cognitive liberty

Here is part of the latest EFFector newsletter from, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Anytime you read about a law, a bill, or a patent that looks like it is restricting your civil liberties, read a position paper from their website and/or give these guys $2.

Dear EFFector readers,

2004 has been another amazing year here at EFF, with a number of important victories for freedom, privacy, and innovation:

  • We helped win its fight against the Visa credit card dynasty over fair use of the word "visa" in domain names.
  • We (with your support) helped derail the government's CAPPS II passenger-profiling system (although we need your help to continue to fight its evil reincarnation, Secure Flight).
  • We won the Grokster case in the 9th Circuit. The Supreme Court has decided to hear this case in March 2005.
  • We helped individuals assert their due process rights in cases brought against them by the recording industry.
  • We put forth our voluntary collective licensing proposal, explaining how artists could get paid without suing music lovers.
  • We won the case that got Diebold punished for misusing copyright law.
  • We won the Bunner case, which held that republishing information about reverse engineering was not prohibited by trade secret law.
  • We started a patent busting campaign and identified the ten most egregious patent threats to technology and freedom.
  • We were a leader in the fight for a verifiable paper trail on electronic voting machines.
  • We expanded our international work, participating in the Digital Video Broadcasting group and in WIPO.
  • We defended Jibjab's fair use of "This Land Is Your Land" in its presidential parody "This Land" and in the process learned that the Woody Guthrie song had fallen into the public domain.
  • We defended technologists using smart card readers from an overzealous DirecTV.
  • We (with your support) helped make sure terrible legislation like the PIRATE Act and the Induce Act did not pass.
  • We drafted a mock legal complaint to show how the Induce Act would kill off technologies like the iPod.
  • We successfully challenged the Child Online Protection Act at the Supreme Court.
  • We wrote and circulated a paper on best practices for Online Service Providers.
  • We fought the expansion of the DMCA, writing amicus briefs supporting Skylink's right to make interoperable garage door openers and Static Control's right to make aftermarket printer cartridges. (We helped win both cases.)
  • We represented (and continue to represent) Indymedia in an effort to uncover why their servers were seized and to assert their First Amendment rights.
  • We formed an Advisory Board of some of the smartest people working on these issues.

While these victories are sweet, the fight is far from over.
We really could use your financial support for 2005.
EFFector has more than 55,000 subscribers to date, and EFF has 14,000 dues-paying members. If you haven't already done so, please join your fellow EFFector readers in becoming a member today so that we can keep on delivering the good news to you every holiday season.

A happy holiday to you and yours, and thank you for your support!

Peace and good wishes, Shari Steele Executive Director