Legislation

The Era of Digital Fascism

January 20th 2009

It seems that only natural disasters happen suddenly. Man-made ones begin small. The EU is adopting policies that secretly allow the police to hack into personal computers anywhere, at any time, for any reason – all without any judicial oversight, which would be the start of a man-made disaster. According to the TimesOnline: The hacking [...]

Higher Ed Act May Require Cameras in Student’s Homes

July 26th 2008

Raising concerns about student privacy, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that legislation renewing the Higher Education Act contains language that may bring video surveillance or biometric testing into the homes of students participating in distance learning. The paragraph is actually about clamping down on cheating. It says that an institution that offers an online program [...]

Mass. Law Would Ban Tracking Visitors Between Web Sites

July 11th 2008

The Massachusetts House entertained debate of H-4822, which would force third-party ad networks that track visitor behavior between sites to allow visitors to opt out of receiving customized ads. The Cape Code Times provides details. Internet giants such as AOL and Google were represented by the Network Advertising Initiative. Attorney Justin Weiss argued that the [...]

Calls For IP Czar Gather Momentum in Congress

July 7th 2008

Earlier, UsefulArts reported on the PRO-IP legislation passed in the House this past May that seeks to create an Intellectual Property czar as a direct report to the President. Corporate America is pushing for an IP Czar to coordinate among many federal agencies and departments, such as State Department, Justice Department and the Patent & [...]

PRO-IP Act Passes House

May 11th 2008

The still-controversial Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (or PRO-IP) Act has passed the House of Representatives by a 410-10 margin. The proposed legislation would allow the government to seize personal property, such as computers, that are allegedly used in copyright infringement. In addition, it creates a new position within the Executive Office of [...]

PRO-IP Act on Track for Passage

April 2nd 2008

California Representative Howard Berman, whose Congressional district is near Hollywood, claims the PRO-IP Act is on track to be enacted by the end of this year. In addition to his prognosis, Berman notes, “I don’t think there’s a lot of controversy.” No more than the 1765 Stamp Act, surely. First among the greatest flaws in [...]

Proposed Trademark Bill Criminalizes Domain Name Infringement

March 13th 2008

Maine Senator Olympia Snowe (R) introduced a bill (S. 2661) on February 25, 2008, known as the “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008” (APCPA). The proposed legislation seeks to fight trademark infringement and phishing schemes. However, some believe the proposal goes too far. Complaints include:  Creating unnecessary bureaucracy Presuming guilt and therefore denying the fundamental [...]

Statutory ‘Piling On’ to be Removed from PRO-IP Act

March 8th 2008

The ill-conceived and draconian PRO-IP Act got some of its feathers clipped by the elimination of a requirement known as Section 104 of the proposed bill to treat compilations of music as a separate violations. Had this been allowed to stand, the fines would have been multiplied many times, because they’d be determined based upon [...]

EFF’s Role as Patent Buster Jeopardized In Bill’s Small Print

February 11th 2008

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has sent a letter to Senators Leahy and Specter regarding a portion of the Draft Judiciary Committee Report of the Patent Reform Act of 2007, which has the potential to kill EFF’s Patent Busting Project. The draft inserts language which would prohibit third parties from requesting ex-parte reexamination of issued patents. [...]

Media Lobbyists Want Whitehouse Advisor Role

December 19th 2007

The stick is back, and so is using the federal government as hired muscle. Media lobbyists are trying to get Congress to pass the PRO IP Act of 2007 (Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property), which creates the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative, or “WHIPER.” This new agency will police U.S. intellectual property [...]