payday loans
Posted on October 8, 2008 in ACLU by Brian RoweComments Off

For graduating high school students:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is offering 16 of the nation’s
most committed, young civil liberties activists $12,500 each toward their
first year in college.

Winners will also become part of an elite class of scholar-activists who
will be invited to participate in ongoing activities with the ACLU,
including activist trainings at the ACLU offices in New York City and
Washington DC.

Thanks for the heads up Gavin!

Posted on April 7, 2008 in ACLU, Patent by Brian RoweComments Off


I am very pleased to see the ACLU has joined the patent fight with a first amendment argument against business methods patents. Patents have grown over the past few years to allow many new forms of questionable inventions. One of the key case that expanded patents is State Street Bank, which allowed business methods to be patented. State Street Bank was granted a patent for basically adding up finical numbers with a spreadsheet, this was not a real invention but merely a way to seek rents off others for doing something obvious. In re Bilski is an opportunity for the federal circuit to reverse this ridiculously anticompetitive practice.

More from the ACLU’s Press Release:

Introducing a rare argument applying the First Amendment to patent law, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend of the court brief today urging a federal court to uphold the denial of a patent that would, if awarded, violate freedom of speech. In the brief, the ACLU argues that Bernard L. Bilski is seeking a patent for an abstract idea, and that abstract ideas are not patentable under the First Amendment.

“The court must ensure that any test it uses in determining whether to award a patent is in line with the Constitution,” said Christopher Hansen, senior staff attorney with the ACLU First Amendment Working Group, who filed the brief. “If the government had the authority to grant exclusive rights to an idea, the fundamental purpose of the First Amendment – to protect an individual’s right to thought and expression – would be rendered meaningless.”

I hope this is the beginning of the first amendment being used to protect the public from bad patents. I encourage the ACLU to look into software patents more closely as many of the arguments from the amicus brief could be used to challenge the abstract non-enabled software patents that are strangling innovation and punishing companies that bring new ideas to the market.

Read More:

ACLU Bilski Amicus

ACLU’s official press release

Disclaimer: I am a proud member of the ACLU and my wife works for their Seattle office.

There are several local organizations that are actively fighting against draconian copyright, patent and trade secret laws to restore some balance to the system.

Students for Free Culture at Seattle University School of Law

SU Law is dedicated to social justice and the accessibility of the law to everyone in society. The local free culture chapter is working to bring a social justice and public interest perspective to intellectual property issues through education, outreach and activism.

Freedom for IP

Freedom for IP is a small volunteer-run organization that works to limit intellectual property whenever it comes into conflict with the public good or Human Rights. They advocate for taking action by freeing ones own content, using freedom of speech and fair use and sometimes even civil disobedience to change the system.

Technology and Liberty Project at ACLU of Washington

The Technology and Liberty Project aims to ensure that government and business respect civil liberties principles in decisions made about technology and privacy.



CopyNight is a monthly social gathering of people nationwide interested in restoring balance in copyright law. We meet over drinks once a month on Capitol Hill in Seattle to discuss new developments and build social ties between artists, engineers, filmmakers, academics, lawyers, and many others.


If you want to be involved in the copyfight to please join the above organizations and start standing up for the rights of everyone against monopolistic interests that are abusing the rule of law, slowing innovation and quashing criticism.

-Brian Rowe
2L Seattle University Law
Founder Freedom for IP