What EFF is up to

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Intellectual Property and beyond

-- Corynne

Whats the latest on the DMCA?

  • EFF has grown to 52 people in past 8 years.
  • Legal team at heart.
  • Staff technologists work on projects
  • Five lawyers on IP, rest on civil liberties
  • Civil liberties = NSA, code of rights
  • IP = patent, copyright, trademark laws are doing what they are supposed to, to spur creativity and innovation; copyright e.g. defending *Publicresource.org, making sure that information that is part of the law is made public. Much of law is in standards and codes (not the constitution). *Defend YesMen -- who pose as corporations and then make outrageous statements, to make a point or draw attention to an issue. Got sued for trademark infringement because used logo.


  • two parts, good part is Safe Harbor protection. Without it, Interest would be very different, no google, youtube, socail media.Section 1201 makes it unlawful to circumvent DRM, and to traffic in tools, including telling people how to do it. Supposed to stop people breaking DRM but it doesn't. But used as excuse to shut down scholarly work on security flaws. Inhibits competition among after-market products, e.g. Lexmark DRM in printer s/w so can only use Lexmark ink cartridges. Sued a company that circumvented the DRM. Internet of Things -- so many devices can be locked down. Can get an exemption from DMCA from Library of Congress. e.g. to jailbreak your phone, tablet, video game console. E.g. a game no longer supported by manufacture. Suppose wanted to take car to independent repair/service agent. Exemption applies to all different kinds of uses. Gives LoC a veto on technological innovation. Sometimes have to get exemption to unlock phones, but was denied, so . Congress had to pass a law to allow to unlock until next round of exemptions. All due to Hollywood, MPAA is very rich and powerful. Likewise software industry wants to lock down software. Congress talks about copyright reform. EFF and other orgs partnering this year, requesting many exemptions, raising awareness, including tablets, cars (modding and tinkering).
  • EFF needs evidence from us. Timeline from early 2015 through summer. Raise awareness in LoC and Congress that people care about this.
  • Why isn't Silicon Valley tech corps more involved? They don't want to be in DC. But now with some really bad laws, CIPPA, SOPA, etc., forces

need to change laws. Google now has a large office in DC. But cannot count on google to always be on our side. New group called ENGINE that represents the start-up community.

Net Neutrality

  • EFF definition = requiring the ISPs to handle packets without unfair discrimination. Need for rules that prevent certain applications priority, no access fees. Not for protecting Netflix, but for small orgs and businesses. "Edge providers" Legal explanation: need rules of the road, because for most of US no competition for service providers (duopoly at best). FCC trying to regulate, and doing it badly, Decided to treat broadband service as an information service, rather than a telecommunications service. EFF argues for reclassification, and then not apply (forbear) the rules currently applying to telcom. Congress threatening to defund FCC. Event in SF City Hall tomorrow night.