[Fwd: EFFector 20.21: Novell and EFF Team Up to Reform Software Patents]

Paul G. Allen pgallen at randomlogic.com
Wed May 30 09:01:44 PDT 2007


Interesting news that Novell is part of this.

PGA

-------- Forwarded Message --------
> From: EFFector list <editor at eff.org>
> Reply-To: EFFector list <editor at eff.org>
> To: pgallen at randomlogic.com
> Subject: EFFector 20.21: Novell and EFF Team Up to Reform Software
> Patents
> Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 10:38:55 -0500 (CDT)
> 
> EFFector Vol. 20, No. 21  May 30, 2007  editor at eff.org
> 
> A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
> ISSN 1062-9424
> 
> In the 425th Issue of EFFector:
> 
>  * Novell and EFF Team Up to Reform Software Patents
>  * House Intel Committee to Investigate NSA Spying
>  * California Senate Clears Groundbreaking RFID Bill
>  * Music Webcasting Still in Danger After Small Stations 
> Get Temporary Reprieve 
>  * "Effective Technological Measures": It Means What it 
> Says, Declares Finnish Court 
>  * Windows Media Center DRM -- Now With More Bugs!
>  * Neuros: We Work for You, Not for Hollywood
>  * miniLinks (11): Ask an RIAA Lobbyist 
>  * Administrivia
> 
> For more information on EFF activities & alerts:
>  http://www.eff.org/
> 
> Make a donation and become an EFF member today!
>  http://eff.org/support/
> 
> Tell a friend about EFF:
>  http://action.eff.org/site/Ecard?ecard_id=1061
> 
> effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired 
> change.
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * Novell and EFF Team Up to Reform Software Patents
> 
> Organizations Will Jointly Lobby Governments and 
> International Organizations
> 
> Novell to Support EFF 'Patent Busting' Initiative
> 
> San Francisco - Novell and the Electronic Frontier 
> Foundation (EFF) announced last week that they are teaming 
> up to work on reforms to software patents worldwide.
> 
> "It is increasingly obvious that software patents are not a 
> meaningful measure of innovation," said Jeff Jaffe, 
> executive vice president and chief technology officer at 
> Novell. "As a long-time innovator in the industry and a 
> holder of many significant patents, we understand the 
> rationale behind the patent system in general. But we 
> believe that software patent system reform is necessary to 
> promote software innovation going forward."
> 
> Novell and EFF will work to lobby governments and national 
> and international organizations to develop legislation and 
> policies around patents designed to promote innovation. A 
> key area of focus will be the World Intellectual Property 
> Organization (WIPO), where member governments of the United 
> Nations meet to coordinate positions on intellectual 
> property issues. Given the ease with which software ideas 
> and code cross borders, a global approach to the issue is 
> required.
> 
> In addition, Novell will contribute significant resources 
> to EFF's ongoing "Patent Busting" project. Launched in 
> 2004, the project is designed to attack patents that impose 
> particularly heavy burdens on software developers and 
> Internet users by identifying prior art that can be used to 
> invalidate those patents and by pursuing invalidation of 
> those patents through re-examination efforts.
> 
> "EFF has long been at the forefront in addressing the key 
> challenges of the digital age, including worldwide 
> intellectual property issues," said EFF Executive Director 
> Shari Steele. "The support of Novell -- a company founded 
> on the proprietary software development model but now 
> strongly embracing the open source approach -- will be a 
> great boon to our efforts to rid the industry of 
> innovation-killing patents. We hope Novell's example 
> encourages other software vendors to join the effort."
> 
> An early innovator in networking, word processing and 
> messaging technologies, Novell holds more than 500 patents, 
> many of which are fundamental to technologies in the market 
> today. Having shifted its business to focus more on open 
> source and open standards-based solutions, Novell 
> recognizes the new model for innovation is open source, and 
> the existing patent system is detrimental to open source 
> development. Novell has already taken several steps to 
> promote the use of patents to protect open source, 
> including a 2004 pledge to use its own patents to defend 
> against patent attacks on open source, and the contribution 
> of patents and significant financial resources to Open 
> Invention Network, an intellectual property company Novell 
> co-founded in 2005 to promote Linux by using patents to 
> create a collaborative environment.
> 
> "Today's announcement is a logical next step for Novell in 
> its efforts to make patents a non-issue for the software 
> community," said Nat Friedman, chief strategy and 
> technology officer for open source at Novell. "Software 
> patents hobble open standards and interoperability, impede 
> innovation and progress, threaten the development of free 
> and open source software, and have a chilling effect on 
> software development. Our partnership with EFF is about 
> creating a world where software developers and users do not 
> to have to worry about patents."
> 
> For more on EFF's Patent Busting project:
> http://www.eff.org/patent
> 
> For this release:
> http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_05.php#005268
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * House Intel Committee to Investigate NSA Spying
> 
> Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre 
> Reyes announced plans for hearings on the NSA spying 
> program. Investigations of this still-shadowy surveillance 
> are long overdue, and we're hopeful that these hearings are 
> only the beginning of vigorous Congressional oversight.
> 
> In particular, Reyes' stated intention to dig into the 
> telecommunications carriers' role is encouraging. EFF has 
> been fighting hard in the courts to hold AT&T accountable 
> for violating its customers' privacy and the law, and 
> Congress must fulfill its duty to help uncover the truth 
> about the telcos' collaboration with the government
> 
> But a threat still looms to judicial and Congressional 
> scrutiny of the program. As we've previously reported, the 
> Bush Administration has been pushing legislation that, 
> among other things, appears intended to let the telcos off 
> the hook. Telecommunications carriers' adherence to the law 
> is the biggest practical check that we have against illegal 
> government surveillance, and EFF strongly opposes any 
> legislation that would deprive Americans of the remedies to 
> which they are entitled. It would be especially 
> irresponsible for Congress to pass any legislation before 
> thoroughly investigating the program.
> 
> Reyes isn't the only representative turning up the heat on 
> the Administration, and that goes to show that your letters 
> and phone calls demanding investigations are getting 
> through. Keep up the pressure through our Action Center:
> http://action.eff.org/fisa
> 
> For this post and related links:
> http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005271.php
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * California Senate Clears Groundbreaking RFID Bill
> 
> A landmark bill that would require tough privacy and 
> security safeguards for Radio Frequency Identification tags 
> in state-issued IDs sailed through the California Senate 
> last week on a 33-2 bipartisan vote.
> 
> Without proper protections, RFIDs in IDs can broadcast your 
> private information to anyone and leave you vulnerable to 
> tracking and identity theft. That's why EFF, the ACLU, the 
> Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and other groups have been 
> working hard to get the Identity Information Protection Act 
> (SB 30) passed.
> 
> Last year, California's legislature passed a similar 
> version of this bill, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger 
> issued a shortsighted veto. By passing SB 30, the Senate 
> sent a clear message that the Governor should not forgo 
> another opportunity to give Californians control over the 
> personal information on their own drivers' licenses, 
> library cards, and other important ID cards.
> 
> For this post and related links:
> http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005273.php
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * Music Webcasting Still in Danger After Small Stations Get 
> Temporary Reprieve
> 
> Responding to Congressional pressure, the major label-
> backed licensing authority SoundExchange has offered small 
> webcasters a temporary reprieve from the Copyright Royalty 
> Board's outrageous royalty rate increase. This is a step in 
> the right direction, but it still doesn't solve any of the 
> underlying problems with the current licensing system. 
> Music webcasting's future still hangs in the balance.
> 
> SoundExchange's offer would essentially extend the much 
> more reasonable statutory licensing terms that small 
> webcasters have relied on for the last five years. But 
> commercial services like Pandora and Live365 are still in 
> deep trouble, as are small webcasters that may want to 
> expand their businesses over time. And when SoundExchange's 
> offer expires in 2010, small webcasters may once again be 
> threatened with extinction.
> 
> The Internet Radio Equality Act would help sustain music 
> webcasting and fix the statutory licensing process on which 
> most nonsubscription, noninteractive music webcasters rely. 
> For more on this bill and SoundExchange's offer, check out 
> SaveNetRadio.org:
> http://www.savenetradio.org
> 
> For this post and related links:
> http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005265.php
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * "Effective Technological Measures": It Means What it 
> Says, Declares Finnish Court
> 
> . Under both the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 
> and Europe's equivalent, the European Copyright Directive 
> (EUCD), it's illegal to circumvent "effective technological 
> measures" that restrict access to copyrighted works.
> 
> But what happens when the measures aren't really effective? 
> Part of the irony of the DMCA in the United States has been 
> that generous court interpretations of "effective" has led 
> DRM designers to craft the flimsiest of programs to control 
> access. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the 
> DMCA would extend to simple ciphers, such as ROT13! 
> 
> In Finland, that absurdity has been challenged. Activists 
> running a site offering DVD decryption code who were 
> prosecuted under Finland's implementation of the EUCD 
> defended themselves by arguing that the DVD encryption was 
> an ineffective protection.
> 
> The district court in Helsinki agreed, saying:
> 
>     "...since a Norwegian hacker succeeded in circumventing 
> CSS protection used in DVDs in 1999, end-users have been 
> able to obtain with ease tens of similar circumventing 
> software from the Internet even free of charge. Some 
> operating systems come with this kind of software pre-
> installed. CSS protection can no longer be held 'effective' 
> as defined in law." 
> 
> It's a refreshing example of how the practical realities of 
> digital rights management (DRM) restrictions can be 
> accepted by a court. If an access control is so vulnerable 
> that it can be broken by a few lines of easily conveyed 
> code, or by pressing the shift key when rebooting, or by 
> obtaining a key that is on thousands of sites across the 
> globe, should the legal system be required to protect the 
> unprotectable?
> 
> For this post and related links:
> http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005274.php
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * Windows Media Center DRM -- Now With More Bugs!
> 
> There was some Slashdot buzz last week about Windows Media 
> Center users suddenly facing restrictions forbidding 
> playback of recorded analog cable TV content. Was DRM 
> smuggled along with an "update" into unsuspecting users' 
> machines?
> 
> In fact, Windows Media Center has always obeyed CGMS-A, a 
> DRM system that TV stations can use. Pay-per-view, VOD, and 
> premium channels like HBO can (and do) mark programming as 
> "Copy Once" or "Copy Never." Tech creators are free to 
> build DVRs and other devices that ignore CGMS-A signals and 
> create restriction-free recordings, but Microsoft opted to 
> kowtow to content providers and infect Media Centers with 
> the DRM anyway. (You may recall that TiVo decided to 
> cripple its DVRs so that they recognize a similar DRM flag 
> developed by Macrovision.)
> 
> As if the deliberate use restrictions weren't bad enough, 
> obeying CGMS-A has also caused technical errors and 
> haphazard incompatibilities. Remember Windows' "blue screen 
> of death," signaling an unexpected failure? DRM creates 
> more ways for your system to fail -- your Media Center may 
> work reliably today, but a software or hardware change 
> could create unpredictable limitations.
> 
> According to PC World, this sort of technical problem 
> probably led to the complaints featured on Slashdot. You 
> can bet that this won't be the last time customers bump up 
> against such problems both with CGMS-A and other DRM.
> 
> It's worth noting that the DRM can get even worse when it 
> comes to digital cable. Media Center users can look forward 
> to even more limits on streaming throughout their houses, 
> copying to portable devices, and other legitimate uses.
> 
> Just because Microsoft decided to obey CGMS-A doesn't mean 
> you have to. You can look to PC DVR alternatives, and you 
> can make DRM-free, analog-to-digital conversions of TV 
> content using tools like the Neuros recorder that don't 
> recognize CGMS-A.
> 
> For this post and related links:
> http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005269.php
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * Neuros: We Work for You, Not for Hollywood
> 
> We've been impressed by a recent essay written by Neuros 
> Technology about where their loyalties lie and why we 
> should care. Neuros discusses these issues in the course of 
> inviting Apple TV hackers to try their hand at hacking 
> Neuros products.
> 
> In recent weeks, a community of enthusiasts has developed a 
> useful, and impressive, set of unauthorized enhancements to 
> the Apple TV. These enhancements make this product work 
> better for end users, and they exist in a great tradition 
> of user innovation in which users who care about a product 
> (and understand their own needs and desires) figure out how 
> to make that product do something more. (The same kind of 
> activity thrives around game console systems, and, of 
> course, the TiVo -- sometimes to the chagrin of TiVo, Inc.)
> 
> Unfortunately, in today's digital media environment, users' 
> improvements to products are often not welcomed by the 
> manufacturers whose products are made more valuable. 
> Instead of thanks, tinkerers often receive threats of 
> litigation. Sometimes, the manufacturers spend hours of 
> engineering effort to counteract and undo the users' 
> improvements -- to break the new features that the users 
> achieved and return the product to its original 
> functionality. This may be a result of business strategy 
> and a desire to avoid upsetting copyright holders. You may 
> be the customer, but you may not have the last word if a 
> copyright "partner" doesn't like what you've figured out 
> how to do.
> 
> It's a bit disheartening, not to mention wasteful, to have 
> all of your creative effort annulled by a "product upgrade" 
> (or to be threatened with litigation if you continue to 
> share it with others). That's why lots of people are 
> excited about open systems that put the user in charge: 
> when you add value to an open system, it's harder for 
> someone to show up and take it away from you. (That's one 
> reason we've been excited about MythTV, the software that 
> can turn your PC into a personal video recorder that you 
> control, and why we're also excited to see what happens 
> with the forthcoming open cell phone from OpenMoko.)
> 
> This point was recently emphasized in a nice essay by 
> Neuros Technology, the company behind the MPEG recorder 
> that uses the "analog hole" to cut through licensing and 
> DMCA thickets to let you watch commercial video on a wide 
> variety of portable devices -- today, not years from now 
> after some consortium negotiates a complicated DRM deal. 
> Neuros is also promoting an open media center; they publish 
> schematics and code and invite the community to figure out 
> how to make the product better. That's a refreshing 
> contrast to the attitude of many other electronics 
> companies.
> 
> For this post and related links:
> http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005262.php
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * miniLinks
> The week's noteworthy news, compressed.
> 
> ~ Ask an RIAA Lobbyist
> In the bright digital future, RIAA's Mitch Glazier predicts 
> that EFF "will start running the creative commons" instead 
> of using the RIAA as a "punching bag." He seems a bit 
> confused about who's been doing the punching!
> http://463.blogs.com/the_463/2007/05/3qs_mitch_glazi.html
> 
> ~ Mexico to Boost Tapping of Phones and E-mail With U.S. 
> Assistance 
> If you break civil liberties at home, that's all you can 
> export elsewhere.
> http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico25may25,0,7011563.story?coll=la-home-center
> 
> ~ Bent Copyright
> Uri Geller, Spoons, Skeptics and Copyright: Wendy Grossman 
> connects the dots.
> http://www.newswireless.net/index.cfm/article/3396
> 
> ~ A Chinese Lawsuit Against China's Censorship
> Chinese citizen sues to access his own website.
> http://yetaai.blogspot.com/2007/05/practical-lawsuit-against-china.html
> 
> ~ In Polish Prison for Adding Value
> Polish fan subtitlers held for questioning under copyright 
> law.
> http://polishlinux.org/gnu/poland-9-people-arrested-for-translating-movies/
> 
> ~ Montana on REAL ID: "Hell no!"
> Or more specifically: "No, nope, no way, hell no," says 
> Montana's governor.
> http://www.pogowasright.org/article.php?story=20070529070422813
> 
> ~ Giles Slade: DRM for Dummies (Like Me) 
> Huffington Post's resident technology skeptic knows a bad 
> deal when he sees it.
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/giles-slade/drm-for-dummies-like-me_b_49344.html
> 
> ~ Japan Bans Camcording in Cinemas
> An unnecessary extra law, closing a private use "loophole."
> http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/afx/2007/05/25/afx3757887.html
> 
> ~ Time Writer Admits to Copyright Civil Disobedience
> "Almost everybody owns a little stolen music. But a little 
> piracy can be a good thing."
> http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1625209,00.html
> 
> ~ Liberating the Smithsonian Collection
> A public access group challenges the Smithsonian's 
> statement that "even in the absence of copyright, [it] 
> reserves all rights to images."
> http://blogs.govexec.com/fedblog/2007/05/challenging_smithsonians_copyr.html
> 
> ~ An FBI Target Puts His Whole Life Online
> "I flood the market," says Hasan Elahi, who is putting his 
> whole life online after FBI agents detained him at an 
> airport.
> http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/15-06/ps_transparency
> 
> : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :
> 
> * Administrivia
> 
> EFFector is published by:
> 
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> 
> Editor:
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>  derek at eff.org	
> 
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