Google Plays Internet Cop for Rights Holders

August 13, 2012 -

Google has decided to play ball with rights holders, according to this Politico report. The world's biggest search engine revealed that it will now make search results from sites with "frequent copyright removal notices" appear lower in Google search rankings. Google announced late Friday that web sites with high numbers of "valid" removal notices would be affected by this new policy.

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EFF: The NSA Cannot Be Trusted to Oversee Cybersecurity Operations

July 30, 2012 -

Internet rights advocacy and lobbying group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has an interesting article offering five reasons why the National Security Agency (NSA) shouldn't be trusted to run whatever cybersecurity oversight comes out if the Senate passes the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 and manages to reconcile it with the House's Cyber Intelligence Security Protection Act (CISPA).

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U.S. Government Tells Court Megaupload Users Should Sue Company Over Lost Files

June 12, 2012 -

The United States government has a suggestion for Megaupload users that can't get their legal data from the file-sharing and storage company: sue them or the service provider for Megaupload. Basically they are saying that since they have gotten the data they wanted from the servers they seized, it's not their problem anymore.

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Advocacy Groups Launch ‘Privacy is Awesome’ to Fight CISPA and SECURE IT Act

May 25, 2012 -

Advocacy groups Fight for the Future, Democrats.com, The Liberty Coalition, and the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), have banded together to create a new website called Privacy Is Awesome, to fight against CISPA and the Senate version of the bill, SECURE IT Act. The site is designed to teach netizens how to defeat the bills in five easy steps:

EFF Going to Federal Court for Megaupload Users

April 12, 2012 -

Tomorrow the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will ask a federal judge to finally establish a process that allows lawful users - including a number of government agencies - of Megaupload's cloud storage service to reclaim their files. The hearing in USA v. Dotcom is set for 9 a.m. on April 13 at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Carpathia Hosting Asks Federal Court for Relief on Megaupload Data Storage Costs

March 22, 2012 -

Dulles, Virginia-based hosting firm Carpathia Hosting is tired of storing 25 petabytes of Megaupload data on more than 1,000 servers in North America because of the government's shutdown of the file-sharing site in January, and is asking a federal court to relieve them of their obligations and any liability.

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Federal Court Declares Newspaper Excerpts 'Fair Use'

March 20, 2012 -

Earlier this month the federal district court in Nevada issued a declaratory judgment that made it a lot harder for copyright holders to file lawsuits over excerpts of material being used on web sites and online forums. The judgment is a direct blow to law firms like Righthaven, who filed a ton of lawsuits against websites claiming that they had infringed on copyright holders it represented.

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Kim Dotcom: US Government Has Files on Megaupload

March 12, 2012 -

An interesting article on TorrentFreak points out something we should have suspected all along: that everyday Megaupload users are not the only ones that have lost access to legal data - the U.S. government has also had some of its data locked down. According to Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, the Department of Justice and members of the U.S. Senate have stored data on the site, which, ironically, they don't have access to because the U.S. government shut the site down.

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EFF Takes Patent Fight to the Supreme Court

March 9, 2012 -

The other day we showed you an Infographic the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) made concerning the harm that the current patent system in the United States. Today we'll tell you what the advocacy group is doing about it on the legal front.

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Infographic: How Patents Hinder Innovation

March 7, 2012 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has posted an infographic showing how patents hinder innovation, limit competition and stop people from gaining access to knowledge and tools to further ideas. Of course, a great majority of the problems with patents have to do with patent trolls - companies that buy up patents for the sole purpose of conducting large scale litigation against companies to make a quick buck. It doesn't help that the overwhelmed and underfunded US Patent Office hands out questionable patents every day either.

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Public Comment Period on Console Jailbreaking Ending Soon

March 1, 2012 -

Video game console makers Microsoft and Sony are squaring off against enthusiast hackers, academics, and organizations such as the EFF who would like to make the act of jailbreaking legal. There is already an exception in place that allows the iPhone to be jailbroken, so supporters of gaining similar allowances for the Xbox 360 and PS3 are urging the U.S. Copyright Office to make these exceptions. The copyright office is currently accepting public input comments on the subject until Friday, and will likely make a decision soon shortly thereafter.

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Federal Appeals Court Says Decryption Court Orders are a Violation of the Fifth Amendment

February 24, 2012 -

A federal appeals court has concluded that a Florida man who refused to decrypt several electronic devices and was subsequently imprisoned, had his civil rights violated. This is the first time an appeals courts has ruled in favor of protections for encrypted devices and software. The court ruled in The United States v. Doe that the man's Fifth Amendment Rights were violated.

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EFF Promises Lawsuits if MegaUpload Customer Data is not Retained

February 3, 2012 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked all parties involved in the MegaUpload criminal case to halt any plans to delete or otherwise dispose of data hosted on severs once leased by file-hosting services. With its assets frozen and its operators in jail, MegaUpload is unable to pay for storage of the data.

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EFF Launches Megaretrieval.com to Help MegaUpload Customers

February 1, 2012 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a site - megaretrieval.com - dedicated to helping legitimate customers of MegaUpload retrieve their lost data - put in limbo when the Federal government seized the servers and the assets of the file-sharing site. The goal of the site is to help innocent users who used the site to store data that was not in anyway infringing on other people's intellectual property (in other words, they were not engaged in any type of piracy).

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MegaUpload User Data Safe for Two Weeks, EFF Joins the Fight

January 31, 2012 -

Those who have data on MegaUpload and were concerned that it might get deleted on Thursday by the companies that facilitate the site's storage get some good news this morning - the data has been given a slight extension. And on a related note, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has begun a campaign this week to get "innocent users" of MegaUpload’s service to get in touch with them to explore possible legal measures for retrieving their data. MegaUpload’s online storage service was shut down by U.S. law enforcement earlier this month.

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Humble Introversion Bundle Pulls in $778,643.57

December 10, 2011 -

The Humble Introversion Bundle closed earlier this week, selling 190,261 bundles for a grand total of $778,643.57.  The dough will be divided up between Humble Bundle itself, the developers of the games included in the bundle, and two charities: the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play.

As always seems to be the case, Linux users paid the most, averaging $8.78 with Mac users following at $5.90 and Windows users bringing up the rear at $3.40.

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EFF Asks US Copyright Office to Exempt Jailbreaking, Fair Use from DMCA

December 5, 2011 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked the US Copyright Office to exempt jailbreaking devices such as the iPhone and PS3 from enforcement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

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DailyKOS Takes on SOPA, PROTECT IP

November 29, 2011 -

Left-leaning political blog DailyKOS joins the editorial pages of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times in opposition of the House's Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate's Protect IP Act. In a post titled "Congress is close to destroying the internet (no hyperbole)," DailyKOS says that it is not hyperbole when they say that lawmakers, big Pharmaceutical companies, and the recording, and movie industries are out to destroy the internet.

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EFF Issues Appeal for Help to Fight Against SOPA and Protect IP

November 23, 2011 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is taking up arms against the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and they want your help to do it. The advocacy that supports internet rights and freedom of speech online says that these new bills are "a threatening sequel to last year's COICA Internet censorship bill" and that this legislation "invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation."

More Games Added to The Humble Voxatron Debut

November 10, 2011 -

The Humble Voxatron Debut today added more games and an updated version of Voxatron as the "pay what you want" indie game promotion continues rake in hundreds-of-thousands of dollars for its developers and supported charities including Child's Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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Humblie Indie Bundle 3 Adds Atom Zombie Smasher

August 5, 2011 -

The Humble Indie Bundle 3 keeps getting bigger and better. Earlier this week the "name your own price" game bundle added all the games from the last bundle - Humble Indie Bundle 2. Today the bundle adds yet another game: Atom Zombie Smasher. The game is a bonus title, joining the previously announced bonus game Steel Storm: Burning Retribution. If you've already bought Humble Indie Bundle 3, just go to your download page and grab it.

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EFF Joins ECA, DCIA in Opposition of Bill S. 978

July 19, 2011 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has joined the Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) and the DCIA in opposing the bill S. 978, also known as the anti-streaming bill being fast tracked through the U.S. Congress. The advocacy group issued an alert urging the public to oppose the bill, which it called a "reckless attempt to attack online streaming by focusing on the 'unlawful public performance' area of copyright law." Much like the ECA's letter campaign, the EFF is offering a way for the community to send a strong letter to their elected officials. More from the alert:

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EFF Backs Datel in Microsoft DMCA Case

June 21, 2011 -

This week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a brief in support of videogame accessory company Datel, which accused Microsoft of using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to take down the competition in the Xbox 360 memory card market.

Microsoft filed a lawsuit in May alleging that Datel's SD-card-based memory cards violate the DMCA's provision against "technologies that can circumvent digital protections," adding that they could possibly be used to change gamer profiles and manually change Xbox Live Achievements. The EFF legal brief argues that the DMCA provision being used by Microsoft was intended to prevent piracy and copyright infringement, and not to block competitors who want to sell compatible products.

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Geohot Donates Legal Defense Fundraiser Leftovers to EFF

April 16, 2011 -

Quick recap:

-Sony sued George “Geohot” Hotz for jailbreaking the PS3
-Hotz asked for donations to mount a legal defense, raising enough over a weekend
-Sony and Hotz settled

Since the settlement, there have been quite a few irate comments from the folks who donated that run along the lines of: “Oh what?  You’re just going to pocket the money we donated you stinkin’ nerf herder?!”

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EFF on Sony v. Hotz

January 24, 2011 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a recent statement that the legal action Sony has taken against George Hotz sends a dangerous message. The groups says that it has been warning of the dangers of the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act including having a chilling effect on free speech and stifling research on security issues.

The EFF says that legitimate security researchers will be afraid to publish results for fear of facing legal action from big corporations. They also added that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be abused to try to make alleged contract violations into crimes. Here is more from the EFF statement:

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Humble Indie Bundle 2 Adds Humble Indie Bundle 1 Into the Mix

December 23, 2010 -

The Humble Indie Bundle 2 has upped the ante for those who want a whole bunch of cool independently developed PC games at a decent price. Now those that buy the Indie Bundle 2 can get all the games from Indie Bundle 1. The only catch is that you will have to pay the average price currently listed on the site. Still, that is a little over $10 for over 11 games.

Collectively the games include Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, Revenge of the Titans, World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, Penumbra Overture, and Samfrost 2.

So far, the Indie Game Bundle 2 has raised $1.5 million for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play charities. Get in on the action here.

Source: Joystiq

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The Humble Indie Bundle 2 Revealed

December 15, 2010 -

The new Humble Bundle has been revealed, and once again, proceeds will benefit the Child's Play charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Like last year, the community is asked to pay whatever they want to get a handful of games.

While some will take advantage and pay next to nothing some in the community are proving to be very generous with their pricing. According to the web site one person pledged to pay $1,000 for the bundle. Wolfire's first pay-what-you-want Humble Indie Bundle raised $1 million dollars in ten days, $180,000 of which customers earmarked for EFF.

This year's bundle includes Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, and Revenge of the Titans. The games are worth around $85. Games in "ongoing development" offer consumers access to all future updates.

For more information, visit the bundle's official web site. Check out the promo video Wolfire put together.

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EFF Offers Aid to USCG John Doe Defendants

August 10, 2010 -

Has the U.S. Copyright Group got you down because you might be a John Doe named in some blanket lawsuit concerning illegal movie downloads? Well buck up little camper, because the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to help you.

The EFF has published "U.S. Copyright Group v. the People," a collection of resources to assist the thousands of individuals accused of online copyright infringement by the Washington, D.C.-based law firm, the U.S. Copyright Group (USCG).

As you are probably already aware, the USCG filed "John Doe" lawsuits on behalf of seven filmmakers against more than 14,000 anonymous defendants for "unauthorized downloads of films including Far Cry and The Hurt Locker. The group is threatening thousands of defendants with a judgment of up to $150,000 per downloaded movie in the hopes that they will settle out of court for a mere $1,500 - $2,500 per person.

 

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EFF Dissects ACTA

November 19, 2009 -

A pair of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Directors penned an article which delves into some of the issues surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations.

The Impact of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement on the Knowledge Economy (PDF) was published in the Yale Journal of International Law. Authors Eddan Katz, EFF International Affairs Director, and Gwen Hinze, EFF International Policy Director, call the secret ACTA negotiations a threat “to undermine the balance of IP at the foundation of sustainable innovation and creativity.”

The EFF is concerned as well with the “unprecedented” secrecy around ACTA negotiations. The organization attempted to gain information using freedom of information laws, but only received 159 pages of information, while 1,362 were withheld due to national security concerns.

The U.S. is negotiating ACTA as a sole executive agreement, meaning that agreements “are concluded on the basis of the President’s independent constitutional authority alone.” The authors note that such agreements are not subjected to congressional vote, thus removing “the inter-branch accountability mechanisms essential to balanced policymaking.”

Circumventing the involvement of organizations such as World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), who typically account for “a range of interests” also removes “checks and balances” from ACTA negotiations.

Why should you and I be concerned about ACTA? The EFF has three responses for that question:

…though it was originally portrayed as an agreement to coordinate best practices on border enforcement of physical goods, ACTA will extend to regulation of global Internet traffic.

...implementation of ACTA may require amending U.S. law and upsetting developments in controversial areas of public policy.

…using trade agreements to set global norms for intellectual property enforcement risks distorting national information regulation.

The EFF authors offer the following proposals as ways to improve the transparency and accountability of ACTA:

• Reform trade advisory committees for more diverse representation;
• Strengthen congressional oversight and negotiating objectives;
• Institutionalize transparency guidelines for trade negotiations;
• Implement the State Department’s solicitation of public comments under the Circular 175 procedure


ACTA negotiations are scheduled to resume in January.

11 comments

Electronic Frontier Foundation Launches School Copyright Curriculum

June 8, 2009 -

A couple of weeks back GamePolitics reported that the Copyright Alliance had developed a K-12 curriculum designed to drill the IP lobbying group's message into school children.

By contrast, the more consumer-friendly Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched Teaching Copyright, a curriculum of its own. As one might expect, the EFF takes a much different approach than the Copyright Alliance.

While I'm not sure that either side in the copyright debate should be permitted to chew up precious educational time, the EFF points out that California law requires such curriculum:

In 2006, California passed a law requiring schools that accept technology funding to educate students about copyright, plagiarism, and the basics of Internet safety. Other states have since considered similar laws...

 

When we surveyed existing digital education resources related to copyright, we were dismayed to find that... the materials focused on drilling students on the prohibitions of copyright... we could not stand by and let this educational opportunity become an excuse to scare young people away from making full and fair use of the digital technologies that will continue to affect virtually every aspect of their lives.

The EFF's curriculum includes:

  • What is legal online?
  • How is creativity being enabled by new technologies?
  • What digital rights and responsibilities exist already, and what roles do we play as users of digital technology?

However, Nate Anderson of Ars Technica expressed some concerns about the EFF's educational prorgam:

The EFF's curriculum rightly says that P2P isn't just for copyright infringement... But the material glosses quickly over the absolutely epic levels of infringement taking place on P2P networks...

The [EFF] curriculum seems to presuppose, in fact, that students have already been bombarded with rightsholder concerns to the point that these can almost be left out of the discussion.

 

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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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