EFF in the News
“We’ve already seen with copyright enforcement provisions an increasing policing of content online,” said Maira Sutton, a global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “The risk with the TPP is that it’ll increase incentives for ISPs to remove content to make sure they’re not liable for what users post. In the U.S., we’ve seen rights holders sending letters to ISPs saying something is infringing, and ISPs will remove content whether it’s infringing or not.”
Maira Sutton, a global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, said that based on leaked versions of the TPP's text, the agreement appears to export weaker fair use provisions than those in current U.S. law.
"In the US, using the video of the shooting, a very newsworthy event, as part of news coverage is almost certainly a fair use, meaning no payment is required. Other countries vary," Mitch Stoltz, a copyright attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars in an e-mail.
Electronic Frontier Foundation Staff Technologist Jeremy Gillula claims that allowing the US government access to bypass encryption software in Americans’ personal technology devices would likely make it easier for hackers to exploit their information.
“We’re seeing an increasing crackdown on supposedly copyrighted content that is uploaded to the internet,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Maira Sutton told ThinkProgress. The DMCA gives both internet service providers (ISPs) and online platforms like Google a huge incentive to automatically remove user content when someone makes a copyright claim. Few sites bother to carefully review copyright claims for validity before removing content or suspending users.
“Many things that are protected by fair use or are in the public domain get automatically taken down with no regard to whether that content is actually legal or not,” Sutton said. Users can challenge a platform or ISP’s decision, but “they’re not required to make a determination of whether it’s a fair use.”
“It’s a huge disappointment,” Maira Sutton, Global Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Daily Dot. “We thought that Wyden was going to do much more to at least enact more safeguards for users.”
Still, it is possible that a judge somewhere could interpret applicable copyright law harshly, said Nate Cardoso, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that defends civil liberties in cyberspace.
“The worst-case scenario is that if the law being applied is that of an unfriendly jurisdiction in the U.S. and you’re found to be violating the terms of service, you could be prosecuted for a hacking crime,” Mr. Cardoso said. “I think that prosecution would be completely unreasonable. But there are (U.S.) prosecutors that disagree with me.”
Of course, I'm not a technology lawyer, so I contacted Hanni Fakhoury, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"This is crazy," he said, before adding, "My jaw is on the floor."
The EFF and law student Kendra Albert earlier this year petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anticircumvention provisions (Section 1201), which would allow individuals and institutions to modify games so they remain playable after servers are shut down by the games' publishers.
Jeremy Malcolm, senior global policy analyst for digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, believes that this kind of legislation could open the door to the kinds of severe internet censorship seen in countries like China.
“The MPA is arguing on the false premise that any content that violates national laws has to be blocked at the [internet service provider] level.” Malcolm told me. “This is the same argument that has created a ‘walled garden’ Internet in China, and has seen entire platforms such as Facebook and Twitter blocked from time to time, including Pakistan and Turkey just to name two countries where this has happened.”