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Monday, August 27, 2012

EFF Calls for Internet Protection

In their efforts to keep web users safe from harm, the EFF made a decision to send a letter to Victoria Espinel, the Obama Administration’s IP Enforcement Coordinator.

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The position of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator was created by the Pro-IP Act of 2008, and the EFF sent Victoria Espinel a letter in order to help with how US tax dollars are invested on enforcing copyright, patented legislation and trademark in the nearest future.

The outfit also emphasized a number of issues, amongst which there’s the U.S. government allowing and encouraging private companies to implement private “voluntary” agreements to fight piracy. A great example would be the Copyright Alerts agreement for which the President Administration was praised by the public. The document contains a “partnership” between ISPs and the content industry, but lacks public input.

In addition, the EFF wrote to Victoria Espinel that it isn’t good for the authorities to “throw their weight behind private agreements”. Espinel replied to the EFF, saying that when Internet advertising companies decided to stop doing business with the “rogue” websites, her office told them it was very important that such efforts were consistent with the broader online policy principles.

However, the rights group wasn’t convinced, and was driven to suggest how to handle these problems. For example, the EFF’s official site contains an article titled “Collateral damage caused by domain name seizures in cases like Dajaz1 and Puerto 80 (Rojadirecta)”. The outfit also insists that innovation and competition are the best way to reduce violations, while international agreements on copyright legislation should be negotiated in the open, with public participation and accountability. When approved, the agreements should allow members to define their own patent, copyright, and trademark laws, while making exceptions like fair use.

Finally, the EFF believes that IP laws and rules should be based on accurate information and sound conclusions instead of vague reports about why IP is good for the economy. That’s why the outfit is planning to continue talking to White House officials about the future of enforcement. The EFF hopes it will help to counter the message the government hears from the content industry that more enforcement is better, no matter what damage is done to people’s rights.

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