Hey Reddit! This is EFF's activism team (Rainey Reitman, Eva Galperin, Trevor Timm, and Parker Higgins). Reddit was one of the first online communities to realize SOPA and PIPA were horrible, bad, terrible ideas (even worse than ice-soap), and we wanted to say thanks for all you did in protest.

Whether it was pressuring Go Daddy to switch sides, convincing members of Congress to do the same, or being the first website to announce you'd black out on January 18th, your actions clearly had a major impact in the debate.

So we made you a present: http://imgur.com/IPoHW

Obligatory legal disclaimer: We can't offer legal advice, so please don’t give us the specifics about any legal problems in your public posting. Sorry! But if you do have a specific legal issue, here’s a link to our page about getting legal help from EFF. There also may be cases we are involved in we may not be able to comment on.

But other than that, ask us anything!

EDIT: Staff attorneys Marcia Hofmann and Julie Samuels, and our legal intake coordinator Mark Jaycox, are also going to make cameo appearances throughout the day.

EDIT 2: Wow, thanks for the amazing response, folks! We're taking a short break, but we'll be back in an hour to answer more.

EDIT 3: Thanks to everyone for the great questions and kind words. For the many who asked: here is info on how you can become a member, how to donate, how to volunteer, or how to help EFF in any way you can, as we fight to keep the Internet free.

We had a great time and would love to come back if Reddit will have us. Let's say same time, same place, 3-4 months from now?

Comments: 679 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

WhySoCurious487 karma

Since SOPA was defeated, we expect its individual pieces to be interjected into future laws or passed independently

How do we, the public, monitor this type of legislation, and what can we do about it?

parkerEFF301 karma

That's a problem the copyright lobby is counting on, and have used in the past to slip bills against the public interest through the legislature. Fortunately, there are now more ways than ever to keep up with these issues.

To put in a quick plug, our blog and our EFFector mailing list are good sources of summarized information. We post on Twitter, Identi.ca, and Facebook, if you'd prefer to keep up with us that way. Other public interest groups too, are doing good work in looking through new legislation and court cases to identify when your rights are at stake. And politicians like Darrell Issa and Ron Wyden have made a commitment to a more open legislative process, as demonstrated by the drafting page for their bill at http://keepthewebopen.com.

It's not easy to be an informed citizen, but it's the only way to ensure our rights are preserved. We've seen last week how effective an informed citizenry can be in turning bad legislation around, and we're excited to see more of that sort of action. Thankfully, last week's protest demonstrated that the Internet is now on alert. Hopefully we'll be able to get the message out to all the netizens again in the future.

fbaum210 karma

Can we copyright SOPA and send any future bills a C&D order?

trevorEFF170 karma

We've been thinking about this one all day. This is our response: https://eff.org/r.Q6w

TheKingOfLimbs69 karma

Ron Wyden for Emperor of Everything. That man is on top of things more than any other politician that I've ever seen.

trevorEFF91 karma

We agree! We gave him an EFF Pioneer Award earlier this year. Ron Wyden is one of the true heroes of the Internet.

ImplyingImplicati0ns158 karma

What's your opinion on the current FBI wave of shutting down various file sharing sites? For example-



MegaUpload - Closed.

FileServe - Closing, does not sell premium.

FileJungle - Deleting files. Locked in the U.S.

UploadStation - Locked in the U.S.

FileSonic - the news is arbitrary (under FBI investigation).

VideoBB - Closed! Will disappear soon.

Uploaded - Banned in the U.S. and the FBI went after the owners who are gone.

FilePost - Deleting all material (will leave executables, pdfs, txts)

Videoz - Closed and locked in the countries affiliated with the USA.

4shared - Deleting files with copyright and waits in line at the FBI.

MediaFire - Called to testify in the next 90 days and it will open doors. Pro FBI

Org Torrent - Could vanish with everything within 30 days "he is under criminal investigation"

Network Share mIRC - Awaiting the decision of the case to continue or terminate Torrente everything.

Koshiki - Operating 100% Japan will not join the SOPA / PIPA

Shienko Box - 100% working China / Korea will not join the SOPA / PIPA

ShareX BR - group UOL / BOL / iG say they will join the SOPA / PIPA


Edit: Updated list, thanks for the reply EFF.

trevorEFF283 karma

We've long been concerned that the seizures, done mainly by ICE (not the FBI), are a violation of free speech and otherwise problematic. That's easily seen in Megaupload, as so many ordinary, noninfringing users of the system had their speech removed.

But the existence of these seizure powers also demonstrates that the main RIAA/MPAA claims about SOPA and PIPA are unfounded. Megaupload was once held up as an example of why SOPA and PIPA were necessary, yet less than 24 hours after it was indefinitely shelved, the government was able to seize Megaupload's domains and arrest its owners. Remember, they arrested a German and Finnish citizen, in New Zealand, whose company was incorporated in Hong Kong. The U.S. government doesn't need any new laws; they have too much power as it is.

justAnotherNutzy13 karma

Hi, thanks for protecting our 'electronic' freedoms. Now that I know that we can subscribe, I will pony up the $60... hope it helps.

On the Megaupload issue, could you please help me understand why it should not have been taken down ?

Megauploads seems like a deliberate creation for exchanging copyrighted digital material. Yes, I am sure a significant number of people using the site, used it for legitimate purposes, BUT, most of the paying members and most of the traffic from the site was in uploading/downloading copyrighted material. While I can understand that copyrighted material is expensive etc. etc., it is finally still a crime to distribute copyrighted material isnt it ?

Do we even know what the fraction of non-infringing users was in the total user base ? Does it matter (say if only 10 were non-infringing users) ? What makes downloading music that I have not paid for legal ?

trevorEFF58 karma

When it comes to free speech -- and of course every item that was taken down that was not infringing was free speech under the First Amendment -- the law is really clear (and really right) that it’s not OK to censor something just because it was next to something, or shared a facility with something that is not free speech. Here, it was completely possible for the government to require only the takedown of material that was infringing on the Megaupload website. Sideswiping all the people who innocently used the service because some people did not is wrong. Also, remember the First Amendment protects your right to receive information just as it protects the right of the wrongly-silenced megaupload users to speak.

[deleted]46 karma

Two questions:

  • I donated money a few weeks ago and put "I am concerned about SOPA" in the little box in the form where you can specify your reason for donating. Does anyone read those?
  • How seriously do you take the currently speculative threat of SOPA being attached as a rider to H.R. 1981 (a.k.a., the "Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011")? There is precedent for bad legislation being back-door'd in this way, as I'm sure you're no doubt aware. What is your strategy for opposing it going to be if they try to sneak it in that way? How do you plan to get around being falsely smeared as supporting child pornography?

trevorEFF56 karma

H.R. 1981 (or as Rep. Zoe Lofgren attempted to officially re-name it, "The Keep Every American's Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act") is a terrible idea with or without any provisions from SOPA.

Here's what we said when it passed out of the House Judiciary Committee:

"The data retention mandate in this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized. Requiring Internet companies to redesign and reconfigure their systems to facilitate government surveillance of Americans' expressive activities is simply un-American."

You can read about all our the problems in the data retention bill here. The Deputy Assistant Attorney General even attacked us at a congressional hearing discussing it.

We will be writing more about this soon, but if Congress tries to sneak in any SOPA and PIPA provisions in this bill, you can be sure we will sound the alarm as soon as it happens.

tamar15 karma

Thanks EFF! It was awesome working with you.

Tamar, Namecheap :)

trevorEFF7 karma

Thanks Tamar! And thanks to Namecheap for taking such strong stand against SOPA and PIPA.

dajaz114 karma

No question. Just wanted to say Thank You

trevorEFF8 karma

We really appreciate it.

While we're here, everyone should read about the government's unconstitutional censorship of dajaz1: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111208/08225217010/breaking-news-feds-falsely-censor-popular-blog-over-year-deny-all-due-process-hide-all-details.shtml

censoredbloggah12 karma

Now that SOPA and PIPA are pretty much dead, will you guys be pushing Congress to fix Pro-IP and specifically Operation In Our Sites?

trevorEFF25 karma

We've written two briefs in the Rojadirecta case (part of Operation In Our Sites).

This week we are launching a major campaign to convince the U.S. Copyright Office to renew and expand the critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) granted in 2010, when EFF successfully petitioned the copyright office to declare jailbreaking of smartphones and using video clips from DVDs to create remixes are legal.

We're now asking them to to declare that jailbreaking of tablets and video game consoles does not violate the DMCA and renew their smartphone ruling from 2010. We need your help too! We're also asking them to renew their ruling that breaking the encryption on DVDs in order to use video clips in primarily noncommercial videos does not violate the DMCA, as well as expand that ruling to include clips from Internet video sources. Read more about that here.

If you think these exemptions are a good idea, let the Copyright Office know! It is accepting public comments until February 10th. Details are in the links above.

int12811 karma

First off, thank you so much for what you do.

  • What pending law or forth coming technology worries you the most?
  • If your budget were to double, what would be spent on?
  • What would you say was your groups biggest victory / loss
  • What percentage of your work force is paid vs volunteers?
  • What are some non-financial methods people can do to help your cause?
  • If you were a vegetable, which vegetable would you be, and why?

trevorEFF6 karma

Speaking for just myself, drones worry me the most, both on the privacy side and government secrecy side. An op-ed I recently wrote in Al Jazeera on the subject: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/12/201112774824829807.html

Also, check out our lawsuit against the FAA and the excellent article our staff attorney Jennifer Lynch wrote on drones: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/01/drones-are-watching-you

jptsetme8 karma

When describing the perils of SOPA/PIPA to less technical friends and family, I often described the lack of Safe Harbor provisions as one of the key problems. I liked this as an example because it appeals to conservatives as well, since it would be detrimental to corporations as well as people (if you can tell the difference between them). In order to do this, I typically had to explain what the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA are and in doing so, found myself praising legislation that, while not as bad as SOPA/PIPA, is still really repugnant to me. I still have an old t-shirt with the perl source code to DeCSS, and the title "I am a circumvention device".

All of which goes to say that, it seems like we're continuing to slip further and further down the slippery slope of eroding digital rights. Is there something more we can do -- something broader than simply responding to bad legislation and defending people when they're sued? How much does the EFF get involved in lobbying? Are we so small compared to the lobbying power of the MPAA/RIAA that we have no chance? And if so, what's our recourse? Can we be more proactive with social media, beyond just protesting something as blatently bad as SOPA/PIPA?

trevorEFF7 karma

We don't do much lobbying because we're registered as a 501(3)c non-profit. And as far as tech sector lobbying goes, the content industries outspent the tech sector 13-1 in Congress! The Internet still won, though :)

Here are some ways you can help EFF if you'd like to get more involved: https://www.eff.org/helpout

kkaabboomm6 karma


trevorEFF4 karma

Here's a link to how you can volunteer: https://www.eff.org/about/opportunities/volunteer

And here's a link to how you could help in other ways: https://www.eff.org/helpout

Thanks for asking.

trevorEFF3 karma

Of course donations are great because we are a non-profit which doesn't take money from the goverment. But there are many ways you can help, including becoming a volunteer. Here's our page for all the ways you can contribute: https://www.eff.org/helpout

And thanks so much for asking!

catatoniatoday3 karma

Love you guys!

Please help stop Operation in Our Sites. They are putting young, intelligent Americans in prison for file sharing, as I'm sure you know.

trevorEFF2 karma

We are trying! Here's the two briefs we wrote in the Rojadirecta case (part of Operation In Our Sites).

Adys3 karma

Hi guys. Thanks so much for your efforts on SOPA and other bills.

I'm extremely passionate about internet censorship and would love to learn more about which country does what. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_by_country is an excellent start but it's a bit too "neutral"; it doesn't say much about upcoming bills, etc.

Do you have resources, posts, etc on various country laws and such which should be fought? The dangers of upcoming laws, who keeps passing them, who is behind them and so on.

trevorEFF3 karma

We actually just launched https://globalchokepoints.org/, which looks at censorship via copyright laws worldwide. It is a work in progress, so check back soon for updates on pending bills - that's one of our goals.

altosax29b2 karma

What is your opinion on the success of Operation Pull Ryan?

trevorEFF2 karma

We thought it was great! We even gave you credit for helping turn SOPA and PIPA into an election issue in this post: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/01/blacklist-bills-becoming-hot-button-issue-2012-election