American Innovators Deserve a Modern Copyright System

Posted by J. Scott Evans, Trademark Director and Associate General Counsel

Tech advancements are changing the way content is managed and distributed for nearly every purpose, but the U.S. Copyright Office has fallen behind. As someone who has worked on trademark and copyright issues for over two decades, I recognize the necessity of modernizing the copyright system in the United States.

Getting new copyrights registered and finding information about existing copyrights is not easy, and can become a major obstacle for those looking to create and protect their intellectual property without infringing on someone else’s. Given the Copyright Office’s importance to the creative process, the current copyright system does not do justice to the community it serves.

With citizens now accustomed to accessing content anytime and from anywhere, historic distribution models are no longer serviceable. Although the Copyright Office is currently undergoing a digitization project, the effort needs to go further. Rather than just merging the newly digitized data into the existing record system, the information should be repurposed into a more modern, easy-to-use database.

The current system is so difficult to use that it discourages people from using it at all, leading to many hours spent in courtrooms for those who have inadvertently misused copyrighted material. Making an investment now in a modernized copyright system with a better user experience would save a huge amount of time and money that is currently spent on avoidable legal issues.

One of the basic reasons to have a copyright system in the first place is to prevent these legal conflicts. If the Copyright Office had a robust and innovative operations system, that supports the legal system already in place, people would use it. At this point, too many people don’t even know the search system exists, much less how best to use it. Ideally, the Copyright Office should adopt a modern, cloud-based system with a simplified search process.

It would be worth the front-end cost to establish a new system for the improved user experience alone, but this issue goes deeper than that. Modernizing the Copyright Office is about equipping the next generation to protect their intellectual property.

And on a global level, for the United States to be a world leader in innovation, we need a world-class copyright system to foster the necessary creative environment. The Copyright Office needs to follow the lead of other offices that manage rights protection systems like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the EU trademark office (OHIM) that both have robust and efficient databases and tools to assist their users. If the U.S. Copyright Office doesn’t modernize, it could seriously jeopardize future creative leadership because there is no system at this point that works efficiently for the creative community.

Apart from the ongoing debate over whether or not the Copyright Office should move out from under the jurisdiction of the Library of Congress, the system is long overdue for an update. It is also time for Congress to revisit the Copyright Act and make the revisions necessary to bring the U.S. copyright law in line with current technological innovation. Government organizations have an obligation to adequately meet the needs of the modern citizens they serve, and the current copyright system simply doesn’t meet citizens’ needs.

ICANN Accountability Progress Made in Second CCWG Draft Proposal

Posted by J. Scott Evans, Trademark Director and Associate General Counsel

Note: This article also appeared in CircleID on December 18, 2015

internet communication world wide

The December 21 deadline for submission of public comments on the latest Cross Community Working Group (CCWG)-Accountability draft proposal is quickly approaching. In this second draft of the proposal, great strides have been made toward addressing the accountability issues that members of the community have raised (notably, Lawrence Strickling’s recent remarks).

As I have previously emphasized, any plan to ensure the accountability of the ICANN Board of Directors must be closely scrutinized before the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) pursues its implementation. Now that the CCWG-Accountability has incorporated so many of the public’s suggestions, it’s time for the community to take a more detailed look at the proposal.

The current version offers many new specifics: it gives additional powers to the stakeholder community and presents a new model for many of the processes involved in ensuring accountability. For example, under the latest proposal, the community would have the right to approve any changes to fundamental ICANN bylaws, by way of a thorough 9-step process rooted in ensuring consensus. Careful considerations have been made to ensure that the system is effective and as efficient as possible, while preventing abuse of power.

However, one potential area of concern to business interests is recommendation 11. Under this proposed change to ICANN bylaws, any rejection of Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) advice that has been reached by consensus would require two-thirds of the ICANN Board to vote against the proposal. The definition of “consensus” in this case is “understood to be the practice of adopting decisions by general agreement in the absence of any formal objection.” Business interests must make it clear that consensus must not be defined as a simple majority, but must remain general agreement without substantial opposition.

We encourage the ICANN Board to accept the next CCWG-Accountability proposal. Some of the measures proposed represent significant changes, but given the entrepreneurial spirit of the Internet itself, the means by which it is managed should be innovative. In the event that the ICANN Board does not accept this proposal, we suggest an international, third-party mediator be brought in to work with the Board and representatives of the CCWG to find a resolution.

It is also important for the community to keep in mind that there is no need to rush this process. Although deadlines have been suggested for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transfer, above all, it is most important that we get this right.

Education for the Next Generation

Posted by Johann Zimmern, Head of Enterprise Business – World Wide Education

Child Little Boy in Glasses Reading Book over School Black Board with Chalk Drawing, Kids Preschool Development, Children Education Concept

For a student starting kindergarten today, the world will be a vastly different place when he or she joins the workforce a decade and a half from now. It’s estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor that 65% of school-aged children will work in careers that do not exist today. The curriculum being taught in many schools throughout the United States is unfortunately not aligned with the skills needed in an increasingly digital economy. We want to ensure that future generations remain competitive in the global economy, and today far too many graduates enter the workforce without sufficient exposure to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) skills that help foster innovation and creativity.

Given the importance of enabling the next generation of Americans to develop a comprehensive STEAM skillset to succeed in decades to come, I am thrilled that after 14 years, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have taken steps to improve the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by passing S.1177 the Every Student Succeeds Act. Without the hard work and persistence of Chairmen Lamar Alexander and John Kline and Ranking Members Patty Murray and Robert C. Scott, our nation’s students would not have access to vital programs, and we applaud their efforts.

Among these programs is a provision to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and computer science education, both inside and outside the classroom. This will provide students who are members of underrepresented groups within STEM fields additional access to STEM programs. The legislation will also promote digital, blended learning initiatives in the K-12 classroom, and a focus on professional development while addressing the crucial needs for the educators and school officials to ensure the technology is being put to good use. All of these programs are significant improvements to our K-12 education system.

Today’s knowledge-based economy requires our students to have sufficient access to STEM education and education technology. When combined with an education system that promotes creativity and innovation alongside the development of more technical STEM skills, we will be well on our way to providing a robust learning environment for the next generation.

Leading the Way to a Low-Carbon, Sustainable Future

Posted by Mike Dillon, SVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

As seen on the Adobe Conversations blog.

Adobe Logo

Sustainability at Adobe has been hardwired from the beginning, going back to our invention of the PDF almost 25 years ago. It marked the beginning of a paperless office, dramatically reducing the need to print documents. Today, PDF is at the heart of Adobe Document Cloud, making the process of managing, signing, and storing documents 100% digital. No paper required!

Adobe’s holistic approach to conserving resources involves our employees and operations, customers and products, and the communities where we work and live. Our guiding principles are:

  • Create healthy and innovative work environments
  • Enable our customers to become more sustainable through the use of our products
  • Reduce operational costs and increase productivity through resource conservation and waste reduction
  • Provide opportunities for employees to get involved in environmental efforts at home and in the community

Today, we are joining RE100 and announcing our commitment to The White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge.

As a part of these actions, we are committing to five ambitious goals that will help contribute to a low-carbon, sustainable future:

  1. Energy:   70% of Adobe’s global workplaces are LEED certified. In the past five years we’ve dramatically lowered our energy consumption and emissions, achieving carbon neutrality in 2013 with minimal use of renewable energy credits. But this is simply not good enough. Adobe is committed to helping move the market and demonstrating that renewable energy is good business. So we’ve taken the aggressive, long-term goal of powering our operations and the digital delivery of our products entirely with 100% renewable electricity by 2035.
  2. Water:  Universal access to clean water is more threatened than ever, and several of our largest sites are vulnerable to prolonged droughts due to climate change. Since 2010, we’ve reduced overall water consumption by more than 60 percent, and will continue to drive conservation across the company.
  3. Waste: Adobe diverts more than 97% of its waste from major sites in North America. We apply these best practices to our other locations around the world to minimize waste and divert what is left away from landfill.
  4. Collaboration:  We work openly with other companies, communities and non-governmental organizations to share and adopt sustainability best practices.
  5. Products:  We are a leader in developing software (and digital delivery of software) that helps our company and our customers consume fewer natural resources. Even with 30+ years of innovation in this space, we know we’ve just scratched the surface.

COP21 in Paris next week will be a critical milestone toward a global commitment to stopping climate change. According to the CDP 2015 Global Climate Change Report release last week, “a successful Paris agreement would set the world on course for a goal of net zero emissions by the end of this century.” Adobe is proud to be one of the companies leading the way.

To learn more about sustainability at Adobe, visit Adobe.com. View our latest corporate responsibility report and our 2015 CDP submission here.

EU Trusted List Now Available in Adobe Acrobat!

Posted by John Jolliffe, European Government Relations Lead, and Andrea Valle, Senior Product Manager for Document Cloud

Note: This post first appeared on the Adobe Document Cloud blog.

Adobe’s recent announcement that it would be supporting EU Trust Lists within Acrobat and Acrobat Reader may not have made many headlines in policy circles, but it certainly deserves some attention as a significant contribution from the private sector to the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy.

The EU adopted its new Regulation on Electronic identification (eID) and electronic Trust Services in July 2014, with the aim of creating a predictable legal framework for “Trust Services” including electronic signatures.  But new rules alone can’t compel the creation of a more integrated single market. It is the actions that companies like Adobe take to implement new laws and their supporting standards into their services that give those laws their real world effect.

Adobe is delighted to announce the completion of our work to support and integrate the EU Trusted Lists (EUTL) into Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader. For the first time, citizens, governments and businesses across the world will have easy access to electronically signed documents based on EU qualified certificates in the ubiquitous Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader software.

The new EU Regulation 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS) will soon harmonize electronic signatures and identification of citizens and business. This new law will completely replace the individual signature legislation existing in all the EU member states by July 1, 2016.

Following the approval of the law on July 2014, Adobe has been working on the integration of the EUTL in Acrobat – as previously discussed in this blog post – and has released the feature in versions DC and XI. In these releases, you may have noticed a new user preference to manage the download of the European trusted list and its automatic update.

We have now published online the EUTL, which combines the certificates from the trusted lists published by the 28 EU Member States and 3 EEA Countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). Therefore, from now on, users of Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader can automatically validate digital signatures based on qualified certificates issued in Europe, and apply their own signatures knowing that the recipients can easily perform the validation.

Adobe has been a long-time supporter of digital signature technologies as a means of conducting secure transactions via electronic documents, and we are proud to be the first major software vendor to incorporate the EU Trusted Lists into globally available solutions.

The ability to sign and verify electronic documents in the standard PDF format with the ubiquitous Adobe Acrobat Reader software is a significant contribution to the creation of a connected digital single market in the European Union, one of the ten priorities from the President Jean-Claude Juncker.

ICANN Accountability Takes Center Stage at Dublin Meeting

Posted by J. Scott Evans, Trademark Director and Associate General Counsel

Note: This article first appeared in CircleID on October 19, 2015

With the ICANN 54 meeting in Dublin in full swing, the internet stakeholder community should be assessing where the IANA transition and ICANN accountability proposals stand and where they will need to go before a transition occurs.

At the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group meeting in Los Angeles last month, the consensus seemed to be all systems are go for launch. The responses received during the public comment period that ended September 8th largely expressed support for the transition proposal to advance as planned. As for the accountability proposal, less unanimity seems to exist around the measures outlined by the Cross Community Working Group (CCWG). Adobe commends the CCWG for its continued efforts to build a strong framework for governing the post-transition internet, but there are still key details that need to be addressed this week in Dublin.

The CCWG needs to clarify details to create a better understanding as to how the proposal will work. As NTIA Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling pointed out in a recent blog post, there are not enough details in the current accountability proposal for NTIA to determine if it meets the necessary criteria outlined by the administration when the process started more than a year ago. Strickling writes, “The questions asked by stakeholders in the public comments demonstrate significant confusion and uncertainty as to exactly how portions of the plan would be operationalized and some apprehension as to whether all possible consequences of this proposal have been fully thought through.”

Adobe believes ICANN accountability is crucial to ensure that a safe and open internet endures once NTIA has stepped aside. To ensure this happens, certain powers should be enshrined in ICANN’s bylaws before the IANA transition occurs. The stakeholder community needs the power to independently review ICANN board decisions, reject budgets and strategic plans, approve changes to bylaws, and recall individual board members – or the entire board if necessary. These reforms will ensure the internet remains a secure place to conduct business and share ideas.

Adobe urges the CCWG to carefully review the comments submitted by the Business Constituency and others to address these concerns. The comment period needs to be viewed as the beginning of a new stakeholder engagement process – not the end. Everyone who uses the internet has a stake in this endeavor, and should be part of the process. There is no need for the CCWG to rush the process. NTIA’s decision to renew the IANA contract for another year has given the multi-stakeholder community time for a thorough debate. We should take our time because we only have one shot at getting this right.

CalECPA Pushes Electronic Privacy Rights into Spotlight: Congressional Action Needed

Posted by Mary Catherine Wirth, Associate General Counsel, Director – Privacy, Trust & Safety

Californians took a major step forward on privacy rights today as Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA, SB 178). The bill protects information stored on smart phones, tablets, laptops, servers, and other digital devices from warrantless searches by law enforcement, while providing prudent exceptions for emergencies and public safety.

The bipartisan bill passed the state assembly on September 8, 2015 by a 56-11 vote. Backed by numerous technology companies, including Adobe, CalECPA requires law enforcement to meet the same standard – i.e., a warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause – for accessing a user’s information stored online as for documents or photos they store at home or at work. This commonsense reform protects the Fourth Amendment rights of Californians and should serve as a template for legislative action in Washington, D.C.

Adobe would like to thank the bill’s cosponsors Senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) for spearheading this effort. Their bipartisan efforts show how legislators can work across the aisle to help their constituents, protect constitutional rights, and solve problems.

While this represents real progress in the nation’s largest state, our country’s privacy laws remain stuck in a bygone era. Congress originally passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) almost 30 years ago, long before most of us used email, the internet, or cloud storage. ECPA was a forward-looking law when it was passed back in 1986, but it included an outdated loophole that makes it easier for law enforcement entities to gain access to your email than a physical letter in your mailbox. For example, the law considers email older than 180 days to be “abandoned” and allows the government to gain access to those emails without a warrant.

Both the House and the Senate have introduced ECPA reform measures – in fact, the House has introduced two bills. Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699), which currently has 300 co-sponsors, and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) introduced the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act (H.R. 283) earlier this year. In the Senate, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a companion bill (S. 356) that is identical to the Salmon measure.

Hopefully, this action by California lawmakers will jumpstart a much needed debate in Washington on electronic privacy. Adobe will continue to work with its partners in the Digital Due Process Coalition to ensure lawmakers pass a comprehensive ECPA reform this Congress. Adobe believes that customer data stored online deserves the same protections as data stored at home or at work, and that full Fourth Amendment protections are essential to consumers trusting that their information is safe. Without trust, cloud computing can never realize its full potential.

 

ICANN 53 – Guaranteeing Accountability in Internet Governance

Posted by J. Scott Evans, Trademark Director and Associate General Counsel

I recently attended the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) 53rd meeting in Buenos Aires to further discuss the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition process. During the meeting, public and private Internet stakeholders made important strides on a transition timeline, accountability planning and future management of the Internet that supports global creativity and innovation.

For the first time publicly, ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé laid out an estimated timeline starting with both transition and accountability plans to be delivered to ICANN for approval on or before October’s meeting in Dublin. ICANN’s Board of Directors will review the plans before sending them forward to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for their approval. The NTIA review process will likely take four to five months, with Congress having 30 legislative days to consider the proposal as required by the DOTCOM Act passed by the House and currently under consideration by the Senate. This timeline implies that the earliest the transition will take place is June or July of 2016. This reality will require the NTIA to extend its contract with ICANN, which currently is set to expire September 30, 2015. While testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on July 8, NTIA Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Stickling confirmed that the contract will have to be extended, giving additional credibility to the timeline outlined by Chehadé. These signals of a concrete timeline are the first step to ensure the IANA transition is handled properly with the necessary accountability measures in place.

In fact, the majority of ICANN-53 meeting was dedicated to discussing accountability of the ICANN Board of Directors, an issue that Stickling emphasized in a recent blog post. The initial draft proposal to improve ICANN’s accountability was issued for public comment on May 4, 2015. This proposal recommends turning ICANN into a member-based organization where all supporting organizations and advisory councils would become voting members — if they choose to do so. This would create a voting structure and, as a last resort, provide members with the option of taking legal action against the ICANN board if they were not serving in the best interest of its stakeholders. This voting-member plan is one way to hold the Board accountable, but it needs to be heavily scrutinized before ICANN pursues its implementation. This mechanism, or really any mechanism, agreed upon to ensure accountability is crucial to enforcing laws and safeguarding business, but needs to be the right course of action. Agreement for the sake of agreement will do no good if the mechanism isn’t right.

Another item discussed extensively was private sector management of the Internet. Allowing industry, academics, end users and others outside government to manage the Internet is the future. This evolution of ICANN is not an aberration, but an idea that has been baked into the plan all along. Stakeholders have to be invested in the plan just as much as they are in the agreement, or else all the work we have been doing will have little effect. Although Adobe is not a voting member of the working groups developing the plan on how the transition will take place, we support it and believe that a private sector led, multi-stakeholder model is the ideal. We support what needs to happen and why it needs to happen, but it’s the multi-stakeholder community’s responsibility to decide on how it will happen.

We at Adobe believe that accountability plays a crucial role in the IANA transition and sets it up to function properly — a position outlined in our recent blog post. There’s a community beyond the ICANN insiders, ICANN board members and government officials that have a stake in this endeavor, and they need to be a part of this process. Under the current project plan, the final proposal for accountability mechanisms is set to issue for public comment in August. We urge members of the business community to carefully review this proposal and provide feedback during the public comment period. This will allow for adjustments based on public concerns and produce a stronger plan for ICANN accountability. It’s my hope that as we move along in this process, private sector stakeholders will provide input and analysis during the final public comment period. All industries affected by these petitions need to be actively engaged so that their interests are reflected, or we risk mismanagement of society’s most powerful tool.

SAFECode Goes to Washington

Posted by David Lenoe, Director of Adobe Secure Software Engineering and SAFECode Board Member

On a recent trip to Washington, DC, I had the opportunity to participate in a series of meetings with policymakers on Capitol Hill and in the Administration to discuss SAFECode’s  (Software Assurance Forum for Excellence in Code) role in and commitment to improving software security.  If you’re not familiar with SAFECode, I encourage you to visit the SAFECode website to learn more about the organization. At a high level, SAFECode advances effective software assurance methods, and identifies and promotes best practices for developing and delivering more secure and reliable software, hardware, and services in an industry-led effort.

The visit to DC was set up to promote some of the work being done across our industry to analyze, apply, and promote the best mix of software assurance technology, process, and training. Along with some of my colleagues from EMC and CA Technologies, we spent the beginning of the trip at the Software and Supply Chain Assurance Working Group, where we presented on the topic of software assurance assessment. The premise of our presentation was that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to software assurance, and that a focus on the supplier’s software assurance process is the right way to assess the maturity of an organization when it comes to software security.

One of the other important aspects we discussed with policymakers was SAFECode’s role in promoting the need for security education and training for developers. We are considering ways to support the expansion of software security education in university programs and plan to add new offerings to the SAFECode Security Engineering training curriculum, a free program aimed at helping those looking to create an in-house training program for their product development teams as well as individuals interested in enhancing their skills.

Overall, this was a very productive trip, and we look forward to working with policymakers as they tackle some of the toughest software security issues we are facing today.

David Lenoe West Wing

National ESIGN Day: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Posted by Dan Puterbaugh, Director, Associate General Counsel

We all know that paper can hurt. With electronic signature services and Adobe Document Cloud, we help you save time and money – and hopefully prevent a few paper cuts along the way. Today we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ESIGN Act, which made e-signatures legal and enforceable in the United States.

To celebrate National ESIGN Day we took to the streets of Washington D.C., handing out bandages to those suffering from paper-related injuries. Not surprising, government workers in D.C. regularly experience paper cuts while wrestling mountains of documents each day. Take a look at how we fought back, one bandage at a time:

Since being signed, the ESIGN Act has done more than just reduce the number of paper cuts. The goal of the Adobe Document Cloud is to optimize and simplify the document-signing process as I outlined in my previous post on the public policy blog.

One of the Document Cloud’s long-term goals is to revolutionize manual public sector processes. The ESIGN Act enabled this goal 15 years ago, and today we continue working to bring all your documents to digital. In the meantime, we’re happy to offer some paper cut relief.