In our 597th issue:
When Congress comes back into session at the end of January, both the House and the Senate are expected to make passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) a top priority. But representatives may want to think twice before voting yes; voters are taking notice. Members of both parties are seeing election opponents explaining how SOPA will censor free speech and stifle innovation, and the presidential candidates are being asked pointed questions about whether they support the bill that will almost certainly kill jobs.
A new letter reported by the Spanish newspaper El Pais reveals that the U.S. government renewed their threat to impose trade penalties on Spain unless the new government enacted harsh copyright legislation in a timely manner. The U.S. was dangerously close to getting their dream legislation in Spain last year, but were disappointed when the Spanish executive office deferred to fully enact the copyright law, Ley Sinde, due to its wide unpopularity. In late December, however, the newly elected executive government passed Ley Sinde by approving the regulation that dictated the application of the law.
EFF joined Public Knowledge and U.S. PIRG today in urging the Supreme Court to tackle Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, a case with the potential to fundamentally change the way the right of first sale works in the United States. "First sale" refers to your right to resell, lend, or give away the products that you own that may be copyrighted or contain copyrighted materials. Some copyright owners are trying to undercut first sale rights by claiming the law only covers goods made in the United States; that would create a nightmare for consumers and businesses, upending the secondary market for products and undermining what it really means to "buy" and "own" tangible goods.
The Economics Behind the Blacklist Bills
Faced with mountains of evidence that SOPA and PIPA will censor online speech and hurt Internet security, supporters of the blacklist bills say one subject trumps all others: jobs. But Congress is ignoring that SOPA/PIPA would depress the growing tech sector, all while citing the MPAA's misleading and debunked numbers on how piracy is "decimating" their industry.
U.S. Government Threatens Free Speech With Calls for Twitter Censorship
There are a growing number of calls in recent weeks for Twitter to ban certain accounts of alleged terrorists, in an attempt by the U.S. to censor online speech in the name of "national security."
Thailand Continues Massive Crackdown of Online Speech
In Thailand, details of the most recent victim of lèse majesté laws emerged this week. Freedom Against Censorship Thailand has published new analyses demonstrating the magnitude of measures the Southeast Asian state has taken to block websites it deems politically offensive.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Unveils New Privacy Complaint Form
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is inviting individuals who have questions about consumer privacy issues, or who are upset about privacy-invasive practices, to use its new online form to submit complaints.
Biometrics in Argentina: Mass Surveillance as a State Policy
A law enacted during Argentina's military dictatorship forced all individuals to obtain a government-mandated ID. Now, they are in the process of enhancing its mandatory National Registry of Persons with biometric data such as fingerprints and digitized faces.
440,783 "Silent SMS" Used to Track German Suspects in 2010
At the 28th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, researcher Karsten Nohl gave a presentation on mobile phones in which he revealed that German police used nearly half a million "silent SMS" to track suspects in 2010.
As Major Companies Plan Blackout Protest, Where Has The Mainstream Media Been On Coverage Of SOPA?
According to a study conducted by Media Matters, there has been a virtual media blackout on the airwaves over the past few months in regards to SOPA.
Lockdown: The Coming War on General-Purpose Computing
2007 Pioneer Award winner Cory Doctorow writes up his keynote presentation from the Chaos Communication Congress.
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