CISPA was rammed through the House of Representatives without regard for civil liberties, but the campaign to stop shortsighted cybersecurity legislation is not over yet. We've got another chance to stop these bills in the Senate and prevent the government from sacrificing online civil liberties in the name of "cybersecurity." EFF, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press are joining forces to oppose these bad laws. Can you help us out? Use our online tool to call your Senators and tell them to oppose dangerously vague cybersecurity legislation and support privacy protective amendments. Call now.
Two weeks ago, Steve Wozniak made a public call for Apple to open its platforms for those who wish to tinker, tweak and innovate with their internals. Wozniak is right. While Apple's products have many virtues, they are marred by an ugly set of restrictions on what users and programmers can do with them. Apple's recent products, especially their mobile iOS devices, are like beautiful crystal prisons, with a wide range of restrictions imposed by the OS, the hardware, and Apple's contracts with carriers as well as contracts with developers.
Television networks are having a busy month trying to stamp out new TV-watching technology. EFF and Public Knowledge have filed an amicus brief supporting Aereo, a New York startup under fire from the networks for bringing local broadcast TV to the Internet. And now the same networks have told a court that skipping a commercial while watching a recorded show is illegal, suing Dish Network over its digital video recorder with automatic commercial-skipping.
EFF has asked a judge today to block a reality TV star's attempts to censor critical comments about her company on a popular online fashion blog. Corri McFadden, star of the VH1 show "House of Consignment," filed suit against Purseblog.com in a California federal court after accusations about McFadden's company, eDrop-Off appeared in the comments of the blog. But California has strong legal protections against lawsuits filed to chill participation in publicly significant discussions, and now McFadden is asking the court in California to let her dismiss the lawsuit without any penalty so that she can pursue it in a state with more favorable law.
EFF's client, Kyle Goodwin, asked the court to return the legal files he lost when Megaupload was seized last January. Since then, we've been to court, both for a hearing and a mediation, and nothing has changed. The government has failed to help third parties like Kyle get access to their data, so we have no choice but to go back to court.
Google has expanded its transparency reports program by releasing a detailed report of content removal requests from copyright holders. The new copyright report joins its semi-annual government takedown transparency report, and covers more than 95% of the copyright takedown requests it has received for Search results since July 2011. We hope this is just the beginning: Google should extend the program to their other properties like YouTube and Blogger, and other online service providers should follow suit.
The Supreme Court said in Mayo v. Prometheus that there could be no valid patent from adding nothing novel to an otherwise unpatentable idea. At the time, we commented that this ruling should likewise apply to software patents, so that merely adding a "conventional step" to an otherwise abstract idea would not make that abstract idea patentable -- which is exactly what happened in the Ultramercial v. Hulu case. The Supreme Court has now told the Federal Circuit to reconsider its Ultramerical ruling in light of Mayo, which sounds a lot like an endorsement that Mayo's limitations on patentable subject matter should extend to software, too.
Lino and Mario Bocchini, creators of the Brazilian parody website Falha de Sao Paulo, are currently appealing a court order that froze their domain two years ago. In September 2010, Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo filed a lawsuit against the Falha seeking financial compensation for mimicking their layout and copy-editing, and also for "moral damages" to its reputation as a news organization. While the financial indemnities were dropped, Falha's domain remains frozen for unauthorized use of Folha's intellectual property.
This week in transparency, the ACLU loses a FOIA case asking for torture evidence; the government watchdog group Judicial Watch revealed that Obama administration officials gave a filmmaker exclusive access to details about the classified Osama bin Laden raid while publicly warning other government officials that they would face investigation if they did the same; and a group of journalists have joined WikiLeaks and their counsel in suing the federal government over the extreme secrecy in the trial of Bradley Manning.
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EFF Staff Technologist Dan Auerbach will present "Encrypt the Web" at the OpenITP Summer 2012 Circumvention Tech Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The Summit is occurring simultaneously and in partnership with RightsCon Rio. June 1-2, 2012 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann and EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry will respond to opponents of EFF's DMCA exemption requests regarding the right to jailbreak devices and remix videos. June 4-5, 2012 Washington, DC
Members can join EFF staff for a drink and discussion at a free, informal Speakeasy meet-up. Raise a glass with our attorneys, technologists, and activists and discover our latest work defending your freedom online. Not a member, or let your membership lapse this year? There's still time to join EFF today! June 7, 2012 San Francisco, CA
EFF is proud to host our next Speakeasy with the Open Rights Group (ORG) and the Tor Project in London! Join representatives from digital rights allies ORG, anonymity advocates from Tor, legendary writer and activist Cory Doctorow, and EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. June 14, 2012 London, UK
Tech attorneys from throughout the Bay Area will gather to drink beer, eat chicken and waffles, and prove their prowess in summoning obscure tech law minutiae from the very depths of their oversized brains. If you are an attorney and would like to attend, please email Kellie Brownell at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. June 19, 2012 San Francisco, CA
Could recent cybersecurity bills erode our civil liberties as well as our right to know what our government is doing? Why are these bills of concern for libraries and our patrons? Join Dr. Patrice McDermott, Director of Open the Government, and Rainey Reitman, Activism Director at EFF, in a morning session on CISPA and other cybersecurity bills. June 23, 2012 Anaheim, CA