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.

 

8 comments

DRM in Your Car's Engine

May 20, 2009 -

GamePolitics readers are familiar with the Digital Rights Management controversy which marred the release of Will Wright's long-awaited Spore last year.

But DRM and the consumer-unfriendly Digital Millenium Copyright Act are apparently concerns for drivers as well as gamers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that a proposal before Congress would allow independent auto repair shops to break the DRM which currently locks them out of your car's diagnostic computer:

The Right-To-Repair Act of 2009 (H.R. 2057)... points to a much bigger consumer issue... One underlying legal problem here is the DMCA, which prohibits bypassing or circumventing "technological protection measures..."

And the issue goes beyond the importance of being able to get independent repair and maintenance services. The use of technological "locks" against tinkerers also threatens "user innovation" -- the kinds of innovation that traditionally have come from independent tinkerers -- which has increasingly been recognized as an important part of economic growth and technological improvement...

In short, thanks to the DMCA, we need a Right-To-Repair Act not just for cars, but increasingly for all the things we own.

Via: boing boing

15 comments

Hal Halpin, ECA on Hand For Today's FTC Town Hall Meeting on DRM in Seattle

March 25, 2009 -

The Federal Trade Commission's much-anticipated Town Hall Meeting on digital rights management (DRM) will take place today at the University of Washington Law School in Seattle.

The all-day event begins at 8:30 A.M. Pacific and will be webcast live.

Among other participants, Entertainment Consumers Association President Hal Halpin will serve on the 1:15 P.M. panel "Informing Consumers." According to the FTC's agenda, "This panel will discuss how companies communicate the existence and effects of DRM protections on products and services to consumers. It will explore ways of providing consumers with better notice."

In advance of his panel appearance, Halpin issued a statement on the Town Hall Meeting:

Over the past year we have witnessed a growing concern from gamers about the issues of increasingly invasive Digital Rights Management (DRM) and End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs). While we respect the careful balance that must exist between the content community and the customer, and agree that piracy is an ever-present challenge for the trade, it is also becoming evident that consumer rights are being diminished in the process...

The law, in the area of EULAs in particular, is not as clear as it once was. And the software industry’s potential side-stepping of the First Sale Doctrine’s protections – by terming their products as “licensed” rather than “sold” - leaves us concerned about the future of interactive entertainment, generally...

Halpin also noted that the ECA is preparing new position statements on both DRM and EULAs. You can read the full text of his statement here.

Among others known to be appearing at the Town Hall on behalf of consumers is Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

5 comments

Electronic Frontier Foundation Calls on FTC to Protect Consumers From DRM

February 13, 2009 -

Digital activist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation has called upon the Federal Trade Commission to mitigate the harm caused to consumers by digital rights management (DRM).

An EFF press release quotes staff attorney Corynne McSherry (left) on the DRM issue:

DRM does not prevent piracy.

 

At this point, DRM seems intended to accomplish a very different purpose: giving some industry leaders unprecedented power to influence the pace and nature of innovation and upsetting the traditional balance between the interests of copyright owners and the interests of the public.

 

The best way to fix the problem is to get rid of DRM on consumer products and reform the [Digital Millenium Copyright Act], but the steps we're suggesting will help protect technology users and future technology innovation in the meantime.

The EFF press release adds:

Industry leaders argue that DRM is necessary to protect sales of digital media, but DRM systems are consistently and routinely broken almost immediately upon their introduction.

The group filed public comments with the FTC in advance of the government agency's Town Hall on DRM, which is scheduled for March 25th in Seattle.

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quiknkoldI'm 7 years old, and my cousin(Also 7, maybe 8 at this time) tells me has Battletoads. its Summer Vacation. We play and play and play until finally, We won coop. Those were the days.09/23/2014 - 5:29pm
quiknkoldlets take a moment to share some gaming memories, shall we?09/23/2014 - 5:28pm
MechaTama31I buy stuff off the eshop because it gives me the convenience of a flashcart without the guilt.09/23/2014 - 5:03pm
Montewell thanks for the info Eisen; try that the next time i need something off the eshop09/23/2014 - 3:54pm
james_fudgere: MP, i've sent tech support a note - thank you :)09/23/2014 - 3:14pm
IanCNah that wasnt directed at you Andrew :)09/23/2014 - 3:00pm
Papa MidnightRe: SIEGE 2014 Keynote: oh dear...09/23/2014 - 2:44pm
MaskedPixelanteDear GP, something called "doubleverify" is causing some nasty browser issues on my end. Probably one of your ads.09/23/2014 - 2:36pm
Andrew EisenOh hell no. No, it took Nintendo a dog's age just to get to the point its competitors have been at for a while! (And it's still not there yet, in a lot of respects.)09/23/2014 - 2:26pm
IanCSame as PSN handles it, fi you are trying to say only nintendo do that.09/23/2014 - 2:23pm
Andrew EisenYou have to try to purchase something first. Pick a game, hit purchase and if your wallet doesn't have enough to cover it, you'll be given an option to "add exact funds" or something like that.09/23/2014 - 2:05pm
MonteI have seen no option for that on my 3DS; anytime i want to add funds it only gives me the option to add in denominations of $10, 20, 50 or 10009/23/2014 - 2:03pm
IanCWhat Andrew Wilson said. PSN is the same when you make a purchase over a certain price (£5 in the UK)09/23/2014 - 2:02pm
Andrew EisenNeither eShop charges sales tax either. At least in California.09/23/2014 - 2:00pm
Andrew EisenBoth Wii U and 3DS eShops allow you to add funds in the exact amount of whatever's in your shopping cart. If your game is $39.99, you can add exactly $39.99.09/23/2014 - 1:57pm
Infophile@Matthew Wilson: As I understand it, any regulations to force tax online would also set up an easy database for these stores to use, minimizing overhead.09/23/2014 - 1:30pm
MonteReally, the eshop just does next to nothing to make buying digitally advantagous for the customer. Its nice to have the game on my 3DS, but i can get more for less buying a physical copy at retail. And that's not even counting buying used09/23/2014 - 1:18pm
MonteIanC, The Eshop wallet system only lets you add funds in set denominations and the tax makes sure you no longer have round numbers so you ALWAYS loose money. A $39.99 game for instance requires you to add $50 instead of just $4009/23/2014 - 1:13pm
Matthew Wilsonbut thats just it those sites, even the small ones, sell all over the country.09/23/2014 - 11:12am
Neenekoeither that or it would follow the car model of today. big ticket items are taxed according to your residence, not where you buy them.09/23/2014 - 11:07am
 

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