Internet freedom group points out several flaws in bill.
Electronic Freedom Foundation, a respected organization for promoting free speech and consumer protection on the internet, has spoken out against Senator Snowe’s so-called Anti-Phishing bill, calling it “A Free Speech Double Whammy.”
EFF staff member Corynne McSherry points out several problems with the bill:
-Does little to protect noncommercial and comparative advertising uses of trademarks
-Gives a new weapon to companies such as Sanofi-Aventis, the pharmaceutical giant that tried to use trademark law to shut down a news site about a new and controversial drug, Acomplia, because the site (www.acompliareport.com) included the name of the drug
-Lets anyone force domain name registrars to reveal a customer’s personally identifying information by simply sending an email alleging that the customer has violated the new law. McSherry writes “No need to comply with the traditional legal niceties of, say, an actual filed lawsuit or a subpoena that might permit the customer to go to court to protect her anonymity. A mere allegation is enough.”
McSherry sums up the bill this way:
“Sure, phishing is a problem. But you don’t solve it by rewriting trademark law and depriving lawful speakers of the chance to keep their identities private. This ill-conceived legislation should be stopped in its tracks.”
I talked to McSherry by phone today and she said she has lots of respect for Senator Olympia Snowe. McSherry is hopeful that Snowe will understand the flaws of the bill. EFF isn’t actively lobbying against the bill at this stage (it hopes it doesn’t get any further).
EFF’s interest in this case is nothing but good news for domain owners. EFF has much more political clout — not to mention financial backers — than the domain industry will ever have.