EFF in the News
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.
The owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has for the first time been hit with a counterclaim over its online copyright infringement lawsuit campaign, with attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing the newspaper of entering a "sham" relationship with the Review-Journal's copyright enforcement partner Righthaven LLC — and accusing Righthaven of copyright fraud.
Kevin Bankston, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, took issue with the move. "This proposal is a drastic anti-privacy, anti-security, anti-innovation solution in search of a problem," he said.
He noted that in an official 2009 review of 2,400 federal, state and local law enforcement applications for wiretap orders, "encryption was encountered during one state wiretap, but did not prevent officials from obtaining the plain text of the communications."
KEVIN BANKSTON, Electronic Frontier Foundation: There are a great deal of new technologies that the Internet has enabled to allow us to communicate with each other.
But the fact is, this proposal would be a drastic and costly anti-privacy, anti-security, and anti-innovation solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
Seth Schoen, staff technologist at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said requiring "government-mandated back doors" in communications systems would be a "recipe for disaster."
"Throughout the 1990s, EFF and others fought the 'crypto wars' to ensure that the public would have the right to strong encryption tools that protect our privacy and security -- with no back doors and no intentional weaknesses," Schoen said in a blog post.
One such site is ssd.eff.org, originally created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) "to educate the American public about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States, providing the information and tools necessary to evaluate the threat of surveillance and take appropriate steps to defend against it," according to the website.
The latest news in the ongoing effort by the EFF to invalidate ten awful patents looks good, as the Patent Office has given an initial rejection of C2's VoIP patent, claiming that it qualifies as "obvious."