EFF Defends Former Opponent In Court

    October 7, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a brief in federal court in favor of former opponent DirecTV after the operator of a website designed to aid those who had been sued by the telecom company filed suit against DirecTV for viewing his website after he explicitly told them not to.

Michael Snow filed the suit in California claiming the company had wrongly entered a password-protected site. Snow says the website was designed for the aid of over 20,000 people, some of whom were dead or blind, were sued for intercepting DirecTV signal. Snow says the suit was a blanket lawsuit where accused parties were offered the chance to settle out of court for $3,500, an expense significantly less than going to federal court.

Snow made, by proclamation, the site off limits to DirecTV employees. After discovering DirecTV’s alleged entrance, Snow filed suit. The suit was later dismissed in court, an event Snow chalks up to it being a new area of law.

After appealing the verdict, the EFF filed a brief in support of DirecTV, a company the nonprofit organization had previously opposed in court themselves. Attorneys for the EFF say the website was not password protected in any way at the time.

“If you want to keep your website private, then you should protect it with a password,” said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. “The law doesn’t allow web publishers to sue when people they don’t like visit their site. Otherwise, any company could publish terms of service forbidding competitors, consumer watchdogs, journalists, or even government officials from scrutinizing a public website.”

Snow insists the site was password protected and believes DirecTV employees used personal email addresses to access his site.