EFFector Vol. 20, No. 16 April 24, 2007 firstname.lastname@example.org A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 In the 421th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert - Submit Comments to DHS and Help Stop the National ID Nightmare!
- Viacom Admits Error - Takes Steps to Protect Fair Use on YouTube
- Consumers, Librarians, and Innovators Tell EU 'We're Not Criminals'
- UK Government Supports Vital Amendments From EFF Europe & Co.
- EFF Challenges Bogus Patent Threatening Consumer Awareness Products
- Patent Reform Bill Introduced in Congress
- Sen. Specter: Telcos' Role in NSA Spying Program Must Be Exposed
- Sony's Latest DRM Backfire
- Consumer Groups to Utah AG: Don't Waste Taxpayer Money on Unconstitutional, Anti-Consumer Keyword Law
- EFF at Maker Faire, May 19-20
- miniLinks (12): French E-Voting Is a "Catastrophe"
For more information on EFF activities & alerts: http://www.eff.org/ Make a donation and become an EFF member today! http://eff.org/support/ Tell a friend about EFF: http://action.eff.org/site/Ecard?ecard_id=1061 effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired change. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Action Alert - Submit Comments to DHS and Help Stop the National ID Nightmare! The rebellion against the REAL ID Act keeps growing -- last week, Montana became the fifth state to push back against the federal government's national ID mandate. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently taking comment on its draft regulations for implementing REAL ID, and the May 8 comment deadline is fast approaching. Don't miss out on this critical opportunity to make a difference and protect your privacy -- submit your comments now: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=287 The REAL ID Act makes states standardize drivers licenses and create a vast national database linking all of the ID records together. Once in place, uses of the IDs and database will inevitably expand to facilitate a wide range of tracking and surveillance activities. Worse still, states and individual taxpayers will bear the estimated 23 billion dollar burden of implementing the law, and that figure is probably low given that the necessary verification systems don't exist yet. Thankfully, the tide is turning against REAL ID in a big way -- along with opposition building in the states, Congress is considering a repeal. By voicing your concerns to DHS now, you can help stop this privacy-invasive, burdensome policy: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=287 DHS will also be holding a "town hall" meeting in Sacramento, CA at UC Davis' Freeborn Hall from 10 AM to 2 PM on Tuesday, May 1, 2007. If you cannot attend in person, you can still watch the webcast and participate in the meeting by sending comments via this site (which is not live yet): http://www.realidtownhall.com More information about the town hall meeting: http://action.eff.org/site/DocServer/E7-7655.pdf?docID=481 Learn more about REAL ID: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/ID/RealID/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Viacom Admits Error - Takes Steps to Protect Fair Use on YouTube MoveOn.org, Brave New Films Dismiss Lawsuit Over Colbert Parody Viacom Endorses Excerpting Video for "Creative, Newsworthy or Transformative Use" San Francisco - Responding to Viacom's willingness to take steps to protect the free speech rights of those who post videos to YouTube and similar video sharing sites, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project (FUP) yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of MoveOn.org Civic Action and Brave New Films (BNF). The lawsuit was filed in federal court last month, after a parody of "The Colbert Report" was removed from YouTube following a meritless copyright complaint by Viacom. The humorous video, called "Stop the Falsiness," was created by MoveOn and BNF using clips from the Comedy Central television series. It was a tongue-in-cheek commentary on Colbert's portrayal of the right-wing media and parodied MoveOn's own reputation for earnest political activism. Viacom initially denied sending the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice that resulted in the removal of the video from YouTube, while saying it had no objection to "Stop the Falsiness." However, Viacom later conceded it was the source of the demand and admitted error in taking action against the parody. In the course of discussions with EFF and FUP, Viacom described the steps it endorses for protecting fair use and free expression as it targets copyright infringement on Internet video sites. This includes: manual review of every video that is a potential DMCA takedown target, training reviewers to avoid issuing takedown requests for fair use, and publicly stating that it does not challenge use of Viacom materials that are "creative, newsworthy or transformative" and are "a limited excerpt for non commercial purposes." Furthermore, in reaction to the MoveOn/BNF suit, Viacom moved the ball forward for Internet users' rights. In order to address any similarly erroneous takedown notices in the future, Viacom has agreed to set up a website and email "hotline," promising a review of any complaint within one business day and a reinstatement if the takedown request was in error. In light of these disclosures and commitments -- designed to protect the fair use and free speech rights of Internet users who rely on video sharing sites like YouTube -- MoveOn and BNF have dismissed their claims against Viacom. "If copyright owners are going to be sending hundreds of thousands of DMCA takedown notices, they also have a responsibility to protect the legitimate free speech rights of the citizen creators who rely on platforms like YouTube," said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "By choosing to respect newsworthy and transformative uses of their materials -- and establishing a simple process that lets improperly targeted users get their material back up quickly -- Viacom has taken important steps toward meeting that responsibility. We hope other media companies will follow Viacom's lead." "This new endorsement of Internet users' rights is a victory for the little guy," said Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn.org Civic Action. "Online sites like YouTube have revolutionized political expression and can give the little guy an audience of millions for a political point of view. A corporate powerhouse like Viacom must not be allowed to erase political content or muzzle political expression." "Following these practices will not curb all DMCA copyright abuse," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "But they are several much-needed steps in the right direction. If a major content owner like Viacom can recognize this, other content owners should be able to do the same." For Viacom's letters outlining its policies: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/moveon_v_viacom/falsiness_letter_032707.pdf http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/moveon_v_viacom/0411_letter_fvl.pdf http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/moveon_v_viacom/0417_letter_fvl.pdf For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_04.php#005212 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Consumers, Librarians, and Innovators Tell EU 'We're Not Criminals' Coalition Submits Fixes to European Parliament to Prevent Vague New Copyright Crimes Brussels - The Electronic Frontier Foundation's European Office last week announced a broad coalition aimed at fixing a poorly drafted intellectual property enforcement proposal that could make criminals of thousands of people in the European Union. The Second Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED2) -- set for vote in the European Parliament this week -- makes "aiding, abetting, or inciting" intellectual property infringement on a "commercial scale" a criminal offence. However, IPRED2 defines criminal offences so vaguely that creators of legitimate websites, Internet service providers, and even librarians could be investigated by the police and face criminal records as well as fines of hundreds of thousands of euros. The coalition battling against IPRED2 includes the Brussels-based European Consumers Organisation (BEUC), the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). The group sent an open letter to the European Parliament, urging members to support amendments that would protect consumers, innovators, and researchers. "Criminal law needs to be clear to be fair. IPRED2 as it is currently drafted is neither," said Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for EFF. "These amendments clarify that criminal sanctions should be saved for true trademark counterfeiters." IPRED2 also proposes allowing entertainment company representatives to join police in investigating businesses that they claim infringe -- or even "incite" infringement - - of their intellectual property. "Such secondary liability is a major threat for software developers and Internet service providers," said Ante Wessels of FFII. "The current draft of IPRED2 creates legal uncertainty and confusion, which will act as a barrier for libraries and archives in their efforts to digitize and bring digital information to end users," said Andrew Cranfield, Director of EBLIDA. The next vote on IPRED2 is scheduled for April 25 in Strasbourg, France. For the open letter to the European Parliament: http://www.copycrime.eu/files/openletter-ipred.pdf For more on IPRED2: http://www.copycrime.eu To take action and tell your MEP to support these amendments: http://www.copycrime.eu/action For more on EFF Europe: http://www.eff.org/global/Europe For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_04.php#005206 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * UK Government Supports Vital Amendments From EFF Europe & Co. Last week, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) Eva Lichtenberger and David Hammerstein Mintz submitted amendments to IPRED2 based on our coalition's suggestions. We're pleased to note that the UK government gave its support to perhaps the best of our recommendations: to throw the directive out entirely. The UK government also came out in support of our amendments to limit IPRED2's reach, to define "commercial scale" and "intentional infringement" more precisely, and to remove rights holders' abilities to take part in investigations of their own commercial rivals in "joint investigation teams." If you're a resident of the EU, tell your MEP to support our coalition's amendments now! http://www.copycrime.eu/action For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005210.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Challenges Bogus Patent Threatening Consumer Awareness Products Illegitimate Patent Inhibits Innovation in Market for Mobile Information Access San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took aim today at a bogus patent threatening innovative technologies that enhance consumer awareness, requesting a reexamination by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). NeoMedia Technologies, Inc., claims to own rights to all systems that provide information over computer networks using database-like lookup procedures that rely on scanned inputs, such as a barcode. NeoMedia has used these claims not only to threaten and sue innovators in the mobile information space, but also to intimidate projects focused on increasing awareness among consumers about the social and environmental impact of the products they buy. For example, the Consumer Information Lab at the College of Natural Resources at the University of California at Berkeley uses such technology to examine how health, environmental, and social information affects consumers' shopping behavior and decision-making. Were NeoMedia to control the patent rights to this technology, such projects could be severely limited and potentially shut down. "NeoMedia should not be allowed to use this bogus patent to inhibit consumer awareness, education, or research into the impact of information on consumer choice," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "This is the opposite of 'progress,' something the patent laws are supposed to promote." EFF's reexamination request shows that the functionality covered by NeoMedia's bad patent was repeatedly included as part of prior patent applications from other companies -- demonstrating that the idea of forming a network connection from scanned items was well-known before NeoMedia made its claim. EFF, in conjunction with Paul Grewal and James Czaja of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, ask the PTO to revoke the patent based on this and other evidence. "Our patent system is supposed to protect innovation, not block it. Everyone loses if the Patent Office allows these kinds of abuses to continue," said Grewal, a partner at the Day Casebeer firm. The challenge to the NeoMedia patent is part of EFF's Patent Busting Project, which combats the chilling effects bad patents have on public and consumer interests. So far, the project has helped kill a bogus patent covering a system and method of creating digital recordings of live performances. The PTO has also granted another EFF reexamination request for an illegitimate patent for online test-taking. For the full NeoMedia patent reexamination request: http://www.eff.org/patent/wanted/patent.php?p=neomedia For more on EFF's Patent Busting Project: http://www.eff.org/patent/ For more on Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder: http://www.daycasebeer.com For more information on the Consumer Information Lab at UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources: http://nature.berkeley.edu/infolab/projects/informationtoolsdevelopmentproject For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_04.php#005214 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Patent Reform Bill Introduced in Congress Public Knowledge has posted a great summary of the new Patent Reform Act of 2007, introduced in both the House and Senate this week: http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/915 The bill is going to be one of the key intellectual property issues in Congress this year, and, though this bill doesn't fix all current problems with the patent system, it is a good step in the right direction. Among other things, the bill would reduce certain excessive patent infringement damages, allow third parties to file patent defeating documents before patents are issued, and create a new system for challenging bad patents. Stay tuned for more news and analysis regarding this bill, and learn more about our Patent Busting Project here: http://www.eff.org/patent : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Sen. Specter: Telcos' Role in NSA Spying Program Must Be Exposed As we noted last week, the Bush Administration is pushing a dangerous new spying bill. Among other things, the bill could threaten cases like EFF's against AT&T by giving blanket immunity to companies for illegally assisting the NSA spying program. We're glad to hear that Senators are already pushing back against this proposal. As the NY Times reports: "[Senator Arlen] Specter said he opposed the proposed immunity for telecommunications companies because the White House had never provided Congress with enough information about the role of the companies in the program. "'That provision is a pig in the poke,' Mr. Specter said. 'There has never been a statement from the administration as to what these companies have done. That's been an intolerable situation.'" The rest of Congress should heed those words. It would be highly irresponsible of Congress to legislate in the dark, before the past and present abuse of surveillance powers has been thoroughly investigated. Visit stopillegalspying.org and take action to demand investigations into the NSA spying program now: http://www.stopillegalspying.org For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005205.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Sony's Latest DRM Backfire Sony, one of the companies that brought you the Sony-BMG "rootkit" copy protection system for CDs, has once again used DRM to inflict inconvenience on its legitimate customers. New Sony DVD releases like "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Casino Royale" come with copy protection technologies that makes the movies unplayable on some DVD players -- including reportedly at least one Sony machine! Along with the DRM locks typically used on DVDs, Sony is using a system called ARccOS that is supposed to make copying more difficult by hiding corrupted data on the disc. But while plenty of DVD copying software is sophisticated enough to bypass the corrupt data, many players are not. It's bad enough that content providers like Sony use DRM to intentionally limit legitimate uses. These sort of arbitrary, bizarre compatibility problems make matters even worse, and they're becoming more and more common consequences of DRM. After initially reacting to complaints by telling customers to update the firmware on their devices, Sony is now promising to send a replacement DVD to any unsatisfied customers. This is yet another example of the ways in which DRM is not only useless against "piracy" (DVD ripping software defeats ARccOS), but actually works against the interests of content owners. After all, if a movie fan has legitimately purchased a DVD, only to find it unplayable on her DVD player, she now has yet another reason to go looking to The Pirate Bay for a copy that works. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005208.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Consumer Groups to Utah AG: Don't Waste Taxpayer Money on Unconstitutional, Anti-Consumer Keyword Law Now we've heard everything. Utah State Senator Dan Eastman -- who quietly ushered a ban on online comparative advertising through the state senate -- has taken to calling sponsored links to such advertising "identity theft." If the comparative advertising law takes effect, a company like Chevrolet couldn't purchase "sponsored link" space on the Google results page when a user types "Toyota" as part of a search query -- at least if the latter term is registered in Utah as an "electronic registration mark." Does that sound like "identity theft" to you? As Santa Clara University School of Law Professor Eric Goldman puts it: "Identity theft occurs when someone makes a false representation, but this law bans competitive keyword advertising that is completely truthful and does not confuse anyone." Deceptive advertisers, of course, can already be held liable under trademark and consumer protection law. Eastman seems to be hoping that if he insists often enough that the bill is "pro-business," Utah citizens will forget that it seems primarily designed to impede their access to accurate information about goods and services and waste taxpayer dollars on defending an anti-consumer law that will never pass First Amendment muster. But while those flaws don't worry Eastman, they should put Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff on alert. EFF, along with Public Citizen, Public Knowledge and Professor Goldman, have sent a public letter to Shurtleff asking him to stay implementation of the law due to its harmful effects on consumers as well as its numerous constitutional problems. It's Shurtleff's job to protect his office's time -- and taxpayer money -- from poor legislation like this. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005204.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF at Maker Faire, May 19-20 If you're going to O'Reilly's Maker Faire on May 19-20 in San Mateo, California, be sure to stop by EFF's booth. Grab some schwag and chat with us about all things digital rights -- we look forward to seeing you! For more on the Maker Faire: http://www.makezine.com/faire/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ French E-Voting Is a "Catastrophe" Widespread complaints after the first use of electronic voting machines in the country's presidential election. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view_article.php?article_id=61906 ~ Pandora Chief Mourns Loss of Internet Radio Copyright royalty board is out-of-touch and has destroyed 90% of Internet radio without understanding what it is, says Joe Kennedy, CEO of pandora.com http://www.out-law.com//default.aspx?page=7975 ~ Chinese Dissident, Wife Sue Yahoo for Complicity Foreign tort act suit alleges that Yahoo voluntarily allowed Chinese government to track and arrest 57-year-old Wang Xiaoning. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/18/AR2007041802510.html?nav=rss_technology ~ Google, Wikipedia Sued By Politician Trying to Silence Critics Canadian public figure tries to stop a story by pouring censorship gasoline on it. http://techdirt.com/articles/20070420/010122.shtml ~ No Cookie For You: Government Asked to Halt Google- Doubleclick Deal Electronic Privacy Information Center expresses concern about the size and reach of the database created by the acquisition. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/04/consumer_privac.html ~ RIAA Balks at Judge Hearing EFF's Silver Tongue RIAA's lawyers are aghast that a judge might consider reading an EFF amicus brief in their case. http://p2pnet.net/story/12025 ~ Orphan Works in Europe Google, the British Library, and others give their views on copyrights versus unclaimed works. http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemlongdetail.cfm?item_id=3366 ~ The .ca in Broadcast Treaty The Canadian view of WIPO's Broadcast Treaty: "We haven't been able to identify a lot of benefit to Canadian broadcasters from the treaty." http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/cover_index.php?display=story&full_path=/2007/april/23/broadcasters/&c=1 ~ Online Journalists: Protected by Law or Fair Game? Susan Crawford documents a lively debate at Cardozo on a topic close to EFF's heart. http://scrawford.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2007/4/23/2901067.html ~ Digital Freedom University Boston Herald writes about college students' work in digital rights. http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=194996&srvc=biz ~ Canadian ISP Throttling All Encrypted Traffic? Please submit your packet in plaintext for better surveillance services: thank you. http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/1879/135/ ~ Bloggers' Search for Anonymity The BBC puts the case for the untraceable voice. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/6548555.stm : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Administrivia 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) http://www.eff.org/ Editor: Derek Slater, Activism Coordinator email@example.com Membership & donation queries: firstname.lastname@example.org General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries: email@example.com 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. 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