09.29.20

EFF: Sitting on a Massive Pile of Money and Members Are Less Than a Third of the Revenue

Posted in EFF, Finance at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How much of an impact/sway/voice do pertinent members (individuals) have in the EFF?

EFF grants
Income and revenue disclosures. Several more millions go on top of that, making the total nearly $16 million (see below).

Summary: As part of our series which explores non-profits turning against their goals (sometimes in pursuit of money, even if that means sellout) we take a good look at the EFF in this age of unprecedented consolidation of wealth and power

THE FSF says that about half of its revenue comes from members. That’s not too bad compared to a bunch of other non-profits we’ve studied closely over the years. At the FSFE, by contrast, the full-time staff has become almost like a corporate European outpost for Americans, partly a lobbying operation, as noted by Daniel Pocock (he saw it from the inside, taking stock of Fellows’ diminishing involvement). Google plays a big role at the FSFE. It also pays the EFF. Google was a top sponsor of the FSF for a number of years. No need for a Microsoft fixation when Google itself is also problematic (it censors communications, silencing dissent, truth and so on).

“They’re slightly involved in Europe (“foreign activity”), albeit nowhere as much as in the US.”While it’s publicly known today’s EFF is funded partly (maybe mostly) by oligarchs and monopolistic corporations, how much exactly is not publicly known, as there’s no detailed breakdown. We’ll come to that in a moment. This isn’t the first time we examine the EFF’s finances (it’s about the fourth time in recent years). They’re slightly involved in Europe (“foreign activity”), albeit nowhere as much as in the US. They never ever speak about EPO corruption (not in their financial overlords’ personal interest… super-rich people like Mark Cuban).

Earlier this month someone published “Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla’s top exec pay going up 400%” (we had highlighted a similar problem a year ago). To quote:

One of the most popular and most intuitive ways to evaluate an NGO is to judge how much of their spending is on their programme of works (or “mission”) and how much is on other things, like administration and fundraising. If you give money to a charity for feeding people in the third world you hope that most of the money you give them goes on food – and not, for example, on company cars for head office staff.

Mozilla looks bad when considered in this light. Fully 30% of all expenditure goes on administration. Charity Navigator, an organisation that measures NGO effectiveness, would give them zero out of ten on the relevant metric. For context, to achieve 5/10 on that measure Mozilla admin would need to be under 25% of spending and, for 10/10, under 15%.

Mozilla is a basketcase and not really the subject of this particular post. For Mozilla see what we wrote last year, based on our findings. They claim to be all about privacy, but they’re doing the opposite. They’re rather dishonest about the whole thing.

Today, without further ado, we present the latest available IRS form [PDF] (bar Form 990-T, which we’ll come to later).

Since the death of the EFF’s prominent co-founder Cindy Cohn has managed the EFF. She’s still in charge, listed in the filings as the EFF’s chief. No surprise there. She nets over a quarter million in annual salary (excluding the bonuses, listed separately), with about $200,000 for her deputy. That’s nowhere as obscene as Mozilla giving several millions to its head. Like we said, Mozilla became one heck of a basketcase, full of basketcases. One person from the EFF, Daniel Nazer (their patent expert), leapt from the EFF to Mozilla a couple of years ago. Reason unknown, but ever since then the EFF hasn’t said much about patents (nowhere near the prior frequencies).

The EFF’s salaries apparently use up about 10% of the total revenue, a lot less obscene than the Linux Foundation, where the chief pockets about a million bucks a year — to the point where this foundation operates at a loss! Apparently $100,000,000 isn’t enough for this utterly rogue foundation…

The EFF’s financial folks are more financially prudent; the EFF sits on over 40 million dollars in the bank whilst asking members to donate some more; they don’t name the big sponsors (‘donors’). These savings keep increasing at about 3 times the inflation rate (they receive more money than they can spend). Interest rates alone pay almost as much as members’ fee adds up to. Here’s the breakdown:

EFF totals

For those who want to read lots of pages we’ve included the full original document, as well as another from the start of 2020 (Form 990-T) [PDF]. It’s not particularly interesting; it’s about repeal of “parking tax” provision, explained as follows less than a year ago:

The U.S. Senate today passed government funding legislation for the 2020 fiscal year. The legislation includes a measure to repeal what is commonly referred to as the “parking tax”—that is, section 512(a)(7) that requires tax-exempt organizations to include in unrelated business taxable income the amounts they pay or incur on qualified transportation fringe benefits.

All in all, the EFF is definitely not rogue, but questions need to be asked about its mission and who exactly pays the “Big Money”. What are those sponsors looking for in return? This can help explain why the EFF touches particular areas (or issues) and not others.

“In pursuit of money for supposed ‘growth’ institutions like these typically get worse, not better, over time (as they’re run by people looking to justify and increase their own salaries/bonuses).”We should add a closing note about the cautionary tale which is the Open Source Initiative (OSI), an institution which this year banned its very own co-founder (the other co-founder had left in protest). 95% of the OSI's money comes from corporations such as Microsoft and the OSI is run by a major hypocrite who might also be a Windows user (hard to tell by his wallpaper what he uses, but it’s almost definitely not Open Source like BSD or GNU/Linux). The OSI became a ‘washing machine’ of Microsoft money. Microsoft ‘donates’ and this money is then funnelled, tax-free, to Microsoft employees in GitHub. Well, no wonder OSI’s GM quit this past summer, without even waiting for a successor to be appointed. Microsoft has always been a lot more of a cult than a company, looking to take over its opposition. Microsoft’s “success” did not require any technical excellence at all, just subversive and illegal tactics. The way we see it, Microsoft killed OSI with bribes but finally sealed the deal (OSI becoming a casualty) this year with various new bizarre appointments, a lack of purpose, and resignations. The lack of identity, or defection to working against one’s own goals, is why it’s apt to call this year’s OSI a Microsoft ‘washing machine’ (or launderette, like tax evasion and influence peddling). Where is antitrust involved? No such thing under Donald Trump. In fact, the Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin went out of his way to help Microsoft take over GitHub (and by extension a lot of projects that compete against Microsoft).

Going back to the EFF, we’re not yet seeing the characteristics or symptoms of complete corporate takeover (not any more than in prior years), but it’s crucial to understand what the EFF truly is and how it works. It can get worse over time. In pursuit of money for supposed ‘growth’ institutions like these typically get worse, not better, over time (as they’re run by people looking to justify and increase their own salaries/bonuses). In the EFF’s case, it’s now run by someone who had nothing to do with its creation (genesis). Barlow died and he left the EFF in hands that might become sympathetic to the EFF’s foes (such as Google).

05.09.20

EFF Should Also Speak About the EPO Granting Software Patents Against the Law

Posted in America, Courtroom, EFF, Europe, Law, Patents at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: USPTO and EPO Openly Brag About Breaking the (Case)Law to Grant Software Patents That Courts Would Reject, Even the Very Highest Courts

Software patents and AI patents

Summary: While it’s commendable and very much appreciated that the EFF opposes software patents in the US, it has truly missed the boat, which is the crossing of the Atlantic by EPO practices, reframing software patents as something they’re not (or mindless buzzwords)

THE ABOVE-MENTIONED article already took note of similiarities if not overlaps in the way the main system in Europe and in the sole one in the US generally bypass the law itself. We continue to worry that the EFF ignores European Patent Office (EPO) abuse by António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli — abuse which includes illegal granting of software patents in Europe. They only care about copyright policy in Europe while pocketing Google money. That money comes from surveillance — something the EFF proclaims to be against and which emboldens EFF critics. Inquisitive readers can find more rants about this in yesterday’s IRC logs.

“They only care about copyright policy in Europe while pocketing Google money.”We’re generally thankful for the EFF; it has just published, if not weeks belatedly, this blog post about misguided 35 U.S.C. § 101 guidance, designed to overcome Alice (SCOTUS) rather than integrate it into common practice. In the EFF’s own words: (it was included in Daily Links already)

In 2014, the Supreme Court decided the landmark Alice v. CLS Bank case. The Court held generic computers, performing generic computer functions, can’t make something eligible for patent protection. That shouldn’t be controversial, but it took Alice to make this important limitation on patent-eligibility crystal clear.

Last year, the Patent Office decided to work around that decision, so that the door to bogus software patents could swing open once again. The office issued new guidance telling its examiners how to avoid applying Alice. In response to that proposal, more than 1,500 of you told the Patent Office to re-consider its guidance to make sure that granted patents are limited to those that are eligible for protection under Alice. Unfortunately, the Patent Office wouldn’t do it. The office and its director, Andre Iancu, refused to adapt its guidance to match the law, even when so many members of the public demanded it.

As we said at the start of last year, this won’t change how courts deal with such patents, but how many people and companies can afford a legal battle? This especially harms individuals and small businesses. To them, spending millions of dollars on one single lawsuit makes no sense at all. So they might instead settle over patent threats which they know to be bogus, baseless, and outright frivolous.

“They redefined “certainty” in the same way EPO redefined “quality” (to mean the opposite of it).”We’ve thankfully seen some supportive feedback about the EFF’s post. The CCIA said: “The Patent Office is promoting certainty in getting patents at the expense of making issued patents far less certain, with negative impacts on manufacturers and patent owners alike.”

There’s also a blog post about it (among several others) in our Daily Links.

The EFF tweeted that USPTO “should follow Supreme Court rulings, but the office’s own data show that it’s avoiding them to issue more patents.”

They redefined “certainty” in the same way EPO redefined “quality” (to mean the opposite of it).

Why does the USPTO do this?

“The EFF does get involved in European politics and even Latin-American politics when the EFF’s paymasters request that. How many times did it write about copyright law in Europe? Like a hundred times? Yet nothing (ever) about patents…”“Because it can,” said Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat/IBM (he was a campaigner against software patents in Europe before Red Hat hired him). “The USPTO and other patent offices around the world have granted patents on a lot of things that shouldn’t deserve a 20 year monopoly.”

“USPTO is ignoring Alice, Iancu has reopened the floodgates of software patents,” Benjamin Henrion said before shaming Wildeboer into leaving IBM in protest, noting that IBM played a big if not the biggest role in lobbying for what Iancu did. Our general position is that Wildeboer can perhaps persuade the former Red Hat CEO, now a President at IBM, to change IBM’s patent policy. Time will tell if that can happen…

From what we’ve heard from Wildeboer, he is at least trying.

It would be counterproductive to shame the EFF and Wildeboer, knowing that they’re generally on our side. But we shall continue asking — as we have politely done for a long time — why the EFF refuses to comment on EPO matters. The EFF does get involved in European politics and even Latin-American politics when the EFF’s paymasters request that. How many times did it write about copyright law in Europe? Like a hundred times? Yet nothing (ever) about patents…

10.08.19

The Electronic Frontier Foundation Does Good Work, But It Can Do Even Better

Posted in EFF, Patents at 1:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Constructive criticism can only make the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) even stronger

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Summary: We still miss the ‘older EFF’ as there’s a growing perception that it leans towards things that harm Software Freedom in the name of pseudo-novelty

THE EFF was covered here in two separate articles yesterday [1, 2]; it had also been mentioned very briefly two days ago. We generally support the EFF, especially because of its campaigning in the domain of patent law (e.g. defending 35 U.S.C. § 101 from a USPTO coup). Of course we also support its stance on copyright, net neutrality, privacy and so on even though we don’t always agree on approach, the methods and the policy pursued (sometimes it feels like it’s tuned by EFF sponsors). The EFF is, like any nonprofit of that scale, vulnerable to seductive corporate patrons. See what the Linux Foundation became (and no, it wasn’t always this bad).

“The EFF is, like any nonprofit of that scale, vulnerable to seductive corporate patrons.”The EFF in recent years has not been the same as before. It’s not like it was ever perfect (nothing and nobody is perfect), but over the past 2 years it got a lot worse. This saddens me because I liked them a lot. One of our readers explained to us: “I was a member for a while and gave up on them a few years ago. I still have a t-shirt and a pile of stickers.

“If they were doing anything relevant for Digital Liberty then they were not good at communicating it even to their membership. After enough of that, I stopped being a member and eventually even stopped following even their “Deep Links” page.

“Regardless of what their priorities are or aren’t these days, I’d like to see a return to them getting in the news. That might be impossible given the changes to the mainstream media, even Wired is lame now, but it is nonetheless what would help them a lot. Hopefully it would also help digital liberty. Maybe using the conference circuit more or differently would help there. That’s toilsome though.

“I’m not sure what to say about their apparently complete lack of coverage of the software patent situation in Europe. Like I said above, I stopped finding them relevant and stopped keeping track of what they do or don’t do so I have no idea if they have been paying attention to any other European issues either. What is visible and annoying is, last time I checked, their move away from Software Freedom and Open Source in general as they promote closed, proprietary products instead, rationalizing that with a small handful of Microsoft talking points.”

“Doing another article about EFF priorities can hopefully help guide them w.r.t. wants or desires of Software Freedom proponents.”We think it's about money.

Doing another article about EFF priorities can hopefully help guide them w.r.t. wants or desires of Software Freedom proponents. Even prominent privacy proponents like this one responded to us yesterday: “This already happened with the w3c DNT working group where EFF basically did nothing for about 3 years other than take a seat someone else could have had and actually done something with it.”

That sounds like a familiar problem. It’s what some call “controlled opposition”; our reader (above) often speaks of it in terms like “entryism”.

“My comment was mostly negative,” this reader explained almost with restrained sense of remorse. “Despite that I do hope they pick up some of their old priorities again. Sure they can and should do many and varied things along the way, but their overall goals should be clear as they were under Barlow’s time.”

To me, personally, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is still a good organisation whose reputation and direction can be salvaged. Last year the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave me some advice after I had received legal threats (obvious SLAPP) from a patent law firm. The Electronic Frontier Foundation does a good service for troubled bloggers who receive frivolous threats if not lawsuits.

10.07.19

EFF Should Protect or Represent Geeks, Not ‘Hipsters’

Posted in EFF, Google, Microsoft at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hipster

Summary: The EFF’s reliance on some corporate cash (sometimes billionaires) raises important questions about adherence to said goals

Some people, including longtime readers, have responded to what we wrote last night about the EFF (we said more this morning). Several people believe that what they dub “hipsters” are ruining the EFF as insiders or as members (supporters). One person responded to our article "Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person" by saying that “it would be like something from the Microsoft playbook: join something and subvert it from the inside, there’s a Microsoft quote in the Comes docs about that.” (that means Comes v Microsoft)

It would be nice if the EFF spoke about EPO abuses and quit taking 'surveillance capitalism' money (a newer example of it was covered here this morning).

“…it would be like something from the Microsoft playbook: join something and subvert it from the inside, there’s a Microsoft quote in the Comes docs about that.”
      –Anonymous
From what we’re able to gather, based on the EFF’s IRS filings (these are publicly available), the EFF saw a boost in budget after the Snowden leaks but it went almost ‘downhill’ from there (further analysis might show members not renewing); they must get leaner rather than pursue corporate cash. They need to always ensure principles of integrity are at the forefront. Taking money from surveillance companies and giving these companies EFF awards isn’t the way to achieve this.

We’ve examined the latest IRS filing from the EFF. It says that the EFF receives about 4 million dollars a year from members, which leaves one wondering where the remainder (about twice that amount) comes from. The salaries aren’t totally crazy; the chief nets just over $250,000 a year. SF/Bay Area is expensive, but maybe $100,000 would suffice.

But here’s our biggest issue: The main concern here is that the EFF might become a “hush organisation”, attracting corporate funding in exchange for leaving these corporations alone (no criticism) or worse — lobby for their agenda. Is this already happening subconsciously? Is there self-censorship as opposed to spiking and threats to staff? The bottom line is, the EFF needs to reject all corporate money or risk becoming another Linux Foundation.

It’s difficult to forget how the EFF badmouthed E-mail encryption, partly based on misinformation, while promoting “phone stuff” (with back doors) as a viable alternative. If many EFF members and staff just loosely value privacy but mostly use Apple’s ‘i’ things, what does that say about the EFF’s orientation? Months ago and as recently as weeks ago the EFF also helped Apple’s and Microsoft’s “privacy” propaganda. At one point or another these ‘gaffes’ become too difficult and too frequent to overlook or ignore. It’s part of a pattern. Their main “free speech” staff (York) blocked me in Twitter for merely retweeting something.

EFF Ought to Focus on Software Patents — Maybe EPO Scandals Too — Instead of Awarding (Publicity Stunts) and Rewarding Privacy Abusers

Posted in EFF, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 1:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EFF on patents

Summary: Taking money from and giving awards to privacy-abusing corporations won’t help the EFF, at least not in the long term

THIS quick post concerns a matter that we mentioned last night, albeit only in passing. The EFF is changing and in our view not for the better. It does not write about patents as much as it used to. That’s 21 articles/posts so far this year (a lot less in recent months because Nazer left) compared to about 50 last year. What’s more, they’re losing sight of key issues and they still ignore EPO abuses (while having seemingly endless resources to tackle copyright policy in Europe). What is going on? Months ago they took Google money and people have used that to accuse the EFF of fronting for Google, in essence a surveillance company. Weeks ago the EFF (over)saw an award given to a person complicit in mass surveillance of Microsoft. Again, what the heck is going on? And check who the sponsors were: “Special thanks to our sponsors: Airbnb; Dropbox; Matthew Prince; Medium; O’Reilly Media; Ridder, Costa & Johnstone LLP; and Ron Reed for supporting EFF and the 2019 Pioneer Award Ceremony. If you or your company are interested in learning more about sponsorship, please contact nicole@eff.org.”

“Weeks ago the EFF (over)saw an award given to a person complicit in mass surveillance of Microsoft.”¿Qué?

Can’t the EFF sponsor (fund) its own ceremonies? Please don’t become another Linux Foundation.

What do Airbnb and Dropbox do there? They’re listed as forefront sponsors (the list is not alphabetical). The EFF surely knows about the surveillance (NSA PRISM), which was mentioned many times by the EFF itself in the wake of Snowden leaks. Dropbox is “coming soon” (in 2013) to PRISM and Airbnb is a privacy dump.

“Condy Rice on the Board and NSA PRISM don’t seem to prevent the EFF from taking money from Dropbox to glorify privacy abusers from Microsoft.”In our view, what EFF does here is what Lessig likes to call “leaning to the green” (money). Condy Rice on the Board and NSA PRISM don’t seem to prevent the EFF from taking money from Dropbox to glorify privacy abusers from Microsoft. Will the EFF take the risk of condemning Dropbox for privacy abuses in the future? Maybe. People might always wonder.

What would Barlow (founder) have said? He died last year and it would be a shame if the EFF’s credibility died with him.

10.06.19

The Free Software Foundation Will Be Far Stronger With Richard Stallman Back On Its Board

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, EFF, FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 12:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Super Stallman
Image credit: The Fall Of Stallman by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith) at PCLinuxOS Magazine

Summary: Looking back at three weeks of misinformation, we insist that Stallman should have his membership — if not position — in the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Board reinstated

THE FSF lost its main identity and asset. Deep inside it knows it. It lost its founder, who emphasises this role of his in his E-mail signature these days. He lost his place there not for technical reasons. Brendan Eich suffered a similar fate at Mozilla for something not work related (which had happened nearly a decade earlier). Have any lessons been learned since then?

“Brendan Eich suffered a similar fate at Mozilla for something not work related (which had happened nearly a decade earlier).”Our habitual contributor figosdev is writing a HOWTO regarding federation of Free software advocacy (work in progress) and a week ago on the LibrePlanet mailing list someone announced a thing called FSForce (The Free Software Force, sounding similar to FOSSForce but completely unrelated to it).

Adrienne G. Thompson’s reply said “I too have explicitly noted in previous posts that “[T]he Free Software Foundation has not broken but maintains the relationship with Software Freedom Conservancy that has promoted the persecution of Richard Stallman,” nominating SFC President and FSF Board member Bradley Kuhn “Best Director” for the internet drama “The Backstabber” in the upcoming FSF Resign Awards.”

“Well, much of the criticism of Richard Stallman, RMS, was disguised as that (“he has been there too long”, “he’s sexist” and so on); he’s trying to mend things and he told me repeatedly that he had stepped down due to pressure from outside the FSF, not inside it, as a matter of personal will under great media strain.”We should add that trying to disguise criticism of technical groups using parallel accusations of “sexism”, “racism”, “intolerance”, “old” (incumbent) is nothing new, as if technical matters are to be tackled using identity politics. Microsoft apparently does this to Google. So why stop there?

Well, much of the criticism of Richard Stallman, RMS, was disguised as that (“he has been there too long”, “he’s sexist” and so on); he’s trying to mend things and he told me repeatedly that he had stepped down due to pressure from outside the FSF, not inside it, as a matter of personal will under great media strain. I personally prefer to see the FSF going back to the way it was a month ago, preferably without the people who dethroned RMS with outside pressure (not entirely outside as one of them is also on the FSF’s Board). I don’t need to repeat the name quoted above, but let’s just say that this is the person who wrote the most damaging press release.

What this whole sad episode serves to show is misuse of media; Alessandro Ebersol put it like this in his new article:

In fact, who really had ties with that citizen Epstein was Bill Gates, who, according to emails obtained exclusively from The New Yorker, Epstein would have instructed Bill Gates to donate $2 million to a MIT research lab in October 2014. The directors of MIT Media Lab delivered the emails, and they clearly link Gates to Epstein.

However, this connection goes beyond donation, as both Gates and Epstein had a common interest in eugenics, a perverted form of science that seeks to genetically improve the human population by getting rid of undesirable ones (who was also interested in that? Hmmm, ahhh, that Austrian guy!)

We can even speculate that the attack on Stallman’s person was a way to get the public’s attention diverted away from Gates, who really had a connection with Epstein.

The proprietary software people (workers, hence proponents, defending their wallets and banks accounts basically, not morality) generalise and stigmatise FOSS people as sexist even though the ‘inventor’ of proprietary stuff, Bill Gates (remember that infamous letter he wrote), is the real connection to Epstein and pedophilia. Why aren’t Microsoft employees issuing a call/petition to “remove Gates”?

Talk about projection…

A reader has, in the meantime, told us about the Microsoft propagandist (anti-Google, privacy-washer of Microsoft surveillance) whom the EFF foolishly gave an award several weeks ago. That person is, apparently, nowadays attacking everyone, using the EFF’s award as a ‘budge’ of credibility. The EFF has moved in really a bad direction, in essence rewarding privacy abusers from Microsoft. Why? Don’t ask me! The EFF’s demise may be a subject for another day — it barely says anything about patents for a number of months now. Its most prominent person in that ‘department’ moved to Mozilla earlier this year.

“The proprietary software people (workers, hence proponents, defending their wallets and banks accounts basically, not morality) generalise and stigmatise FOSS people as sexist even though the ‘inventor’ of proprietary stuff, Bill Gates (remember that infamous letter he wrote), is the real connection to Epstein and pedophilia. Why aren’t Microsoft employees issuing a call/petition to “remove Gates”?”“Read that article,” said a reader to us, “and the linked-to one by Danah Boyd, then read my comment [...] and ask yourself if there’s anything controversial in it, except the one thing, it contradicts the house dogma. And in the main article they manage to link Jeffrey Epstein to scientists, tech innovators and the Nobel Prize winners. What the fuck does raped, trafficked or harassed got to to with technology or me or you?”

Speaking for myself alone, I can’t help but feel like they’re mimicking some of these same old stunts, e.g. in LibrePlanet (we wrote about CoC matters associated with it several times in the past and an FSF person confirmed what we had heard to be true). Those who don’t comply with a corporate agenda are being painted as sexist. Ask Torvalds why he was pushed out of kernel development a year ago. Ask him what he actually said that was sexist (or can be somehow interpreted as such).

09.04.19

The Electronic Frontier Foundation Opposes Software Patents (in the US), So Why Does It Keep 100% Silent About Europe and the EPO?

Posted in America, EFF, Europe, Law, Patents at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Imagine what would happen if the Electronic Frontier Foundation cared about European Patents as much as it cares about EU copyright law

Electronic Frontier Foundation EPO

Summary: The Electronic Frontier Foundation does good work in the area of patent law, but it has a massive, glaring blind spot for the EPO, where massive abuses are happening and corruption is rampant for more than half a decade

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can issue software patents. Sometimes it does. But citing 35 U.S.C. § 101, as courts often do, judges will throw out such patents. The patent maximalists are furious about it. How dare judges apply the law? They’ve already called for abolishment of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), nowadays they ask for the Federal Circuit to be disbanded and maybe SCOTUS is next. Who needs justice anyway? Mob rule, right?

“Who needs justice anyway? Mob rule, right?”At the EPO (Organisation) things are already profoundly upsetting. The rule of law is almost literally dead now (suicidal judges, due to threats and unjust punishment from Team Campinos/Battistelli). Nobody in the media wants to cover this anymore. Almost nobody! That in and of itself is a scandal — a complicity in silence that we’ve often alluded to.

Science Business, which oftentimes is the European Patent Office’s (EPO) mouthpiece [1, 2, 3], has just done some more EPO propaganda (“Source: The European Patent Office (EPO)”). No journalism involved and it’s not even news: “Switzerland has most European patents per capita”

That just means Switzerland is a rich country, that’s all. EPO numbers are used to convey old lies and myths. Do people know how much a single European Patent can cost? Can one expect an Estonian or an Ethiopian to apply for dozens of European Patents? They’d have to work for several years for just one patent (associated fees).

“When will the EFF make a comment about Europe and the EPO as well? Like it did the EU Copyright Directive…”Anyway, yesterday the EPO brought up (warning: epo.org link) the subject of software patents in Europe, calling them — in the title — “computer-implemented,” as usual (the body says “computer-implemented inventions”). There’s an upcoming case, but the judges lack independence. The President of the EPO (Campinos) knows it; he knows that he frightens them. So this is just the EPO pushing in the usual direction, i.e. to endorse illegal software patents (outcome may be ‘fixed’ like earlier this summer). In their own words: “The President of the EPO has filed his comments in the matter of the referral G 1/19 (“Patentability of computer-implemented simulations”) to the Enlarged Board of Appeal arguing for maintenance of the current practice for assessing the inventive step of computer-implemented inventions and welcomes the opportunity for the Enlarged Board of Appeal to further clarify the practice.”

We don't expect software patents to make a comeback in the US. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has just issued a statement [1] to drill another screw into the coffin of STRONGER Patents Act. Well done, EFF. When will the EFF make a comment about Europe and the EPO as well? Like it did the EU Copyright Directive

The EFF cannot deny the fact that European and American patent laws — or practices — are connected (even their buzzwords). No excuse for the oversight. Do something, EFF. You are not understaffed, so don’t make excuses.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The STRONGER Patents Act Would Make Bad Patents Stronger Than Ever

    Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) has introduced yet another version of the STRONGER Patents Act. In 2017, we explained how earlier versions of the bill would gut inter partes review, a much more affordable way to challenge bad patents. The bill also tears down the Supreme Court’s eBay v. Mercexchange decision, which stops patent trolls from automatically getting injunctions, which gave them the power to potentially shut down productive companies. Unfortunately, these terrible ideas seem to keep coming back.

    The STRONGER Act of 2019 contains numerous provisions aimed at killing inter partes review proceedings altogether. As we’ve explained before, inter partes review, or IPR, is a type of proceeding that lets people facing infringement allegations challenge bad patents in front of administrative judges with technical expertise—the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. These proceedings are much cheaper and faster than trials in federal court for both sides. They improve the patent system’s ability to promote innovation by providing an efficient way to cancel patents that should never have been granted in the first places.

08.17.19

Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person

Posted in EFF, FSF, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like they don’t give a f*** about their reputation anymore

eff

Summary: At age 30 (almost) the Electronic Frontier Foundation still campaigns for privacy; so why does it grant awards to enemies of privacy?

In July 1990 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was founded by John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow, and Mitch Kapor. Barlow died a couple of years ago, so the EFF is now run by its chief executive officer Cindy Cohn. Some of our longtime readers say they have lost confidence in the EFF; the old timers actually told us it had lost direction and nowadays caters for ‘hipsters’ with their ‘gadgets’ near its headquarters (main office in California). The EFF recently lost the person who fought software patents for the EFF (he moved to Mozilla) and they never cared about software patents in Europe or EPO scandals. Never. Not even once. They have some extremely valuable people, such as Cory Doctorow (who fought for the EFF on copyright issues in Europe), but we recently felt upset that they had taken money from Google. This harmed the EFF’s position on patents — and to a lesser degree on copyrights — and indirectly harmed all of us who fight software patents. Even the EFF’s own, namely Birgitta Jónsdóttir, openly expressed dissatisfaction over this. She cited Techrights at the time.

“It probably wouldn’t have happened under Barlow’s watch.”Nobody is perfect and the EFF certainly isn’t perfect. Similarly, several years ago we expressed our disagreement with the FSF after it had given an award to a provocateur who liaised with other provocateurs. 4 years ago there was another anti-Torvalds coup. Don’t forget who did it and how. It was attempted again not so long ago and for the first time in almost 30 years Torvalds took a break from Linux development.

We don’t want to link or name who the EFF has just granted an award to; but it’s someone hypocritical from Microsoft and someone who contributed a great deal to the company’s ‘surveillance capitalism’. Is the EFF totally drunk? Stoned maybe? It probably wouldn’t have happened under Barlow’s watch.

Come on, EFF. You can do better than this.

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