EFF in the News
“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.”
One of the biggest winners if TPP goes through with the draft provisions would be Hollywood film studios. The consistent U.S. position—expanded control globally for copyright holders, including longer terms and even more draconian penalties for infringement (and even some security research)—amounts to a Hollywood wish list. Unfortunately for the rest of us, if enacted as drafted, the TPP would have "extensive negative ramifications for users' freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate," according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy rights group based in San Francisco, said that Comey and others haven't been able to point to any crimes that have gone unsolved because of the encryption software.
The blueprints appear to describe, in a rather broad manner, the distribution of a podcast series. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which challenged Personal Audio's '504 patent, argues it is not a particularly new or novel idea. The foundation has pointed to the CNN Newsroom website, built way back in 1994, that made copies of news segments available online as an example of prior art.
Personal Audio has been threatening the podcast world for a while -- the longtime patent troll claims that it invented the concept of podcasting, and has insisted that some bigger productions (such as Adam Carolla's) either cough up licensing money or face lawsuits. You may not have to worry about your favorite series going off the air in the future, though. US patent officials have nixed some of the core claims of Personal Audio's "podcasting patent" after the Electronic Frontier Foundation pointed out podcast-like shows that were running before the patent even existed. Some aspects of episodic online audio are just too obvious to be patentable, according to the finding.
The decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office represents a victory for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which in 2013 filed a petition to have elements of the so-called podcasting patent invalidated.