Run Through the Jungle: Is Google Mounting a Challenge to @SpeakerPelosi?

Pelosi China

There’s a quiet rumble happening in San Francisco due to California’s “jungle primary” rules.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing an opponent from the left.  Yes, you read that correctly.  In the jungle, the top two vote getters can go into sudden death regardless of party affiliation, and the Speaker now has an opponent who is a nominal Democrat.

If you know even a little about California politics, you’ll know that there are two people in the State who you do not want to jack with and both are from San Francisco.  Willie Brown is the first.  Jacking with Willie is a really bad idea.  You will regret it.  The other is Nancy Pelosi.  The main difference between the two in my mind is that Willie has a lot more potential challenges to his authority than the Speaker and word gets around.  Trust me, if Willie were running, there would be no Democrat challengers.  So even if you win, you lose.

There’s one guy who has not gotten the word about Speaker Pelosi, and that is one Shahid Buttar, Lawrence Lessig crony and Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer.  Mr. Buttar is running in the jungle against Speaker Pelosi.

Yes, you read that correctly, too.  The EFF has their own guy in the hunt for the Speaker’s scalp.  We’re way past ice cream now.

Shahid Pelosi

To his credit, Shahid Buttar does not shy away from his EFF connection.  He’s quite proud of it and uses it as a major selling point to potential constituents.  What I haven’t seen him talk about is the EFF’s funding from Google and others in the Big Tech crew.  Mr. Buttar wants to talk up the privacy side of the EFF’s hustle and his role in “grassroots organizing” for EFF.  I had an example of the EFF’s grassroots organizing recently in Austin when they sent someone to argue against the CASE Act at a bar panel I spoke on advocating for the CASE Act.  We’ve seen other examples of the EFF’s grassroots organizing which amazingly always has the wrong side of artist rights.

Yet, there’s really no question that EFF gets a substantial amount of money from Google–money that likely paid Mr. Buttar’s salary for many years.  For example, the Google Shill List from the Oracle case is pretty clear:

Google Shill EFF

Not to mention the cool million that EFF picked up in the juiced up class action cy pres awards against Big Tech seeking indulgences:

Google Buz EFF Cy Pres excerpt

Roger Parloff the investigative journalist called attention to this unholy alliance in Fortune:

If the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the nation’s preeminent digital rights nonprofit, had disclosed last year that it received a cool $1 million gift from Google — about 17% of its total revenue — some eyebrows might have been raised. The group typically describes itself as “member-supported” and, like most nonprofits, it treasures its above-the-commercial-fray, public-interest-group aura and reputation for independence.

Google Cy Pres EFF
Recent Cy Pres Awards by Case


Which means that it is hard to believe that Mr. Buttar did not get top cover from Google before he made his move.  But he definitely is against the “mass spying” that Google and Facebook have been conducting against unsuspecting users while pushing internet addiction–you know, the mass surveillance operations that gave his employer millions (and gave Google billions) and, according to a petition his contributors signed against Google’s project Dragonfly, “create[d} a censored search engine for the Chinese market that enables state surveillance.”

Mr. Buttar getting his soy boy grassroots on inside the beltway in Washington, DC

But it’s all about social justice according to a quote from Mr. Buttar’s campaign reported in The Intercept:

“Pelosi knows that voters are dissatisfied, and before the primary began campaigning in San Francisco for the first time in 30 years,” said Jasper Wilde, campaign manager for the Buttar campaign, in a statement to The Intercept.

“Shahid going 1-1 against Nancy will shine a spotlight on precisely how little she has done for the district in the midst of a housing crisis, an opioid crisis, and an out-of-control cost of living. The election will also reveal her role in exacerbating these issues, that remain at the forefront of voters minds both today and in November.”

Note that all those campaign issues rattled off by Mr. Buttar’s current campaign manager are either exclusively, or to a large extent, city and county issues and many are brought on by the Big Tech billionaires whose employees or cronies fund Mr. Buttar’s employer–which benefited him both before and after his “leave of absence”.   (And note he doesn’t say “unpaid leave of absence.”)


I mentioned Mr. Buttar’s breathless street cred as an EFF “grassroots organizer” to some friends in the labor movement (one was a COPE person).  When the laughter stopped, one pointed to scar tissue on the side of his head and asked, does he have one of these?

But we wish Mr. Buttar well.  Let a hundred flowers blossom.

Nancy Pelosi getting her real grassroots on in Tiananmen Square


@illusionofmore: How the “Dancing Baby” Case Went Crazy

When will tech companies start taking responsibility for DMCA counter notices that are obviously wrong?

Last week, both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Universal Music Group filed petitions with the United States Supreme Court in regard to what is commonly known as the “Dancing Baby” case.  The “baby” in question is about 11 years old now, and for those who might not know how a mundane home video became the focus of a multi-year, federal litigation now begging the attention of the Supreme Court, let’s review …

In February of 2007, Holden Lenz of Pennsylvania was just 18 months old when his mother Stephanie video-taped him dancing to Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” and then posted the video on YouTube—a platform that was just six months older than Holden.  Because Prince was especially guarded about all uses of his music—and was justifiably critical of YouTube in particular—the Lenz video was one of several targets added to a list of DMCA takedown notices to be filed by Universal Music Group on the artist’s behalf. The “Dancing Baby” video was removed on June 5, 2007, and according to an ABC News story published in October of that year, Lenz stated that she was initially “frightened” about having her video removed from YouTube, concerned that UMG might file suit against her, and then the fear of said litigation made her “angry.”

So between the Summer and Fall of 2007, the public version of this story had already begun to stray from the relevant facts in the case.  For starters, Ms. Lenz had, on her own, immediately sent an incorrectly filled-out DMCA counter notice on June 7 seeking to restore her video. But if she were truly “frighted” about a lawsuit by UMG, that would have been the moment for her to proceed with caution because a DMCA counter notice can, in some cases, trigger legal action by a rights holder. Subsequently, at the advice of an attorney friend, Lenz contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation to better understand her options, believing at the time that UMG might have infringed her First Amendment right of free speech.

Read the post on David Newhoff’s blog The Illusion of More 

Tom Sydnor: EFF’s arguments in Green v. Lynch: Another misguided attack on the DMCA

There they go again!  Maybe why the court refused to let EFF file friend of the court papers in BMG Music Rights v. Cox Communications!

[Google Shill List Member t]he Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) opposes essentially all known means of enforcing copyrights on the Internet. The most recent example of this is the EFF’s comments in Green v. Lynch. Here EFF has filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief,” alleging that the “anti-circumvention” provisions codified in Sections 1201-05 of the US Copyright Act (and enacted as Title I of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act) violate First Amendment rights.

There are two problems with EFF’s arguments in Green v. Lynch. First, its substantive arguments are exceptionally weak, and have failed before. Second, were its arguments accepted, they should require a court to vacate the inter-related online-service-provider (OSP) liability limitations enacted in Title II of the DMCA – which does not include a severance clause.

Read the post on TechPolicyDaily