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EFF Launches Coders' Rights Project at Black Hat Conference

PRESS RELEASE
August 6, 2008
New Initiative to Protect Programmers From Legal Threats

Las Vegas - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launches its Coders' Rights Project -- a new initiative to protect programmers and developers from legal threats hampering their cutting-edge research.

In conjunction with the project's launch, EFF is staffing an "EFF Is In" booth at Black Hat USA 2008 in Las Vegas on August 6 and 7. At the booth, EFF attorneys will provide legal information on reverse engineering, vulnerability reporting, and copyright law, as well as patent, trade secret, and free speech issues.

"Coders who explore technology through innovation and research play a vital role in developing and securing the software and hardware we use everyday. Yet this important work can be stymied by bogus legal threats," said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick, who is heading up the project. "EFF's Coders' Rights Project will provide a front-line defense for coders facing legal challenges for legitimate research activities."

The Coders' Rights Project will build upon EFF's long history of work to limit the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) from reaching security and encryption researchers. EFF will also expand its involvement in matters involving the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and state computer crime laws. Additionally, EFF has created resources for programmers doing work involving reverse engineering and vulnerability reporting, available at http://eff.org/coders.

"Those of us doing research on computer security and privacy need to be able to discuss and publish our work without fear of legal threats," said EFF Board Member Edward W. Felten, a security researcher and Princeton University professor who challenged provisions of the DMCA with EFF in 2001. "The Coders' Rights Project will give critical legal help to programmers and developers who do the hard work in keeping technology robust and users safe."

Other goals of the Coders' Rights Project include narrowing computer crime laws and limiting the power of End User License Agreements (EULAs) to protect reverse engineering, reviews, benchmarking, and the consumer's right to tinker.

For more on the Coders' Rights Project:
http://eff.org/coders

Contacts:

Jennifer Stisa Granick
Civil Liberties Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
jennifer@eff.org

Rebecca Jeschke
Media Coordinator
Electronic Frontier Foundation
press@eff.org

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