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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 3 - Action Alert - Tell Congress to Keep DRM out of Radio!


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 3 - Action Alert - Tell Congress to Keep DRM out of Radio!

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 3  January 17, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 409th Issue of EFFector:
  • Action Alert - Tell Congress to Keep DRM out of Radio!
  • Spocko, KSFO, and the Blogosphere's Allergy to Copyright Thuggery
  • The Good, the Bad, and the DRMed at the Consumer Electronics Show 2007
  • Another Step Towards Cable Set-Top Competition
  • Felten: Next Gen DVD DRM Will Be Broken Wide Open A DMCA Takedown Tale With a Twist
  • Feds Shut Down E-voting Certification Lab
  • EFF's Sweet 16 Party a Success!
  • Time Running Out -- Nominate a Net Pioneer Now for EFF's 2007 Awards!
  • miniLinks (16): Pentagon and CIA Spying on US Credit Records
  • 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 -  Tell Congress to Keep DRM out of Radio!

The new Congress has barely begun, but the major record 
labels are already up to their old tricks. Sen. Dianne 
Feinstein has re-introduced the PERFORM Act, a backdoor 
assault on your right to record off the radio. Satellite 
and digital radio stations as well as Internet webcasters 
would have to adopt digital rights management (DRM) 
restrictions or lose the statutory license for broadcasting 

Letters from constituents like you helped beat this 
dangerous proposal last year -- take action now to block it 

This bill aims to hobble TiVo-like devices for satellite 
and digital radio. Such devices would be allowed to include 
"reasonable recording" features, but that excludes choosing 
and playing back selections based on song title, artist, or 
genre. Want to freely move recordings around your home 
network or copy them to the portable player of your choice? 
You'll be out of luck if PERFORM passes.

This bill would also mess with Internet radio. Today, 
Live365, Shoutcast, streaming radio stations included in 
iTunes, and myriad other smaller webcasters rely on MP3 
streaming. PERFORM would in effect force them to use DRM-
laden, proprietary formats, so you can say goodbye to 
software tools like Streamripper that let you record 
programming to listen to it later.

Tell your representatives to oppose the PERFORM Act now:

Learn more about the bill:

Learn more about related bills:

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* Spocko, KSFO, and the Blogosphere's Allergy to Copyright 

Over the past year, a self-described "fifth-tier blogger" 
who publishes under the pseudonym Spocko posted audio clips 
of what he deemed to be offensive and violent talk radio 
rhetoric from ABC-owned and San Francisco-based KSFO-AM. He 
apparently succeeded in encouraging several advertisers to 
pull their ads from the station. ABC-corporate struck back, 
sending a vague, threatening letter to his hosting company, 
1&1 Internet, which promptly shut him down instead of 
standing up for his rights. (Spocko, now back online, 
subsequently moved his business to Computer Tyme, a host 
with more backbone.)

EFF has agreed to defend Spocko if he is sued by ABC or 
KSFO over their allegations of copyright infringement, but 
it more than likely won't come to that. As ABC's lawyers 
know, the brief audio clips posted on Spocko's blog are 
classic examples of protected fair use. That important 
detail -- and the fact that KSFO's corporate counsel 
misrepresented Spocko's legal position in a briefly 
successful attempt to snuff out his blog -- are 
conspicuously absent from KSFO's discourse these days, at 
least so far.

And now the station has begun arguing (ironically enough) 
that criticism of its content amounts to censorship. Last 
week, Morgan blasted Spocko and his "stalker friends on the 
Internet" who, according to Morgan, are trying to "take 
away our free speech rights."

Sorry, KSFO. Not quite.

While such radio personalities certainly have a right to 
air their views, the First Amendment says nothing about a 
right to advertiser-subsidized speech. Even if advertisers 
choose to pull their ads because Spocko has a more 
convincing argument -- even if advertiser revenue dries up 
completely and shows are cancelled -- it doesn't 
necessarily follow that anyone's free speech rights have 
being violated. Rough and tumble speech is often protected 
speech nonetheless, as KSFO well knows, and the 
"marketplace of ideas" promoted and protected by the First 
Amendment frequently results in definite winners and 
losers. KSFO, quick to call out the attack lawyers yet slow 
to respond to the concerns of advertisers, is rapidly 
embracing that loser mantle.

For the original version of this post and related links:

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* The Good, the Bad, and the DRMed at the Consumer 
Electronics Show 2007

Last week, EFF blogged live from the Consumer Electronics 
Show (CES), searching for the latest fair use technologies 
that are either in danger, or nonexistent, thanks to legal 
threats from the entertainment industry.

Great gadgets for your music collection were all over CES: 
servers that stream to devices throughout your house, slick 
portable players and music cell phones, place-shifting 
software that lets you -- and your friends -- hear your 
collection from any computer, and much more. But if you 
want to do more with your DVD collection or your HD cable 
subscription, you can basically forget about it:

Fortunately, some clever new devices that rely on the 
analog hole can still help you get more from your digital 

While Hollywood continues locking down your media, perhaps 
it's starting to get the message that fans abhor digital 
rights management (DRM) restrictions. Disney's CEO Bob Iger 
delivered a keynote jam-packed with multimedia glitz, but 
here's the line that got the spontaneous audience applause: 
"The best way to combat piracy is to bring content to 
market on a well-timed, well-priced basis": 

Meanwhile, Consumer Electronics Association chief Gary 
Shapiro opened the convention with a call to update 
copyright laws so that consumer rights and innovation are 
properly protected:

For an audio recap of what went down, check out EFF's Line 
Noise podcast:

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* Another Step Towards Cable Set-Top Competition

Way back in 1996, Congress directed the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) to foster useful, 
competitive alternatives to cable providers' proprietary 
set-top boxes. As we saw at CES, several alternatives that 
rely on CableCARD technology are finally coming to market, 
and now the FCC has taken another step towards putting them 
on a more level competitive playing field.

Last week, the FCC denied Comcast's request for a permanent 
waiver from the "integration ban," which in effect forces 
cable providers to rely on CableCARD in their own set-top 
boxes. Without the ban, providers would be able to continue 
pushing their own proprietary set-top boxes on customers, 
treating CableCARD devices (such as TiVo Series 3 HD) like 
second-class citizens. The ban had been delayed twice 
before due to cable industry pressure and will go into 
effect on July 1.

Unfortunately, CableCARD devices are DRM-laden, but 
consumers could face even worse DRM if cable providers' 
set-tops were the only game in town. Set-top competition 
should help hold the DRM in check as well as bring more 
features and lower prices to consumers.

EFF, Public Knowledge, and a coalition of public interest 
groups recently asked the FCC to reject the cable 
providers' requests. Also, over 2000 people have used EFF's 
Action Center to file comments with the FCC and support 
set-top competition.

The FCC did grant two more limited requests from other 
cable providers, but Chairman Kevin Martin stated at CES 
that, "I think the commission should be saying no to some 
of the largest carriers [requesting 'blanket waivers' of 
the integration ban]."

Keep the letters to the FCC coming by visiting EFF's Action 
Center now:

For this post and related links:

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* Felten: Next Gen DVD DRM Will Be Broken Wide Open

HD-DVD and Blu Ray discs haven't been on the market for 
long, but a tool called BackupHDDVD is already available to 
help users evade the discs' DRM. Is this tool the end of 
the AACS encryption scheme, or will the movie studios be 
able to repair the hole? Computer security experts Ed 
Felten and Alex Halderman have the answer in a series of 
posts that puts in layman's terms how AACS works and how it 
might be attacked.

The bottom line: "[BackupHDDVD] isn't a big deal by itself, 
but it is the first step in the meltdown of AACS."

For the series on BackupHDDVD:

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* A DMCA Takedown Tale With a Twist

Time and again, we've seen the Digital Millennium Copyright 
Act (DMCA) takedown process abused to censor legitimate 
speech. It's not everyday that one of these stories ends 
with a quote like this:

"I would like to make it clear that I regret filing DMCA 
claims in this case, because the real issue at hand wasn't 
at all about copyright."

Those are the words of Guntram Graef, the husband of Second 
Life businesswoman Anshe Chung. Several weeks ago, Graef 
sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, which was hosting a 
video of other Second Life users harassing Chung in the 
virtual world. The video, no matter how offensive to Graef 
or Chung, clearly didn't violate any of their copyrights, 
yet YouTube promptly removed it from the system.

The DMCA takedown process invites this kind of abuse. You 
don't need a proven copyright infringement claim to fire 
off a cease-and-desist letter and have online speech 
immediately taken down. Most online speakers don't have the 
resources to defend themselves, especially when facing 
enormous monetary damages if sued when they counter-notice 
under the DMCA.

Fortunately, Graef realized his error and apologized, as 
detailed in an interview with CNET. Hopefully others will 
learn from his story and think twice before pulling the 
DMCA trigger without first getting solid legal advice on 
its appropriateness. Ultimately, stories like these 
demonstrate the need for better checks and balances in the 
DMCA takedown process. Without them, we can only expect the 
situation for online speech to get worse.

For this post and related links:

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* EFF's Sweet 16 Party a Success!

Thanks to everyone who attended EFF's Sweet 16 party 
Thursday night! The event at the 111 Minna Gallery to 
celebrate our 16th year was packed with hundreds of civil 
libertarians and digital luminaries. In addition to having 
fun and mingling with our many beloved supporters, EFF 
raised several thousand dollars in cash donations. As an 
added bonus, we had the pleasure of receiving a check in 
the amount of $3561 from Laughing Squid founder Scott 
Beale. The outpouring of support proves we'll be here for 
many more years, fighting to defend your digital rights.

You can watch speeches from Legal Director Cindy Cohn and 
Chairman of EFF's Board Brad Templeton at the party here:

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* Time Running Out -- Nominate a Net Pioneer Now for EFF's 
2007 Awards!

EFF established the Pioneer Awards to recognize leaders on 
the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and 
innovation in the realm of information technology. This is 
your opportunity to nominate a deserving individual or 
group to receive a Pioneer Award for 2007.

The International Pioneer Awards nominations are open both 
to individuals and organizations from any country. 
Nominations are reviewed by a panel of judges chosen for 
their knowledge of the technical, legal, and social issues 
associated with information technology.

How to Nominate Someone for a 2007 Pioneer Award:

You may send as many nominations as you wish, but please 
use one email per nomination. Please submit your entries 
via email to We will now accept 
nominations until January 30, 2007.

Simply tell us:

1. The name of the nominee,

2. The phone number or email address or website by which 
the nominee can be reached, and, most importantly,

3. Why you feel the nominee deserves the award.

Nominee Criteria:

There are no specific categories for the EFF Pioneer 
Awards, but the following guidelines apply:

1. The nominees must have contributed substantially to the 
health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based 

2. To be valid, all nominations must contain your reason, 
however brief, for nominating the individual or 
organization and a means of contacting the nominee. In 
addition, while anonymous nominations will be accepted, 
ideally we'd like to contact the nominating parties in case 
we need further information.

3. The contribution may be technical, social, economic, or 

4. Nominations may be of individuals, systems, or 
organizations in the private or public sectors.

5. Nominations are open to all (other than current members 
of EFF's staff and board or this year's award judges), and 
you may nominate more than one recipient. You may also 
nominate yourself or your organization.

6. Persons or representatives of organizations receiving an 
EFF Pioneer Award will be invited to attend the ceremony at 
EFF's expense.

More on the EFF Pioneer Awards:

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ Pentagon and CIA Spying on US Credit Records
Uses special "non-compulsory" national security letters to 
spy on US citizens, but "does not use the specific term 
National Security Letter."

~ Singapore WiFi Thieving Teen Sentenced To 18 Month 
Seventeen year-old boy punished for using neighbor's WiFi.

~ The Coming Age of MP3 
A nice summary of the growing meme that the music industry 
is abandoning DRM.

~ VirginMega adopts DRM-free MP3s on its Music Store 
... starting with France, where the first major DRM online 
music store has switched over.

~ HD DVD Hits the Darknet
It's 19GB, but it's there. It's "Serenity," the movie with 
the release tagline of "Can't Stop the Signal." Uh, yeah.

~ Canadians to Use Their Own No-Fly List
Now all Robert Michel will be banned, as well as Robert 

~ What to Look for in 2007 in Canadian Copyright
Canada's other hitlist: a flurry of IP legislation.

~ Beyond Broadcast 2007, February 24
Berkman, MIT, and Yale announce their annual conference on 
what happens
next in media.

~ Repeat PERFORMance
Bill Patry looks at the return of PERFORM, and Senator 
Sununu's attempt to cut the video and audio flags at the 
FCC pass.

~ Gadgets and Credit Cards Track Every Move of an Average 
A day in the life of today's casual, unspoken high-tech 

~ Will Universal Music Sue Apple?
Industry rumor suggests that Universal's self-described 
"kamikaze" CEO Doug Morris will divebomb Apple to get a cut 
of iPod sales.

~ Work, Blog for Free Speech
Global Voices, the nonprofit group dedicated to the 
international blogging community, has a job vacancy for a 
part-time Advocacy Director.

~ Up with Uploading
Susan Crawford notes the problems with assymetric consumer 
download/upload rates in a peer-to-peer, user-generated 

~ FBI Discovers Webcams, Freaks Out
The authorities get nervous about webcams showing public 

~ Yahoo! Music Sees a Collecting Society Future
Plucked from the NYT's anti-DRM piece: "David Goldberg 
[head of Yahoo! Music] said he believes that ... all 
portable players will have wireless broadband capability 
and will provide direct access, anytime, anywhere, to every 
song ever released for a low monthly subscription fee."

~ ATI Brings CableCARD to the PC with Digital Cable Tuner
Unfortunately still choked with DRM. As one commentator 
notes, "Buying this product is like a mouse buying a maze 
for its cheese." 

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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, Activist	

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