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EFFector - Volume 21, Issue 1 - Last Major Label Gives Up DRM

EFFector Vol. 21, No. 01  January 7, 2008

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 454th Issue of EFFector:
 * Come Celebrate EFF's 17th Birthday!
 * Last Major Label Gives Up DRM
 * New Study on Copyright and Creativity from the Center
for Social Media
 * 2008: DRM Continues to Punish Paying Customers
 * Key Open Government Reform Legislation Becomes Law
 * U.S. Patent Office Officially Rejects all 16
Patent Claims
 * Should Yahoo! Be Able to Patent "Smart Drag and Drop"?
 * LimeWire on 1 in 3 Desktops World-Wide
 * Apple and Think Secret Settle Lawsuit
 * Visit EFF at Macworld
 * EFF Seeks Webmaster Who Wants to Make a Difference
 * Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2008 Pioneer Awards!
 * miniLinks (6): Privacy International Reports Standards
Slipping Around the World
 * 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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* Come Celebrate EFF's 17th Birthday!

Join EFF in celebrating our 17th year of defending digital
rights! Since 1990, EFF has been there fighting for freedom
and civil liberties.

The birthday bash will be on January 15, 7-11 PM, at 111
Minna Gallery in San Francisco. Adrian & the Mysterious D
(A+D), the DJ duo that founded the seminal mashup party
"Bootie," will be dropping a shameless, genre-smashing
blend of tracks, backed up by DJ sets from Bay Area
copyfighters Ripley, Kid Kameleon and EFF's own J Tones and

The EFF party will also feature an exclusive chocolate
sampling from TCHO, "a new chocolate company for a new
generation of chocolate enthusiasts." Founded by Wired
co-founder Louis Rossetto and legendary chocolatier Timothy
Childs, himself a former technologist, TCHO will be
bringing a "beta release" of its best dark chocolate to the
party table. Attendees are invited to vote for their
favorite TCHO beta chocolate flavors at the party --
feedback that will help define TCHO's next steps as they
gear up for a national release.

We'll be asking for a $20 donation at the door. No one will
be turned away for lack of funds, but all proceeds will go
toward our work defending your digital freedom.

EFF's 17th Birthday Bash
TCHO chocolate
and mashup pioneers Adrian & the Mysterious D

January 15, 2008, 7-11 PM

111 Minna Gallery
111 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Tel: (415) 974-1719

This fundraiser is open to the general public. 21+ only,
cash bar.

Please RSVP to:

For more information about EFF's 17th Birthday Bash:

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* Last Major Label Gives Up DRM

Back in December 2005, EFF announced the beginning of the
end for DRM on music. Two years later, we're getting close
to the end of the end, with Sony-BMG announcing that it,
too, will be giving up on DRM for music downloads (at least
for some of its catalog). Sony-BMG is the last of the four
major labels to take this step.

It's about time. As online music retailers have been
pointing out for years, DRM has only held back the
authorized downloading services in their efforts to compete
against the unauthorized world of P2P file sharing.

The next step will be a blanket license for music fans --
pay a small monthly fee, and download whatever you like,
from wherever you like, in whatever format you like. This
is the inevitable end-game in a world where file sharing
remains hugely popular and the labels want to prevent new
retailers, like the iTunes Music Store, from controlling

For the complete post by EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von

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* New Study on Copyright and Creativity from the Center for
Social Media

A new report from the Center for Social Media, called
"Recut, Reframe, Recycle," takes a close look at
user-generated video sites and finds that there is much
more at stake than the SNL and Daily Show clips often
referenced in the typical accusations of copyright

Far from simply uploading others' content, more users are
remixing prior works to create new and surprising works of
transformative creativity. With illustrations of some of
the best examples of user-generated content from the past
few years, the study attempts to clarify "the difference
between quoting for new cultural creation and simple

The study recommends the establishment of a "blue ribbon
panel" to establish a set of "best practices" principles --
not unlike the "Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best
Practices in Fair Use," which the Center for Social Media
also spearheaded last year.

For the Center for Social Media report, "Recut, Reframe,

For EFF's report "Fair Use Principles for User-Generated
Video Content":

For the complete post:

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* 2008: DRM Continues to Punish Paying Customers

Just three days into the new year, we have another example
of DRM punishing paying customers, rather than "pirates."
Netflix subscriber Davis Freeberg ran headlong into an
incompatibility between Microsoft DRM and ... Microsoft

The trouble all started when Freeberg bought a new monitor
for his Vista computer. He soon found that in order to try
watching streaming movies from Netflix, he would have to
run the risk of permanently breaking other entertainment
media on his computer -- like his purchases from Amazon

Is this mess stopping copyright infringement? Nope -- it's
still easy to copy media and easy to find unauthorized
copies. In fact, one commenter points out that the easiest
"fix" for Freeberg's trouble appears to be downloading the
movie from an unauthorized torrent tracker.

Freeberg's conundrum is likely the product of the Protected
Media Path (PMP) (mis)features that have been added to
Microsoft's Vista operating system. Thanks to PMP, Vista
computers can now "audit" the video outputs, supposedly to
ensure that only "authorized" (aka DRM-laden) video boards
and monitors can receive Hollywood content. Unfortunately,
these kinds of (mis)features generally (1) don't stop
pirates and (2) result in compatibility headaches for
paying customers.

For Davis Freeberg's post about the Microsoft DRM fiasco:

For the complete post by EFF Staff Technologist Seth

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* Key Open Government Reform Legislation Becomes Law

In one of his last official acts of 2007, President Bush
signed into law the first major overhaul of the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade. The OPEN
Government Act of 2007 makes much-needed changes to the
FOIA process that will give Americans better access to
information about their government at work, such as:

   * Ensuring that freelance and alternative journalists
are considered representatives of the media, making it less
expensive for them to get information from the government;
   * Creating a tracking system to help make sure that
FOIA requests don't become hopelessly tangled in red tape;
   * Making it clear that requesters can get government
records maintained by private contractors, not just the
agencies themselves.

For EFF's FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG)
Project page:

For the complete post by EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann:

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* U.S. Patent Office Officially Rejects all 16
Patent Claims

In another step forward for EFF's Patent Busting Project,
the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
issued an official rejection of all 16 claims of the Internet test-taking method patent. The USPTO
granted re-examination last year after EFF submitted a
petition that included several examples of prior art from a
company called IntraLearn. In patent evaluation, "prior
art" is knowledge about an invention that can be proven to
have existed before the alleged invention. Prior art can
show that the "invention" is actually obvious, rendering it

In light of the prior art from IntraLearn, the USPTO found
all 16 of's claims to be obvious and
non-patentable. Now, can fight to save its patent
by arguing that online test-taking was not obvious in 1999
or attempt to narrow its patent claims to something more
innovative and non-obvious. However, given the basic nature
of the method and underlying technology, it's hard to
imagine what, if anything, could salvage.

For more about's bogus Internet test-taking

For the complete post by EFF Fellow Jason Schultz:

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* Should Yahoo! Be Able to Patent "Smart Drag and Drop"?

The Peer-To-Patent Project (PtP) is a new initiative by New
York Law School's Do Tank in cooperation with the US Patent
Office (USPTO) that uses open source and open knowledge
techniques to help stop the deluge of bad software patents
in America. The project works by posting new software
patent applications that have been voluntarily submitted by
their inventors and asking the public to comment on them.

Participants can point out prior art, explain technological
concepts, or even opine on whether a certain technique is
obvious (and thus non-patentable). After two months of
commenting, the top submissions are sent off to the Patent
Office to help it decide whether or not to grant the

There have been a series of new applications hitting the
PtP site lately, some of which are recognizably broad and
outrageous. One recent example is from Yahoo!, which is
attempting to patent "smart" drag-and-drop technology.

So what does this have to do with you? If you have examples
of drag and drop interfaces that can invalidate this claim,
go to the PtP site and submit them. (Some registration
required.) Your submissions could mean the difference
between Yahoo! getting a bogus patent or not.

For the Peer-To-Patent page about Yahoo!'s "smart
drag-and-drop" patent application:

For additional information about participating in the
Peer-To-Patent Project:

For the complete post by EFF Fellow Jason Schultz:

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* LimeWire on 1 in 3 Desktops World-Wide

In December 2007, Digital Music News and BigChampagne
reported that 36.4% of all PCs world-wide have LimeWire
installed, based on system scans of 1.6 million machines.

This is worth noting for at least two reasons. First, it is
a reminder that the main event in digital music is still
P2P file-sharing, as it has been since Napster's debut in
1999. The entire apparatus of "legitimate" online digital
music stores remains just a drop in the bucket. And the
entertainment industries still haven't taken meaningful
steps toward a collective licensing solution to monetize
P2P, as EFF has been urging since 2004.

Second, this is yet another empirical nail in the DRM
coffin. The Darknet remains robust and generally accessible
to mainstream computer users. As long as consumers continue
to have simple, easy ways to share digital content, once
DRM has been stripped from a file, the now-liberated
content flows freely. In other words, all it takes is one
leak -- and DRM always leaks. In a world with easy sharing,
fans don't need to bother with DRM-cracking tools, which
means the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions are not
doing any good, while continuing to do plenty of harm.

For the Digital Music News and BigChampagne press release:

For this post by EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von

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* Apple and Think Secret Settle Lawsuit

In December, Apple news site Think Secret announced that it
had settled Apple's lawsuit against it. While the terms
have not been disclosed, "no sources were revealed and
Think Secret will no longer be published."

The Think Secret suit, filed several years ago, sought to
hold Think Secret liable for posting news about upcoming
Apple products. EFF helped Think Secret find legal counsel,
and, with the able assistance of attorney Terry Gross of
Gross & Belsky, Think Secret filed a thoroughly researched
and well-written anti-SLAPP motion to strike the lawsuit on
free speech grounds. The motion stopped Apple's lawsuit in
its tracks and raised the prospect that Apple would have
had to pay Think Secret substantial sums for its legal
fees. That motion has been pending since March 2005, and,
while the Court has never ruled, we believe the motion was
meritorious and that Apple was looking at the prospect of
an embarrassing and expensive loss.

It is sad that Think Secret will be closing its doors,
since it was a valuable news source, though its author is
now free to move on to other things. We can only hope that
this will be a powerful lesson to Apple and that the
company will eventually learn not to sue its fans.

For the Think Secret announcement:

For the complete post by EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt

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 * Visit EFF at Macworld

The Macworld organizers have generously donated booth space
to EFF -- so come visit EFF at the Macworld Conference &
Expo, January 14 to 18, in San Francisco. Macworld is a
week-long experience for everyone who uses Macs. Register
online with the priority code: 08-D-EFF and get an Exhibit
Hall Pass for only $10, or receive 15% off your conference
package of choice. (Offer good on new registrations only
and expires January 13, 2008.)

And after a day at Macworld, don't forget to head over to
EFF's 17th birthday party on January 15. (See above for
more info.)

For more about the Macworld Conference & Expo:

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* EFF Seeks Webmaster Who Wants to Make a Difference

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet civil
liberties nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, is
seeking a full-time webmaster to start immediately. This
person will be responsible for managing content and
building web features on, and helping to build and
maintain EFF's web initiatives and campaigns.

The environment is fast-paced; the work is cutting-edge. A
love of technology and familiarity with related civil
liberties issues is a must.

The ideal candidate will have a broad range of experience
in web production, including:
* XHTML/CSS web design and implementation
* Open-source web technology: PHP, Javascript, Unix,
Apache, etc.
* Graphics production, editing and optimization
* An eye for clean user-centric web design and layout
* Organizing and keeping track of large amounts of complex
web content

Additional familiarity with any of these is a plus:
* Drupal CMS
* Subversion (or similar concurrent versioning system)
* Smarty
* Flash/ActionScript
* Writing blog posts, press releases, web content, etc.

Salary in the low $50s with benefits. To apply, send a
cover letter and your resume with links to some samples of
your work to Please send these materials in
a non-proprietary format. No phone calls please!

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* Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2008 Pioneer 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 2008.

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 2008 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 accept nominations
until January 31, 2008.

Simply tell us:

1. The name of the nominee,

2. The phone number, 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 operating 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.

~ Privacy International reports standards slipping around
the world
A new study finds that privacy lacks adequate protection in
almost every country on Earth.

~ Australia's plans to filter the Internet under fire
Privacy advocates complain that the plan to require ISPs to
filter content amounts to censorship.

~ Adobe in hot water for snooping on customers
Adobe's CS3 software is using a suspicious IP address to
track customers' usage stats.

~ Flaws in new government openness law
News reports that the new FOIA reform law specifically
reversed restrictive Bush administration policy were wrong.

~ Warner offers DRM-free music on Amazon
After promising never to offer DRM-free music, Warner CEO
Edgar Bronfman finally caved.

~  Cartoon: Foxtrot on DMCA restrictions
Will lawmakers be able to legally enjoy the iPods they got
for Christmas?

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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)

Richard Esguerra, EFF Activist

Membership & donation queries:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

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Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be
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