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EFFector - Volume 22, Issue 19 - EFF Has Busted a Bogus Internet Subdomain Patent

EFFector Vol. 22, No. 19  June 18, 2009  editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

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In our 512th issue:

* EFF HAS BUSTED A BOGUS INTERNET SUBDOMAIN PATENT.  U.S.
Patent No. 6,687,746, now held by Hoshiko, LLC, claimed to
cover the method of automatically assigning Internet
subdomains, like "action.eff.org" for the parent domain
"eff.org." Previous patent owner Ideaflood used this bogus
patent to demand payment from website hosting companies
offering personalized domains, such as LiveJournal.

In the original reexamination request, EFF showed that the
method Ideaflood claimed 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 and
on Usenet more than a year before Ideaflood filed its
patent application. The open source community's public
record of the technology development provided the linchpin
to EFF's patent challenge.

For the full press release:
http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/06/16

* EFF AND PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE HAVE RELUCTANTLY DROPPED THEIR
LAWSUIT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ACTA. The Obama
Administration's decision to support Bush-era concealment
policies forced the drop of the suit, which sought
important documents about the secret anti-counterfeiting
enforcement treaty that has broad implications for global
privacy and innovation.

Very little is known about ACTA, currently under
negotiation between the U.S. and more than a dozen other
countries. Leaked documents indicate that it could
establish far-reaching customs regulations governing
searches of personal computers and iPods, could require
mandatory filtering of Internet communications for
potentially copyright-infringing material, and could adopt
"Three Strikes" policies requiring the termination of
Internet access after repeat allegations of copyright
infringement. Last year, more than 100 public interest
organizations around the world called on ACTA country
negotiators to make the draft text available for public
comment.

For the full press release:
http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/06/17

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EFF Updates

* RIAA $1.9 Million Win in Thomas Retrial: Constitutional?
Given the size of the statutory damages award, Ms.
Thomas-Rasset's legal team is likely considering a
constitutional challenge to the verdict. 
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06/record-labels-awarde

* Are US Regulations Hurting Free Speech in Iran?
EFF has been watching with concern the blocking of Web 2.0
sites in countries like Iran. This new threat doesn't come
from foreign governments: it appears to be coming from the
ambiguity of the United States' own export regulations.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06/sanctions-and-web

* Into the DTV Era, With No Broadcast Flag Mandate
Entertainment industries like to argue that they "need" DRM
to make works available. And policymakers have eagerly
adopted this argument. But when the bluff is called, it
turns out that the DRM wasn't so necessary after all.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06/dtv-era-no-broadcast

* New York Times Editorial Board Calls for Repeal of FISA
Responding to repeated reports that the National Security
Agency's surveillance dragnet is continuing to intercept
Americans' purely domestic communications in the millions,
the New York Times editorial board is calling on Congress
to repeal the deeply-flawed FISA Amendments Act (FAA).
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06/hear-hear-new-york-t

* More from the NYT on NSA's Domestic Spying
Following up on their report in April detailing the NSAÕs
systemic and significant illegal interception of Americans'
domestic communications, the New York Times has just
published a new story with even more detail about the NSA's
ongoing warrantless wiretapping and the concerns it is
raising in Congress.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06/more-nyt-nsas-domest

* Google Considering More HTTPS, Other Services to Follow?
Earlier this week, privacy and security researchers urged
Google to improve the security of Gmail, Google Docs, and
Google Calendar by enabling the more secure HTTPS
encryption by default.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06/more-https-from-google-others

* Amendments to CFAA a Dark Cloud with Ray of Light
In September of last year, Congress amended the Computer
Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) as part of a larger bill dealing
with identity theft.  Unfortunately, the amendments broaden
the already extensive reach of the law and fail to clarify
the most vexing question about the statute, the definition
of Òunauthorized accessÓ.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06/amendments-computer-

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miniLinks

~ REAL ID Revival Bill Is Another Attempt at a National ID
A new "PASS ID" bill seeks to create a privacy-invasive
national ID, just like its antecedent, REAL ID.
http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/06/17/is-the-real-id-revival-bill-pass-id-a-national-id/

~ IP Colloquium Podcast Tackles Patent Damages Reform
UCLA Law Professor Doug Lichtman and his guests explore the
contentious issues around patent reform, including the 
difficulty of calculatingdamages and considering the many 
possible reforms.
http://www.ipcolloquium.com/Programs/7.html

~ Copyright in the Rye
J.D. Salinger has filed a copyright infringement complaint
against the writer of a novel attempting to chronicle the
later years of a character from "The Catcher in the Rye."
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/books/17salinger.html

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Announcements

* IT Equipment for EFF Offices

We are looking for donations of computer equipment to
support EFF's office operations. As thanks for your
donation, we can offer a free membership and, of course,
some cool swag.

Requested Items:

- 2 x 2TB external USB hard drives, preferably Western
Digital. Or a larger number of smaller drives with the same
interface.

- PATA IDE hard drives, 20GB or larger

Please contact stu@eff.org if you can help!

* EFF at Velocity Conference

We will have a table at Velocity, the O'Reilly web
performance and operations conference in San Jose! Come
check it out!

O'Reilly Media is offering a 20% discount on Velocity
registration for EFF's supporters. Register here:
https://en.oreilly.com/velocity2009/public/register
Discount Code: vel09sd20

Location:
Fairmont San Jose
170 S. Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Exhibit Hall Hours:
Tuesday, June 23: 9:45 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday Exhibit Hall Reception: 6:15 PM  7:15 PM
Wednesday, June 24: 9:45 AM - 4:30 PM

For More Information:
http://en.oreilly.com/velocity2009

* Help EFF Go to DEFCON!

EFF is looking for donations of airline tickets and hotel
points for the DEFCON hacking conference, as well as other
conferences and speaking engagements. If you have enough
airline miles for a free ticket and would like to send an
EFF staffer to a conference, let us know, and we will help
you with the process of making the reservation. Please note
that at this time we are unable to combine miles from
multiple individuals.  We are also looking for hotel
rewards points to help reduce our overall travel costs.

As a thanks for your donation, we can offer a free
membership and a mention in EFFector (if you'd like).
Please contact aaron@eff.org if you can help!

* Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2009 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 2009.  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 2009 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 pioneer@eff.org. We will accept nominations
until July 15, 2009.

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
communications.

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
cultural.

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:
http://www.eff.org/awards/pioneer/

* Intern Opportunity!

EFF is looking for a summer intern to help in our
development and media departments. This is an unpaid,
full-time position.

Projects will include:
-Working on our annual report and contacting major donors
and foundations (40% of time);
-Assisting with membership fulfillment and bulk mailing
(40% of time); and
-Identifying and organizing press clippings (20% of time).

Excellent writing and editing skills, strong organizational
abilities, and the capacity to take instruction and run
with it is a must. Interest in development and/or public
relations as a career is a plus, as is knowledge and
familiarity with EFF's issues.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing
sample to: alyssa@eff.org

* Volunteer at EFF!

EFF is looking for volunteers to assist with operations in
our membership department. If you're quick, organized,
detail-oriented, and looking for a hands-on way to support
EFF, contact us today!

Duties include:

* Membership fulfillment
* Organizing premiums
* Print mailing
* Event assistance

Learn about fundraising operations in the nonprofit world
while supporting your favorite organization in a tangible
way! Interest in grassroots fundraising is a plus, as is
knowledge and familiarity with EFF's issues. Send a letter
of interest to aaron@eff.org

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Administrivia

EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
 http://www.eff.org/about

Editor:
Sara Bassett, Membership Services Assistant
 sara@eff.org

Membership & donation queries:
 membership@eff.org

To support EFF:
 http://links.eff.org/emaildonate

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 information@eff.org

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