EFF in the News
The EFF and the Apache Software Foundation support Microsoft's argument in favor of lowering the standard because they believe that the current standard is excessive and unfairly disadvantages open source software projects that don't have the resources to fight back against costly patent litigation. Adopting the "preponderance" standard would make patent invalidation consistent with other similar facets of civil law.
Peter Eckersley, senior staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was unimpressed with the latest version. "Let me put it this way: They have taken a mind-bogglingly bad idea and have merely made it an extremely bad idea," he said.
Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that “citizens are directly impacted by Internet intermediary liability and obligations because of the diversity of information and opinion online is hosted and transited by intermediaries.”
A San Francisco firm that defends free speech on the Web is taking on a Las Vegas company that has filed more than 140 copyright lawsuits this year.
Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a counterclaim this week that calls Righthaven LLC's ongoing copyright battle a sham shakedown operation
These amici argue that plaintiffs often insist that defendants can't prove their patents are invalid unless they get source code that demonstrates invalidity precisely; yet that source code is often unavailable. In this case, i4i argued, and both lower courts agreed—that because of the high "clear and convincing" standard, Microsoft couldn't prove invalidity without the source code of the relevant prior art, which was an earlier i4i product. The problems Microsoft faced in trying to dis-prove the patented i4i invention "are both common and pernicious" in litigation, writes the EFF.
Now the Redmond firm has managed to get briefs filed by the likes of Apple, Google, Dell, HP, Toyota and even Wal-Mart to support its effort. Perhaps surprisingly, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Apache Foundation have also publicly supported Microsoft's efforts.
Righthaven, the Las Vegas-based copyright troll, may have sued one website too many. The Electronic Frontier Foundation hit the company with a lawsuit Monday alleging Righthaven is abusing copyright law by suing for excerpting or posting newspaper articles without permission.
“Righthaven demands sums up to $150,000, and uses the threat of these out-of-proportion damages to push defendants into quick settlements,” said the EFF, whose attorneys on Monday filed a counterclaim against Righthaven and Review-Journal owner Stephens Media LLC in one of the Righthaven cases involving the Democratic Underground; and also issued a press release on the case.
“Some attorneys are advising bloggers to simply follow the rule laid down by the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s parent company and refrain from quoting anything more than the headline and first paragraph of news articles. Following this advice essentially allows a newspaper to decide what constitutes fair use, a term they are motivated to construe as narrowly as possible,” EFF said.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation doesn't like the law either. Like Bonanno, EFF Senior Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry worries that it could give corporations and public officials a new way to sue their critics into silence. "We're disappointed that the Governor decided to sign this bill, given that it is likely to be used to squelch political speech," she said via e-mail.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that opposes the bill, said there are already laws in place to take down sites that violate the law. The bill would give the Justice Department greater power to block sites, even before a court determines if they are illegally infringing copyright. Through “blacklists” of U.S. and international sites, the bill would pressure Internet service providers to block those Web pages that engage in piracy and counterfeiting, EFF said.