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Schutzfristen und kulturelles Erbe: Nach 25 Jahren ist Schluss

iRights.info - 2 uur 23 min geleden

Überlange Schutzfristen im Urheberrecht schaden der Kreativität und erschweren es, das kulturelle Erbe zu bewahren. 25 Jahre wären genug. Ein Denkansatz von Oliver Hinte.

Der Schutz des geistigen Eigentums ist im Zusammenhang mit dem sogenannten „Gesetz zur Angleichung des Urheberrechts an die aktuellen Erfordernisse der Wissensgesellschaft“ in jüngster Vergangenheit in unterschiedlicher Form thematisiert worden. Ist es in der derzeitigen Konstitution, in allen seinen Ausprägungen und mit seinen Schutzfristen noch zeitgemäß?

Ich denke nicht. Es scheint zwar etwas weit hergeholt, hier als Begründung für eine Reform die Digitalisierung heranzuführen, aber es trifft den Kern. Aufgrund der in vielen Bereichen infrage kommenden Formatänderungen – beispielsweise Papier in Dateien umzuwandeln oder Töne digital abzuspeichern – hat sich die Möglichkeit ergeben, urheberrechtliche Erzeugnisse leichter zu verbreiten und zugänglich zu machen.

Sonderregel für Kulturgut wäre schwer abgrenzbar

Nachdem sich die faktische Zugangsmöglichkeit damit immens erhöht hat, gilt es nunmehr, den rechtlichen Zugang zu erleichtern. Dies könnte man einerseits erreichen, indem man eine „Kulturgutschranke“ einführt. Danach dürften alle urheberrechtlichen Leistungen, die als kulturelles Erbe eingeordnet sind, gegen eine angemessene Vergütung von allen genutzt werden.

Die dafür notwendige Einordnung als Kulturgut ist jedoch problematisch. Soll sie inhaltlich erfolgen oder an bestimmte Institutionen gebunden bleiben? Jeder Versuch einer Definition führt zu unnötigen Konflikten. Denn wie soll der Gesetzgeber „kulturelles Erbe“ vor dem Hintergrund der Rechtsprechung des Bundesverfassungsgerichts definieren und es den unterschiedlichen Akteuren recht machen?

Einerseits könnte die kulturschaffende Person oder auch der Rechteinhaber besonderen Wert darauf legen, sein Erzeugnis als solches definiert zu wissen, weil sich daraus ein Imagegewinn ergeben könnte. Anderseits könnte sein Interesse auch dahin gehen, keine entsprechende Einordnung vornehmen zu lassen, damit das exklusive Verbreitungsrecht beim Rechteinhaber verbleibt und ein höherer wirtschaftlicher Erlös erzielt werden kann.

Was ist überhaupt Kultur?

Eine allgemeine Schranke für das kulturelle Erbe ist kaum umsetzbar. Bei der derzeitigen „Politik der kleinen Schritte“ bedarf es dringend einiger grundlegender Veränderungen, damit der gesellschaftliche Wandel möglich bleibt und Teile des kulturellen Erbes nicht verloren gehen. Auch João Pedro Quintais geht in seiner umfangreichen Monografie unter anderem der Frage nach, wie Massendigitalisierungen, die bei der Bewahrung des kulturellen Erbes von großer Relevanz sind, über eine Schranke oder Lizenz zufriedenstellend geregelt werden können. Sein Ergebnis lautet, dass derzeit keine entsprechende Lösung zur Verfügung steht.

Dass ein solches System wohl kaum harmonisiert weltweit etabliert werden kann, ziehen Sheldon W. Halpern und Phillip Johnson in ihrem gemeinsamen Werk „Harmonising copyright law and dealing with dissonance“ als wichtiges Zwischenfazit. Wann immer es um Kultur geht, so die Auffassung der beiden Autoren, ist der Disput vorprogrammiert, da das kulturelle Verständnis von Staat zu Staat, beziehungsweise von Region zu Region, sehr unterschiedlich sein kann, wodurch sich schon eine nationalstaatliche Lösung auf dieser Ebene schwierig gestaltet.

Schutzfristen wurden immer länger

Letztlich wäre eine solche „Kulturgutschranke“ auch lediglich ein Herumlaborieren an Symptomen, ohne dass der Kern des Problems gelöst wird, der auch – aber nicht nur – in den Problemen bei der Digitalisierung des kulturellen Erbes zum Ausdruck kommt: Die Schutzfristen des Urheberrechts sind zu lang.

Die „Statue of Anne“ – das in England 1710 verabschiedete erste moderne Urheberrechtsgesetz – sah einen Schutz von lediglich 14 Jahren vor, der ein einziges Mal um die gleiche Frist verlängert werden konnte. Das Fotografienschutzgesetz von 1876 sah eine Schutzfrist von fünf Jahren vor – heute ist bei Fotos nahezu immer von einer Schutzfrist von 70 Jahren nach Tod des Fotografen auszugehen. Diese Schutzfrist von 70 Jahren nach dem Tod des Urhebers hat sich in Deutschland bei allen Werkarten etabliert.

Seit Entstehung des Urheberrechts wurden die Schutzfristen kontinuierlich verlängert. Verkürzungen wurden nur unter Ökonomen diskutiert, die die negativen Auswirkungen der durch das Urheberrecht entstehenden überlangen Monopolrechte kritisierten. Von Juristen wird diese Kritik hingegen kaum reflektiert. Dabei wäre die übergroße Mehrheit von Werken und damit auch von Kreativen und Verwertern von einer drastischen Reduzierung der Schutzfrist überhaupt nicht betroffen. Insgesamt ist das Urheberrecht ein Recht, das von der Interessenlage einer kleinen Minderheit eine allgemeinverbindliche Regelung ableitet.

Wertungen passen nicht mehr zur Alltagskreativität

Angesichts der sehr geringen Anforderungen an Kreativität und persönlich-geistige Schöpfung, die heute schon dazu führen, dass Werke zumindest als „kleine Münze“ geschützt werden, gilt Vieles als Werk oder ist zumindest urheberrechtlich geschützt, auch wenn die dem Urheberrecht zugrundeliegenden Gedanken und Bewertungen schlicht nicht passen: Alltagsprodukte der Kreativität werden immer verbreiteter – man denke nur an Fotografie, deren Nutzung sich exponentiell vervielfacht hat; oder auch an Flugblätter oder Plakate, die gemacht werden, um möglichst weit verbreitet zu werden.

Hier passen die Bewertungen des Urheberrechts weder auf die Interessen des „Schöpfers“ noch auf spätere Nutzer. Die Entstehung und inzwischen sehr starke Verbreitung freier Lizenzen, insbesondere der Creative-Commons-Lizenzen, sind ein Beleg dafür, dass die Bewertungen des Urheberrechts in vielen Fällen als zu restriktiv empfunden werden.

Ab einem zeitlichen Abstand zur erstmaligen Veröffentlichung eines Werkes ‒ wenn die kommerziellen Auswertungsmöglichkeiten in den Hintergrund treten ‒ wird der urheberrechtliche Schutz bei der Verbreitung zu einer bloßen Hürde. Es ist häufig unklar, wer welche Rechte an älteren Werken hat ‒ eine Unsicherheit, die einer weiteren Nutzung entgegen steht und damit im Widerspruch zu den Interessen von Kreativen darstellt, die Werke erschaffen, die rezipiert werden sollen.

25 Jahre Schutz als Regel

Aus ökonomischer Sicht ist es so, dass die gewöhnlichen Refinanzierungszyklen sehr kurz und meist nach wenigen Jahren abgeschlossen sind. Nur sehr wenige Werke werden länger als fünf oder zehn Jahre kommerziell ausgewertet. Das Urheberrechtsgesetz selbst geht in den Paragrafen 70 und 71 bei wissenschaftlichen Ausgaben und nachgelassenen Werken davon aus, dass 25 Jahre Schutzfrist für die Refinanzierung von Investitionen ausreichen. Vor der Reform von 1990 waren dies lediglich zehn Jahre und es ist nicht ersichtlich, dass die Verlängerung zu mehr Investitionen geführt hätte.

Gleichwohl soll hier die Schutzfrist der Paragrafen 70, 71 UrhG zum Maßstab genommen werden. Vorgeschlagen wird, die gewöhnliche Schutzfrist des Urheberrechts auf 25 Jahre zu begrenzen. Von einer solchen Reduzierung der Schutzfrist wären die allermeisten Werke überhaupt nicht betroffen, da sie nicht mehr kommerziell ausgewertet werden und es würden nahezu alle Probleme, die zurzeit aufgrund des Urheberrechts bei der Digitalisierung des kulturellen Erbes bestehen, gelöst.

Nach 25 Jahren sind Werke in der Regel nicht mehr für Verwertungen interessant, sondern werden Teil der kulturellen Überlieferung. Ihr Wert besteht in der Möglichkeit, nachfolgenden Generationen gegenüber als Schlüssel zum Verständnis ihrer Entstehungszeit sowie als kulturelle Wurzeln zu fungieren. Das tun sie in der Regel auch nur deshalb, weil öffentlich finanzierte Gedächtnisinstitutionen sich ihrer annehmen.

Verlängerung durch Registrierung

Um den kommerziellen Interessen von Rechteinhabern entgegenzukommen, könnte eine Verlängerung dieser Schutzfrist ermöglicht werden. Diese bedarf aber des aktiven Handelns und tritt nicht automatisch ein. Wenn man den zeitlichen Rahmen für die Möglichkeit von Verlängerungen auf die heute allgemein geltenden Fristen – in der Regel 70 Jahre nach dem Tod des Urhebers – ausdehnt, entginge man auch dem Vorwurf, den Urhebern beziehungsweise den Rechteinhabern etwas wegzunehmen, sie zu enteignen. Diese behalten die Möglichkeit, ihre Rechte auch in Zukunft weit über die gewöhnliche Frist von 25 Jahren geltend zu machen ‒ sofern sie dies aktiv betreiben und sich dafür entsprechend registrieren ließen.

Ein Entgegenkommen gegenüber den Rechteinhabern von „Longsellern“, das heißt von Werken der Popkultur, die über einen sehr langen Zeitraum kommerziell ausgewertet werden, erscheint auch ein Gebot politischer Klugheit: Alle Verlängerungen von Schutzfristen der letzten Jahre waren getrieben von dem Wunsch der Rechteinhaber, solche Werke weiter auswerten zu können.

Indem die zwingende Verbindung zwischen der Schutzfrist für diese Werke – die wirklich eine extreme Ausnahme sind – und allen übrigen Werken aufgehoben wird, muss das kulturelle Erbe nicht mehr insgesamt für die wirtschaftlichen Interessen weniger in Geiselhaft genommen werden. Eine Befreiung des kulturellen Erbes wird gegen eine gut organisierte Lobby nur durchsetzbar sein, wenn auf die Interessen von beispielsweise den Schöpfungen Walt Disneys oder den Tonträgerherstellern der Aufnahmen der Beatles Rücksicht genommen wird.

Urheberschutz und Gemeinfreiheit

Was ist also zu tun? Wichtig ist, sich im Hinblick auf die Kultur und ihre Werke klar zu machen, dass die Gemeinfreiheit die Regel und der urheberrechtliche Schutz die – begründungsbedürftige – Ausnahme ist. Alexander Peukert schreibt in seinem Werk „Die Gemeinfreiheit“ darüber und stellt unter anderem fest:

Die Gemeinfreiheit genießt [in Deutschland] keine solche Aufmerksamkeit. Im Gegenteil, sie kann gerade geradezu als Nicht-Thema bezeichnet werden. In den politischen Vorhaben zur Informationsgesellschaft spielt sie keine nennenswerte Rolle.

Gemeinfreiheit ist jedoch die Voraussetzung dafür, dass ehemals urheberrechtlich geschützte Objekte erlaubnis- und vergütungsfrei genutzt werden können. In einer Welt, in der alles geschützt wäre, könnte nichts Neues entstehen.

Verkürzung schlägt mehrere Fliegen mit einer Klappe

Eine Verkürzung der gewöhnlichen Schutzfrist würde der Kreativität heute und der künftigen Produktion kultureller Güter erhebliche Impulse geben: Durch die Digitalisierung ist die Kulturproduktion schnelllebiger geworden. Nachweislich sind die Entstehungsprozesse kreativer Leistungen insgesamt kürzer. Nach Berechnungen aus der Betriebswirtschaftslehre können aufgrund der Digitalisierung in einzelnen Fällen Zeitersparnisse bis zu 92 Prozent erzielt werden. Überlange Schutzfristen wirken hier lähmend.

Hinderlich wirkt dabei nicht nur die Länge der Schutzfristen an sich, sondern auch die Unterschiede dieser Fristen – abhängig davon, ob es sich um Urheberrechte oder Leistungsschutzrechte handelt. Eine Verkürzung der Fristen würde dieses Ungleichgewicht harmonisieren.

Mit einer deutlichen Verkürzung der Schutzfristen würden also gleich mehrere Ziele erreicht: Kreativität würde gefördert, indem leichter auf schon bestehende Werke aufgebaut werden kann. Die Verbreitung älterer Werke würde gefördert, weil dieser nicht mehr die häufig unklare Rechtesituation entgegen stünde. Und schließlich würde die Arbeit von Gedächtnisinstitutionen ermöglicht. Notwendigerweise wäre eine Änderung der urheberrechtlichen Regelungen zur Schutzdauer des Urheberrechts in den Paragrafen 64 ff. Urheberrechtsgesetz vorzunehmen.

Internationale Verträge sind nicht in Stein gemeißelt

Was könnte einer solchen Verkürzung der Schutzdauer entgegen stehen? Dies ist vor allem die Einbindung des deutschen Urheberrechts in europäische und internationale Vereinbarungen. Art. 7 der Revidierten Berner Übereinkunft zum Schutz von Werken der Literatur und Kunst beispielsweise sieht in Abs. 1 eine Schutzdauer von 50 Jahren nach dem Tod des Urhebers vor. Dabei wird den Vertragsstaaten in Abs. 6 lediglich eine Verlängerung, nicht aber eine Verkürzung gestattet. Da diese Vorschriften wohl keiner anderen Auslegung zugänglich sind, müsste eine Änderung erreicht werden. Das ist sicher ein sehr schwieriges Unterfangen, haben doch die „Copyright Wars“ der vergangenen Jahre zu einer erheblichen Verhärtung der unterschiedlichen Positionen geführt. Auch deshalb erscheint der oben bereits geäußerte Gedanke richtig, dem Rechteinhaber eine Verlängerung des gewöhnlichen Schutzes weiter zu ermöglichen.

Es erscheint auch falsch, Änderungen der internationalen Vereinbarungen für unerreichbar zu halten. Die Berner Übereinkunft von 1887 ist einer der ältesten internationalen Verträge überhaupt und wurde seit seiner Verabschiedung mehrfach revidiert. Warum sollte nicht auch jetzt, wo sich infolge der Digitalisierung die Voraussetzungen für die Produktion und Nutzung von Werken so radikal verändert haben, eine erneute Revision möglich sein? Zumal die Übereinkunft auch in ihrer jetzigen Form in bestimmten Konstellationen nach Abs. 4 eine Verkürzung der Schutzdauer, beispielsweise für Werke der Fotografie zulässt.

Heute mag die Verkürzung der Schutzfristen als Utopie erscheinen. Das muss nicht so bleiben. Es hat sich so viel und so Grundlegendes im Umgang mit kulturellem Erbe geändert, dass es zunehmend utopisch erscheint, hergebrachte Wertungen aus der analogen Zeit weiter durchsetzen zu wollen. Dabei ist der Konsens über die Notwendigkeit einer Lockerung des restriktiven Urheberrechts weiter als gedacht. Fair Use in den USA, freie Lizenzen überall auf der Welt, Kollektivlizenzen in den skandinavischen Staaten: All dies sind Ansätze, die negativen Folgen urheberrechtlicher Restriktion zu überwinden. Doch statt solcher punktueller Lösungen wäre es an der Zeit, an die Wurzel des Übels zu gehen: die überlangen Schutzfristen.

 Paul Klimpel (Hg.), „Mit gutem Recht erinnern. Gedanken zur Änderungen der rechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen des kulturellen Erbes in der digitalen Welt“Der Beitrag ist dem soeben erschienenen Buch „Mit gutem Recht erinnern“ (Hamburg University Press, 2018) entnommen. Der von Paul Klimpel herausgegebene Band versammelt Vorschläge und Überlegungen für bessere rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen beim kulturellen Erbe. Die elektronische Fassung ist frei verfügbar. Lizenz dieses Beitrags: Creative Commons Namensnennung (CC BY 4.0).

Hoe ethisch verantwoord kan een AI of robot zijn?

IusMentis - 7 uur 42 min geleden

Toen ik tien of elf was, kocht ik mijn eerste boek van SF-schrijver Isaac Asimov. Wat ik me er vooral nog van herinnerde, waren de vele korte verhalen over zijn Drie Wetten van de Robotica: een robot mag een mens geen kwaad doen, een robot moet doen wat de mens zegt tenzij daarmee wet 1 wordt overtreden en een robot moet zichzelf beschermen tenzij dat in strijd blijkt met wetten 1 of 2. Hele mooie ethische principes, en je ziet ze dan ook steeds terugkomen in discussies over ethiek bij robotica en kunstmatige intelligentie. Maar ik zie het zo even niet werken.

Het idee dat robots en/of kunstmatig intelligente systemen in onze samenleving mee gaan draaien, krijgt steeds meer overtuiging in de maatschappij. Voor een deel is dat een hype, maar er zit zeker een kern van waarheid in de verwachting dat dergelijke systemen een vast onderdeel worden van productie en dienstverlening, en ook wel vanuit de overheid.

De manier waarop deze systemen handelen en vooral beslissen roept dan vragen op, verloopt dat wel ethisch verantwoord. Je beslissing kunnen motiveren is daarbij één ding, maar een veelgehoorde eis is ook dat zo’n beslissing rechtmatig en verantwoord is. Horen dat je geen lening krijgt omdat je moslim bent, is een inhoudelijk duidelijke motivatie maar natuurlijk een onacceptabele.

Een dergelijk beslissysteem moet dus een set ethische randvoorwaarden en wettelijke grenzen ingebouwd krijgen. Alleen, hoe doe je dat? Haast per definitie zijn ethische principes algemeen en weinig vastomlijnd, maar ook wettelijke regels (zoals de AVG, die zo’n leningweigering verbiedt omdat sprake is van profilering op een bijzonder persoonsgegeven) zijn moeilijk in automatisering te vatten.

Een interessant initiatief is het Ethics for AI project van de Oxford University. Zij bekeken allerlei ethische codes, en kwamen toen met de conclusie

The very idea of parcelling ethics into a formal ‘code’ is also dangerous, if it leads to the attitude that ethics itself is just some separate part of life and of activities; it’s not. It’s more meaningfully looked at as a part and parcel of how we live, individually and collectively. So it would be unfortunate indeed, if the presence of a code of ethics encouraged the view that you could do the ethics, and then get on with life, get on with the job.

Het idee dat je ethiek kunt inprogrammeren in een systeem zie ik ook als een waangedachte. Het is geen functionele eis dat iets ethisch moet zijn, je kunt niet werken op basis van een lijst ethische randvoorwaarden. Het is natuurlijk mooi dat je een voorwaarde vanuit ethisch standpunt kunt rechtvaardigen, maar dat is zeer zeker geen garantie dat je systeem ethisch verantwoord werkt.

Ik vrees dat we er niet aan ontkomen om te zeggen, AI en robotica zal miskleunen slaan, dingen doen die ethisch onverantwoord zijn. Daar komen dan bezwaren tegen, en die worden in nieuwe systemen opgelost. Maar het blijft lapmiddelen en gedeeltelijke oplossingen die het probleem voor nu uit de weg gaan, en het zal nooit een fundamentele oplossing zijn waardoor onethische beslissingen onmogelijk worden.

Arnoud

Afkomstig van de blog Internetrecht door Arnoud Engelfriet. Koop mijn boek!

An Open Letter to Our Community On Congress’s Vote to Extend NSA Spying From EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn

Dear friends,

Today, the United States Congress struck a significant blow against the basic human right to read, write, learn, and associate free of government’s prying eyes. 

Goaded by those who let fear override democratic principles, some members of Congress shuttered public debate in order to pass a bill that extends the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional Internet surveillance for six years. 

This means six more years of warrantless surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. This is a long-abused law marketed as targeting foreigners abroad but which—intentionally and by design—subjects a tremendous amount of our Internet activities to government review, as they pass through key Internet checkpoints, and as they are stored by providers like Google and Facebook. Ultimately, the NSA uses Section 702 to sweep in and retain the communications of countless non-suspect Americans. 

Today’s action also means six more years of FBI access to giant databases of these NSA-collected communications, for purposes of routine domestic law enforcement that stray far from the original justification of national security. 

It didn’t have to be this way. Forward-thinking U.S. legislators from both sides of the aisle negotiated compromise bills that, while far from ideal, would have reined in some of the worst abuses of NSA surveillance powers while ensuring our intelligence agents could still do their jobs. But leadership from both Houses prevented the full Congress from considering these measures. For example, Senators were denied the opportunity to consider the USA Rights Act, and Representatives never had an opportunity to vote on the Poe-Lofgren Amendment during Thursday's floor vote. Both legislative vehicles offered sensible reforms that would have advanced the privacy of innocent American technology users. This procedural maneuvering also meant that your opportunity to make your voices heard was greatly truncated.   

While this debate took place in the halls of Washington, the ramifications are global. Millions of people around the world suffer under the NSA’s dragnet data collection. EFF fights for the rights of technology users everywhere, and our mission will not be complete until innocent users worldwide can communicate with dignity and privacy. Today Congress demonstrated its lack of regard for the human rights to privacy and association. And it shirked its duty to protect Americans’ rights under the Constitution.

We offer this response to the National Security Agency and its allies in Congress: enjoy it while you can because it won’t last. 

Today’s Congressional failure redoubles our commitment to seek justice through the courts and through the development and spread of technology that protects our privacy and security.

First, in the courts. We’ve actively litigated against NSA spying since 2005. Our flagship lawsuit against mass surveillance Jewel v. NSA is currently in discovery in the District Court, having survived multiple challenges by the government. The government even sought in October to indefinitely delay responding to demands from the court to turn over documentation of surveillance, but the court refused. Instead, they are facing a looming deadline to produce documents to the court: February 16, 2018. We’re also confronting NSA mass spying through use of the Freedom of Information Act, supporting the other cases against mass spying, and participating in the few criminal court cases where the government has admitted using evidence collected under Section 702.  

We also continue to search for new cases and arguments to challenge NSA mass spying in court—stepping up to the legal challenge of finding people who have admissible evidence that they have been surveilled and can pass the hurdle of standing that has blocked so many before. 

We aim to bring mass surveillance to the Supreme Court. By showcasing the unconstitutionality of the NSA’s collect-it-all approach to tapping the Internet, we’ll seek to end the dragnet surveillance of millions of innocent people. We know that the wheels of justice turn slowly, especially when it comes to impact litigation against the NSA, but we’re in this for the long run. 

Second, we’ll continue to harden digital platforms to make them resistant to surveillance and increase the ability of everyone to be digitally secure. We will promote widespread encryption through EFF tools like Certbot and HTTPS Everywhere, and we’ll promote the adoption of security tools through education and outreach. We’ll stand up to ongoing FBI efforts to block or deter our access to strong encryption. Together, we can make it more difficult and more costly for the NSA’s spying eyes to ensnare innocent people. And we will help technology users increase their digital security against bad actors.

Finally, we will continue to work with our allies in Congress to expose and restrain NSA surveillance. There is much to do on Capitol Hill, long before the next reauthorization debate in 2023.

Our vision is for a secure digital world, free from government surveillance and censorship. You deserve to have a private conversation online, just as you can have one offline. You deserve the right to associate and organize with others, as well as to read and research, free of government snooping. While Congress failed the American people today, EFF will not. With the support of our more than 40,000 members, we are stronger and more ready than ever to keep up this fight.

Cindy Cohn   
Executive Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
January 16, 2018

Public domain image from Trevor Paglen

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

EFF to Court: Requiring Universities to Ban Anonymous Online Speech Platforms on Campus is Counterproductive and Unconstitutional

Requiring public universities to ban access to anonymous online speech platforms would undermine activism occurring on those campuses and violate the First Amendment, EFF argued in a brief filed on Thursday.

Plaintiffs in the case, Feminist Majority Foundation et al. v. University of Mary Washington, claim that university officials violated federal anti-discrimination law by not taking appropriate steps to address threats and harassment directed at students, including messages posted on the now-defunct online platform Yik Yak.

One way university officials could have prevented the harassment, according to plaintiffs, is by blocking access to Yik Yak. After a federal trial court dismissed their claims last year, the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The lawsuit followed a request by one of the plaintiffs in the case for federal rules that would have required universities to ban access to anonymous online platforms to comply with federal law, which EFF also opposed [.pdf].

EFF agrees with the plaintiffs that online threats and harassment are a serious issue and that universities can and should do more to protect students on campus. We filed the brief in the case, however, because solutions to stopping harassment and threats at universities should not include unconstitutional bans on anonymous speech or the online platforms that permit people to speak anonymously.

In the brief [.pdf], EFF argues that plaintiffs’ “well-intentioned efforts to protect college students from harassment and threats will jeopardize their ability to advocate for equality on campuses by prohibiting them and others from using anonymous online speech platforms as a tool for broader social change.”

The brief provides several examples of the benefits anonymity provides to students and others who are advocating for social change, such as allowing students to report racism and sexual violence without fear of reprisal or to avoid surveillance.

“When advocating for equality on the basis of gender, race, and other protected statuses, both on campus and throughout the world, many university students choose to speak anonymously,” the brief argues. “This is especially true when these student activists perceive that their views are controversial with fellow students, university officials, or even local police.”

The brief also shows how beneficial anonymous online speech platforms can be to social movements because they “enrich our public discourse by disseminating important voices that might not otherwise be heard if individuals had to attach their names to them.”

Finally, the brief argues that requiring public universities to restrict anonymous speech or access to anonymous online platforms would violate the First Amendment. “The University thus could not, consistent with the First Amendment, have blocked students from communicating anonymously, whether through Yik Yak or otherwise, in order to fulfill their Title IX requirements,” the brief argues.

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

EFF to Supreme Court: Protect the Privacy of Cross-Border Data

The Electronic Frontier Foundation urged the Supreme Court today to hold that Microsoft cannot be forced by the U.S. government to disclose the contents of users’ emails stored on the company’s computers in Dublin, Ireland.

The stakes for user privacy in the court’s decision are extremely high. Governments around the world may feel empowered to snoop on the countless emails, chats, and other online communications that cross international boundaries if the court sides with the government.

At the center of the case, the U.S. government is attempting to overturn a Second Circuit decision holding that police cannot use U.S. warrants to compel U.S. Internet companies to disclose users’ email and digital content stored outside the United States. The appellate court reasoned that this extraterritorial application of a U.S. warrant would exceed the process Congress created — the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) — to protect people’s privacy while allowing law enforcement access to emails. The case is titled United States v. Microsoft, and is often called “the Microsoft Ireland case.” EFF joined the ACLU, Brennan Center, Restore the Fourth, and R Street Institute to file the amicus brief with the Supreme Court.

The U.S. government’s unilateral approach to obtaining Microsoft users’ emails would bypass the international procedures that it has previously agreed to. Specifically, the U.S. has signed treaties with 65 individual countries and the European Union, called Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs), that enable the U.S. to apply to foreign governments where evidence of a crime is located, and ask that country to assist in collecting the evidence under its own privacy laws. The countries the United States has partnered with can similarly request that the U.S. Department of Justice help them collect evidence stored in the United States. Under MLATs, foreign countries must follow the privacy rules established by U.S. law, including the requirement under the Fourth Amendment that law enforcement obtain a warrant to search and seize content. These MLATs recognize the importance of other countries’ privacy and human rights laws. Ireland has advised the U.S. Supreme Court that it believes the MLAT process is the most appropriate means for the U.S. government to obtain the emails that Microsoft stores in Ireland.

To evade using MLATs, and get around the fact that U.S. warrants typically do not have international reach, the U.S. government is arguing that a Fourth Amendment search and seizure only occurs when Microsoft, within the United States, delivers emails to officers of the U.S. government. That is simply not the case. Rather, if Microsoft copies or moves data from Ireland to the United States on demand from the U.S. government, that is a search and seizure, and it occurs abroad. As our amicus brief states:

Furthermore, the Government’s argument that such collection and copying does not “expand[ ] [Microsoft’s] authority over those emails” (id.) ignores that it does expand the government’s authority over them. A government-directed exercise of dominion over an individual’s private communications, by itself, is a Fourth Amendment seizure.

EFF has long worked to ensure the greatest privacy protection for cross-border data. In the Microsoft Ireland case, we filed amicus briefs before the district court and the appellate court. We are also fighting for privacy protections at the international level in the Council of Europe, where a  new treaty  could allow direct foreign law enforcement access to data stored in other countries’ territories.  And EFF is advocating against overbroad DOJ legislative proposals to access online content stored abroad.

We urge the Supreme Court to hold the government accountable for following the rules set by Congress, and by international treaty, when law enforcement agencies seek access to our private conversations stored outside the United States. The court is expected to decide this case during the spring 2018 term.

We thank our counsel Brett J. Williamson, Nathaniel Asher, David K. Lukmire, and Cara Gagliano of O’Melveny & Myers.

Related Cases: In re Warrant for Microsoft Email Stored in Dublin, Ireland
Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

Happy Together Once More: The California Supreme Court and Congress Take Up The Question of Copyright in Old Music Recordings

Federal copyright law doesn’t give artists and labels the right to control most ways music recordings are played in public. That’s how FM and AM radio stations work. That’s how stores playing soothing “don’t you want to buy something?” music work. And that’s how restaurants playing music at an uncomfortably loud decibel so you can’t talk to your friends work. But because older recordings aren’t covered by these laws, some copyright holders keep trying to use them to gain more control over how their recordings are played - something they’ve never been able to do.

EFF just weighed in on one of these cases, in the California Supreme Court. In Flo & Eddie v. Pandora Media, we argued that state law, which governs sound recordings made before 1972, doesn’t include a right to control public performances of sound recordings, including radio play. If this sounds familiar, that’s because this fight has played out across the country over the past three years. The high courts of New York and Florida have already ruled that their own state laws don’t let pre-1972 copyright holders control public performances of their sound recordings.

These cases stem from a broader debate about copyright in sound recordings. Although federal copyrights in sound recordings cover reproduction and distribution, they don’t include a general right to control public performances, except for “digital audio transmissions” like Internet and satellite radio. That’s why AM and FM radio stations, and businesses like restaurants that play music, have never had to pay record labels or recording artists, nor ask their permission. (Songwriters and music publishers do get paid for public performances). But recordings made before February 15, 1972 aren’t covered by federal law at all. Instead, they fall under a patchwork of pre-digital state laws and court decisions. The labels have tried for many decades to win a performance right, but so far neither Congress nor state legislatures have created one.

The strange status of pre-1972 recordings created an opportunity for recording artists and labels to try getting from the courts what Congress has never given them: a right to control public performances. Flo & Eddie is a company owned by two members of the 1960s rock band the Turtles, famous for their hit “Happy Together.” Flo & Eddie sued Pandora and Sirius XM under state laws across the country, claiming they should not be allowed to play Turtles tracks and other pre-1972 recordings without permission and payment, even though that's what people had been doing for over 50 years.

EFF filed amicus briefs in each of these cases. We argued that copyright holders should only be given new rights when necessary to encourage new creativity. And we argued that creating those rights is a job for legislatures, not courts. We also pointed out that new rights under copyright (like the digital public performance right Congress created in 1996) are always coupled with limitations. A public performance right under state law, created by courts without the limitations and exceptions that exist in federal law, would create unpredictable legal risks for digital music services, broadcasters, and even restaurants.

Creating a patchwork of new rights through state court decisions would also make complying with copyright law complex and risky for businesses that use music. Pandora and Sirius XM, major digital music businesses with a nationwide reach, could actually win by losing this case. They have the resources and expertise to negotiate licenses with thousands of copyright holders in classic music recordings, while startups and smaller competitors may not. In fact, Sirius XM and Pandora are already making these kinds of licenses through class action settlements and private agreements. In our amicus brief, we pointed out to the California Supreme Court that uniform rules give competition a chance to thrive.

The California case is particularly worrisome, because the decision on appeal, which came from the federal courts to the state supreme court through a “certified question” process, was shockingly broad. The federal district court in Los Angeles ruled that the state “record piracy” statute covered not only public performances of sound recordings but every other right that those copyright owners could possibly have—with a single exception for artists making cover recordings. On its face, that decision seemed to eliminate the fair use defense, the first sale limitation, and other vital limits on copyright.

Since two other state high courts have already ruled that their laws don’t include a public performance right in sound recordings, we’re hopeful that California’s Supreme Court will follow suit.

A final loss for Flo & Eddie would not be the end of this story, because Congress has already taken up the pre-1972 recordings issue. A bill, the CLASSICS Act [PDF], would create a federal public performance right for those recordings, even though they are otherwise governed by state law until 2067. The new federal right would cover only “digital audio transmissions,” not traditional radio broadcasts, or playing music in restaurants and stores. And the bill explicitly applies fair use, the library and archive exceptions, and part of the Section 114 statutory license used by companies like Pandora and Sirius.

Copyright is supposed to provide an incentive for people to create new creative works. The CLASSICS Act doesn’t do that, because it doesn’t apply to new works. Rather, it takes away the public’s ability to perform decades-old, lawfully purchased recordings without permission, and gives control back to the copyright holders. Rather than benefiting the public, this bill is a subsidy to the record labels, and some artists and investors, who hold the rights in hit records from the 1960s and before.

On the other hand, this bill advances some of the goals that EFF has argued for in the Flo & Eddie lawsuits: making the law on performances of pre-1972 sound recordings uniform across the U.S., and making sure it includes robust exceptions and limitations. That will give new digital music businesses a chance to thrive, and help prevent lock-in of the current music giants.

If Congress needs to act at all, a better approach would be to put pre-1972 recordings fully under federal law, as the Copyright Office recommended in its 2011 report. Full federalization would make it easier for music businesses to operate across state lines, and reduce the risk of state-by-state legal opportunism by rightsholders like Flo & Eddie.

On the whole, the Flo & Eddie decisions and the CLASSICS Act are moving this obscure but important corner of copyright law in a positive direction. A win for Pandora in California, and amending the CLASSICS Act to add a complete federalization of copyright in sound recordings, would help even more.

Related Cases: Pre-1972 Sound Recordings State Law Copyright Litigation
Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

California Police Chiefs Misrepresent License Plate Privacy Bill

EFF supports S.B. 712, a California bill that would allow drivers to cover their plates when they’re parked. This simple privacy measure would create an opportunity for drivers to protect sensitive information about their travel and whereabouts from mass collection by law enforcement and private data brokers.

The threat is all too real. Police agencies have surveilled Muslims by collecting plates in parking lots at mosques. Police officers have used license plates of vehicles parked at gay clubs to blackmail patrons. Anti-choice activists are trained to amass license plates of doctors and patients parked at reproductive health centers. Immigration & Customs Enforcement plans to use private license plate databases, effectively dodging state restrictions on data sharing, as it ramps up its deportation efforts. 

The California Police Chiefs Association opposes our bill. This week, its lobbyists issued a “floor alert” to state senators that misrepresents how the bill would work.

S.B. 712 Would Not Undermine Amber Alerts

Amber Alerts are designed to put the public and the police on the look-out for kidnappers and their victims based on their images and description, and in some cases their vehicles. 

In opposing S.B. 712, the police lobbyists erroneously claim: “Amber alerts don’t work if kidnappers can hide their license plate.” But the evidence does not support their claim that somehow Amber Alerts will no longer be effective.

Here are some examples of how Amber Alerts actually play out. 

November 4, 2017: A 2-month-old child in Los Angeles County was rescued after the “vehicle was seen Friday heading north on Interstate 5.”

Under S.B. 712, it would remain a crime to cover your plate while driving your vehicle. Vehicles in motion would still be visible to law enforcement. 

July 17, 2017: An 8-month-old child was rescued after “A good Samaritan pulled a car seat from the back of a car Monday after spotting a missing baby with a man who appeared to be under the influence of drugs.” 

S.B. 712 would not prevent good Samaritans from identifying a missing child. 

October 25, 2016: Solano County Sheriff patrols received an alert of a vehicle suspected of being involved in a kidnapping, but were unable to find the vehicle. Later, patrols spotted the vehicle, but the vehicle evaded them. Eventually a store clerk recognized the kidnapper and flagged down a California Highway Patrol vehicle.   

S.B. 712 would not prevent a clerk from recognizing a kidnapper based on an image.

September, 23, 2015: After an Amber Alert was issued for a 5-year-old, the alleged kidnapper—the father—called police directly and asked for assistance. 

S.B. 712 would not prevent family members suspected of kidnapping from turning themselves in.

Again, under S.B. 712, it would still be illegal to cover your plate in motion. So the bill would have zero effect on how law enforcement uses automated license plate readers to receive real-time alerts on the plates of vehicles in motion. 

S.B. 712 Would Not Help Criminals Hide Their Parked Cars 

The chiefs’ floor alert makes the dubious claim that criminal will use S.B. 712 “to park in plain sight, undetected by law enforcement.” This claim lacks merit for several reasons. 

This is illogical.

First, it’s already legal to use a tarp to cover an entire vehicle, including the plate. So anyone seeking to evade arrest while parking in plain sight already has the legal ability to cover their plate. It is actually easier for police to capture a criminal who covers just their plate, as opposed to their entire vehicle, because law enforcement would still be able to identify the make, model, and color of the vehicle. 

Second, S.B. 712 would require people who choose to cover just their plate to do so in a manner that allows law enforcement to lift the cover to inspect their plate. So if a parked vehicle matches the description of a wanted vehicle, officers can confirm their suspicions by lifting the cover. 

Third, criminals already have many illegal means of evading license plate detection. They can steal someone else’s plate, or acquire an expired plate on eBay. They can affix a reflective mask or shade over their plate. If a vehicle’s make, model, and color match an Amber Alert, a license plate cover could draw attention, while an inauthentic plate may not.

Finally, criminals already can easily and lawfully hide the plates of their parked cars from ALPR detection by parking their cars in their home garages. 

S.B. 712 Would Advance Officer Safety

The California legislature has long recognized that peace officers have an interest in protecting their privacy due to the threat of retaliation. As part of this, law enforcement personnel, and certain other state employees, are granted the ability to hide their address on DMV records

But ALPR data provides the means to undermine the confidentiality of peace officer home addresses. A private company, for example, could a run a license plate through an ALPR database to identify where that license plate parks overnight—revealing the driver’s home address. In the case of a data breach, criminal elements could also gain access to this sensitive data. 

Thus, by empowering peace officers to cover their plates when parked in front of their homes, S.B. 712 would advance officer safety. 

S.B. 712 Is Sound Law Enforcement Policy

 In sum, the police chiefs incorrectly claim that S.B. 712 would have a detrimental effect on law enforcement. 

The police chiefs also fail to recognize the evidence that ALPRs provide little or no law enforcement value. Data collected by EFF from across the state show that only .08% of vehicle plates captured by police ALPRs are connected to a crime. And of those, the overwhelming majority were for stolen vehicles and license plates. Notably, the entire San Diego Police Department had only one ALPR felony “hit” in all of 2016.  

And once again: the large portion of that data involves moving vehicles, not parked ones, and so would be unaffected by S.B. 712. For example, law enforcement would still collect information from cameras positioned along highways or on street lights. 

S.B. 712 is very simple. You’re allowed to cover your entire parked vehicle in California—including the license plate—so it stands to reason you should be able to cover just the license plate too. 

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

How License Plate Covers Would Protect Vulnerable Communities

EFF is a strong supporter of S.B. 712, a California bill that would allow vulnerable communities to cover their license plates when parked. This provides a way for individuals to protect their confidentiality when visiting sensitive locations, such as religious sites of worship, medical facilities, and social support centers.

Under current law, drivers can cover their entire vehicles, including the license plates, when parked. S.B. 712 simply says that you are allowed to cover just the plate when you are parked. This common-sense solution allows drivers to opt-out of unwanted data collection when they have reached their destinations, not unlike how installing an ad-blocker may prevent online advertisers from gathering your information. 

The threat to privacy is increasing as automated license plate readers (ALPRs) have made it easier for private companies to amass billions of records in commercial databases. This data can be used to track drivers in real time or to reveal their travel patterns and community networks. 

The danger is not hypothetical, as the examples below prove.  

Reproductive Health Services

License plate data gathered from and around reproductive health centers jeopardizes the privacy and safety of patients and health providers, and impedes access to these services. Already, anti-choice activists are trained to use license plate data to surveil patients and doctors, with one activist collecting more than 7,000 plates from facilities in Texas. As the Houston Chronicle reported:

One trainer bragged that her group not only tracked patient license plates, but also used plates to identify abortion doctors to see if they had admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, as required by law.

"We have a very sophisticated spreadsheet," said the trainer, Karen Garnett, executive director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, adding, "You have license plates, car model, make, description of the person."

Source: “Anti-abortion activists adopt a new tactic: tracking license plates.” Houston Chronicle, August 13, 2014

LGBTQ+ Communities 

As far back as the 1990s, license plates have been used to blackmail members of the LGBTQ community. As the Washington Post reported: 

It's quite simple as extortion goes: Trail a married man out of a gay sex club. Take his license plate number. And later threaten to expose him unless he pays hush money. 

The term "fairy shaking" needs no definition within certain circles of the D.C. police department: A few rogue cops have been doing it for years and getting away with it, several law enforcement sources said. 

Source: “Stowe’s Sudden Fall from Grace.” Washington Post, November 30, 1997  

Religious Minorities

License plate data can be used to identify visitors to religious centers, a practice that has already been deployed to spy on Muslim-Americans in New York City. As Associated Press reported:

The NYPD Intelligence Division snapped pictures and collected license plate numbers of congregants as they arrived to pray…

If the NYPD badly wanted to know who was attending the mosque, they could write down the license plates of cars in the mosque parking lots, documents show. In some instances, police in unmarked cars outfitted with electronic license plate readers would drive down the street and record the plates of everyone parked near the mosque.

Source: “With cameras, informants, NYPD eyed mosques.” Associated Press.  February 23, 2012

Immigrant Communities 

Immigration & Customs Enforcement subscribes to a commercial database containing billions of ALPR data points collected by a private company.  This system allows a user to create alerts for targeted vehicles, allowing for real-time tracking of drivers.

ICE law enforcement personnel will query the LPR database using known license plate numbers associated with the aliens who are immigration enforcement priorities, based on investigative leads, to determine where and when the vehicle has traveled within a specified period of time. The results of the queries can assist in identifying the location of aliens who are immigration enforcement priorities… 

Source: “Access to License Plate Reader Commercial Data Service.” FBO.gov. April 2, 2015

License Plate Covers as a Solution

S.B. 712 would help protect the privacy of a driver by allowing them to cover their plate when they are lawfully parked. 

S.B. 712 would not prevent all forms of ALPR collection. For example, S.B. 712 would not prevent ALPRs from collecting plate data while a vehicle is in motion. Furthermore, S.B. 712 would allow law enforcement to inspect a covered license plate by lifting the flap, just as the current law allows police to inspect the license plate of a vehicle covered entirely by a tarp. 

What S.B. 712 does achieve is an important privacy protection: allowing the driver to protect the confidentiality of their destinations, be it their doctor’s office, house of worship, or their home. 

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

EFF to Court: Linking Is Not Copyright Infringement

Playboy Lawsuit Against Boing Boing Should Be Dismissed

Los Angeles, California—Playboy Entertainment's lawsuit accusing acclaimed website Boing Boing of copyright infringement—for doing nothing more than reporting on a historical collection of Playboy centerfolds—is groundless and should be thrown out, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a federal court today.

As EFF and co-counsel Durie Tangri LLP explain in a request to dismiss the lawsuit filed on behalf of Boing Boing owner Happy Mutants LLC, Playboy’s copyright claim seeks to punish Boing Boing for commenting on and linking to an archive of Playboy “playmate” centerfold images that a third party posted. The blog contained links to an imgur.com page and YouTube video—neither of which were created by Boing Boing. But courts have long recognized that simply linking to content on the web isn’t unlawful.

“Boing Boing didn’t upload, publish, host, or store any images that Playboy owns, didn’t control the images, and didn’t contribute to the infringement of any Playboy copyrights,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “It’s frankly mystifying that an entertainment company that has often fought to defend free speech rights  is trying to punish Boing Boing for doing what has made it a leading online source of news and commentary: unique and groundbreaking reporting on art, science, and popular culture.”

“Boing Boing’s reporting and commenting on the Playboy photos is protected by copyright’s fair use doctrine,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Daniel Nazer. “We’re asking the court to dismiss this deeply flawed lawsuit. Journalists, scientists, researchers, and everyday people on the web have the right to link to material, even copyrighted material, without having to worry about getting sued.”

For the brief:
https://www.eff.org/document/playboy-v-happy-mutants-eff-mtd

For more on fair use:
https://www.eff.org/issues/intellectual-property

Contact:  CorynneMcSherryLegal Directorcorynne@eff.org DanielNazerSenior Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patentsdaniel@eff.org
Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

EFF and Lookout Uncover New Malware Espionage Campaign Infecting Thousands Around the World

Mobile Devices Compromised by Fake Secure Messaging Clients – Hundreds of Gigabytes of Data Stolen

San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and mobile security company Lookout have uncovered a new malware espionage campaign infecting thousands of people in more than 20 countries. Hundreds of gigabytes of data has been stolen, primarily through mobile devices compromised by fake secure messaging clients.

The trojanized apps, including Signal and WhatsApp, function like the legitimate apps and send and receive messages normally. However, the fake apps also allow the attackers to take photos, retrieve location information, capture audio, and more.

The threat, called Dark Caracal by EFF and Lookout researchers, may be a nation-state actor and appears to employ shared infrastructure which has been linked to other nation-state actors. In a new report, EFF and Lookout trace Dark Caracal to a building belonging to the Lebanese General Security Directorate in Beirut.

“People in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Lebanon, and France have been hit by Dark Caracal. Targets include military personnel, activists, journalists, and lawyers, and the types of stolen data range from call records and audio recordings to documents and photos,” said EFF Director of Cybersecurity Eva Galperin. “This is a very large, global campaign, focused on mobile devices. Mobile is the future of spying, because phones are full of so much data about a person’s day-to-day life.”

“Dark Caracal is part of a trend we’ve seen mounting over the past year whereby traditional APT actors are moving toward using mobile as a primary target platform,” said Mike Murray, Vice President of Security Intelligence at Lookout. “The Android threat we identified, as used by Dark Caracal, is one of the first globally active mobile APTs we have spoken publicly about.”

Dark Caracal has been operating since at least 2012. However, one reason it has been hard to track is the diversity of seemingly unrelated espionage campaigns originating from the same domain names. The researchers believe that Dark Caracal is only one of a number of different global attackers using this infrastructure. Over the years, Dark Caracal’s work has been repeatedly misattributed to other cybercrime groups. In fact, EFF’s Operation Manul report from 2016 misidentified espionage from these servers as coming from the Indian security company Appin.

“One of the interesting things about this ongoing attack is that it doesn’t require a sophisticated or expensive exploit. Instead, all Dark Caracal needed was application permissions that users themselves granted when they downloaded the apps, not realizing that they contained malware,” said EFF Staff Technologist Cooper Quintin. “This research shows it’s not difficult to create a strategy allowing people and governments spy to on targets around the world.”

For the full report:
https://www.lookout.com/info/ds-dark-caracal-ty

For more on Dark Caracal:
https://blog.lookout.com/dark-caracal-mobile-APT

For more on how to avoid downloading malware:
https://ssd.eff.org/en/module/how-avoid-phishing-attacks

Contact:  EvaGalperinDirector of Cybersecurityeva@eff.org CooperQuintinStaff Technologistcooperq@eff.org
Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

Copyright, The First Wave of Internet Censorship

We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

When someone wants to remove speech from the Internet, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) notice and takedown process can provide the quickest path. This has made copyright law a tempting tool for unscrupulous censors. As content companies push for even more control over what gets posted online, it’s important to remember that any tool used to police copyright will quickly be abused, then adapted, to censor speech more widely.
We’ve seen abusive DMCA takedown notices from a would-be Senate candidate, small businesses, and Ecuador’s President. We’ve also seen robots-run-amok and sending takedowns for public domain material and white noise. One disturbing trend involves businesses targeting bad reviews. The business, or a shadowy reputation management company acting on its behalf, copies the bad review and “publishes” it elsewhere on the Internet. The business then sends a DMCA takedown notice alleging infringement of the copied, and falsely backdated, review.

Other DMCA takedowns have targeted speech for its political or otherwise offensive content. Although we did not agree with the video’s message, EFF criticized a takedown directed at a video that briefly featured FCC chairman Ajit Pai doing the Harlem Shake. We had similar concerns about a game company that used the DMCA to take down a game stream after a certain YouTube “personality” uttered a racial slur. It is not copyright’s job to police speech.

Copyright as a censorship tool is not limited to the DMCA. For example, when Zillow first threatened architecture blog McMansion Hell, it claimed that the blog’s use of real estate photographs wasn’t fair use under copyright law. But the blog’s use of the photos – annotating them with humorous and critical commentary about McMansions – was a clear fair use (Zillow also didn’t own the photos). EFF responded on behalf of McMansion Hell and the blog remained.

Content owners continue to push for more powerful tools—like upload filtering or suspension of domain names—for removing online speech. While these tools are unlikely to help creators (and will entrench the position of platforms like YouTube that have already spent the money to build filtering mechanisms), they will be useful instruments for censors. The systems are designed to create a quick and easy way to make speech disappear from the Internet without any clear standards or meaningful recourse. When governments move to censor speech, the tools they use will likely have begun life as copyright filters. It is our job to keep those filters from being deployed in the first place.

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

Dit jaar nieuwe voorzitter Raad voor de rechtspraak

Termijn huidige voorzitter loopt af

De Raad voor de rechtspraak krijgt dit jaar een nieuwe voorzitter. De termijn van Frits Bakker, de huidige voorzitter van de Raad, loopt na 6 jaar ten einde.

Frits Bakker, voorzitter Raad voor de rechtspraak

De procedure om een geschikte voorzitter te vinden is inmiddels gestart. Die procedure kent 2 stappen. Eerst moet een nieuw lid van de Raad worden geworven. Dit begint met het opstellen van het profiel waaraan het nieuwe lid moet voldoen. Het kunnen bekleden van het voorzitterschap maakt daarvan deel uit. Zodra de Raad weer voltallig is (bestaande uit 2 rechterlijke leden en 2 niet-rechterlijke leden), kan de Raad uit de rechterlijke leden de minister een nieuwe voorzitter voordragen. Naar verwachting wordt de opvolger van Frits Bakker in het najaar door de koning benoemd.

Toga

Een voorzitter heeft de mogelijkheid om te vragen of zijn termijn met nog eens 3 jaar verlengd kan worden, maar Bakker ziet hier van af. 'Dat de termijn in eerste instantie 6 jaar bedraagt heeft een reden. Vers bloed is goed voor een bestuur, ook bij de Raad', licht hij toe. Maar de belangrijkste reden om geen herbenoeming te vragen is zijn liefde voor het rechtspreken: 'Elke ochtend loop ik langs de kapstok, waar mijn toga hangt. Ik wil mijn werkzame leven niet afsluiten zonder die nog actief gedragen te hebben.' Na zijn voorzitterschap wordt hij rechter in de rechtbank Noord-Holland.

Categorieën: Rechten

Je hebt nog 128 dagen om de AVG te implementeren #128totavg

IusMentis - 18 januari 2018 - 8:09am

Vandaag zijn er nog precies 128 dagen te gaan tot 25 mei 2018, de datum waarop de Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming (AVG, ook wel General Data Protection Regulation oftewel GDPR) van kracht wordt. Deze nieuwe Europese privacywet gaat een hoop veranderen, en juristen en consultants draaien massaal overuren om hun klanten compliant te krijgen. Maar steeds meer raak ik ervan overtuigd dat het een fout is om de AVG te zien als een nieuwe wet die juridische maatregelen vereist, oftewel iets dat je aan de juridische afdeling kunt overlaten om met een nieuwe privacyverklaring, bewerkersovereenkomst en standaardtekst voor toestemming te laten komen.

Zoals ik 128 dagen geleden al schreef, voor een groot deel is de AVG aanscherpen van de regels uit de huidige wetgeving. Dat echt alles verboden zou worden, is dan ook een tikje overtrokken. Het is vooral een kwestie van zorgvuldig(er) moeten gaan werken. Onderbouw waarom je die gegevens nodig hebt. Leg vast hoe lang je ze bewaart, en hoezo bewaar jij backups 10 jaar?

Het uitwerken van die zorgvuldigheid is precies waar de grootste pijn blijkt te zitten, in mijn ervaring. Het vereist namelijk een hele nieuwe manier van denken: persoonsgegevens krijg je niet zomaar, je moet het uitwerken en motiveren. En dat is echt iets nieuws, maar wel iets nieuws waar je als bedrijf over na moet denken. De jurist of consultant kan dat niet, althans niet alleen. De AVG dwingt tot veranderen van je bedrijfsprocessen, niet alleen je privacyverklaring.

Nog steeds zie ik mensen die denken dat het wel meevalt, en denken dat ze wegkomen met wat mooie nieuwe teksten, een Excelsheet dat als verwerkingsregister moet dienen en een herschreven toestemmingsvraag voor bij de nieuwsbrief. Maar dat is slechts één klein deel van het verhaal. Compliance vereist meer dan alleen de voorkant oppoetsen. Het gaat juist om wat er vervolgens gebeurt, die bedrijfsprocessen waarin besloten wordt gegevens te hergebruiken of die archivaris die onder het mom “beter bewaren dan kwijt zijn” backups nimmer opschoont of weggooit.

Gisteren sprak ik een journalist die me vroeg hoe ik bepaal of een organisatie voldoet aan de AVG. Dat is natuurlijk een iets te complex onderwerp om met één vraag te toetsen, maar als kort-door-de-bocht vuistregel kun je wel letten op hoe men bewaartermijnen vaststelt, en wat ze doen met bekende onderwerpen als sollicitatiebrieven of registratie van bezoekers. Dat zijn typisch van die dingen die er normaal tussendoor gedaan worden en dus over het hoofd gezien worden als compliance niet op de goede manier wordt ingevoerd.

Arnoud

Afkomstig van de blog Internetrecht door Arnoud Engelfriet. Koop mijn boek!

How Closed Trade Deals Ratchet Up the Copyright Term Worldwide

We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

Although copyright is a subject of international law—principally the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)'s Berne Convention from 1886 and its Internet Treaties from 1996—it is still implemented and enforced primarily through national laws. Those laws differ from one country to another in significant ways. One of the most significant differences is the length of the term of copyright protection, which varies from the life of the author plus 50 years (the Berne Convention's minimum requirement), up to life plus 100 years (in Mexico).

Differences in the law aren't a bug; they're a feature. Just as a country has the right to craft specific exceptions to copyright law based on its own national circumstances (for example in India, where many foreign books are not available for sale, copyright law allows public libraries to make up to three copies of such books), so too it should be able to adopt the copyright term that makes the most sense for its citizens—which in most if not all cases will be the shortest term allowed.

But because differences in copyright term make things more complicated for copyright holders, there are constant efforts by some copyright holders to try to homogenize the duration of copyright so that they can more easily enforce their copyrights worldwide—and of course, they would like them to be harmonized at the life-plus-70 year term, so that they can extract another 20 years of monopoly rents, over and above the Berne Convention's standard life-plus-50 year term. Trade agreements are one way that they are trying to achieve this. Here's how.

Trade Agreements

Like the WIPO Berne Convention, a trade agreement is essentially a treaty, but with two important differences. First, whereas WIPO treaties are negotiated with a pretty good degree of transparency and participation from users, including input from groups like EFF, library associations, and groups representing users with disabilities, trade agreements… aren't. The groups who have access to those negotiations are the cleared corporate lobbyists that staff the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) Trade Advisory Committees, or their equivalent advisory processes in other countries (we wrote more about this for last year's Copyright Week). Last month an EFF-led group associated with the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) issued recommendations about how trade negotiations could be made more transparent and inclusive, but this remains an ongoing battle for now.

The second big difference is that rather than dealing with a single, narrow topic like WIPO's treaties do, a trade agreement typically deals with a whole gamut of topics such as labeling standards for meat, inspections of clothing factories, and time limits for government tenders. Somehow, countries engaged in such a negotiation have to balance the value of preserving their autonomy to make their own copyright rules, against the demands of their negotiating partners—and those of their own industry lobbies—in diverse other areas. This typically results in countries trading away their locally-developed copyright rules almost as an afterthought. In a 2017 report, Australia's Productivity Commission observed:

A ‘more is better’ mindset, and poor consultation and transparency, have proven problematic in Australia’s international IP dealings. International agreements that commit Australia to implement specific IP provisions — such as the duration of patent or copyright protection — have worked against Australia’s interests. These agreements typically involve trade-offs, and keen to cut a deal, Australia has capitulated too readily.

One of the rules that is typically traded away is the extension of the copyright term. That's the one and only reason why Singapore and Chile extended their copyright terms in 2003, Australia did so in 2005, and Bahrain and Morocco did so in 2006, just to mention a few. Six of the parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that had not already extended their copyright terms were a hair's breadth away from doing so until President Trump withdrew from the agreement, and with it, the imperative for them to agree to the extension fell away. In the TPP's current incarnation as the CPTPP, no copyright term extension is required.

Even as Japan was saved from being required to extend its copyright term under the TPP, it has agreed to do the same thing … with the European Union

However the threat that countries will be coerced into extending their copyright terms through closed, opaque trade agreements remains. For one thing, it's not just the United States pushing this agenda; Europe is doing so also. Tragically, even as Japan was saved from being required to extend its copyright term under the TPP, it has agreed to do the same thing under a pending trade agreement with the European Union that was released as a draft last month. Another European trade agreement currently under negotiation would require the Philippines—which is poorer than any European country—to extend its copyright term to life-plus-70 years. 

Special 301 Report

Even when the United States is not negotiating a trade agreement with another country, the USTR can still seek to influence that country's copyright law through the publication of its annual Special 301 Report. The Special 301 Report, a document with no international legal status or effect, contains a "Watch List" of countries that don't do enough to meet the United States' unilateral demands for changes to their copyright laws, with the implied threat that they may face trade retaliation if they continue refusing to do so.

In 2016, the United States added Switzerland to this Watch List, and like Swiss clockwork, a year later the country was proposing major reforms to its copyright law, including the extension of the term of protection for performances (which is strictly a "related right" rather than a copyright), from 50 to 70 years. This is the same change that Canada made in 2015, resulting in the country receiving a pat on the head in the USTR's 2016 Special 301 Report, though it still remains on the Watch List.

An Idea Whose Time Has Passed

At least three things have changed since trade agreements were first successfully used to push the life-plus-70 year bandwagon in the early 2000s. First, shortly after those agreements were negotiated, strong new evidence began to emerge from economists challenging the presumption that longer copyright terms would be linked to increased economic growth. This included a brief from 17 leading economists [PDF] in the case of Eldred v Ashcroft, which was an (ultimately unsuccessful) legal challenge to the U.S. copyright term extension law. Economists today commonly agree that a copyright term of around 14 years may have been a better choice.

Second, the unchallenged global economic dominance of the United States has steadily declined in recent decades. The economic giants of China and India, which are amongst the parties negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), are both countries that hold to the Berne life-plus-50 year term, and are unlikely to extend their copyright terms any time soon. Amongst the NAFTA negotiating parties, Canada still has a life-plus-50 year copyright term, and has expressed a firm resolve not to depart from this. Whereas once the United States might have had the clout to force Canada's hand, today it stands in a weaker position—particularly given the TPP parties' decision to excise copyright term extension from that agreement.

Third and most interestingly of all, even representatives of content producers are now having second thoughts about the desirability of long copyright terms. In a remarkable statement to Ars Technica last week, the Authors Guild reportedly expressed that it:

does not support extending the copyright term, especially since many of our members benefit from having access to a thriving and substantial public domain of older works. If anything, we would likely support a rollback to a term of life-plus-50 if it were politically feasible.

While it may not currently be politically feasible for the United States to roll back its own bloated copyright term, it is certainly feasible for it to stop attempting to force this term onto other countries through secretive trade agreements. Indeed, there are very good reasons why U.S. trade negotiators should cease wasting their political capital on an issue that even the creative sector is no longer concerned about, when they could be expending that capital on some of their other, even more contentious demands.

Copyright term extension was never a good idea. But it's a much worse idea when it's being forced upon countries that don't want it, as part and parcel of a closed, exclusionary, and lobbyist-driven trade agreement. The United States and Europe must cease demanding that their trading partners increase their copyright term, and countries receiving such demands should feel empowered to refuse them, knowing that even the creative industries are now coming around to the idea that a longer copyright term is not better.

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

Voorzitter Raad voor de rechtspraak: ‘Verlaag griffiekosten om toegang tot de rechter te garanderen’

De griffiekosten voor eenvoudige incassozaken moeten omlaag om de toegang tot de onafhankelijke rechter te garanderen. Dat stelt Frits Bakker, voorzitter van de Raad voor de rechtspraak, vanavond in Nieuwsuur. Omdat de griffierechten voor reguliere rechtspraak hoog zijn - veel hoger dan de werkelijke kosten - leggen bijvoorbeeld zorgverzekeraars en energiebedrijven hun incassozaken voor aan commerciële online geschiloplossers zoals e-Court. Of daarbij de belangen van schuldenaren voldoende zijn gewaarborgd, is echter onduidelijk.

Online arbitrageFrits Bakker, voorzitter Raad voor de rechtspraak

Geschilbeslechting buiten de rechter om bestaat al lang en kan een prima alternatief zijn. Als beide partijen instemmen, kan een conflict worden voorgelegd aan een deskundige arbiter in plaats van de rechter. De laatste tijd is een commerciële incassovariant daarvan sterk in opkomst. Steeds meer bedrijven (waaronder zorgverzekeraars en energiebedrijven) sluiten contracten af met e-Court. Klanten stemmen er via de polis- of algemene voorwaarden mee in dat niet de rechter, maar deze online geschiloplosser bij betalingsproblemen een oordeel velt. Als zij worden gedaagd en zich willen verweren, moeten ze dat via de computer doen.

Onduidelijk

Nieuwsuur en De Groene Amsterdammer hebben journalistiek onderzoeksplatform Investico gevraagd in beeld te brengen hoe e-Court werkt. Tot nu toe is bijvoorbeeld onbekend wie de arbiters zijn die voor e-Court de knoop doorhakken en in hoeverre zij rekening houden met de belangen van mensen met schulden aan een bedrijf. Ook in arbitrale vonnissen moet de consumentenbescherming worden gewaarborgd, heeft het Europees Hof van Justitie bepaald.

Financieel belang

Onderzoekers van het WODC hebben recent verschillende vormen van alternatieve geschiloplossing tegen het licht gehouden (wodc.nl). In hoeverre worden belangrijke waarden van de rechtspraak – zoals onafhankelijkheid, onpartijdigheid, rechtsgelijkheid en openbaarheid – daarin nageleefd? Volgens de onderzoekers kunnen onafhankelijkheid en onpartijdigheid in het geding komen bij commerciële geschilbeslechting. Een bedrijf als e-Court is afhankelijk van contracten met opdrachtgevers, die op hun beurt een financieel belang bij de uitkomst van de procedures. Met het oog op een toekomstig contract kan de verleiding groot zijn om in het voordeel van de schuldeiser te oordelen.

Zorgen

De gedachte achter arbitrage is dat partijen er bewust voor kiezen hun zaak voor te leggen aan een deskundige arbiter of panel van 3 arbiters in plaats van de rechter. De vraag is echter of er bij deze incasso-arbitrage wel zo bewust gekozen wordt. Mensen die toch al kwetsbaar zijn omdat ze in de schulden zitten, hebben niet altijd de veerkracht en het inzicht dat nodig is om zich te verzetten tegen de manier waarop een incassokwestie wordt afgehandeld. ‘Voorkomen moet worden dat mensen het er maar bij laten zitten omdat zij de procedures niet begrijpen, bang zijn voor druk die gepaard gaat met incasso of het verschil niet zien tussen e-Court en een rechter’, zegt Frits Bakker.

Griffiekosten omlaag

Voorop staat wat hem betreft dat financiële drempels mensen er niet van mogen weerhouden om voor hun recht op te komen en dat hoge griffierechten hen niet verder in de put moeten helpen. De Raad voor de rechtspraak heeft zich al vaker verzet tegen verhoging van de griffierechten. De kosten van een procedure bij de kantonrechter kunnen inmiddels oplopen tot bijna 500 euro. Bij e-Court betaalt de verliezende partij veel minder. Bakker: ‘Het is van het grootste belang dat de kosten die burgers bij de rechtbank moeten betalen omlaag gaan. Dan wordt het verschil met de prijs voor arbitrage kleiner en kunnen rechtzoekenden tegen vergelijkbare kosten kiezen voor de bescherming van de onafhankelijke en onpartijdige overheidsrechter.’

Categorieën: Rechten

Wat moet ik doen met een onterecht geretourneerd product?

IusMentis - 17 januari 2018 - 8:15am

Een lezer vroeg me:

Bij mijn webwinkel ontvang ik regelmatig foute retouren: producten die beschadigd zijn of duidelijk gebruikt, maar ook wel producten die helemaal niet geretourneerd mochten (zoals bederfelijke potjes). Uit coulance neem ik ze dan toch vaak maar terug, maar wat moet ik doen volgens de wet als ik die dingen ontvang?

Het maakt voor een webwinkel nogal uit of een retour in slechte staat ontvangen is, of dat de retour helemaal niet gedaan mocht worden.

In principe heb je als consument het recht om ieder product binnen 14 dagen na ontvangst retour te melden. (Het moet daarna binnen 14 dagen verzonden worden.) Dat recht geldt ook als het product uitgepakt is of sporen van uitproberen bevat, maar waar de grens ligt tussen gebruik en uitproberen blijft een lastige discussie. Als winkel mag je een retour niet weigeren enkel omdat het product is uitgepakt, geprobeerd of zelfs gebruikt – maar je mag wel een schadevergoeding in rekening brengen voor alles dat meer is dan “noodzakelijk om de aard, de kenmerken en de werking [van het product] vast te stellen”.

Als de consument een product te laat retourneert, dan heb je als winkel natuurlijk geen plicht meer om deze te accepteren. Wil je dat niet uit coulance alsnog doen, dan zul je het product terug moeten sturen. De kosten daarvan komen voor rekening van de consument, dus het lijkt me dat je wel even in overleg moet over de beste manier van retourneren.

Als de consument iets retourneert dat van de wet niet retour mag (zoals een verzegeld hygiëneproduct dat is uitgepakt, of een bederfelijk product) dan geldt dezelfde situatie. Het product is en blijft eigendom van de klant en moet dus retour, maar je mag daar wel de werkelijke kosten voor rekenen.

Detail is nog wel dat je algemene voorwaarden deze uitzondering moeten melden in je retourregeling. Veel webshops zeggen gewoon iets als “Alles kan binnen 14 dagen retour” en dan heb je dus vrijwillig toegestaan dat ook dergelijke producten retour mogen. Dan zit je vast aan je eigen regeling en dan moet je die bederfelijke waar wél terugnemen.

Arnoud

Afkomstig van de blog Internetrecht door Arnoud Engelfriet. Koop mijn boek!

DRM Puts the Brakes on Innovation

We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

Copyright law is slow. Whenever you hear about a case of alleged copyright infringement and you think, “What was illegal about this?” consider that the law probably came many, many years before anyone conceived of the activity it’s being used to target. Then it starts to make a little bit more sense.

Look at how U.S. copyright law treats DRM, the annoying array of methods that digital content providers use to restrict their customers’ behavior. Passed in 1998, Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act made it illegal to bypass DRM or give others the means of doing so. When Congress passed Section 1201, it was mostly thinking of restrictions intended to stop users from making infringing copies of music and movies. The DMCA passed well before manufacturers began putting digital locks on cars, microwaves, toilets, and every other electronic product. We’re now living in a world where it might be a crime to modify the software on your rice cooker. If that sounds absurd, that’s because it is.

You can almost forgive Congress for this mess—it didn’t know that DRM would soon crawl into every aspect of your life. On the other hand, Congress helped bring the infestation on. The DMCA encouraged manufacturers to build DRM into their products, because doing so gave them ammunition to fight people using their products in ways they didn’t approve of. Can’t compete with unauthorized repair shops? Make them illegal.

Every three years, the public can ask the Copyright Office for exceptions to some of the DMCA’s prohibitions on bypassing DRM. We earned some very important exceptions last time around, including the right to circumvent DRM for the purposes of security research and auto repair.

But the exemption process is so onerous and limited that it does not effectively protect speech and innovation. That’s why we have brought a lawsuit explaining why it and the underlying regime of Section 1201 violate the First Amendment. Not to mention that the whole ordeal of the rulemaking is exasperating. Why are we asking the government for permission to bypass DRM? Why is it illegal in the first place?

If your child’s toy is recording their voice and sending it to the manufacturer, you should be able to find out. You should be able to remove that feature or connect it to a service of your choice, one that you trust. If your car needs repairs, you should be able to do those repairs or take it to a mechanic of your choice without copyright law getting in the way.

Innovation thrives where people have broad leeway to experiment and explore. The public’s right to sell and rent videos created competition among video stores. Blockbuster dominated the market until Netflix disrupted the business model with its switch to mail-order rentals. That kind of evolution-through-competition doesn’t happen when people and businesses aren’t allowed to tinker.

That’s a shame. New innovations come from edge cases, the “aha” moments that happen when someone first tries to use a product in a way in which the manufacturer hadn’t imagined. When entrenched players can make it illegal to modify their products and devices, then those players can slow innovation to a crawl.

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

Community Broadband: Privacy, Access, and Local Control

Communities across the United States are considering strategies to protect residents’ access to information and their right to privacy. These experiments have a long history, but a new wave of activists have been inspired to seek a local response to federal setbacks to Internet freedom, such as the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality protections, and Congress’ early 2017 decision to eliminate user privacy protections.

Internet service providers (ISP) have a financial incentive and the technical ability to block or slow users' access, insert their own content on the sites we visit, or give preferential treatment to websites and services with which they have financial relationships. For many years, net neutrality principles and rules, most recently cemented in the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, helped prevent much of this activity. Net neutrality helped create a landscape where new ideas and services could develop without being crowded out by political pressure or prioritized fast lanes for established commercial incumbents.

One need only look to two of America’s most dominant web presences to recognize how different the world might be without these protections. Both Facebook and Google began their path to dominance as dorm room experiments. How very different would our social, family, and professional lives look today if MySpace and AltaVista had been able to pay ISPs to prioritize their traffic and throttle that of competitors, hardening the market from competition and disruption?

While proponents of rolling back net neutrality regulations would have us believe that the market will force Internet providers to assure user access, the Federal Communication Commission's 2016 Broadband Progress Report notes that 51 percent of Americans have access to only one provider of high-speed Internet. As a result, incumbent service providers have little incentive to behave well.

Having fought and won the first round in the fight for net neutrality only a few short years ago, we know that there is enormous grassroots energy behind preserving the Internet as a democratic forum of ideas and innovation. We also know that lawmakers at all levels bear a fundamental responsibility to develop policies that maintain privacy protections, guarantee free speech and expression, and reduce the digital divide. Here’s how some are meeting the responsibility.

DIY Broadband

In the executive summary of its 2010 “National Broadband Plan,” the FCC noted:

Broadband is the great infrastructure challenge of the early 21st century. Like electricity a century ago, broadband is a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life. It is enabling entire new industries and unlocking vast new possibilities for existing ones. It is changing how we educate children, deliver health care, manage energy, ensure public safety, engage government, and organize and disseminate knowledge.

Already many communities throughout the country have begun infrastructure-building projects aimed at answering these concerns. Local governments, like those in Ammon, ID, Nelson County, VA, and Santa Fe, NM have invested in building out community-funded broadband programs. These programs allow for the creation of high-capacity access for residents and businesses, as well as improving the accessibility of high-speed broadband service to their least-resourced community members.

While some cities have chosen to build and operate their own broadband networks, many choose instead to focus on developing just the physical infrastructure, establishing an open access network, leasing broadband service access to private ISPs who then maintain user care, service and billing. These communities avoid the high costs that can be involved in finding customers and providing technical assistance and customer service. Instead, by substantially reducing initial costs for new-to-market ISPs, this model overcomes the most significant barrier to competition.

Monopolies have been maintained in many areas not so much because of regulatory restrictions to access but instead by the high cost of building pathways from middle-road Internet junctions to users' homes. By initially assuming these costs, and later recouping them through lease fees to ISPs and substantial savings in their own access costs, cities lay the groundwork for competitive markets; spurring competition between providers. This competition ultimately benefits the residents and business owners purchasing services from these ISPs who, sharing the same open access network, are forced to compete through improved customer care, pricing, and services.

Dig Once, Choose Wisely

Many communities have also recognized that much like roads that are maintained by a city government and used by any trucking company, taxi driver, or individual to carry out business or see to their daily needs, broadband access is a necessary resource for economic growth as well as financial and personal wellbeing. Like roads, gas lines, and municipal water, however, this can mean significant costs. “Dig Once”—a principle often called on in the planning and development of Municipal Broadband infrastructure—is the idea that as roads are repaired, and other capital improvements are made, the cable infrastructure needed to build or improve Internet infrastructure be laid as well. This coordinated development allows for significantly reduced installation costs, but also requires that the hardware being installed have the ability to keep pace with emerging technologies.

Fiber optic cables, unlike copper lines laid many years ago by telephone service providers, or coaxial lines later laid by cable television service providers, allow for almost unlimited expansion as future technologies develop. Fiber optic networks contain the primary technology capable of delivering speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (1 Gbps), the standard in next-generation broadband. According to numerous industry experts, this will be the baseline speed in the future to allow for full access to and use of the Internet for education, health care, civic engagement, entertainment and other services. Where copper lines and coaxial cable use electricity to transmit data, fiber optic strands use pulses of light. Not only do fiber optic lines, where available, already provide monumentally better speeds than the alternatives, but fiber strands also have the additional benefit of an upper limit that is only constrained by the speed of light. As technological improvements develop, service can be upgraded by simply replacing devices at either end of the send/receive path without the need for line replacement.

Much like the baseball legends in Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams, if you build the network the providers will come, but history has already shown us that without strong incentives private ISPs are not likely to prioritize key user needs that don’t provide for immediate commodification. It is essential that policies are implemented that maintain confidentiality and integrity as well.

Tackling the Digital Divide

Open access policies must assure that under-served communities are guaranteed the same level of service as their well-resourced neighbors and local business. Currently, 34 million Americans lack access to high-speed Internet. Studies show that this digital divide increases barriers to employment, the ability for parents to facilitate their children's education, and the ability for families to stay connected. While this may result in increased costs, they would be offset by increased economic opportunity.

Protecting Privacy

Community broadband can have a corollary benefit. By developing policies to which ISPs must adhere in order to lease access to a community-owned network, we gain the ability to mandate the manner in which user information is shared, and how access to the Internet or a specific site can or cannot be manipulated. Current regulations like those included in CalECPA, and those guaranteed through the Warshak rule, suggest baselines for responsible information policies communities should consider.

Some of these baseline policies include guarantees that ISPs:

  • Not use, disclose, sell or provide access to a customer's Personally Identifiable Information without the customer’s prior opt-in consent.
    • Including:
      • Financial
      • Health
      • Web Browsing History
      • App Usage
  • Not refuse to serve, or otherwise prioritize, customers who do not provide this consent to share their information with third parties.
  • Not offer a discount or incentive based on customer consent to having their personal information shared.
    • This type of “pay for privacy” scheme would disadvantage low-income customers.
  • Get affirmative opt-in consent for use and disclosure of anonymized data.
  • Retain the most limited data that is required for security practices.
  • Require a valid warrant before releasing data in response to legal demands.
    • Providing prior notice to users when legally permitted to do so.
    • Assertively seek legal authorization to offer notice to users.

Community broadband isn’t a panacea. We must continue the fight to stop the FCC from empowering private ISPs to box and sell pieces of the Internet like cable television packages. But the FCC’s reversal of its 2015 Open Internet Order, combined with Congress’ decision to sign away protections—that would have prevented private ISPs from selling off your personal information—has sounded the whistle that we cannot depend on Washington to prevent the erosion of our privacy, expression, and access to information. Instead, local lawmakers and their constituents must work together to get the job done—and we will.

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

Moet ik per ongeluk ontvangen bitcoins teruggeven?

IusMentis - 16 januari 2018 - 8:10am

Een leuke casus bij Tweakers:

Een vriend van mij, die niet heel handig is met betrekking tot het opzetten van een [bitcoin]wallet, wilde ook graag investeren. Ik heb toen aangeboden dat ik de BTC voor hem zou beheren, aangezien ik een Trezor heb. … Ik kreeg [van het bedrijf Bitonic] in plaats van €1000 aan bitcoins, twee transacties van beide €1000 aan bitcoin binnen op mijn adres. [Mag ik dat houden?]

Waarop een uitgebreide morele discussie volgt die neerkomt op “hoe onfatsoenlijk is dat”. Maar er zit natuurlijk ook een juridische component aan, zeker als Bitonic vervolgens mensen blijkt te hebben gemaild met de opmerking dat ze het juridisch mogelijk niet terug kunnen eisen.

Die opmerking snap ik niet, want juridisch gezien is het niet heel spannend. Die onterecht ontvangen bitcoins zijn een “onverschuldigde betaling” in de zin van de wet (art. 6:212 BW) en je moet de wederpartij dan schadeloos stellen. Formeel geldt die plicht vanaf dat je het betaalde hebt ontvangen, niet vanaf dat men je heeft opgespoord. Je moet het dus gaan brengen, ongevraagd.

Het heet weliswaar een onverschuldigde betaling maar het geldt ook voor onverschuldigd gegeven fysieke dingen, dus ik twijfel er niet aan dat een onverschuldigd opgestuurde bitcoin onder dit kopje valt. Die bitcoins moeten dus terug.

Tevens is het een misdrijf om zulk ontvangen spul voor jezelf te houden (verduistering, art. 321 Strafrecht – het is geen diefstal want je hebt ze niet door een misdrijf verkregen). Vanaf dat je besluit ze niet terug te geven, pleeg je dus een misdrijf.

Wat er gebeurt bij koersverschillen is een lastigere. Dat is op zichzelf ook schade, maar hoe dat uitpakt bij bitcoin weten we nog niet. Maar hier maakt dat niet veel uit, want je kunt gewoon de bitcoins teruggeven zonder dat er iets moet worden gewisseld van of naar Euro’s.

De uitspraak van Bitonic snap ik wel vanuit praktisch gezichtspunt. Hoe vind je al die ontvangers, en hoe bewijs je wie welk geld heeft dat terug moet. En vooral: is dat de kosten waard? Zuiver formeel hebben ze ongelijk, want het moet gewoon terug, punt.

Arnoud

Afkomstig van de blog Internetrecht door Arnoud Engelfriet. Koop mijn boek!

The Public Domain Starts Growing Again Next Year, and It’s About Time

We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

Have you ever wondered how it’s possible for there to be two Jungle Book movies to be in development at the same time? Why everything seems to be based on a work by Shakespeare? Or why it always seems like someone is telling a version of The Wizard of Oz? The answer is that these works are in the public domain, meaning that copyright law no longer prevents other artists from adapting them to create new works.

One major rationale for copyright is supposedly that, by giving an exclusive set of rights to artists for their work, we incentivize creativity by making it possible for artists to benefit from releasing works to the public. But copyright protection is supposed to be limited, and once it expires, a work enters the public domain, where anyone can use it.

In the United States, the length of the copyright term has been steadily extended so that published works are effectively copyrighted for 95 years (for corporate works) or until 70 years after an author’s death (for individual works). This has resulted in a public domain that saw increasingly less materials being added to it, limiting the ability of artists to build on works that came before them. The last time Congress changed the law in the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, it was applied retroactively. Effectively, it meant that nothing has entered the public domain in the United States for years. January 1, 2019 will mark the end of this dry spell as works first published in 1923 will finally enter the public domain. That mean works like Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments and Universal's silent version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, two movies released in 1923, will be eligible to join the public domain.

Writers, filmmakers, musicians, and artists wear their influences on their sleeves, and whole branches of critique is devoted to teasing them out. It’s not new. The Aeneid was Virgil playing in the universe of Homer. Recently, and infamously, Fifty Shades of Grey was originally a piece of Twilight fanfiction. The Internet speaks in the language of pop culture: GIFs, mashups, retellings, fan fiction—all find life on the Internet.

It’s not just small artists that rely on the public domain. Disney’s built an empire on making movies based on public domain fairy tales. Just last year, Disney released a live-action version of its animated take on Beauty and the Beast, a story that has been around since the 1700s. But Disney hasn’t been the best in allowing its own works to become part of the public domain. Disney is a huge beneficiary of the extended copyright term, locking down more and more famous works and worlds for its sole use.

While new technology has made it easier to make art and find audiences, the expansion of the copyright term has made it easier for huge companies to devote resources to shutting them down. And even if a new creator is in the right, by relying on such doctrines as fair use for example, they often don’t have the resources to prove it. More works in the public domain mean more works indisputably available for new artists to build on. More public domain works mean more books available for free to read, movies to watch, music to listen to. And even if that does not inspire new works, it allows new generations to rediscover works of old.

Our language is made up of references, and our art should reflect that. Creativity is enriched when the public domain is robust and easily accessed, and we look forward to finally seeing it grow once again in 2019.

Categorieën: Openbaarheid, Privacy, Rechten

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