EFFector Vol. 20, No. 5 January 30, 2007 email@example.com A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 In the 411th Issue of EFFector:
- EFF Warns ABC to Back Off Blogger
- Sen. Rockefeller Promises Scrutiny of NSA Spying Program
- Worst Practices for Online Service Providers
- The Right Way to Respond to Parody
- Record Labels: Licensing File Sharing Isn't So Crazy After All
- HDCP, Screwing Fans in More Ways Than Ever
- The Broadcasting Treaty Creeps Forward Despite Disagreement
- Roll Call Op-Ed: E-Voting Transparency Needed Now
- Maine Rejects Real ID
- Andy Griffith for Attorney General!
- DMCA Reformist to Speak at Stanford This Friday
- miniLinks (10): DMCA for China?
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. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Warns ABC to Back Off Blogger Bogus Copyright Infringement Claims Violate Law San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned ABC, Inc., last week not to pursue its bogus copyright infringement claims against 'Spocko' -- a blogger who sparked nationwide debate over a San Francisco radio station -- and asked the media giant to retract its baseless threats. The free speech battle began when Spocko posted audio clips of what he deemed to be offensive talk-radio rhetoric from ABC-owned and San Francisco-based KSFO-AM on his blog at www.spockosbrain.com. In response, ABC, Inc., sent a threatening letter to the blogger's hosting company, claiming that copyright law prevented Spocko from posting the clips. The hosting company responded by shutting Spocko's website down, forcing him to move to a different provider. In a letter sent to ABC, Inc., last Thursday, EFF warned that further false copyright claims could compel Spocko to take action to protect his free speech rights. "Copyright law is not designed to silence speech that you dislike," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "ABC and KSFO know that their legal threats were absolutely groundless. Their time and efforts are better spent explaining why they think Spocko is wrong, and letting the public decide, instead of resorting to thuggish legal tactics." EFF's letter to ABC is the latest development in its ongoing campaign to protect online free speech from the chilling effects of bogus copyright claims. In November, EFF reached an agreement with the corporate owners of the popular children's television character Barney the Purple Dinosaur to withdraw meritless legal threats against a website publisher who parodied the character. For the full letter to ABC: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/spocko/spockolettertoabc.pdf For more on Spocko: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/spocko/ For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_01.php#005093 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Sen. Rockefeller Promises Scrutiny of NSA Spying Program Over five years since it first began, the NSA's massive domestic spying program remains shrouded in secrecy. Despite the President's determination to dodge meaningful oversight, key members of the newly elected Congress may soon take steps to rein in this illegal activity. In an interview with the LA Times, Senator John Rockefeller, the new Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, "rejected the Bush administration's claim that it had brought a controversial domestic spying program into compliance with the law, saying he wanted strict new rules requiring the government to obtain a separate warrant every time it places a wiretap on a U.S. resident." The article also notes that "the committee recently designated eight members of its staff to examine the NSA program and to begin drafting new requests for documents that the Bush administration had refused to turn over to the panel -- including the initial presidential order authorizing the domestic surveillance program." Take action now to support immediate and thorough investigations into the NSA spying program: http://action.eff.org/fisa For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005095.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Worst Practices for Online Service Providers In an instant, Seclists.org, including thousands of pages, vanished from the Internet this week. And if your online service providers have as weak a backbone as GoDaddy, the same thing could happen to your site. Here's the story (as recounted by News.com): A list of MySpace user names and passwords began floating around online weeks ago, including in a Seclists.org post. Rather than ask Seclists.org's owner, Fyodor Vaskovich, to remove a single offending page, MySpace wrote to his domain name registrar GoDaddy, which shut down all 250,000 Seclists.org pages. Did GoDaddy demand to receive a court order first? Was it at any legal risk? No. Apparently all it took was a single informal request from MySpace, and Seclists.org was gone, a mere 52 seconds after GoDaddy notified Vaskovich. "I think the fact that we gave him notice at all was pretty generous," said GoDaddy's general counsel Christine Jones, in what has to be in the running for most ironic comment of the week. All too often, that's what passes for customer service when your free speech is at stake. Internet intermediaries owe their customers more than that. GoDaddy should have given Vaskovich meaningful notice, time, and information to respond, and it should have been willing to stand up for his rights. Read the News.com article for more: http://news.com.com/2100-1025_3-6153607.html Check out EFF's Best Practices for Online Service Providers for more on how companies like GoDaddy ought to behave: http://www.eff.org/osp/ For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005096.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * The Right Way to Respond to Parody Recently, Darren Barefoot posted Get a First Life, a hysterical parody of virtual world Second Life's website. Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, responded with a letter that is so right-thinking and clever that it would horrify the over-reaching copyright and trademark holders whose missives litter the archives of ChillingEffects.org Instead of a cease-and-desist letter, Linden Labs sent a proceed-and-permit letter: http://www.darrenbarefoot.com/archives/2007/01/my-project-du-jour-getafirstlifecom.html#comment-75509 This letter is exactly what we would hope companies might do when faced with a parody. Not only does it acknowledge that the site is a fair use, it also provides an explicit license for trademark use. Kudos to Linden Labs, and shame on the rights holders who claim that they have to go after anyone who makes any use of their copyrights or trademarks. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005085.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Record Labels: Licensing File Sharing Isn't So Crazy After All Nearly three years ago, EFF published a paper advocating voluntary collective licensing for P2P, a system that would get artists paid and allow fans to keep sharing music however they like for a flat fee. According to this International Herald Tribune article, it seems the major record labels may finally be coming around to this sensible solution: http://www.nytimes.com/iht/2007/01/25/technology/IHT-25ptend25.html Along with the labels' considering an end to digital rights management (DRM) restrictions for downloads, this is a good sign, and we hope it's more than just talk. While the labels could already be adopting this business model and getting artists paid, they have instead continued to drag their feet, filing futile lawsuits against ordinary fans and seeking restrictive DRM mandates in Congress. Their DRM strategy is failing, yet the harm done by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) remains. It was high time for a better way forward when we published our paper three years ago -- let's hope it's not another three years before the labels actually head down that path, and we can start to undo the damage of this wasted time. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005092.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * HDCP, Screwing Fans in More Ways Than Ever In a recent article, Ars Technica explains some of the many ways that HDCP DRM restrictions will break compatibility with your digital video devices. HDCP restricts connections to video displays through DVI (including HDMI) digital outputs, so that video content can only be outputted to hobbled, DRM-restricted systems. You may have invested thousands of dollars in HD displays and receivers, but HDCP could force you to throw them out and buy new ones. Along with intentionally limiting the devices you can use, HDCP also produces arbitrary and unpredictable incompatibilities. Ars provides a few examples: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070121-8665.html For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005087.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * The Broadcasting Treaty Creeps Forward Despite Disagreement It's been just over a week since the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights met in Geneva with the intention of finalizing a new draft Broadcasting Treaty. This draft is supposed to be the basis of negotiations at an inter-governmental Diplomatic Conference scheduled for November. However, after three days of intense meetings, it's impossible to say with any certainty what a new version of the treaty would say. The proposed Broadcasting Treaty could take one of two approaches (or perhaps fall somewhere unsatisfyingly in- between). At one end of the spectrum, there's the current draft's dangerous "rights-based" approach that would lock- down devices like TiVos and curtail consumers' rights to make use of recorded video and audio. At the other end of the spectrum is a signal theft approach that would provide for narrower, tailored remedies against intentional unauthorized interception and redistribution of a broadcast signal. As we've previously reported, there is widespread support for moving towards a signal-based treaty that should differ considerably from the current draft. That, of course, requires agreement on a new treaty text. If WIPO Member States can't reach agreement, two things are possible. First, there might not be a Diplomatic Conference later this year. That was the understanding of WIPO Deputy Director General Michael Keplinger at the meeting, and would seem entirely appropriate if there is no agreement after nine years of negotiations. Alternatively, and perhaps more likely, there might still be a Diplomatic Conference to negotiate on the current anti-innovation, anti-consumer rights-based draft. That would be the worst possible outcome for the Internet community. So where to from here? Read the rest of the post for more: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005100.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Roll Call Op-Ed: E-Voting Transparency Needed Now The Election Assistance Commission is charged with ensuring that our voting systems are reliable and secure. Each machine is supposed to be subjected to rigorous tests before being certified, and the EAC was recently empowered to oversee that process. At least that's the theory. As Aaron Burstein and Joseph Lorenzo Hall show in their recent opinion piece in Roll Call, however, the revelation that the EAC de-certified a major testing company (Ciber) in the summer of 2006 but did not notify election officials until long after the election demonstrates that EAC suffers from a culture of secrecy. The EAC recently announced a new policy that not only fails to ensure transparency in the future, but also affirmatively allows it to shield from the public important information about how and why voting systems are tested and certified. Manufacturers are allowed to deal with test labs privately, keeping communications secret. While the EAC is publishing test lab reports, it is refusing to publish the test plans it used to certify a voting system -- and without that knowledge, the public cannot know whether the tests were in fact rigorous or accurate enough. As Burstein and Hall note, in the case of Ciber, the results of EAC's secrecy were that approximately 70% of voters in the November 2006 election used equipment that had been "certified" by a company that the EAC de-certified months before the election. Who knows what the next problem will be? As Burstein and Hall put it: "Secrecy isn't working for the EAC or democracy -- and there is no reason to think it will in the future." For the editorial: http://www.rollcall.com/issues/52_66/guest/16640-1.html For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005086.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Maine Rejects Real ID The Real ID Act took a blow last week, when Maine became the first state to formally declare its opposition. The Maine legislature voted overwhelmingly to refuse to comply with the act's mandates, and requested that Congress repeal the law. The Real ID Act essentially forces states to create a national ID. Under the law, state drivers licenses will only be accepted for "federal purposes" -- like accessing planes, trains, national parks, and court houses -- if they conform to certain uniform standards. The law also requires a vast national database linking all of the ID records together. Estimated costs of $12 billion or more will be passed on to the states and, ultimately, average citizens in the form of increased DMV fees or taxes. "It's not only a huge federal mandate, but it's a huge mandate from the federal government asking us to do something we don't have any interest in doing," said Maine's House Majority Leader Hanna Pingree. Meanwhile, opposition in other states is growing. Similar measures rejecting the Real ID Act are under consideration in 11 states, including Montana, Georgia, Massachusetts and Washington state. For information about the dangers of Real ID: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/ID/RealID/ For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005098.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Andy Griffith for Attorney General! This YouTube clip from the Andy Griffith Show is the sort of civics lesson that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would do well to study: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CvoC551i2E Guilherme Roschke from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has some background (via BoingBoing.net): "I shared the video with my colleagues here at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. With some digging, one of my colleagues figured out that this show aired on October 30, 1967. That's two weeks after the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments in Katz vs. United States. The FBI had tapped a phone booth without a warrant, and convicted a gambler based on that. The Katz court overturned the conviction, stating that the 4th amendment prohibits this sort of a wiretap without a warrant." : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * DMCA Reformist to Speak at Stanford This Friday Rep. Rick Boucher, who has long proposed legislation to reform the DMCA, will deliver a speech at Stanford Law School on Friday entitled, "Congress Must Balance its Copyright Agenda." More information is available here: http://www.law.stanford.edu/calendar/details/299/Congress%20Must%20Balance%20its%20Copyright%20Agenda/ Take action to support DMCA reform now: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=115 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ DMCA for China? A new copyright law would make it an offense in China to "break encryption set by copyright owners." http://www.out-law.com//default.aspx?page=1299 ~ Los Angeles AACS to Pursue DRM Circumventors Says it will use "both technical and legal measures." So, will they be suing their own members for leaving the title keys in the clear? http://www.tgdaily.com/2007/01/29/aacsla_hd/ ~ Vista's New DRM Crumbles Alex Ionescu bypasses the driver-signing requirement for playing Vista premium content. This would mean that you could play HD movies using open source hardware, except that Alex is cagey about publishing with the DMCA hanging over his head. http://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=24 ~ Vista's Fine Print Michael Geist on the legal agreements buried in Microsoft Vista's EULA. http://www.michaelgeist.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1641&Itemid=135 ~ We've Got a Warrant Now, Can You Leave Us Alone? The government seeks to dismiss the ACLU's NSA spying program lawsuit after obtaining a secret order from a secret court. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/01/gov_seeks_spy_s.html ~ Gonzalez Claims Constitution Has Fine Print It doesn't grant habeas corpus, he says, in defiance of the text. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/01/24/MNGDONO11O1.DTL ~ Hillary Clinton on Privacy Wants to introduce an EU-style data protection bill and suggests that dragnet surveillance might be conducted in an "anonymized" way. http://www.senate.gov/~clinton/news/statements/details.cfm?id=257288 ~ Pontiac Donates to EFF? Detroit's local newspaper covers a strange twist to a Pontiac Second Life experiment. http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070126/AUTO01/701260392 ~ Diebold Shows How to Make Your Own Voting Machine Key Diebold's pictures of replacement e-voting keys are sufficient to construct them yourself. http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1113 ~ Publishers Plan Dirty Tactics Against Open Science PR's "pit bull" gives his ideas for fighting the free dissemination of scientific works. http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070122/full/445347a.html : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * 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, Activist firstname.lastname@example.org Membership & donation queries: email@example.com General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries: firstname.lastname@example.org Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. 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