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EFF Press Release Archives

Press Releases: July 2003

July 31, 2003

Electronic Frontier Foundation Supports ISP Resistance

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation today
applauded a lawsuit brought by Pacific Bell Internet
Services against three organizations that are manipulating
copyright laws to violate the privacy of ISP customers.

The case concerns 97 subpoenas directed to Pacific Bell
over the past two weeks. The Recording Industry Association
of America (RIAA) has issued thousands of subpoenas to
various ISPs, seeking the identity of music fans who use
peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks.

The lawsuit alleges that the RIAA, along with MediaForce, a
company that issues millions of "cease-and-desist" letters
to ISPs, and Titan Media, a gay-themed adult entertainment
company, have distorted certain provisions of the Digital
Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) in an attempt to force
Pacific Bell to breach its customers' privacy.

Pacific Bell seeks a declaration from the court that any
further subpoenas and cease-and-desist letters for
peer-to-peer file sharing activity must follow some
court-established safeguards ensuring that there is some
evidence of illegal activity before divulging personal
information about ISP customers.

"The misuse of the subpoena process by an adult
entertainment company emphasizes the potential for abuse
with insufficient privacy protections in the law," explained
EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Without vetting by any
court, companies can issue subpoenas that disclose the
identities of targeted individuals and link their names to
gay-themed adult porn, making it impossible for them to
regain their privacy later even if the allegations are
patently false."

This case highlights the privacy problems that led over 44
organizations to join with EFF in opposing the subpoena
process in a similar case involving Verizon in Washington,
DC, currently pending before a federal appeals court.

"The DC Court dismissed our concerns about subpoena process
abuse as premature," added EFF Staff Attorney Gwen Hinze.
"The California Court will have an opportunity to consider
critical privacy concerns in light of the thousands of
subpoenas the RIAA has issued as a clear abuse of the
subpoena process."

The RIAA's crusade has already drawn the concerned attention
of Congress. Senator Coleman (R-MN) today announced an
investigation into the issuance of the subpoenas and the
threatened lawsuits.

EFF applauds both Pacific Bell and Senator Coleman and urges
concerned citizens to learn more about ways to make
filesharing legal while getting artists paid at our Let the
Music Play Campaign.

Links:

Contact:

Cindy Cohn
  Legal Director

  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  cindy@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x108 (office)

Gwen Hinze
  Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  gwen@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x110 (office)

July 25, 2003

Electronic Frontier Foundation Offers Subpoena Database

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
today offered important resources to those wondering
whether the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
has filed a subpoena seeking their identities in connection
with a crackdown on music file-sharing.

EFF is assisting Internet users by offering a mechanism for
people to check the username they use on a file sharing
service against a database of those usernames specified in
hundreds of subpoenas the RIAA issued this month to Internet
Service Providers (ISPs).

"The recording industry continues its futile crusade to
sue thousands of the over 60 million people who use file
sharing software in the U.S.," said EFF Senior Intellectual
Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "We hope that EFF's
subpoena database will give people some peace of mind and
the information they need to challenge these subpoenas and
protect their privacy."

"EFF is also documenting the scope of privacy invasions
committed by the RIAA," explained EFF Staff Attorney Jason
Schultz. "EFF's subpoena database will help document the
damage done to innocent people misidentified as copyright
infringers in the RIAA's overzealous campaign."

A username appearing in the database does not confirm
absolutely that the RIAA has issued a subpoena seeking the
name of a particular person, since file sharing services
support duplicate usernames as well as allow multiple
people to use the same account or same computer. Nor do the
records in database reflect all subpoenas issued, due to
lags between issuance and entry into the court's electronic
record system by court employees. The EFF subpoena database
also permits people to check if the recording industry
named their Internet address, known as an IP address, in a
subpoena.

The initial database includes 125 subpoenas issued through
July 8, 2003, although EFF will update the database with
hundreds of additional subpoenas as they become available
through the court system.

To provide information and legal referrals for people
targeted by subpoenas, EFF has partnered with the U.S.
Internet Industry Association and other organizations to
form the Subpoena Defense Alliance. The Subpoena Defense
Alliance assists consumers and Internet Service Providers.

Links:

Contact:

Fred von Lohmann
  Senior Intellectual Property Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  fred@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x123 (office)

Jason Schultz
  Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  jason@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x112

July 24, 2003

The Federal Communications Commission today adopted measures to ensure that implementation of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), a law mandating the use of Internet blocking software in public libraries, complies with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding that law.

"The FCC failed to take this opportunity to clarify when and under what conditions blocking software must be turned off for adult library patrons seeking access to speech protected by the First Amendment," said Kevin Bankston, EFF attorney and Equal Justice Works/Bruce J. Ennis Fellow. "The Supreme Court clearly expects that this so-called 'filtering' software will be turned off for any adult who requests, yet the FCC inexplicably failed to state a clear requirement that libraries do so."

July 23, 2003

Electronic Frontier Foundation Supports E-Voting Law

San Francisco - In response to today's release of research
about critical security flaws in e-voting systems, the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged immediate passage
of e-voting legislation to prevent election fraud.

Security researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Rice
University announced today that they have discovered numerous
serious security flaws in what they believe is one of the
leading e-voting systems in the country -- the Diebold
Electron Systems' e-voting terminal.

Among the security flaws discovered were several ways in
which individual voters could vote multiple times in a
given election. The researchers also uncovered methods
permitting voters to "trick" the e-voting machines into
allowing them system administrator privileges or even
terminating an election before tallying all legitimate
votes.

"EFF supports electronic voting, but this report indicates
Diebold's e-voting system isn't ready for prime time," said
EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn, who advised the security
researchers. "This report describes how voters, election
officials, insiders at e-voting companies, and even
custodians at election locations could manipulate
elections and defraud the public."

"Only with open review, vigorous security testing, and a
voter verifiable paper audit trail can the public have
confidence that e-voting machines will provide an actual
accounting of the will of the people," said EFF Activist
Ren Bucholz. "We urge everyone who cares about democracy to
support effective e-voting legislation."

Concerned citizens can voice their support for
Representative Holt's bill to require open source e-voting
systems and voter verifiable paper audit trails.

Links:

Contact:

Cindy Cohn
  Legal Director
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  cindy@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x108 (office)

Ren Bucholz
  Activist
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  ren@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x121 (office)

Related Issues:
July 18, 2003

Rolling Stone Ad Targets 60+ Million Sharing Files in U.S.

San Francisco - An ad from the Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF) intended for the more than 60 million U.S.
residents sharing music files online appeared in Rolling
Stone's August 9 issue, hitting the stands today.

The EFF ad -- part of an ongoing campaign to protect the
rights of people sharing music online while compensating
artists -- shows several music fans in a police-style lineup
accused of sharing files online using peer-to-peer (P2P)
technology like Kazaa and Morpheus. The ad copy reads,
"Tired of being treated like a criminal for sharing music
online?" and "File-Sharing: It's Music to Our Ears."

"EFF created the 'Let the Music Play' campaign to raise
awareness about critical changes needed in copyright law and
industry practice," explained EFF Executive Director Shari
Steele. "We want to make sure artists get paid without
making criminals out of the over 60 million music lovers who
use file sharing networks in the U.S."

The EFF ad will also appear in Spin, Blender, Vibe, PC
Gamer, and Computer Gaming World over the next two months.

Links:

Contact:

Shari Steele
  Executive Director
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  ssteele@eff.org

  +1 415 436-9333 x103

July 17, 2003

Would Criminalize 60 Million Sharing Files in the U.S.

San Francisco - Members of the U.S. Congress yesterday
introduced the Author, Consumer, and Computer Owner
Protection and Security (ACCOPS) Act of 2003, targeting for
criminal prosecution the 60 million Americans engaged in
Internet file sharing of music and movies.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today criticized
the measure as an overbroad and misguided attack on
peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing technology.

"More Americans are using file sharing software than voted
for President Bush in 2000," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason
Schultz. "Throwing the book at music swappers makes great
political theater, but jailing 60 million music fans is not
good business, nor does it put a single penny into the
pockets of artists."

"Jailing people for file sharing is not the answer," noted
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Proponents of
this bill are casting aside privacy, innovation, and even
our personal liberty as collateral damage in their war
against file sharing."

The ACCOPS bill was introduced in the House of
Representatives today by Representatives Conyers, Berman,
Schiff, Meehan, Wexler, and Weiner, all member of the House
Judiciary Committee.

Links:

Contact:

Jason Schultz
  Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  jason@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x112

Fred von Lohmann
  Senior Intellectual Property Attorney

  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  fred@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x123 (office)

July 2, 2003

Supports Verifiable Voting Systems to Prevent Election Fraud

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation issued an
action alert this week warning that electronic voting
machines installed without a verifiable paper audit trail
and open source software programming are vulnerable to
election fraud.

"Touchscreen voting machines can increase accessibility for
people with disabilities, reduce the cost of printing
multilingual paper ballots, and make the experience of
voting less confusing," explained EFF Legal Director Cindy
Cohn. "However, without basic auditing checks, electronic
voting machines dramatically raise the stakes for insider
and hacking attacks resulting in election fraud."

"We need to ensure that no one can hack an election," added
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "Electronic voting
technology is wonderful, but it must also be verifiable
outside the voting booth."

The EFF action alert provides an easy way for the public
to write California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley and
ask him to ensure that California's new touchscreen
voting machines have a voter-verifiable paper audit trail,
as well as open software source code available for easy
and ongoing independent inspection.

EFF recommends that Secretary of State Shelley express
support for San Mateo County and other counties that have
already taken great strides toward verifiable voting
systems and that he require verifiable voting systems for
all other California counties.

Links:

Contact:

Cindy Cohn
  Legal Director
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  cindy@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x108 (office)

Lee Tien
  Senior Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  tien@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x102 (office)

Related Issues:
July 1, 2003

Opposes Printer Manufacturer's Broad Copyright Claims

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today asked a federal appeals court to rule that a company can examine a competitor's technology in order to manufacture printer toner cartridges compatible with Lexmark printers without facing a copyright lawsuit.

Printer maker Lexmark had sued, claiming that cartridge remanufacturer Static Control Components circumvented Lexmark's access control technologies and infringed its copyrights by "reverse engineering" its printer toner cartridges. Static Control produced replacement microchips that enabled resellers to refill toner cartridges and sell them more cheaply.

Lexmark cited provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the lawsuit. The district court ruled in Lexmark's favor, then Static Control appealed to the Sixth Circuit.

EFF today filed an amicus brief to the appeals court supporting Static Control.

"Whether you like or hate the controversial DMCA, Congress never intended the law to shield printer manufacturers from competition in toner cartridges," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer. "The Lexmark lawsuit shows how far copyright law has strayed from its original foundations, that is, 'to promote progress of science and useful arts.'"

EFF's amicus brief continues the EFF tradition of defending the rights of technologists and innovators. The brief argues that manufacturers should not be able to use the law to thwart interoperability with their products, because reverse engineering is protected fair use of copyrighted programs.

Links:

Contact:

Wendy Seltzer

  Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  wendy@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x125 (office)

Cindy Cohn
  Legal Director
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  cindy@eff.org

  +1 415 436-9333 x108 (office)

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