Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Name: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Date(s): 10 July 1990
Profit/Nonprofit: Nonprofit
Country based in: USA
Focus: Digital rights, Internet activism, lobbying, and litigation
External Links: www.eff.org
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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, California. The foundation was formed in July 1990 by John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow, and Mitch Kapor to promote Internet civil liberties.[1]


The EFF's creation was prompted by the the United States Secret Service's raid on Steve Jackson Games in early 1990, resulting in the confiscation of the master copy of the game book for GURPS Cyberpunk, a TTRPG created by employee and hacker Loyd Blankenship, before its release. Since then, the EFF has been involved in advocating for digital rights and creative works.

In 2008, the EFF (in coordination with the Organization for Transformative Works) successfully submitted requests to the Library of Congress for further exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to allow the fair use of video clips for certain noncommercial uses such as video remixes, commentary, and education, as well as to protect technology used for such purposes. The exceptions were also successfully renewed in 2012 and expanded in 2015.[1][2][3] The OTW, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and New Media Rights submitted a new petition for exemptions in 2018.[1][4]

In 2013, the OTW, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Fox v. DISH Network, claiming that the "popular fanwork genre of noncommercial videos ('vids') uses clips from television shows or film, reworking them in a way that comments on or critiques the original. The Copyright Office has held that substantial numbers of vids constitute fair uses. But the creation of fan vids requires intermediate digital copying and processing in order to produce the transformative final product. OTW thus believes that intermediate copying performed to facilitate fair use constitutes fair use."[5][6][1]

The EFF is one of the notable entities providing resources to fan creators facing cease & desist orders.

The EFF has faced criticism. Writing for The Baffler in 2018, Yasha Levine described the EFF as an astroturf project acting in the interests of Silicon Valley corporate entities.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Wikipedia. Electronic Frontier Foundation. (Accessed January 2021.)
  2. ^ Estavillo, Maricel. "US Makes New Exemptions To Digital Millennium Copyright Act Provision". Intellectual Property Watch. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  3. ^ Mao, David S. (20 October 2015). "Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies" (PDF). United States Library of Congress. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  4. ^ United States Copyright Office. "Comments of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, New Media Rights, Organizational for Transformative Works on Proposed Class 1 – Audovisual Works – Criticism and Comment" (PDF). Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  5. ^ Organization for Transformative Works. OTW Weighs In on Fox v. DISH, published 6 Feb 2013. (Accessed January 2021.)
  6. ^ Organization for Transformative Works. "Fox vs. Dish Amici Brief" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  7. ^ Levine, Yasha (July 2018). "All EFF'd Up". The Baffler. No. 40. New York: The Baffler Foundation. Archived from the original on 20 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.