyware company formerly known as Gator, will be one of 20 people on the Department of Homeland Security's new federal privacy advisory board:

Even More Censorship for China
China said it will toughen its already rigid censorship of the Internet during its annual parliamentary session to keep at bay those with "ulterior motives":

Major Labels Want to Raise Download Prices
They're trying to hit the sweet-spot of $18 per album (which is working really well for CDs). The future of music is not for the faint of heart - or light of wallet:

European Commission Ignores Opposition to Software Patents
In a jaw-droppingly arrogant move, the European Commission has decided to push a controversial software patent plan forward over the protests of the public and the EU Parliament:,1759,1770806,00.asp

Breaking Down the Kaleidescape Suit
Kaleidescape makes super high-end DVD jukeboxes, and it even has a license from the cartel that controls DVD hardware. Read on to find out why the DVD-CCA is suing anyway:

Lowering the Bar for Digital Privacy
Bruce Schneier on how today's technical realities expose gaps in how the law protects your privacy:

Privacy Advocate Forced to Keep Feet on Ground
Great article on EFF Co-Founder John Gilmore's lawsuit over secret security laws:

Democratizing the DJ
This Washington Post article explores the subculture of amateur DJs who use iPods to get the crowd moving:
Registration unfortunately required.)

Poisoning the Well
Ed Felten on a new paper that examines how copyright holders might "poison" P2P networks with bogus files:

Costa Rica to Outlaw VoIP?
That's what the state-owned telephone monopoly wants the country to do:

Viva La Television!
Our own Annalee Newitz on activists who are protesting the Broadcast Flag by building their own high-definition TV toys:

Intel Asks Supremes to Protect P2P
Intel's yearly revenue exceeds that of the entire US movie industry. We're just sayin':

Clinton/Boxer E-voting Bill Introduced
The bill requires a paper trail for e-voting machines, and it joins several others in the House and Senate:


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