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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 30 - Action Alert: Call Congress Now - NSA Spying Bill Headed for Vote This Week!


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 30 - Action Alert: Call Congress Now - NSA Spying Bill Headed for Vote This Week!

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 30  July 30, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 434th Issue of EFFector:
  • Action Alert: Call Congress Now - NSA Spying Bill Headed for Vote This Week!
  • Mom Sues Universal Music for DMCA Abuse
  • Copycrime Bill Raises its Ugly Head, Again
  • Stopping Inadvertent P2P Sharing, and Another Knock on Filtering
  • Dangerous College P2P Legislation Withdrawn
  • Give Your Website a Free Speech-Friendly Home
  • Visit EFF at DEFCON and LinuxWorld!
  • miniLinks (13): Mining of Data Prompted Fight Over U.S. Spying
  • 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: Call Congress Now - NSA Spying Bill Headed 
for Vote This Week!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that Congress may take 
action this week on a bill that could rubberstamp the NSA's 
spying program. The Bush Administration is trying to sell 
its latest proposal as a serious compromise, but don't be 
fooled -- it represents an unprecedented power grab that 
endangers the checks and balances that define our 
democracy. Please call your representatives now before it's 
too late:

Contrary to the Administration's characterizations, its 
"FISA Modernization" bill is not simply about updating the 
law and allowing surveillance of foreign-to-foreign 
communications. Instead, it could radically expand the 
government's ability to spy on Americans without a warrant.

On its own terms, this bill is awful, and it's highly 
irresponsible for Congress to even consider it before 
uncovering the truth about the still-shadowy spying 
program. In recent weeks, Congress has made strides towards 
more vigorous oversight and authorized subpoenas for key 
information, but the proposed bill would short-circuit such 

Tell your representatives to stand strong against the 
Administration and stop the abuse of surveillance powers:

"Bush Urges Congress to Update Terrorism Surveillance 
Program," (Bloomberg, July 28):

To learn about EFF's case against AT&T for its role in the 
spying program:

For this post and related links:

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* Mom Sues Universal Music for DMCA Abuse

Home Video of Dancing Toddler Yanked From YouTube After 
Bogus Claim

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 
filed suit last Tuesday against Universal Music Publishing 
Group (UMPG), asking a federal court to protect the fair 
use and free speech rights of a mother who posted a short 
video of her toddler son dancing to a Prince song on the 

Stephanie Lenz's 29-second recording shows her son bouncing 
along to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy," which is heard 
playing in the background. Lenz uploaded the home video to 
YouTube in February to share it with her family and 

But last month, YouTube informed Lenz that it had removed 
the video from its website after Universal claimed that the 
recording infringed a copyright controlled by the music 
company. Under federal copyright law, a mere allegation of 
copyright infringement can result in the removal of content 
from the Internet.

"I was really surprised and angry when I learned my video 
was removed," said Lenz. "Universal should not be using 
legal threats to try to prevent people from sharing home 
videos of their kids with family and friends."

"Universal's takedown notice doesn't even pass the laugh 
test," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Copyright 
holders should be held accountable when they undermine non-
infringing, fair uses like this video."

Last May, UMPG's parent company, Universal Music Group, 
sent a baseless copyright takedown demand to YouTube for a 
video podcast by political blogger Michelle Malkin. That 
video was quickly reposted after Malkin fought back.

"Copyright abuse can shut down online artists, political 
analysts, or -- as in this case -- ordinary families who 
simply want to share snippets of their day-to-day lives," 
said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Universal must 
stop making groundless infringement claims that trample on 
fair use and free speech."

The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment that Lenz's 
home video does not infringe any Universal copyright, as 
well as damages and injunctive relief restraining Universal 
from bringing further copyright claims in connection with 
the video.

This lawsuit is part of EFF's ongoing work to protect 
online free speech in the face of bogus copyright claims. 
EFF is currently working with Stanford's Fair Use Project 
to develop a set of "best practices" for proper takedowns 
under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

For the video (since reposted):

For the full complaint:

For more on DMCA abuse and free speech:

For this release:

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* Copycrime Bill Raises its Ugly Head, Again

Two months ago, the Justice Department floated draft 
legislation to expand the scope of, and stiffen the 
penalties for, criminal copyright infringement, and now a 
related bill has been introduced in the House. This isn't 
the first time that Congress has taken up the DoJ's 
copycrime wishlist, and, as we said last year in our post, 
"The Season of Bad Laws, Part 2: Criminal Copyright 
Infringement, Drug War Style" -- H.R. 3155 is an awful 

Let's hope this bill meets the same fate as last year's DoJ 
proposal and is stopped dead in its tracks. Take action now 
to stop it, and make sure you also support the FAIR USE 
Act, which would put much-needed limits on statutory 

Fight the Justice Department's Copycrime Proposal:

Support the FAIR USE Act of 2007:

Read the bill:

The Season of Bad Laws, Part 2: Criminal Copyright 
Infringement, Drug War Style:

For this post and related links:

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* Stopping Inadvertent P2P Sharing, and Another Knock on 

Last Tuesday, the House Committee on Oversight and 
Government Reform held an interesting hearing on the 
inadvertent sharing of sensitive information over P2P 
networks. Some users mis-configure their P2P software and 
end up sharing far more than they bargained for, including 
credit card numbers, tax returns and medical records. The 
issue becomes even more serious when the user happens to be 
a government contractor who has brought home classified or 
sensitive national security documents.

The good news is that, while everyone took this problem 
seriously, many of the witnesses and members of the 
committee clearly understood that P2P is a useful 
technology and is likely to become even more critical to 
the Internet in years to come.

The bad news is that other participants (particularly those 
from Southern California and Nashville) appeared more 
interested in carrying water for the music and movie 
industries. They took the opportunity to castigate LimeWire 
CEO Mark Gorton (who was brave enough to testify) for 
failing to implement copyright filtering at the 
entertainment industry's behest.

As we've said before, a better solution is to help empower 
users with control over their computers. Well-designed P2P 
applications should seek to inform users and give them 
clear, simple mechanisms to determine what is shared. So 
far, LimeWire has been among the best applications in this 

Watch the video of the House Committee on Oversight and 
Government Reform's hearing here:

See EFF's article, "How To Not Get Sued for File Sharing":

Read EFF Senior Attorney Fred von Lohmann's entire post:

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* Dangerous College P2P Legislation Withdrawn reports that Sen. Harry Reid has withdrawn a 
dangerous proposal that threatened to make universities do 
the entertainment industry's dirty work and use 
ineffective, burdensome copyright filtering tools on their 
networks. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act has now 
passed the Senate without that language. Thanks to everyone 
who took the time on Tuesday to call their Senators!

We won this battle in Congress, but we're not out of the 
woods yet. Unfortunately, the RIAA's college lawsuit 
campaign rages on, and universities remain under intense 
pressure to bully their students and install network 
surveillance technologies. While some schools have 
implemented draconian penalties for file sharing -- 
including one strike and you're off the network policies -- 
others have gone further and started blocking certain P2P 
tools. Meanwhile, Congress has recently been scolding and 
scrutinizing colleges for file sharing on their networks, 
and more legislation may be in the pipeline.

Hopefully, last week's fight in the Senate will be another 
reason for the university community to push hard towards a 
better solution that gets the entertainment industry off 
schools' backs, ensures that artists are paid, and lets 
students keep sharing. 

For more on this topic, read Fred von Lohmann's Washington 
Post editorial, "Copyright Silliness on Campus":

Read EFF's article, "A Better Way Forward on University 

For the article, Universities Win Senate Fight 
Over Anti-P2P Proposal:

For our complete post and related links:

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* Give Your Website a Free Speech-Friendly Home

There are countless web hosting services that will help you 
get your site on the Internet. But do you know what to 
expect if someone decides to dispute your speech with a 
nastygram to your web host?

Jimmy Atkinson's first post to the Dedicated Hosting Guide 
may be a good place to start looking for answers. Titled 
"Free Speech Hosting: 11 Web Hosts That Won't Dump You at 
the First Sign of Controversy," Atkinson lists a few hosts 
that advertise defense of free speech as an important part 
of their business plan.

We're pleased that individuals like Atkinson are publishing 
resources to support rights-conscious businesses and 
customers, and that free speech and privacy are 
increasingly important value propositions in the market, as 
evidenced by recent announcements by various search engines 
about changes to protect users' privacy.

Check out the Dedicated Hosting Guide post, "Free Speech 
Hosting: 11 Web Hosts That Won't Dump You at the First Sign 
of Controversy":

For this post and related links:

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* Visit EFF at DEFCON and LinuxWorld!

EFF will be at DEFCON in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 3-5, 
2007. Along with hanging out at our booth, EFF staffers 
will present an "Ask the EFF" Q&A panel discussion. Mark 
your calendar and bring your questions!

"Ask the EFF" panelists:
Marcia Hofmann, EFF Staff Attorney
Danny O'Brien, EFF International Outreach Coordinator
Kurt Opsahl, EFF Senior Staff Attorney
Matt Zimmerman, EFF Staff Attorney

EFF will also be at this year's LinuxWorld in San 
Francisco, California, on August 7-9, 2007.  Come visit us 
in the .org Pavilion, booth 6, and grab some (more!) 
great schwag:

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ Mining of Data Prompted Fight Over U.S. Spying
Data mining was the reason Bush administration officials 
were ready to resign in 2004.

~ NSA Wiretapping Investigations to Continue
A federal judge ruled that states may continue their suits 
against AT&T.

~ FBI Program Would Circumvent the Law, Say Experts
The FBI would like to pay private firms to store phone and 
Internet data.

~ Are Files Stored on Password-Protected Sites Covered by 
the Fourth Amendment?
A district judge ruled that users of online storage have a 
reasonable expectation of privacy.

~ Does P2P Harm National Security?
Some in Congress worry that sensitive documents could be 
leaked via P2P.

~ Senate Rejects Extra $300 Million for Real ID
An amendment that offered relatively small change to Real 
ID's mandate failed to pass.

~ Travelers Face Greater Use of Personal Data
The U.S. and the EU have agreed to expand a security 
program that shares personal data.

~ CA Vote Machines Lose Test to Hackers
A team of hackers testing voting machines broke through 
security on every model.

~ Senators to Abandon '08 E-voting Paper Trail Mandate
The deadline for updating e-voting systems to include paper 
records is pushed back to 2010.

~ YouTube Responds to Copyright Suit
Video recognition technology may be working by September, 
YouTube says.

~ How DRM Becomes Law
EFF Fellow Cory Doctorow takes a behind-the-scenes look at 
the making of copyright policy.

~ UK Caps Copyright at 50 Years
The British government decided not to extend music 

~ FBI Questions Cafe Loafer
Reading the wrong thing in public can get you in trouble.

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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)	

Julie Lindner, Education Outreach Coordinator	

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