Mickey’s Law and other assorted EFFing matters

EFF smileyI haven’t exactly been ROFL in response to the trying-to-be-funny material floating out there today, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s newsletter did impress me. Since it doesn’t seem to be on EFF’s homepage, and since they’ve explicitly stated that we can repost the whole thing, I’m doing so after the jump. (I hope they won’t mind my playing with their logo either.) Enjoy!

EFFector Vol 22, No. 09 April 1, 2009 editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 1,000,000th EFFector:
* New Look for EFFector!
* Congress Passes “Mickey’s Law”
* FBI Announces Operation Liar Liar Pants Oon Fire
* NSAdvice: Kinder, Gentler NSA Hires Advice Columnists to
Assist Spied-On Americans
* AP Sues Artist for Being Unable to Draw From Memory
* Google Offers Free, Ad-Supported Kitchen Appliances
* Amazon Gives in to Author’s Guild — Again
* EFF Offers Award for Large Composite Numbers
* PM Brown Announces the Permanent High Office of Hacking
and Tinkering in the Chancellory of the Exchequer
* minilinks
* Changes to EFF’s Privacy Policy
* Administrivia and EULA

For more information on EFF activities & alerts:

Make a donation and become an EFF member today!

Tell a friend about EFF:

effector: n, Computer Sci. A pretentious word you should
never use in conversation.

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* New Look for EFFector!

As part of our policy to keep on the “frontier” of exciting
new Internet developments, starting next week we’ll be
sending a special “effktr” edition to all subscribers from
whose personal information we can derive their Twitter
accounts and/or cellphone numbers. Effktr has all the news
and analysis you expect from EFFector, but with most of the
vowels taken out and the remaining text compressed to 140
characters or less. To give you an idea of what to expect,
here’s what our “beta” effktr readers received last week:


Our new service is opt-out: if you’d like to not receive
our new format, please email “tl;dr” to april1@eff.org by
the end of today.

For this complete post:

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* Congress Passes “Mickey’s Law”

It was the story that stirred a nation: one mouse,
kidnapped from his corporate family and ruthlessly
exploited by infringers, pirates, and decorative birthday
cake designers.

But after an unprecedented campaign by concerned
rightsholders across the nation, Mickey’s experience has a
happy ending of sorts: “Mickey’s Law,” a new bill that will
make children’s media safe from our most despicable
elements in society.

The law will protect innocent cartoon characters by
creating a national registry of “copyright offenders” to be
run jointly by the RIAA and MPAA. Anyone accused of
repeatedly downloading copyrighted files without permission
will be required to register themselves immediately and
notify the registry within 2 weeks each time they move IP
addresses. The law also bars them from residing in any
domicile located within 1000 feet of an open wifi

Mickey’s Law was passed with bi-partisan support. Harry
Reid, Senate leader, introduced the bill with a moving
description of its intent: “We’re not just doing this for
Mickey. We’re doing it for the children. No, wait, we’re
doing it *to* the children, as a result of enforcing the
children’s contractually limited rights to their purchased

For this complete post:

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* FBI Announces Operation Liar Liar Pants on Fire
Targeting Myspace Terms of Service Violators

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) today announced action against untold numbers of
Americans who have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse
Act by providing false information to ySpace, Facebook,
Match.com and other Web 2.0 companies. These companies
require users to click through an agreement obligating them
to provide accurate, current and complete information when
registering and using the services. Earlier this year, the
Department of Justice successfully prosecuted Missouri
resident Lori Drew in federal court in Los Angeles for
unauthorized access to MySpace for providing false
information. In the aftermath of that conviction, the FBI
learned that hundreds, or thousands, or potentially
hundreds of thousands, are defrauding social networks and
ripping the social fabric by lying about themselves online.

The ongoing initiative, known as Operation Liar Liar Pants
on Fire, “reflects the FBI’s mission and effort to
identify, target, disrupt and dismantle criminal fraud
schemes that target our nation’s social networks,” said
Assistant Director Prudence Macgillicutty, FBI Criminal
Investigative Division.

From its inception until today, Operation Liar Liar has
successfully apprehended many offenders who have provided
false information in violation of terms of service. One
recent success put a 145 lb woman behind bars aftershe told
a potential suitor on Match.com that she only weighed 135.
Facebook user Joe Malone was sentenced to 16 months in
prison for fraudulently sending a chat message stating that
he could not attend a film date because he had to wash his
hair that evening. Subsequent investigation revealed the
truth — he “just wasn’t that into” his
“friend.” Operation
Liar Liar also uncovered the latest chilling trend among
youth — unauthorized access to the Google search engine,
which prohibits users under the age of legal consent. Even
the Obama administration has not escaped the fair
administration of justice. It turns out that Facebook’s
“Barack Obama” was actually a junior aide in the White
House Communications Department.

For this complete press release:

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* NSAdvice: Kinder, Gentler NSA Hires Advice Columnists to
Assist Spied-On Americans

Under the Obama Administration, the NSA hopes to soften its
image and improve public opinion concerning its warrantless
dragnet spying program–with a little help from Ann
Landers. The NSA has contracted with Landers and dozens of
other personal advice columnists, many of whom have been
laid off from their newspaper jobs as that media sector
continues to lag, to help provide advice to the millions of
ordinary Americans whose communications are continually
being intercepted by the secretive agency.

“Many Americans don’t realize that the NSA is only
intercepting all of their phone calls, faxes, emails, IMs,
SMS messages, and web traffic in order to *protect* them,
and we hope that the new ‘NSAdvice’ program will help
educate the people about our protective mission,” said NSA
Director Keith B. Alexander. “As our supercomputers sift
through all of your private communications for hints of a
terror plot, they can also spot when you’re going through a
rough patch in your marriage, facing off with a serious
illness, or trying to decide whether to buy that new house.
Now, with our army of under-employed advice columnists, we
can act on that intelligence–and send you professional
advice targeted at your most private problems. Whether
you’re struggling with personal debt, trying to lose
weight, or starting to suspect that your spouse may be
cheating, the NSA is here to help!”

For more on the NSA’s illegal spying program:

For this complete post:

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* AP Sues Artist for Being Unable to Draw from Memory

The AP has brought a suit against the artist Shepard Fairey
for calling himself a political artist while being unable
to draw a realistic likeness of public figures from memory.

Fairey had previously sued AP to establish his fair use
rights to an AP news photograph he used as the basis for
his iconic “Hope” poster of then-presidential candidate
Barack Obama. AP has now filed counter-suit, claiming
Fairey has no right to produce posters in support of
politicians that he cannot draw without reference.

“Mr Fairey claims he is an artist with the right to comment
on public issues such as the presidential election,” said
AP attorney Skip Stones. “But Mr. Fairey apparently
requires a photo to work from in order to create a lifelike
image of a public figure such as Mr. Obama. Clearly, he has
no business engaging in graphic political commentary of any

Mr. Fairey says that he attended the Pasadena College of
the Arts where he did in fact learn to draw from memory,
but his training was limited to Republican politicians then
in office. “I had never seen or heard of Barack Obama
before 2006, so I hadn’t memorized his face yet,” said the

However, Mr. Stones said Fairey was welcome to license an
image from the AP, so long as he could afford to do so.
“The next time he wants to comment on political events, he
should get permission from the subject of the work first
and request a photo shoot,” said Stones. “If the politician
is somehow not available, Mr. Fairey can ask the AP
politely for permission to work from one of our photos —
along with a sizable licensing fee.”

For more on Shepard Fairey and the AP:

For this complete post:

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* Google Offers Free, Ad-Supported Kitchen Appliances

Google today announced a new line of high performance
kitchen appliances, available to US customers for free. The
catch? The announced range, refrigerator, and dishwasher
all include built in web-enabled cameras that monitor the
contents of each device and touch-screen LCD displays that
provide a stream of “relevant” advertisements. “Over the
lifetime of the appliance, we expect the advertising will
more than cover the cost of the product,” said Google’s
manager of advertising products Eileen Over. “Moreover,
because these are all Energy Star certified,” added
Google’s head of green initiatives Charlton Soylent, “this
new offering will move us toward the Obama Administration’s
vision of a greener America.”

When asked about privacy concerns, Ms. Over pointed out
that the cameras only monitor the contents of the
appliances (a camera-enabled range hood to monitor what’s
cooking is reportedly in the works). As a result, no
information about what goes on in the kitchen would be
transmitted to Google. “This is no different than the
cameras we’re putting inside the glove box of your
automobile,” said Ms. Over. “Nothing to worry about.”

For more on Google’s behavioral advertising program:

For this complete post:

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* Amazon Gives in to Author’s Guild — Again

Amazon’s Kindle has once again stoked the ire of the
powerful Author’s Guild with their recent addition of
public domain works to the list of titles now available to
Kindle readers. Lawyers for the Author’s Guild said the
Kindle’s ability to read non-copyrighted works is harming
the ability of living authors to profit from their works.

“If a Kindle owner can choose from the entire library of
human literature, with access to every book ever written,
how will living artists ever get read?” posited Author’s
Guild lawyer John Dewey. “The Kindle’s ability to read
works in the public domain is clearly a threat to living
authors’ ability to make a living from their works.”

Fortunately for living authors and the Author’s Guild,
Amazon quickly backtracked. New versions of the Kindle’s
operating software contain features that prevent works that
are not protected by copyright from being read on the

Earlier this year, Amazon offered licensing fees to authors
whose works can be read by the the Kindle — despite the
fact that no copyright laws were broken by the device’s
text reading functions.

For more on Amazon’s Kindle and the Author’s Guild:

For this complete post:

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* EFF Offers Awards for Large Composite Numbers

Inspired by the attention its Cooperative Computing Awards
has brought to the power of collaboration to solve
difficult mathematics problems, EFF today announced a new
award. EFF will offer three increasing rewards of $6, $8,
and $12 to the persons or team who, working
collaboratively, can discover a world-record composite

Composite numbers are those which are divisible by some
whole number other than themselves and one. Familiar
examples include 8, 100, 525, and 4294967296. Notably, all
even numbers greater than 2 are composite. Composite
numbers have important applications in engineering,
scientific research and even finance, where they are often
used to measure enormously large values with a high degree
of precision. Composite numbers are surprisingly common —
indeed, most numbers are composite — but naming extremely
large composite numbers can become a daunting task.

However, throughout human history, the largest known
composite number has consistently been larger than the
largest known prime number. Indeed, this trend is likely to
continue. The world’s largest known primes have for some
time been Mersenne primes; but to every Mersenne number
2^p-1 where p is a prime, there corresponds a larger
composite number 2^p-1+1.

In 2007, two philosophers competed in an event under the
auspices of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to
see who could name the largest number using only an
ordinary chalkboard. The winning number, found by Prof.
Adam N. Elga, was almost certainly composite.

“Huge composite numbers are all around us, but very few
people have ever even tried to name a number larger than a
googol,” said EFF Staff Technologist Seth Schoen.
“Hopefully this contest will remedy that and maybe even set
a few records in the process.”

A proof attributed to the Greek mathematician Euclid shows
that there is no largest composite number. Euclid suggests
multiplying all known whole numbers together and then
failing to add one. The result will be divisible by “lots
of stuff,” and hence composite.

EFF’s new awards program was established with funds found
under a couch cushion one day here at the EFF office.
Prospective claimants will — as with EFF’s Cooperative
Computing Awards — need to publish their results in a
peer-reviewed scientific journal, including rigorous proof
that the numbers they are claiming are not prime. The proof
must also show that a claimed composite number is larger
than Prof. Elga’s 2007 record. EFF also reserves the right
to require that claimants explicitly identity at least one
specific divisor of a claimed composite number.

For this complete post:

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* Commonwealth of Kentucky Fails to Control Internet

The Commonwealth of Kentucky, rebuffed by a state court in
its unsuccessful attempt to assert control over the
Internet by trying to seize the domain names of
international web sites it doesn’t like, has withdrawn its
lawsuit. This is the latest in a recent series of failed
technology-related initiatives by the Commonwealth,

* An attempt to scuttle the rumored agreement that would
make the catalog of that hippie band “The Beatles”
available for digital purchase on iTunes.

* A proposed requirement that, for the love of God,
teenagers stop using confusing abbreviations and other
shorthand writing styles in their electronic communications
that state officials can’t understand.

* A mandate that only one social networking site can be
“cool” in any calendar given year, and that state officials
be told by January 1st (a) what site that is, and (b) what
they should do with it.

For more on the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Internet:

For this complete post:

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* PM Brown Announces the Permanent High Office of Hacking
and Tinkering in the Chancellory of the Exchequer

What with all the hubbub over President Barack Obama’s DVD
box set naff gift to Prime Minister Gordon Brown being
region-coded and locked-out, Her Majesty’s Government has
responded with the announcement of the Permanent High
Office of Hacking and Tinkering in the Chancellory of the
Exchequer (hereby known as PHOHTCE). Brown warned that this
was an urgent matter to be resolved by Thursday, at which
time the G-20 movie night will take place, adding
emphatically “and there’s no need to bish bash bosh about

The controversy made the papers when it was revealed that
“King Ralph,” one of the classic American films included
the set, was not available in a Region 2 coded DVD, since
none of the discs were readable with the UK DVD players
available at 10 Downing Street. To avoid diplomatic
embarrassment as transatlantic relations grew tense over
differences in approach to economic stimulus, the Prime
Minister’s office simply purchased new UK copies of all the
DVDs. Her Majesty the Queen’s office, who had similarly
inquired about the availability of the movie in British
format when she was offered it as a gift from President
George W. Bush in 2004, had subsequently received a VHS
copy complementary from the London offices of the Motion
Picture Association (MPA).

Concerned about criticism over the narrow focus of the new
office, Prime Minister Brown reminded the press corps that
both Afghanistan and Iraq will be implementing
anti-circumvention provisions in their copyright laws in
the coming year as a priority of the United States Trade
Representative for the region. “This is the time for the
new generation to continue the heroic work of Bletchley
Park,” referring to the World War II British codebreakers.

For this complete post:

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~ YouTube Blocks China in Response to China Blocking
According to YouTube general counsel Zahavah Levine, “They
started it!”

~ Uninteresting Boston Man Foils Google’s New
“Interest-based Advertising” System
In a slow, lethargic deadpan, man claims to have seen only
one ad, stating “Error! Error! Does not compute!” prior to
a catastrophic computer crash in Mountain View, California.

~ ACTA “Laundry List” of Rightsholder Industry Demands Is
Actually a Laundry List
Items on the list include “plaid hipster jacket” and
“enormous brassiere.”

~ Wikileaks Leaks All Over Itself
Staying true to its principles, the whistleblowing website
posted a link to a leak of its own sensitive donor

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* Changes to EFF’s Privacy Policy

To better serve our clients, customers, supporters, and
benefactors, EFF will from time to time alter our Privacy
Policy. As of April 1, 2009, the following minor changes
have been made:

1) In pages 1-30 of our Privacy Policy, delete “never” and
replace with “within a matter of hours.”

2) For “sole and exclusive right throughout the universe,”
please substitute “multiverse” throughout.

3) Where “session cookie” appears, delete and replace with
“lloigor.” “Deleted” should be replaced with “clumsily

4) In section 14.4, “shared with third-parties” should read
“sacrificed to Yog-Sothoth, Key and Guardian of the Gate.”
“From time to time” is a typo and should read “For all ye
time immemorial.”

5) Our Website no longer supports the Konqueror 3 browser.

Please update your own local copies, and destroy any
previous versions you may have made. If you have forwarded
our Privacy Policy and Website Terms of Service to other
individuals, please contact them and ask them to destroy
their outstanding versions. If they ask why, have them
killed. Our Privacy Policy and Website Terms of Service are
(c) 1989-2009 the Electronic Frontier Foundation AG
(Offshore Holdings), Principality of Liechtenstein.

For this complete post:

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* Administrivia and EULA

EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Kodi, EFF Mascot

Membership & donation queries:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

End User License Agreement (EULA):

We’ve given up trying to explain the rules to you. Our team
of lawyers labors over every turn of phrase, deliberating
over each carefully chosen “if,” “and,” and “therefore” in
our EULA. But do you care? Do you even bother to read our
lovingly written fine, fine print? No, you don’t.

Well, we’re tired of it. It seems no matter how clear we
try to be with our long sentences and even longer
paragraphs in perfect legalese, you — the public —
continue to ignore the small type and do whatever you damn
well please.

So if, after reading EULAs for most of your adult life, you
still believe you have the right to simply cut and paste
this text and use it for whatever devious purpose you can
come up with, then just go ahead. Really. GO RIGHT AHEAD!
We won’t stop you. That’s our new EULA. Just do it!

Were throwing in the towel. Because no matter how many
times we tell you that you CAN’T COPY, that it is ILLEGAL
to do so, that our ownership over the content covers the
work, secondary works, derivative works and all
interpretations of the work, throughout the universe in
perpetuity in any and all media, now known or hereafter
developed, you continue to trample on our IP rights.

So just go ahead, copy this EFFector and paste the bits you
want into your email browser or your blog or your Facebook
profile or what have you and share with your friends. Go
ahead, take our ideas and run with them. Make them your
own. See if we care.

Back issues of EFFector are available at:

2 Responses to “Mickey’s Law and other assorted EFFing matters”

  1. Mickeys Law and other assorted EFFing matters | Life Insurance Best Choice Says:

    […] More info…I havent exactly been ROFL in response to the trying-to-be-funny material floating out there today, but the Electronic Frontier Foundations newsletter did impress me. Since it doesnt seem to be on EFFs homepage, and since theyve explicitly stated that we can repost the whole thing, Im doing so after the jump. (I hope they wont mind my playing with their logo either.) Enjoy! EFFector Vol 22, No. 09 April 1, 2009 editor@eff.orgA Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9 […]

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    […] I haven’t exactly been ROFL in response to the trying-to-be-funny material floating out there today, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s newsletter did impress me. Since it doesn’t seem to be on EFF’s homepage, and since they’ve explicitly stated that we can repost the whole thing, I’m doing so after the jump. (I hope they won’t mind my playing with their logo either.) Enjoy! EFFector Vol 22, No. 09 April 1, 2009 editor@eff.orgA Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9 Read Full Weight Loss Article… Share and Enjoy: […]