Remember the hard-won battle for consumers’ right to unlock their own cell phones that concluded a few months ago? It lasted over a year and included 114,000 Americans signing a petition, support from the White House, and bipartisan action from both the House and the Senate. We did it, though, and as a result individuals now have the right to unlock phones they own so they can take those phones with them when they switch from one network to another.
But that right could disappear next year, depending on how the Copyright Office rules once again in the triennial proceeding set forth under Section 1201 of the Copyright Act.
Today Public Knowledge filed reply comments in the net neutrality proceeding on behalf of ourselves and Benton Foundation. Our reply comments show how the initial comments (of which there were over a million!) supported our position that the Commission needs to reclassify internet as a Title II telecommunications service in order to protect the open internet. Here are the highlights of our filing:
On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it reached a $7.4 million settlement with Verizon over the company’s misuse of its customers’ private information (“customer proprietary network information,” or “CPNI”) for internal marketing, which violated longstanding federal privacy rules.
This afternoon, President Obama signed into law the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. The bill allows consumers to "unlock" their cell phones so they can take a phone with them from one service provider to another. The bill passed unanimously in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
It's Copyright Week! From today through Saturday, a number of groups
around the Web will be exchanging ideas, information, and actions about
how to fix copyright law for the better. Each day will be devoted to a
different aspect of copyright law. For more on Copyright Week, see here.
Today's focus is on building and defending a robust public domain. Copyright limits free speech. That’s
why it’s important for policymakers to keep it limited, and to leave as much in
the public domain as possible.
The Internet is the cornerstone of
free speech in the modern age. I can say
just about anything I want on this blog without fear that the police will
arrest me or even try to discourage me. Right now, the only reason I’m even
thinking about how the government might try to shut me up is because I’m
writing a blog post about it.
We asked, you delivered. Yesterday we passed 100,000 signature mark on a White House petition to reform a sorely outdated privacy law.
Last week we blogged about a White House petition to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). We were trying to get to 100,000 signatures, because the White House will issue an official response to every petition that gets at least 100,000 signatures in under 30 days. We asked you to take a moment of your time to sign the petition.
Today we urged the Federal Communications Commission to clarify and enforce a provision the Communications Act designed to protect phone customers’ privacy.
Do you ever think about how much your phone service provider knows about you—where you go, how long you stay there, and whom you talk to and for how long? Do you think your provider should be able to sell or share that information with anyone, for any reason? No?
Today, Public Knowledge joins a nationwide day of action calling for reform of the Electronic Communications Act ("ECPA"). Please sign a White House petition to improve legal protections of our communications.
Have you ever wondered what, if anything, protects the content of your emails from prying government eyes? Well, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act ("ECPA") is supposed to do that. But there’s a big problem with ECPA: it was written in the 1980s and has never been updated. As we all know, there have been some major changes to the way we communicate in the last 25 years. Those changes, in combination with an outdated law, have created some troubling deficits in privacy protection.
We should give pre-1972 sound recordings federal copyright protection that preempts state law. In the process, let's take a fresh look at our current copyright system and address some of the biggest problems.
In an op-ed published in USA Today on Monday, U.S. House Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, argued that federal copyright protection should be extended to pre-1972 sound recordings, which at present only receive copyright protection under state law. Extending federal copyright to pre-1972 sound recordings makes a lot of sense, but not for the exact reasons Conyers articulates.
Over the past week, much has been written about GoldieBlox's parody of the Beastie Boys song "Girls." For those who haven't heard, GoldieBlox, maker of toy building sets targeted at girls, made a video promoting their product, which went viral (as of this blog post, it has over 8 million views on YouTube). Beastie Boys found out, they cried copyright infringement, and GoldieBlox went to court to ask the court to declare that this use of "Girls" is fair use, and therefore not copyright infringement.
Yesterday, 32 public interest groups, including Public Knowledge, sent a letter to world leaders urging them to conduct Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations in a transparent matter. We’ve separately (and repeatedly) expressed concerns about what TPP will do to copyright law, but this letter focused on the fact that TPP has been negotiated largely in secret, with more opportunity for industry representatives to have input than the public. “In order to ensure that democratic principles are preserved,” the letter says, “policy makers, civil society, and members of the public must be given the opportunity to have a level of participation and engagement in this process that is at least equal to that of industry representatives.”
In other news, hello! I’m Laura Moy, the new staff attorney at Public Knowledge.