[rumori] The EFF Beefs Up

From: H. (hATweirdness.com)
Date: Tue Sep 26 2000 - 20:09:31 PDT

from: http://www.thestandard.com (NetLaw)

Call David Boies: The EFF Beefs Up
By John Roemer

Earlier this month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the pioneer
cyberspace advocacy group, beefed up its legal team by adding two
well-known Net lawyers. As intellectual property litigation hits peak
levels, the additions could shape not only the direction of the group
but the sphere in which it operates.

Attorney Cindy Cohn, the EFF's new legal director, and law professor
Pamela Samuelson, a new member of the EFF's board of directors, both
come with extensive IP experience. Cohn gained fame by tackling the
Department of Justice on behalf of encryption expert Daniel
Bernstein's "Snuffle" code. Samuelson, an intellectual property
scholar at University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of
Law, is a former MacArthur "Genius" grant winner and a strong
proponent of the open-source model.

By drafting defense briefs, the EFF plans to work to fend off
well-financed attacks from the movie and music industries against the
DeCSS software that decodes DVDs and against Napster's wildly popular
tune-swapping technology. "Civil liberties issues from the growth of
the Net will be coming fast and furious," Cohn says. "The power grab
by content holders needs to be resisted."

As the battleground shifts to appellate courts, Cohn says she's
actively seeking allies among those who will be most seriously
affected if limits on peer-to-peer file sharing become case law.
"Intel, for instance, goes around telling everyone how p-to-p is a
superior way to manage information," she says. "I wish they'd come to
us, and we could think about the legal strategy to employ when its
p-to-p technology gets sued by rights-holders."

Other plans for the EFF, which was founded by Lotus founder Mitchell
Kapor and Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow in 1990, include
joining a California class-action suit against the Internet
advertising firm DoubleClick over allegations that the company
secretly collected data on consumers.

The response from the legal community has been mixed. But at least one
expert, Eugene Volokh, a constitutional scholar at UCLA, is emphatic
about cheering on EFF's effort and says that one major effect of its
actions in court may be to challenge courts' tendency to defer to big

"A lot of wonderful things on the Net are the result of the incentives
afforded by copyright and trademark and patent law," Volokh says.
"Even so, the industry position usually gets too much attention. The
result can be bad law. Effective public interest groups balance that
by presenting the strongest possible arguments the other way."

EFF's New Focus on Litigation

Electronic Frontier Foundation

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