Letters Re: Griffin, Froomkin join EFF board
"They like to lose - they feed on the indignation," thunders one reader, who characterizes the EFF as "a bumbling third-rate ACLU with high-tech airs. They're mucking about with some important cases, and every time they lose, we lose."
Nice journalistic technique -- putting your best insult into an anonymous quote. At least it wasn't a "highly placed source".
[Ed: we believe in the right of anonymity, too]
You and your thunderer can feel free to pick up some of the load of defending the public from the Hollywood cartel. (Making fun of Hollywood is part of the load, and The Register does do that. OK.)
The only reason we stepped in is because nobody else was doing the job. Nobody else is doing it today, either. Humor doesn't seem to be stopping them. Nor the first-rate ACLU (hmm, maybe they've fallen to second-rate after doing little about dozens of unconstitutional Bush actions). Not the consumer advocates. Not the copyright bar. Not the government. Not the universities. Hell, we were surprised to have *telephone companies* like Verizon come in on the public's side; they got tired of Hollywood badgering them for their customers' identities without compensation.
We went from 4,000 to 13,000 members because the tech industry sold out its customer base and built in DRM (Apple, Microsoft, Intel, AMD are all guilty, as well as a lot of more minor players, and consumer electronics folks like TiVo). We were the only place the public could turn. Make another. Make ten more. Please.
John Gilmore [co-founder, EFF]
Let's see, this WEEK, we killed a bad copyright bill in Congress and convinced the UN to eliminate the Internet from the scope of a new, hyper-restrictive treaty. We only get those victories on a monthly basis or so, so it's easy to see how you might mistake us for "outflanked," except when it comes to complete and utter victories on things like the Grokster case, where we legalized P2P. But what do I know? I'm just a blogger.
Excellent news. At this rate of progress, Professor Lessig will be head of the MPAA, and all new recordings and movies will be released under a Creative Commons license by Christmas! Can we stand this much success?
Seriously, we should note for the record that "we" includes the Washington DC-based group Public Knowledge, which has been doing hand to hand combat in the trenches as the legislation is being written, and Jamie Love's CPTech, which has been on the trail of the WIPO since 1996. And no one is more delighted than us that the EFF no longer sees elegant lawsuits, lobbed from 2,300 miles away, as the only tool at its disposal - and that it's discovered where Geneva is on the map, too.
But a few more brickbats for the Vulture -
If they are so bumbling and third-rate then surely what they do is unimportant right? And irrelevant? And the really talented and powerful and sensible organizations out there fighting for individual rights and freedoms are all we need because they are doing such a great job?
Who would you propose as the standard bearer? CATO?
A couple of years ago, I exchanged several comments with someone who was fixated on the cost of bandwidth in relation to licensing, and the compulsory license part of the DMCA. He didn't let his lack of knowledge of the music business, internet broadcasting, or the particulars of CARP stop him from posting at length.
As the posting on my site said, I wouldn't ordinarily have bothered linking to this, but he's the chairman of the board of the EFF.
Here's the exchange in full: [Slashdot]
As for the appointment of Jim Griffin, I question of wisdom of putting someone on the advisory board of the EFF who has said of the recording industry, "I've found their representatives to be outstanding in every way" and who has a documented (by his own admission) consultancy relationship with the RIAA.
Detroit Industrial Underground