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EFFector - Volume 22, Issue 34 - EFF Launches New "Terms of (Ab)Use" Page


EFFector - Volume 22, Issue 34 - EFF Launches New "Terms of (Ab)Use" Page

EFFector 22.34: EFF Launches New "Terms of (Ab)Use" Page

EFFector Vol. 22, No. 34, November 25, 2009

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

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In our 523rd issue:


* One cannot go online today without eventually being asked to accept
a set of so-called Terms of Service (or TOS). Such TOS agreements have
become ubiquitous to websites and other online services in the same
way End User License Agreements (EULAs) have become the mainstay of
the software industry. Yet while we are often aware that such Terms of
Service exist, very few of us know and understand what they actually
The time has come to shed light on what these Terms of Service
agreements contain, and what it means for users. In conjunction with
our TOSBack Project, EFF is proud to announce Terms of (Ab)Use: a
source for news and TOS issues around the web.

For the full Deep Link:

For the Terms of (Ab)Use page:

* DVD Customers Are Not DVD Pirates
Staff attorney Fred Von Lohmann has published an op-ed on The Wrap, a
leading blog for Hollywood insiders. It makes the point that
Hollywood's attacks on DVD innovators (RealDVD, Kaleidescape,
Redbox) amount to an attack on legitimate DVD customers who are trying
to pay for the content that the could almost as easily download for
free from unauthorized sources.

* Google Books Settlement 2.0: Evaluating the Pros and Cons
When it announced its Book Search project in 2004, Google set for
itself an inspiring and noble goal. In the words of Google CEA Eric
Schmidt, "Imagine yourself at your computer and, in less than a
second, searching the full text of every book ever written." What
started as a dream of universal book search, however, has become
something much broader: a class action lawsuit and proposed settlement
that hopes to let Americans read, as well as search, millions of books

The fate of that more ambitious plan is now before a court in New
York. In the face of opposition from many quarters (including EFF on
privacy and the U.S. Department of Justice on a number of issues),
Google and class representatives for authors and publishers recently
revised the proposed settlement. The court is expected to decide
whether to approve the revised settlement sometime in the first half
of 2010.

In the first four-parts of a series, EFF provides its evaluation of
the proposed settlement.

For the full Deep Link:

Part 2: Evaluating Access:

Part 3: Evaluating Competition:

Part 4: Evaluating Privacy:

* A Pirate-Finder General for the UK?
Copyright law involves a delicate balance, made all the more fragile
by the number of people who now find their everyday actions affected
by it. Some people benefit, others find ordinary behaviors made
illegal. Reforming copyright in the face of new technology is a vital
process, but it needs to be performed carefully, with all affected
parties considered in the debate.
In the UK, the Labour administration's impatience to pass its "Digital
Economy" agenda, risks throwing that balance utterly out the window.
The draft Digital Economy Bill that has recently been released
includes a provision granting the Secretary of State  currently Lord
Peter Mandelson  the power to make statuary instruments that can
re-write Britain's Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act with the
minimum of Parliamentary debate.

For the full Deep Link:

If you are in the UK, take action:

* EFF Tackles Bogus Podcasting Patent  And we Need Your Help!
Patenting podcasting? You've got to be kidding. Yet a company called
Volomedia just got the Patent Office to grant them such exclusive
EFF and the law firm of Howrey, LLP aren't willing to just sit
by and watch. This patent could threaten the vibrant community of
podcasters and millions of podcast listeners. We want to put a stop to
it, but we need your help.

The Volomedia patent covers "a method for providing episodic media."
It's a ridiculously broad patent, covering something that many folks
have been doing for many years. Worse, it could create a whole new
layer of ongoing costs for podcasters and their listeners. Right now,
just about anyone can create their own on-demand talk radio program,
earning an audience on the strength of their ideas. But more costs and
hassle means that podcasting could go the way of mainstream radio --
with only the big guys able to afford an audience. And we'd have a
bogus patent to blame.

In order to bust this patent, we are looking for additional "prior
art" -- or evidence that the podcasting methods described in the
patent were already in use before November 19, 2003. In particular,
we're looking for written descriptions of methods that allow a user to
download pre-programmed episodic media like audio files or video files
from a remote publisher, with the download occurring after the user
subscribes to the episodes, and with the user continuing to
automatically receive new episodes.

For the full Deep Link:

For the prior art request:

* Stopping the ACTA Juggernaut
The ACTA juggernaut continues to roll ahead, despite public
indignation about an agreement supposedly about counterfeiting that
has turned into a regime for global Internet regulation. The Office of
the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has already announced
that the next round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
negotiations will take place in January -- with the aim of
concluding the deal "as soon as possible in 2010."

For the full Deep Link:

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~ SF Cops Seize DJ Laptops
SF Weekly on San Francisco police seizures of DJ's laptops.

~ Copyright Goes on World Tour
The Washington Post's Rob Pegoraro says the secret copyright treaty
ACTA would create a global DMCA.

~ PATRIOT Tracker
Wired's Threat Level has a handy chart to help track the various
amendments to the PATRIOT Act.

~ Privacy Online
The ACLU-NC's dotRights project has a nice video on the question of
how to control your personal information online.

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* Bloggers' Rights Shirts are Back!

Special Edition Bloggers' Rights shirts are back for a limited time!
The Bloggers' Rights shirt features the unmistakable red and yellow
graphic on the front and the EFF logo on the back. Supplies (and
sizes) are limited. Show your free speech love and get yours today:

To learn more about your rights, check out EFF's Legal Guide for
Bloggers on our website:

* Help EFF with Airline Miles or Hotel Points!

EFF is looking for donations of airline miles, flight vouchers, or
hotel points for outreach events 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 or airlines. We
are also looking for hotel rewards points to help reduce our overall
travel costs.

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

SPECIAL THANKS to Chris and Mike Pryor whose donation will send EFF
staff members to TWO events. You've really helped us out!

* Volunteer at EFF!

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

Duties include:

* Sending out membership packets
* Organizing premiums
* Printing mailings
* Assisting with events

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 familiarity with EFF's issues.
Send a letter of interest to

* Become a Google Policy Fellow and Work with EFF Next Summer!

If you're a student or researcher who is passionate about improving
technology policy and you're interested in working with EFF, consider
applying for a Google Policy Fellowship -- a 10-week, summer
program that gives students the chance to work alongside public
interest organizations on topics of Internet and technology policy.

Just as Google's "Summer of Code" project aims to develop and promote
open source projects, Google is hoping that these policy fellowships
will advance debate on key policy issues affecting the public. Fellows
will receive a stipend of $7,000 for 10 weeks during the summer of
2010 (June to August). Applications are due by midnight on Monday,
December 28, 2009. Students who are accepted into the program will be
notified by Friday, February 12, 2010.

For more information, check out the FAQ:

To learn more about EFF's areas of focus:

To fill out the application:

* Coders' Rights with Jennifer Granick!
EFF's Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick will be
answering your Coders' Rights legal questions at Noisebridge at
7:00 pm, Monday November 30th.

Noisebridge is located on the 3rd floor of 2169 Mission Street, San
Francisco, CA. Directions are available:

Advance questions are welcome on the Noisebridge wiki:

* Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston Discusses Privacy Issues

See Kevin at the Supernova Conference, at the San Francisco campus of
the Wharton School of business. Kevin will be on a panel discussion of
"Mobility and Location-Based Services" on Wednesday,
December 2, at 4:30 pm.

For more details:

See Kevin take part in a panel discussion on "What a New ECPA
Should Regulate," on Friday, December 4, 3:00 pm at the
University of Colorado at Boulder.

For more details:
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EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Eva Galperin, Referral Coordinator

Membership & donation queries:

To support EFF:

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

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