EFF Fights for Technology Innovation

By Ericka Chickowski Print this article Print

The Electronic Frontier Foundation fights tirelessly for free speech and privacy rights, but it is also a big proponent for free innovation. The following legal cases are some of the most important the EFF has participated in over the years.

Founded in 1990, the EFF battles for the public interest where technology issues arise from companies, government policy and legislation. Here are ten significant legal battles the non-profit, donor-sponsored EFF has championed and fought.

1. Bernstein v. U.S. Department of Justice

One of EFF’s bulwark cases occurred in the 1990s, when the government tried to prevent Dan Bernstein, then a graduate student at Berkeley, from revealing an encryption program he developed under an arcane arms control law that defined encryption on par with weaponry. The EFF defended Bernstein in the first case to set precedence of computer programming as free speech.

2. MGM v. Grokster

EFF participated in the landmark case versus MGM and the rest of the recording and movie industry crowd to defend Grokster and other P2P development companies from being blamed for copyright infringement perpetuated by their users. Ultimately, the court ruled that multipurpose tool innovators can’t be penalized for the wrongdoing of their users. This is an important distinction that EFF believes will take the damper off of innovation in the future.

For a more in-depth look at the EFF, read The EFF Patrols Uncharted Online Territory.

This article was originally published on 2008-10-13
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