EFFector Online Newsletter

EFFector       Vol. 15, No. 27       September 6, 2002     ren@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 226th Issue of EFFector:

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Washington, DC - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and eleven other consumer and privacy groups last week sided with Verizon in its struggle to protect customer privacy.

The groups urged a federal court to prevent the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) from forcing Internet Service Provider Verizon to identify a customer the RIAA has accused of offering infringing music on a peer-to-peer system.

"The court should require careful judicial consideration of facts supporting any accusations and hear the other side of the story before violating the privacy of an Internet user," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "The RIAA asked the court to throw a long history of protection of anonymous speech out the window as soon as someone suspects copyright infringement on a peer-to-peer system."

EFF, along with over a dozen other groups, including the National Consumers League, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Media Action Project, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and the nation's oldest general farm organization The Grange, filed a "friend of the court" brief urging that the same strong protections that apply for anonymous speech in other contexts also apply for claims of copyright infringement.

"The right to anonymous speech is as old as this nation," noted Megan Gray, who wrote the brief on behalf of the groups. "The authors of the Federalist Papers relied on anonymity and a growing body of law recognizes that anonymous Internet speakers deserve the same anonymity protections as those who use pen and ink."

"Our privacy and free speech rights should not be collateral damage in the RIAA's war against the digital music revolution," added Cohn.

The groups who have signed on to the consumer privacy amicus brief are, in alphabetical order:

* Alliance for Public Technology

* Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

* Consumer Alert

* Electronic Frontier Foundation

* Electronic Privacy Information Center

* Media Access Project

* National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry (Grange)

* National Consumers League

* Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

* Privacyactivism

* Public Knowledge

* Utility Consumers' Action Network

RIAA v. Verizon was filed in Washington, DC, federal district court.


EFF and other groups' amicus brief in RIAA v. Verizon:

For this release:

Original filing in RIAA v. Verizon:

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San Francisco - The California Supeme Court heard oral arguments on September 5, 2002, in a case that tests the limits of California's jurisdiction over out-of-state web publishers. Texas resident Matthew Pavlovich, founder of the LiVid open-source software project, was sued by DVD-CCA based upon claims that he was involved in the publication of DeCSS on the LiVid website in 1999. The DVD-CCA is the Hollywood studios' DVD-licensing body, but it did not even own the license to the CSS software at the time of the claimed publication by Pavlovich. The LiVid project was working on developing a DVD player for Linux computers.

Pavlovich claims that he is not subject to the state of California's jurisdiction since he doesn't live in California and has had no contacts to the state. His only "act" here was affilition with a passive website onto which DeCSS was published. The issue for the court to decide is whether simply publishing information on the Internet can be a sufficient basis to force a non-resident into court in California to litigate the underlying claims when the claimed "effect" of the publication is to hurt industries that are based on California. Both state and federal constitutions provide guarantees of due process of law which could be upset if the high court opens the floodgates of litigation by finding it has jurisdiction in this case.


EFF/Pavlovich Opening Brief to Calif. Supreme Court:

EFF "Intellectual Property: DVD CCA (DVD Content Control Association) Case" Archive:

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On August 22nd, 2002, Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Internet Activist-Extraordinaire) routed Barney the purple dinosaur at a benefit for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's CAFE project. Now YOU can own a piece of the magic.

That's right: we're auctioning Wil Wheaton's boxing gloves.

If you saw the fight, you know what these are capable of. If you missed it, here's your chance to own a piece of celebrity boxing history! Each glove has an ultra-hip caricature of the contenders by Ben Claasen (www.bendependent.com) and all proceeds benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Check out the auction at:

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Deep Links
Deep Links features noteworthy news items, victories, and threats from around the Internet.

The National Journal on the Hollywood v. Tech War
Drew Clark and Bara Vaida on the increasingly bitter war that Hollywood is waging on the high-tech industry. Read it at: http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2002/0906nj1.htm

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Death Knell Sounded for Web Radio?
CNET News.com article on a recent report by Jupiter Research on how the new webcasting royalty rates may bankrupt Internet radio. Check it out at:

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Ren Bucholz, Activist

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