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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 20 - Action Alert: Stop the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 20 - Action Alert: Stop the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 20  May 22, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 424th Issue of EFFector:

  • Action Alert: Stop the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty!
  • Action Alert: Fight the Justice Department's Copycrime Proposal!
  • 'Electric Slide' Creator Calls Off Online Takedown Campaign
  • Public Interest Prevails in Digital Copyright Showdown
  • Congress Demands Answers About NSA Spying
  • EFF Education: Learn About Location Tracking and the Law
  • miniLinks (9): State Censorship of the Net Is Growing
  • Administrivia

For more information on EFF activities & alerts:

Make a donation and become an EFF member today!

Tell a friend about EFF:

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

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* Action Alert: Stop the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty!

For the past nine years, the World Intellectual Property 
Organization (WIPO) has been debating a treaty that could 
lock down digital devices like TiVos and grant broadcasters 
and cablecasters copyright-like rights over everything they 
transmit. A bad draft version of the Broadcasting Treaty is 
on the fast track, and one of your Senators is on a key 
committee that can help stop it. Take action now:

EFF and other groups worked hard in Geneva to fix the 
proposed Broadcasting Treaty, and last year many countries, 
including the United States, said they would support a 
narrow treaty that focuses on signal protection.

But now the US WIPO delegation has flip-flopped, and the 
WIPO Chair just released a draft that once again endangers 
innovators' and users' rights. On June 18-22, WIPO's 
Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) 
will be holding a special session to determine whether 
there's enough agreement on this new draft to go forward 
with an already-scheduled inter-governmental Diplomatic 
Conference in November, at which the new draft could become 
international law.

We need to convince the US WIPO delegation not to support 
this draft at the June meeting. Write to Congress now:

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* Action Alert: Fight The Justice Department's Copycrime 

Should ordinary Americans face jail time for attempted 
copyright infringement? Should the sort of property 
forfeiture penalties applied in drug busts also threaten 
P2P users, mixtape makers, and mash-up artists? Of course 
not, but the Department of Justice (DoJ) has drafted an 
outrageous legislative proposal that applies these severe 
penalties and much more. Take action now to stop it:

Criminal copyright infringement already goes beyond 
situations involving large-scale commercial piracy. Thanks 
to laws like the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act and the 
Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (FECA), the federal 
government can now criminally charge (i.e., send to prison) 
people for simply uploading a single "pre-release" song (as 
two Ryan Adams fans discovered last year when they were 
brought up on federal charges for uploading tracks from 
pre-release promotional CDs).

Most of the DoJ's proposed changes to copyright's criminal 
provisions fall into two categories: (1) making it easier 
to convict people by eliminating the inconvenient necessity 
of proving that actual infringement took place, and (2) 
increasing the financial and confinement punishments. Law 
enforcement would also be allowed to use wiretaps and to 
spy on personal communications as part of copyright 
investigations. That potentially translates into wiretap 
authority for millions of American homes, since surveys 
show that 1 in 5 American Internet users downloads music 
and movies from P2P networks.

This guarantees one result: more costly, unnecessary, and 
draconian investigations and prosecutions funded by 
taxpayer dollars. Not only will this end up costing 
Americans tremendous amounts of time, money, and peace of 
mind, but it will also give law enforcement yet another 
opportunity to invade your privacy. All it takes is a 
single attempt to download the wrong file online.

Law enforcement already has enough tools to go after 
commercial pirates, and the entertainment industry has the 
tools to pay its own lawyers to sue infringers. (Indeed, 
they have already sued over 20,000 people.) Instead of 
wasting taxpayer dollars, Congress ought to be focusing on 
meaningful copyright reform that protects fans' rights to 
use creative material and supports new technologies. 

Take action now and write to your representatives:

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* 'Electric Slide' Creator Calls Off Online Takedown 

Agreement Ends Copyright Threats Over Non-Commercial Use of 
Popular Dance

San Francisco - The man who claims to have created "The 
Electric Slide" has agreed to call off his online video 
takedown campaign and to stop threatening people using the 
popular line dance for non-commercial purposes. Instead, 
he's making the dance available for all noncommercial use.

The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by the Electronic 
Frontier Foundation (EFF) on behalf of videographer Kyle 
Machulis, who posted a concert video to YouTube that 
included a ten-second segment of audience members 
attempting to do the Electric Slide. Richard Silver sent a 
takedown demand to YouTube under the Digital Millennium 
Copyright Act (DMCA), alleging he owned the copyright to 
the Electric Slide and that the video infringed his rights. 
Machulis's video was removed from the site.

"Mr. Silver's misuse of the DMCA interfered with our 
client's free speech rights," said EFF Staff Attorney 
Corynne McSherry. "New technologies have opened multiple 
avenues for artists and their audiences to create, share 
and comment on new works. We cannot let absurd copyright 
claims squash this extraordinary growth."

Under the terms of the settlement, Silver will license the 
Electric Slide under a Creative Commons license -- allowing 
the performance, display, reproduction or distribution of 
any recorded performance of the dance in any medium for 
non-commercial purposes. Silver has agreed to post these 
terms on any of his current or future websites that mention 
the Electric Slide so that users are aware of the Creative 
Commons license.

"Often, 'all rights reserved' copyright is too restrictive 
and prevents people from being able to legally use and 
build upon other people's creativity in any reasonable 
way," said Eric Steuer, Creative Director of Creative 
Commons. "When that is the case, it makes sense to adopt a 
more flexible, 'some rights reserved' approach to 
copyright. We couldn't be happier that Mr. Silver is using 
a Creative Commons license to make the Electric Slide 
freely and legally available to anyone in the world to use 
for noncommercial purposes."

"We are pleased that Mr. Silver has stepped up and 
recognized fair uses of the Electric Slide," said EFF Staff 
Attorney Jason Schultz. "Copyright law is meant to 
encourage creativity. It must not be used to chill free 

For more on the Electric Slide lawsuit:

For more on Creative Commons:

For this release:

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* Public Interest Prevails in Digital Copyright Showdown

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed Internet 
innovators and users of all stripes a huge victory last 
week in the much-anticipated Perfect 10 v. Google decision. 
The decision covers a wide-range of online copyright issues 
from in-line linking to fair use to the DMCA safe harbors 
and post-Grokster liability. Perfect 10 had sued Google for 
copyright infringement, claiming that its "Image Search" 
tool illegally reproduced and displayed P10 photos when it 
returned thumbnail results and framed third-party websites 
in response to search terms. It also claimed that Google 
was liable for contributing to Internet user infringement 
when users would look at pictures online that they had 
found via Google Image search.

While the decision leaves some questions open, the bottom 
line is that the Court upheld important policies of fair 
use and freedom online and resisted Perfect 10's plea to 
put copyright owners completely in charge of how and when 
search engines and other online intermediaries can provide 
their users with links to images. (Full disclosure: EFF 
filed an amicus brief supporting Google in the case.)

Read on for more about this ruling:

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* Congress Demands Answers About NSA Spying

Four senators pressed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales 
last week to come clean about the relationship between the 
NSA spying program and former Deputy Attorney General James 
Comey's dramatic testimony about a controversial classified 
program. Comey claimed that the White House pressed a 
hospital-bound former Attorney General John Ashcroft to 
certify the classified program as legal, and, when Ashcroft 
and Comey refused, the program continued anyway for a 
period of time. 

Gonzales declined to offer further information, but 
Congress isn't backing off. House Judiciary Committee 
Chairman John Conyers and Constitution, Civil Rights and 
Civil Liberties Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler 
followed up with a letter of their own, demanding more 
information about the still-shadowy NSA spying. Along with 
asking for information related to Comey's testimony, they 

"We similarly remain extremely concerned about your 
continuing refusal to provide access for House Judiciary 
Committee members to information on the Administration's 
current version of the domestic wiretapping program 
described in your January 17, 2007, letter to House and 
Senate members. We believe that your refusal violates 
applicable legal requirements and precedents, and threatens 
to effectively eliminate meaningful Judiciary Committee 
oversight and legislative activity concerning this crucial 

Meanwhile, the Washington Post offered its read on the 
Justice Department's "lack of candor" in an editorial 
called "The Gonzales Coverup":

"If you were Mr. Gonzales, you'd certainly want to make 
sure [Comey and Ashcroft] stayed quiet. Consider: Mr. 
Gonzales, as the president's lawyer, went to the hospital 
room of a man so ill he had temporarily relinquished his 
authority. There, Mr. Gonzales tried to persuade Mr. 
Ashcroft to override the views of the attorney general's 
own legal counsel. When the attorney general refused, Mr. 
Gonzales apparently took part in a plan to go forward with 
a program that the Justice Department had refused to 
certify as legal....

"What was the administration doing, and what was it willing 
to continue to do, that its lawyers concluded was without a 
legal basis? Without an answer to that fundamental 
question, the coverup will have succeeded."

The LA Times and NY Times (among others) also pushed 
Congress to immediately investigate the spying program. And 
you should too -- make your voice heard now through our 
action center:

For this post and related links:

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* EFF Education: Learn About Location Tracking and the Law 

Can the government keep track of your whereabouts through 
your cell phone? Do they need a warrant or not? Location 
tracking by law enforcement is already becoming routine, 
and EFF has been fighting to make sure your privacy is 

This Wednesday, EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston will be 
addressing these and other issues in a free online course 
offered through the State of Play Academy (SOPA), a virtual 
space for conversations about law and technology located in 
the virtual community

More information, including how to log on and participate 
in SOPA classes, is at:

You can also learn about location tracking and the law in 
meatspace on May 29 at O'Reilly's Where 2.0 conference. 
Kevin will be there to give a talk entitled " 
Government Surveillance Using Location Technology." EFF 
will have a membership table at the conference as well, so 
stop by and grab some schwag! 

For more information on Where 2.0:

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ State Censorship of the Net Is Growing
Out of 41 countries surveyed by the Open Net Initiative, 25 
showed evidence of content filtering.

~ Register of Copyrights Says: Limit Betamax 
Claims that the Betamax doctrine should only apply to 
"free, over-the-air television for time-shifting."

~ David Weinberger Says: Limit Copyright Abuse
Wants statutory damages if rights holders block free 

~ Support in US For WIPO Broadcasting Treaty Wanes
Drew Clark reports from the US WIPO delegation's 

~ Media Center DRM - Now With More Bugs! 
Watch your fair use ebb away, as Microsoft obeys premium 
television's "don't copy" signals.

~ Yahoo!'s Terms of Service Clash With Law Enforcement
Yahoo! UK's anti-anonymity rules mean that police can't run 
undercover operations.

~ Click to Adjudicate
The 7th Circuit gets an official wiki.

~ Why Microsoft Won't Reveal the Patents
Microsoft claims open source violates 235 patents but will 
only tell you which ones if it's hitting you up for license 

~ A Fair(y) Use Tale 
Prof. Eric Faden samples Disney to spell out the limits of 

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* 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)	

Derek Slater, Activism Coordinator	

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