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Court allows EFF to keep donor list secret from patent troll

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The Electronic Frontiers Foundation in America has won a smackdown against a patent troll that was demanding names of donors to a campaign against its patents.

The battle began last year, when the EFF began a campaign against patents that Personal Audio has been using to try and take ownership of podcasting. Personal Audio has won a case against Apple, and as the EFF notes is also suing a number of podcasters and three US television networks.

Personal Audio is claiming ownership of the ability to download playlists and then navigate within them, and the EFF launched its Save Podcasting campaign to challenge the patents. Personal Audio was upset by the tactic, and filed a subpoena demanding the names of the more than 1,300 people who donated to the campaign.

As Ars notes, the company's grounds for trying to squeeze the names out of the EFF were ostensibly to work out whether any of its targets – NBC, CBS, Fox, HowStuffWorks, Ace Broadcasting and TogiNet – had donated to the campaign.

That tactic has now failed, with Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins striking down Personal Audio's demands. While the company can still appeal, the EFF has welcomed the decision. ®

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