Jailbreaking Is Not A Crime—And EFF Is Fighting To Keep It That Way
Thu 6 Nov 2014, 22:20

If you own a phone or a tablet, you should be able to run whatever software you want on it. It seems like a simple truth, but there are a surprising number of hurdles in the way. Most pressingly, if the manufacturer of that phone or tablet wants to, they can misuse the law to limit your control over the device long after your purchase. This week, EFF has filed a petition with the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend and expand the exemption that allows you to "jailbreak" your phone from those restrictions, without running afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

That's important because jailbreaking (or "rooting," on Android devices) has real-world implications for users' ability to use their phones and tablets effectively and securely. It may be a necessary step before installing security updates after a device has stopped being supported by the manufacturer. In other cases, it may help users install accessibility software that allows them to use a device despite disabilities.

EFF report on the US patent system
Tue 24 Feb 2015, 10:43

The "Defend Innovation" whitepaper is the culmination of two-and-a-half years worth of research, drawing from the stories, expertise, and ideas of more than 16,500 people who agree that the current patent system is broken. Split into two parts, the report covers both the challenges facing innovators under the current patent regime, as well as concrete measures that policymakers must take in the coming year.

European Parliament failing to support copyright reform
Wed 25 Feb 2015, 20:00

Everyone is talking about EU copyright reform. However, in the European Parliament, everyone is having the same discussions on enforcement that they were having ten years ago – and talking about stopping any reform.

The Draft Report “Towards a renewed consensus on the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: An EU Action Plan” (2014/2151(INI)) presented by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Pavel Svoboda reacts supportively to the rather bland, regressive and unimaginative Commission Communication of the same name. Sadly, Mr Svoboda seems to be choosing to support the mistakes that the Commission’s view that the failures of the last ten years should be the model for the next decade.

The Pirate Bay will be blocked in Portugal
Mon 2 Mar 2015, 12:21

Following a European trend, the Portuguese Intellectual Property Court has ordered local ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. The legal action, brought by copyright holders, resulted in an injunction which orders the ISPs to block access to the popular torrent site and dozens of its proxies.

Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site and the list continues to expand. Last month French ISPs started blocking The Pirate Bay and last week the Intellectual Property Court in Portugal ordered a similar measure against local Internet providers.

ICANN urged by copyright industry associations to take action against IPR infringement
Wed 11 Mar 2015, 20:34

Last month, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) issued a carefully-worded statement urging ICANN – the overseer of much of the Internet’s fundamental naming and numbering infrastructure – to take more vigorous action against  the “use of domain names for illegal and abusive activities, including those related to IP infringement” (i.e., motion picture piracy).  [See "MPAA Pushes for ICANN Policy Changes to Target 'Pirate' Domains"].  

And just a few days ago, the recording industry joined in; a letter from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  to ICANN, while expressing the industry’s “disappointment with . . . ICANN’s treatment of copyright abuse complaints filed to date,” similarly urged ICANN to move more vigorously to ensure that domain name registries and registrars “investigate copyright abuse complaints and respond appropriately.”

Monaco "devoid of distinctive character", rules EU court
Thu 15 Jan 2015, 15:40

Judgment was delivered today by the General Court in Case T-197/13 Monaco v OHIM. The Principality of Monaco cannot benefit from the protection of the trade mark MONACO in the EU in respect of certain goods and services. The word ‘MONACO’ designates the origin or geographical destination of the goods and services concerned and is devoid of distinctive character.