When Congress comes back into session at the end of January, both the House and the Senate are expected to make passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) a top priority. But representatives may want to think twice before voting yes; voters are taking notice. Members of both parties are seeing election opponents explaining how SOPA will censor free speech and stifle innovation, and the presidential candidates are being asked pointed questions about whether they support the bill that will almost certainly kill jobs.
A new letter reported by the Spanish newspaper El Pais reveals that the U.S. government renewed their threat to impose trade penalties on Spain unless the new government enacted harsh copyright legislation in a timely manner. The U.S. was dangerously close to getting their dream legislation in Spain last year, but were disappointed when the Spanish executive office deferred to fully enact the copyright law, Ley Sinde, due to its wide unpopularity. In late December, however, the newly elected executive government passed Ley Sinde by approving the regulation that dictated the application of the law.
EFF joined Public Knowledge and U.S. PIRG today in urging the Supreme Court to tackle Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, a case with the potential to fundamentally change the way the right of first sale works in the United States. "First sale" refers to your right to resell, lend, or give away the products that you own that may be copyrighted or contain copyrighted materials. Some copyright owners are trying to undercut first sale rights by claiming the law only covers goods made in the United States; that would create a nightmare for consumers and businesses, upending the secondary market for products and undermining what it really means to "buy" and "own" tangible goods.
Faced with mountains of evidence that SOPA and PIPA will censor online speech and hurt Internet security, supporters of the blacklist bills say one subject trumps all others: jobs. But Congress is ignoring that SOPA/PIPA would depress the growing tech sector, all while citing the MPAA's misleading and debunked numbers on how piracy is "decimating" their industry.
In Thailand, details of the most recent victim of lèse majesté laws emerged this week. Freedom Against Censorship Thailand has published new analyses demonstrating the magnitude of measures the Southeast Asian state has taken to block websites it deems politically offensive.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is inviting individuals who have questions about consumer privacy issues, or who are upset about privacy-invasive practices, to use its new online form to submit complaints.
A law enacted during Argentina's military dictatorship forced all individuals to obtain a government-mandated ID. Now, they are in the process of enhancing its mandatory National Registry of Persons with biometric data such as fingerprints and digitized faces.
At the 28th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, researcher Karsten Nohl gave a presentation on mobile phones in which he revealed that German police used nearly half a million "silent SMS" to track suspects in 2010.
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Stop by the EFF booth at the Southern California Linux Expo and say hello to EFF Membership Coordinator Aaron Jue. You can attend talks by developers and see what is new for beginners. We're proud to support the Open Sourceware community! Date: January 20-22, 2012 Location: Los Angeles, CA
Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann joins Jerome Radcliffe in a presentation on "Encryption, Passwords and Data Security: the Latest on the Law and Best Practices." Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will be speaking about "Destroying Evidence Before It's 'Evidence.'" Date: January 28-29, 2012 Location: Washington, DC
EFF is pleased to announce the newest member of our legal team, Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz. At EFF, Mitch will focus on copyright, trademark, trade secrets, and patent issues and policy. EFF also welcomes a new writer to the staff, Rebecca Bowe. Rebecca comes to us after working as a reporter at the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on digital rights issues. The EFF Fellow will work closely with mentors in the international policy team. The application is due February 3, 2012.