Recent Article

A Survey of Legal Issues Arising from the Deployment of Autonomous and Connected Vehicles

By  Daniel A. Crane, Kyle D. Logue, & Bryce C. Pilz

Article, Spring 2017

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Recent Comment

A Comment on Privacy and Accountability in Black-Box Medicine

By Carl E. Schneider

Comment, Spring 2017

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Recent Notes

Steering Consumers Toward Driverless Vehicles: A Federal Rebate Program as a Catalyst for Early Technology Adoption

By Marie Williams

Note, Spring 2017

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New Threats to Vehicle Safety: How Cybersecurity Policy Will Shape the Future of Autonomous Vehicles

By Caleb Kennedy

Note, Spring 2017

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Jailbreak!: What Happens When Autonomous Vehicle Owners Hack Into Their Own Cars

By Michael Sinanian

Note, Spring 2017

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Blog Posts

Legislating Loot Boxes

How much is Darth Vader worth?  This question has, in a roundabout way, caused some legislators and regulators to look at how video games make their money.  The recently-released video game Star Wars Battlefront II originally had a profit model which locked large portion of the game off behind timed barriers.  One estimate, for example, was that it would take roughly 40 hours to unlock the ability to play as Darth Vader.  This wait could be drastically reduced by purchasing loot boxes, which had a chance of containing in-game currency.  One estimate claimed that, under Battlefront II’s original pricing model, it would take, on average, over 4500 hours to unlock everything.  Conversely, the loot box payout structure would have given the same result for roughly $2100.  Although, as of this writing, the game’s publisher has scrapped this pricing model after a huge backlash, it brought the issue of loot boxes to the attention of the public and legislators.

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Smart Drones and FAA Regulations

Drone deliveries have already made an appearance in our online shopping experience. For example, Amazon Prime Air made its first delivery in December 2016 and has made even more ambitious journeys in the United Kingdom.  Before all of our parcels are delivered that way, however, there are several regulatory hurdles. The Federal Aviation Administration UAS operational rules require a pilot to operate the drone within a visual line of sight and limits flight times to daylight and twilight hours.  The FAA offers waivers for operators who could conduct flight safely; this provision is meant to allow commercial enterprises and other organizations to explore ways to make drone flight technology more safe and secure and to shape future regulations as drone use continues to expand.

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Is future-food unknown?

As we are reminded of on a near-daily basis, the American lifestyle is not environmentally friendly. Not only do we need to stop using SUVs to cart our kids to soccer, we need to find more sustainable food sources. And in true American fashion, Silicon Valley has risen to the occasion and provided some entrepreneurial solutions.

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The Google Decision: A [Brand Name Redacted] Bandage for Genericide

Aspirin. Escalator. Trampoline. Three generic words with seemingly nothing in common. Those words, along with many others, were once legally protected trademarks. When a company’s mark becomes the generic name for its product or service, it can lose its trademark registration which can be extremely damaging to the company. A recent 9th Circuit decision upholding Google’s trademark may help other trademark owner’s avoid suffering a generic fate.

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Who is behind your screen(s)?

One of the most important privacy cases this decade is currently in front of the Supreme Court: Carpenter v. United States. This decision will define how law enforcement interprets the Fourth Amendment regarding an individual’s cellphone. The decision hinges on whether law enforcement can use “third-party” doctrine dating from the 70s, which states that disclosing information to a third party does away with any expectation of privacy. We’ve already seen this doctrine in action. It allows law enforcement to compel cell-service providers to give historical cell-site records, without a warrant, to track down a serial cell phone thief. If SCOTUS upholds the current doctrine, then police would have free reign to monitor individuals’ cell phone location with little to no oversight.

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