EFF in the News
Next week will be a busy one in Washington for online privacy as at least two bills are expected to be introduced in the House. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA, plans to offer Do Not Track legislation and Rep. Bobby Rush, D- Il, is expected to re-introduce his online privacy bill. There’s activity outside Congress as well.
Also in the House, Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee, is expected to offer a privacy bill soon.
Consumer Watchdog, and our friends at Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, the Center for Digital Democracy and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are among the groups making suggestions to Speier on the Do Not Track Bill. It is narrowly tailored to address tracking issues only, rather than the broader question of online privacy.
Earlier this week, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge and the Apache Software Foundation issued their own pro-Microsoft-anti-bad-software-patent position as well. Isn't it ironic that a software vendor known for its large store of patents is the one that open source advocates have rallied behind to end stifling software patents?
Changing the standards of proof "would take an important step toward leveling the playing field, and encourage small software companies to fight patents they believe to be invalid," wrote the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apache, and Public Knowledge in an amicus brief filed on Wednesday. "At the same time, it would discourage companies from preying on their smaller competitors with patents of questionable validity."
Flip: In April 2010, Facebook decided to widen the set of Facebook user information it classified as public, or sharable with partners or advertisers. Not only was users' basic personal information now public, but so was their current city, education, work, likes, interests, and friends. Privacy groups went into overdrive. In a letter to CEO Zuckerberg, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU of Northern California, and the Center for Democracy and Technology asked that users be required to opt-in to Instant Personalization before their data could be used in it, and that more privacy options be provided, including allowing users to "control every piece of information they can share via Facebook."
That’s an issue that Kahle has dealt with firsthand, when the FBI sent him a national security letter in 2007 demanding the name, address and communication records of a user of the Internet Archive. Kahle, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sued the FBI and won, forcing the Bureau to withdraw its request.”Governments want to know what books people have read, and that can lead to bad things. This is something that librarians are very sensitive to.” he says. “You don’t want to have to sue the government to keep patron information private. And I’m hoping that Iceland might help with that problem.”
A group of non-profit organizations filed a brief in federal district court Tuesday, opposing an injunction that would pull Internet rebroadcaster, ivi TV, off the air pending the resolution of a copyright infringement suit against it.
Public Knowledge, joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Media Access Project, and Open Technology Initiative filed the amicus brief with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of the rebroadcaster. More than two dozen broadcasters, including all four major networks and Major League Baseball, have joined in the suit to stop the startup from rebroadcasting their content online.
"The Court appointed a trio of attorneys renowned for defending Internet piracy and renowned for their general disregard for intellectual property law," wrote attorney Evan Stone of Denton, Texas, saying that his opponents were delaying things so much that he had no choice but to dismiss the suit.
When file-sharing attorneys file lawsuits against anonymous defendants, they initially face no opposition—their targets are unknown, so no lawyers speak up for their interests until after the subpoenas have been filed and their names are revealed. The EFF and Public Citizen are out to change that, as they did in the Gute Onkel case. The two groups asked the judge to appoint them as attorneys ad litem to speak up for the 670 unknown defendants—and the court agreed.
“The EFF kicks ass, no doubt about it."
“The spreadsheet will be updated by day’s end.”
That’s the person who created the amazing spreadsheet and graphic which, as p2pnet said on Sunday, “give chapter and verse on the mass P2P filesharing lawsuits launched in 2010 and 2011, as well as other copyright cases, such as those featuring Righthaven.”
The notice of dismissal came after EFF and Public Citizen argued that Mick Haig (Productions) should not be allowed to send subpoenas for the Does' identifying information, because it had sued hundreds of people in one case, in the wrong jurisdiction and without meeting the constitutional standard for obtaining identifying information.
"Copyright owners have a right to protect their works, but they can't use shoddy and unfair tactics to do so," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "When adult film companies launch these cases, there is the added pressure of embarrassment associated with pornography, which can convince those ensnared in the suits to quickly pay what's demanded of them, whether or not they have legitimate defenses. That's why it's so important to make sure the process is fair."
You can read the movie producer's whiny surrender notice here
PlayStation LifeStyle talked to Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director at the EFF about the ramifications of the Sony lawsuit, the possible precedents it could set on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the dangers of a lawsuit based upon easy-to-change terms of service.