EFF in the News
Pamela Samuelson, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said "It's not very often that some obscure issue of patent law can excite so much attention."
Samuelson, who was an author of a brief on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online civil liberties group, and others, said it was time for the court to tap the brakes on the business patents rush. The earlier State Street decision, her brief stated, had the effect of "knocking patent law loose from its historical moorings and improperly injecting patents into business areas where they were neither needed nor wanted."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said Wednesday that it will represent the Yes Men in fighting a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against the activists for staging a fake news conference claiming the business association had changed its stance on climate change legislation. The chamber's lawsuit, filed in October, claimed the Yes Men unlawfully used the group's trademark and other intellectual property by using the chamber's logo in a press release and at the fake news conference.
The EFF, having worked with the Yes Men to keep their fake site accessible, has announced that it will continue with what it terms a "free speech fight." To defend against the lawsuit, it will be joined by Davis Wright Tremaine, a large international law firm with a history of pro bono work.
"The leaks confirm everything that we feared about the secret ACTA negotiations," wrote Gwen Hinze of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a grim post on the advocacy organization's "Deeplinks" blog. Or, as author and Boing Boing blogger Cory Doctorow put it even more pithily: "It's bad. Very bad."
"The US government appears to be pushing for three strikes – despite the fact that it has been categorically rejected by the European parliament," said Gwen Hinze of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, adding that the leaks "confirmed everything that we feared".
Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, replied to the Justice Department on behalf of his client in a February 2009 letter (PDF) outlining what he described as a series of problems with the subpoena, including that it was not personally served, that a judge-issued court order would be required for the full logs, and that Indymedia did not store logs in the first place.
In a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the PTO, the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote, "EFF believes that patents should only be granted for technological processes. Congress never intended the strong protections of the patent monopoly to be available for mere services and methods of doing business."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation says it is tired of what it calls bogus software patents. While Congress dithers over patent reform, the EFF is taking action against the software patents it considers are suppressing noncommercial and small-business innovation or limiting free expression online. To combat these annoying patents, the EFF has targeted its own Top 10 egregious patents. eWEEK presents the EFF's most bogus software patents.
The main issue for readers is privacy. Because you are searching and reading on a public network, there is little assurance that your browsing and reading habits are private. Here are some of the questions raised by groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Are your reading habits safe from fishing expeditions by the government or lawyers in civil cases?
How will Google itself use information about your reading history?
How will Google combine information about your reading habits with other information it may have about you through its other products?
Apple claims that jailbreaking the iPhone violates its copyrights and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Digital-rights organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation beg to differ.
The EFF's Fred von Lohman argues that iPhone owners should be free to tinker with their phones, especially when they can add capabilities that App Store programs don't yet provide. He notes that "the courts have long recognized that copying software while reverse-engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software, a body of law that Apple conveniently fails to mention."