Skip to main content
Podcast Episode - Right to Repair Catches the Car

EFFector - Volume 19, Issue 20 - Action Alert - Let the Public Decide Broadcasting Treaty's Fate!


EFFector - Volume 19, Issue 20 - Action Alert - Let the Public Decide Broadcasting Treaty's Fate!

EFFector Vol. 19, No. 20 May, 2006

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424

In the 381st Issue of EFFector:

effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired change.

Action Alert - Let the Public Decide Broadcasting Treaty's Fate!

The United States delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been one of the strongest supporters of efforts to create a new intellectual property right for broadcasters and cablecasters through a new WIPO treaty. If adopted, the treaty would give broadcasters, cablecasters and potentially webcasting companies 50 years of copyright-like rights over anything they transmit, including public domain and Creative Commons-licensed works. It would also give broadcasters legal protection to use technology to lock down content, giving them control over how you use broadcasts received by your television, radio and possibly personal computer and control over how those devices are designed and built.

The new Broadcasting Treaty is likely to restrict your access to knowledge and culture, and it lets broadcasters make decisions that should be left in the hands of creators and the public.

EFF and other groups have worked hard in Geneva to fix the proposed treaty, but it has been uphill work. We believe it would be a terrible mistake for WIPO to create new rights for broadcasters, who are merely middlemen, which could restrict what ordinary Americans do with their media. We don't think the U.S. delegation members have taken the time to hear the views of the American public. The delegation should hold a public consultation with the American people before it continues to lobby for expansive new IP rights.

The two committees in Congress that have responsibility for copyright and telecommunications policy are the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. If your representative is on one of those committees, write now to ask him or her to request the U.S. WIPO delegation seek the public's comments.

Take action:

For more on the treaty:

Huge Win for Online Journalists' Source Protection

EFF Arguments Secure Reporters' Privilege for Internet News Gatherers

San Jose - A California state appeals court ruled in favor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) petition on behalf of three online journalists Friday, holding that the online journalists have the same right to protect the confidentiality of their sources as offline reporters do.

"Today's decision is a victory for the rights of journalists, whether online or offline, and for the public at large," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl, who argued the case before the appeals court last month. "The court has upheld the strong protections for the free flow of information to the press, and from the press to the public."

In their decision, the judges wrote: "We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news. Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment, which is to identify the best, most important, and most valuable ideas not by any sociological or economic formula, rule of law, or process of government, but through the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

The case began when Apple Computer sued several unnamed individuals, called "Does," who allegedly leaked information about an upcoming product to online news sites PowerPage and AppleInsider. As part of its investigation, Apple subpoenaed Nfox -- PowerPage's email service provider -- for communications and unpublished materials obtained by PowerPage publisher Jason O'Grady. A trial court upheld the subpoena.

But Friday, the court said that O'Grady is protected by California's reporter's shield law, as well as the constitutional privilege against disclosure of confidential sources. The court also agreed with EFF that Apple's subpoena to email service provider Nfox was unenforceable because it violated the federal Stored Communications Act, which requires direct subpoenas of account holders.

"In addition to being a free speech victory for every citizen reporter who uses the Internet to distribute news, today's decision is a profound electronic privacy victory for everyone who uses email," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "The court correctly found that under federal law, civil litigants can't subpoena your stored email from your service provider."

EFF worked with co-counsel Thomas Moore III and Richard Wiebe in this case.

For the full decision in the case:

For more on Apple v. Does:

For this release:

Key Portions of Critical Documents Unsealed in AT&T Surveillance Case

Technician Describes Secret NSA Room at AT&T Facility

San Francisco - AT&T has set up a secret, secure room for the NSA in at least one of the company's facilities -- a room into which AT&T has been diverting its customers' emails and other Internet communications in bulk -- according to evidence in key documents partially unsealed today in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class- action lawsuit against the telecom giant.

"Now the public can see firsthand the testimony of Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee who was brave enough to step forward and provide evidence of the company's illegal collaboration with the NSA," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Today we have released some of the evidence supporting our allegation that AT&T has given the NSA direct access to its fiber-optic network, such that the NSA can read the email of anyone and everyone it chooses -- all without a warrant or any court supervision, and in clear violation of the law."

The Klein declaration and EFF's motion for a preliminary injunction against AT&T's ongoing illegal surveillance were filed under seal last month. But last week, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker instructed AT&T to work with EFF to narrowly redact the documents and make them available to the public.

"We strongly believe in transparency and openness in judicial proceedings and that there is no proper basis for permanently sealing any of the information supporting our preliminary injunction papers," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "In the interim, we are glad that as much as possible is released while the motions to unseal filed by media entities are pending."

EFF filed the class-action suit against AT&T in January, alleging that the telecommunications company has given the National Security Agency (NSA) secret, direct access to the phone calls and emails going over its network and has been handing over communications logs detailing the activities of millions of ordinary Americans. The next hearing in this case is set for June 23, when the judge will consider the motions to dismiss EFF's suit made by both the U.S. government and AT&T.

For the public version of Klein's declaration:

For the public version of EFF's preliminary injunction motion:

For more on EFF's lawsuit:

For this release:

The Battle for Your Digital Media Devices

With so many tech mandate proposals and DRM restrictions being introduced, it's all too easy to miss how they fit together. A digital radio mandate here, an analog hole plug there, add in a little HDCP on video outputs for bad measure, and so on -- pretty soon, you've got DRM everywhere, and the whole is far more dangerous than the sum of its parts.

EFF is fighting DRM wherever it rears its ugly head, and our new page, The Battle for Your Digital Media Devices, introduces the major fronts.

We've also launched a page about digital video, describing the alphabet soup of restrictions that Hollywood wants injected into your devices.


miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.

A Catalog of Features Lost in iTunes Upgrades
A sadly ongoing project.

Intellectual Property in the Southern Hemisphere
A dossier of case-studies and analysis looks at maximalist IP and its effects outside the West.

FCC Says Telco Wiretapping Too Secret to Investigate
The FCC Chief, Kevin Martin, says classified nature of project makes it impossible for FCC to look into AT&T and other telcos' complicity.

MPAA Accused of Hiring Hacker
Did the MPAA hire a black hat hacker to get info on

Congress Duped By Fake "Terrorist" Game Video
Sound samples of the "Team America" satire pasted over standard EA game footage has Washington shocked and awed.

Verizon Refuses to Come Clean About Wiretapping
Neither yay nor nay -- just a claim of extreme secrecy.

Senate Bill Attacks Digital Devices, VoIP
A grim summary of the Senate telecom reform bill.

Chicago School Pledge Against Free Speech
Students are obliged to limit their blogging if engaging in extracurricular school activities.

Apple v. Does in Bits and Pieces
Howell's blow-by-blow summary of the Apple v. Does case.

Adbusters v. AT&T
More creative editing of the current AT&T campaign.

Meeting of the Legal and Techie Clans
Scotland's global Computer Law conference returns this September to Edinburgh.

DaVinci Code? Try the Da Xerox Code
Make magazine documents the concealed printer dot code used by Xerox, and uncovered by EFF last year.

Protest Against AT&T in San Francisco
SF protestors will be demonstrating Wednesday against, among other issues, AT&T wiretaps.

Camgirls Against NSA Spying
What do groups who choose to share their personal lives online think of the NSA's privacy invasions? Rather differently.


EFFector is published by:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)

Derek Slater, Activist

Membership & donation queries:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express permission. Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be reproduced individually at will.

Current and back issues of EFFector are available via the Web at:

Visit our Action Center to unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences:
...or to change your email address:

Back to top

JavaScript license information