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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 34 - Back to School for Reading, Writing, and RIAA Lawsuits?


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 34 - Back to School for Reading, Writing, and RIAA Lawsuits?

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 34  August 29, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 438th Issue of EFFector:
  • Back to School for Reading, Writing, and RIAA Lawsuits?
  • EFF Challenges Bogus Patent on Internet Subdomains
  • EFF Documents Shed Light on FBI Electronic Surveillance Technology
  • Spy Chief Admits Telcos Collaborated With NSA Spying
  • Check Out the 7th Annual "Future of Music Policy Summit" in Washington, DC!
  • miniLinks (12): The Freedom to Read Online in Jeopardy
  • Administrivia

For more information on EFF activities & alerts:

Make a donation and become an EFF member today!

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

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* Back to School for Reading, Writing, and RIAA Lawsuits?

EFF Releases Comprehensive Report on Recording Industry's
Litigation Campaign

San Francisco - As college students across the country head
back to class this fall, they need to worry about more than
keeping up on their schoolwork.  The Recording Industry of
America (RIAA) continues to target college campuses for
hundreds of new lawsuits each month.  Meanwhile, under
pressure from the recording industry, universities are
instituting draconian punishments for students suspected of
sharing music files.  At the same time, the RIAA continues
to sue file sharers off campus, with a total tally now
exceeding 20,000.

In a report released this week, "RIAA v. The People: Four 
Years Later," the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 
provides the only comprehensive look at the four-year 
litigation campaign waged by the RIAA against music fans.  
The report traces the RIAA campaign from its beginnings in 
2003 against a handful of students at Princeton, Rensselaer
Polytechnic, and Michigan Tech to the current spate of
"pre-litigation settlement" letters being sent to 
universities nationwide.

"Despite the RIAA's legal campaign, file sharing is more
popular than ever," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von
Lohmann.  "History will treat this as a shameful chapter in
the history of the music industry, when record companies
singled out random music fans for disproportionate
penalties.  Artists must be compensated, but these lawsuits
aren't putting money into any creator's pocket."

The crackdown on Internet file sharing has already driven
music fans to technologies that are harder to monitor --
for example, burning and exchanging CDs among friends and
sharing on members-only "darknets."  EFF calls on
universities to help artists get paid for their creative
work while protecting their students from costly legal
problems.  Universities should insist on a blanket license
for their students, collecting a reasonable regular payment
-- for example, $5 a month -- in exchange for the right to
keep sharing music with their classmates.

"This is about money, not morality," said von Lohmann.
"With a blanket licensing solution, the RIAA can call off
the lawyers and the lobbyists, and universities can get
back to education instead of copyright enforcement."

For the full report "RIAA v. The People: Four Years

For more on the litigation campaign:

Read the FAQ for students faced with "pre-litigation 

For this release:

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* EFF Challenges Bogus Patent on Internet Subdomains

Illegitimate Patent Used to Threaten Website Hosting 

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is 
challenging a bogus patent on Internet subdomains that has 
been used to threaten small businesses and innovators.

Ideaflood, a self-proclaimed "intellectual property holding 
company," used this illegitimate patent to demand payment 
from website hosting companies that offer virtual, 
personalized subdomains -- like "" for the 
parent domain "" But in a reexamination request 
filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office 
(PTO) last Wednesday, EFF and Rick Mc Leod of Klarquist 
Sparkman, LLP, show that the method Ideaflood claims to 
have invented was well known before the patent was issued. 
In fact, website developers were having public discussions 
about how to create these virtual subdomains on an Apache 
developer mailing list for more than a year before 
Ideaflood made its patent claim.

"This illustrates how an open-source project can establish 
a public record of technology development and thwart 
invalid patents," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jason 
Schultz. "The public discussions on the Apache and other 
mailing lists have shown that Ideaflood's patent claims 
were without merit and that the patent should be revoked 
before it causes any more damage to innovation on the 

The companies that Ideaflood threatened include, T35 Hosting, and LiveJournal, a social 
networking site where each of its three million users have 
their own subdomain. The patent has since been reassigned 
to a company called Hoshiko, LLC.

"Our patent system is intended to encourage innovation, not 
damage it by encroaching on the public domain," said Rick 
Mc Leod, who drafted EFF's petition. "Unfortunately, in 
recent years the PTO has been deluged with applications, 
making it difficult to determine whether many patents 
should be issued or rejected. When a 'bad' patent targets 
something as ephemeral as the Internet, it can be even more 
difficult to get that patent invalidated. Fortunately, a 
diligent, prior art searcher sent us a key reference."

The challenge to the Ideaflood patent is part of EFF's 
Patent Busting Project, which combats the chilling effects 
that bad patents have on public and consumer interests. So 
far, the project has killed one bogus patent and requested 
the reexamination of two others.

For the full reexamination request:

For more on EFF's Patent Busting Project:

For this release:

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* EFF Documents Shed Light on FBI Electronic Surveillance 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has obtained 
documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
that reveal the inner workings of the FBI's Digital 
Collection System Network (DCSNet), a software suite that 
allows the Bureau to conduct surveillance on a wide variety 
of digital devices.

As Ryan Singel writes in his extensive report for Wired 

"Many of the details of the system and its full 
capabilities were redacted from the documents acquired by 
the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but they show that 
DCSNet includes at least three collection components, each 
running on Windows-based computers.

"The $10 million DCS-3000 client, also known as Red Hook, 
handles pen-registers and trap-and-traces, a type of 
surveillance that collects signaling information -- 
primarily the numbers dialed from a telephone -- but no 
communications content. (Pen registers record outgoing 
calls; trap-and-traces record incoming calls.)

"DCS-6000, known as Digital Storm, captures and collects 
the content of phone calls and text messages for full 
wiretap orders.

"A third, classified system, called DCS-5000, is used for 
wiretaps targeting spies or terrorists."

EFF obtained these documents through a FOIA lawsuit filed 
against the FBI last year. A federal judge has ordered the 
Bureau to turn over new documents every month, so check 
back often the learn more about DCSNet.

See the documents on EFF's FOIA litigation:

For more on EFF's FLAG Project:

Read Ryan Singel's Wired Threat Level report, "FBI's 
Wiretap Network Revealed And Request for Reader Document 

For the complete post and related links:

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* Spy Chief Admits Telcos Collaborated With NSA Spying

In a lengthy and revealing interview, the Director of 
National Intelligence Mike McConnell admitted that 
telecommunications companies collaborated with the NSA's 
massive domestic spying.

Of course, it's long been an open secret that the 
government is engaging in dragnet surveillance of millions 
of ordinary Americans and has backdoor access to 
telecommunications providers' networks and records 
databases. The overwhelming evidence includes statements 
from fully briefed members of Congress, whistleblower 
evidence from a former AT&T employee, and numerous 
newspaper reports. Alongside our lawsuit against AT&T, 
numerous other lawsuits have been brought against various 
carriers, including Verizon and MCI.

Yet the government has tried to sweep away these 
allegations as mere speculation and has desperately tried 
to stop lawsuits against the carriers by claiming that 
"whether any particular company (or type of company) is 
assisting the Government" is a "state secret."

Now McConnell has conceded the truth: "[U]nder the 
president's program, the terrorist surveillance program, 
the private sector had assisted us. Because if you're going 
to get access you've got to have a partner and they were 
being sued."

As EFF has argued in our case against AT&T, the courts are 
well equipped to protect state secrets while determining 
whether the spying is illegal, and the evidence already on 
the record is sufficient to move forward with the case, but 
McConnell's statement should absolutely settle the 

Read the transcripts from McConnell interview here:

For more on EFF's case against AT&T:

See EFF's page on the NSA's Warrantless Domestic 

For EFF Activist Derek Slater's entire analysis and related 

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* Check Out the 7th Annual "Future of Music Policy Summit" 
in Washington, DC!

The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) is a national nonprofit 
that works on the issues at the intersection of music, law, 
technology and policy. For the past six years, FMC has 
organized an annual Policy Summit that brings an 
unprecedented mix of 500 musicians, artists, attorneys and 
policymakers together for discussions about issues that are 
emerging as the promotion and distribution of music moves 
to a global, digital platform.

This year, FMC is back in Washington, DC, to host the 7th 
annual "Future of Music Policy Summit" from September 17-
18, 2007. Over the course of two days, panels will cover 
such topics as:

* Copyright and licensing issues
* Network neutrality and broadband policy
* FCC's "rules of engagement" on payola
* Sample clearance licensing process
* The explosion of niche market genres
* Wireless/music portability
* The challenges of cultural preservation
* Technologies that are bringing artists and fans closer 
...and more.

The Summit will also include a special conversation with 
Marybeth Peters, Register, US Copyright Office, and 
keynotes by leading members of Congress.

For general event information:

To see all confirmed panelists:

To see the summit schedule:

Online registration is open; the regular 2-day registration 
rate is $199 per person. Discounted rates are also 
available for students:

Scholarships are available for working musicians. There are 
only a few left, so click here to apply!

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ The Freedom to Read Online in Jeopardy
EFF joins in amicus appeal of United States v. Forrester ruling.

~ iPhone Freed From AT&T
Your hardware delivered - back into your control.

~Is Your Boss Spying on You?
Reader's Digest introduces the Big Brother workplace.

~ California Judge Decides Perl's "Artistic License" Is a Contract
Free software advocates (in this case) would prefer copyright law.

~ Geeks <3 Human Rights
Tim Lee ponder's the techie love of civil liberties.

~ WordPress Hosted Sites Blocked in Turkey
A single defamation site brings down thousands of blogs.

~ Walmart Offers DRM-free Music Downloads
Support for restricting your fair use rights continues to crumble.

~ The Law According to Godwin
EFF's first lawyer, and now Wikimedia general counsel, is profiled.

~ Microsoft Declares Genuine Customers Pirates
Redmond's remote validation of Windows users fails.,136451-c,companynews/article.html

~ Is Comcast Breaking BitTorrent?
The company denies it, but customers are seeing strange reset packets kill
their seeds.

~ Opening up the Law
Tim Wu and Carl Malamad work to open up case law and the Federal Register.

~ RMS Speaks at Stanford
The creator of the General Public License speaks on GPL3 on September 10th.

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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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