EFF in the News
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on net neutrality rules that revolve around the idea of “reasonable network management.” Princeton’s Ed Felten points out that this framework would leave regulators with enormous discretion to determine what constitutes permissible manipulation of the Internet by network providers and what would be verboten. Giving the FCC so much leeway has some digital rights advocates nervous. Those advocates support the principles of neutrality, but they’re worried that the FCC’s jurisdiction grab here gives it an opening to exert greater control over the Internet down the road – which, given the Federal Communications Commission’s historic coziness with the industry it regulates, might not play out in the public’s favor. Those advocates might have a point. But adding a wrinkle to things is that Congress hasn't exactly proven itself capable of handling the complexities of the Internet age.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a big fan of naming and shaming... So when it wanted to highlight the overzealous use of DMCA takedown notices on the Web, the EFF went a similar route with its new "Takedown Hall of Shame."
But even after the Yes Men acknowledged the hoax, the press release remained online, and the Chamber couldn't help but toss a DMCA takedown at the pranksters' ISP. Those net watchdogs at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) cried foul over the takedown notice, arguing that parody is protected under copyright law and the US Constitution's First Amendment.
The Net watchdogs at EFF have come out against the Chamber's DMCA tactics, demanding the takedown notice be rescinded. "We are very disappointed the Chamber of Commerce decided to respond to political criticism with legal threats," EFF staff attorney Corynne McSherry said from inside a press release.
"Google will know what pages you read and how often you read it," says Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented authors in the settlement with Google. "Google has come out with a policy saying it promises to protect our privacy, but it doesn't have any specific commitments -- it's pretty thin gruel."
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."