EFF in the News
While the largest library organizations are not signatories to the letter, among the signers are the Urban Libraries Council; the networks Lyrasis, Nylink, and BCR; and the Open Book Alliance, (OBA) which includes the New York Library Association and SLA. Among the other signatories are the American Society of Journalists and Authors; the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Microsoft; Yahoo; law professor Pamela Samuelson; and various foreign publishing societies.
The digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation fired back a letter on behalf of the Yes Men, arguing that the site is protected by fair use principles because it "is obviously designed for purposes of criticism and comment."
"Meritless cases brought by law enforcement officers, amounting to little more than publicity stunts with little to no chance of success, do little to address the officers' underlying concerns," Matt Zimmerman , a senior staff attorney with the EFF, wrote in a blog post. "Service provides are not liable because Congress correctly understood that the soap box should not be held responsible for the speech of others. Just as phone companies are not liable for harassing phone calls, or e-mail software providers for deceptive messages, online message boards like Craigslist are in most instances not liable for their users' posts."
But lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation are telling the Chamber to cool off about the whole affair.
What's the furor about? The Yes Men staged a fake press conference this week at the National Press Club in Washington. A "Yes Man" calling himself "Hingo Sembra" actually took to the podium in front of reporters to announce the Chamber's shift on climate change, only to have the whole spectacle turn truly bizarre when a real Chamber official showed up.
There is yet another way that copyright owners could get ISPs to help in their antipiracy efforts, according to Gwen Hinze, international policy director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
While prostitution is a serious problem, targeting websites like Craigslist is simply "a cheap and easy way to score political points," wrote Matt Zimmerman of the advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"Meritless cases brought by law enforcement officers, amounting to little more than publicity stunts with little to no chance of success, do little to address the officers' underlying concerns," he wrote in a blog posting.
"Service provides are not liable because Congress correctly understood that the soap box should not be held responsible for the speech of others."
In an odd twist, the Electronic Frontier Foundation agrees. Despite supporting neutrality, the group argues that "Congress has never given the FCC any authority to regulate the Internet for the purpose of ensuring net neutrality."
Kevin Bankston, a privacy lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, applauded the latest NSL proposal.
“As currently written, NSLs can be used to obtain the records of somebody not suspected of a crime. It’s a suspicionless standard. Under the proposal they must relate to an agent of a foreign power, of somebody working for a foreign government or foreign terror organization, ” he said. “That ensures that there is a particularized suspicion rather than allowing them to go on a fishing expedition.”
Their goal is to raise both awareness and money for worthy organizations, which currently include the Alliance for Climate Protection, Architecture for Humanity, Charity:Water, Donors Choose, Electronic Frontier Foundation and National Resources Defense Council.
"The law hasn't kept up with technology," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Up through most of the 1900s, the idea was that when you wrote something down, it was a signal that it was somehow important. Therefore it was reasonable for the law to say that written communication and other documents could be deemed relevant in criminal and civil proceedings."