The EFF Ninja Says: Support Bloggers’ Rights!

Okay, so the EFF ninja is actually me carrying a pair of very heavy

hammocks and a load of camping supplies at the Om Festival. But the EFF

does need your support in the fight for bloggers’ rights,


EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit group of passionate people—lawyers,

technologists, volunteers, and visionaries — who depend on your support

to continue successfully defending your digital rights. Litigation is

particularly expensive; because two-thirds of our budget comes from

individual donors, every contribution is critical to helping EFF fight

—and win—more cases.

You Have the Right to Blog Anonymously. EFF has fought for your

right to speak anonymously on the Internet, establishing legal

protections in several states and federal jurisdictions, and developing

technologies to help you protect you identity. With your support,

EFF can continue to defend this right, conducting impact litigation to

establish strict standards to unmask an anonymous critic in more


You Have the Right to Keep Sources Confidential. In Apple v. Does, EFF is fighting to establish the reporter’s privilege for online journalists before the California courts. With your support, EFF can defend news bloggers from subpoenas seeking the identity of confidential sources in more jurisdictions.

You Have the Right to Make Fair Use of Intellectual Property. In OPG v. Diebold,

Diebold, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, had sent

out copyright cease-and-desist letters to ISPs after internal documents

indicating flaws in their systems were published on the Internet. EFF

established the publication was a fair use. With your support, EFF can help fight to protect bloggers from frivolous or abusive threats and lawsuits.

You have the Right to Allow Reader’s Comments Without Fear. In Barrett v. Rosenthal, EFF is working to establish that Section 230, a strong federal immunity for online publishers, applies to bloggers. With your support, EFF can continue to protect bloggers from liability for comments left by third parties.

(This is one issue with which I am personally acquainted — see the entry about Quick Boys Movers.)

You Have the Right to Protect Your Server from Government Seizure. In In re Subpoena to Rackspace.

EFF successfully fought to unveil a secret government subpoena that had

resulted in more than 20 Independent Media Center (Indymedia) news

websites and other Internet services being taken offline. With your support, EFF can hold the government accountable for investigations that cut off protected speech.

You Have the Right to Freely Blog about Elections. EFF has

advocated for the sensible application of Federal Election Commission

rules to blogs that comment on political campaigns. With your support, EFF can continue to protect political blogs from onerous campaign regulations.

You Have the Right to Blog about Your Workplace. EFF has

educated bloggers on their rights to blog about their workplace and

developed technologies to help anonymous whistle bloggers. With your support, EFF can help shape the law to protect workplace bloggers from unfair retaliation.

You Have the Right to Access as Media. EFF has educated bloggers

on their right to access public information, attend public events with

the same rights as mainstream media, and how to blog from public

events. With your support, EFF can fight for bloggers right to access as media.

Know Your Rights and Prepare to Defend Them. EFF has created the Legal Guide for Bloggers to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger and a guide on How to Blog Safely. With your support, EFF can expand and update these guides.

And that’s why this blog is sporting this button:

3 replies on “The EFF Ninja Says: Support Bloggers’ Rights!”

Sounds dandy, but does it only apply for the US? What about Canadian blogs but hosted in the US (like mine)?

You’ve got a couple of options, Maria.

The Canada-specific option is to support Electronic Frontier Canada, Canada’s counterpart to the EFF. I have no idea of how active they are, but if I had to judge solely by their website, I’d have to say “not at all”. I hope I’m wrong.

The other option — the one I recommend — would be to become a member of the EFF anyway. The EFF gets involved in matters of digital rights all over the world; my friend and former boss Cory Doctorow is the EFF’s point man in Europe, and he also does digital rights work in Asia and South America. He and the EFF have also fought the good fight at international gatherings like the last WIPO pow-wow.

While the EFF’s powers are greatest in America, their actions also affect us. Many web-based services you use are hosted in the US. We’re both in Canada, the US’ largest trading partner, and with this trade comes trickle-down effects, hence the saying “when the US gets a cold, Canada sneezes”. Finally, the US, as the world’s technological leader, sets a lot of precedents that get followed by everyone else. The EFF exists to ensure that those precedents are the right ones.

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