Blog

The Looming Liability of ISPs

Internet service providers (ISPs) are traditionally protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) section 230 safe harbor for most copyright infringements committed by a user of their service. There are several stipulations that ISPs have to follow in order to get the safe harbor, one of which is to have a “repeat infringer” policy. This policy encourages ISPs to terminate services to users who use the services to repeatedly infringe another’s copyright. The statute lacks a definition of “repeat infringer,” and it is unclear exactly who decides when services should be terminated.

Can the FTC Protect Us From Fake News?

In September 2016, the Second Circuit handed down its decision in FTC v. LeadClick Media, LLC, holding the operator of an affiliate-marketing network liable for the fake news published by its affiliates. This case could serve as a tool in combatting fake news stories that have plagued social media and caused real-world problems (like Pizzagate) in recent years. While this Second Circuit decision is unlikely to solve the problem of fake news stories on social media, it is a step in that direction.

A New Dimension to the Gun Control Debate

During the recent election, the issue of gun control predictably served as a point of contention between the two candidates. Hillary Clinton advocated for “commonsense” regulations on gun ownership such as closing the gun show loophole. As expected, Donald Trump boasted of his NRA endorsement and asserted that he will protect gun ownership rights under the Second Amendment.

Streaming Video Without an Open Internet

On February 26, 2015, The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to enact a series of “Open Internet” protections. The three central rules prohibited Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking access to legal content, slowing internet speeds to certain websites, and favoring certain types of internet traffic over others. The 3-2 Commissioner vote was split along party lines; 3 Democrats voting to approve and 2 Republicans voting to reject.

Patent Agent Privilege

Should attorney-client privilege extend to communications between clients and patent agents? In March earlier this year, a split decision by the Federal Circuit answered this question in the affirmative. This is a unique extension of the attorney-client privilege due to the nature of the patent agent profession.

Getty Images v. the Public Domain: Who Really Wins?

The public domain offers teachers, graphic designers, and anyone trying to design a website on a budget the opportunity to use millions upon millions of images without fear of infringing on the original author’s copyright. The images can be reused in their entirety or be remodeled into something new.

Make the Internet Great Again

Donald Trump will become President Trump in less than one week. For some, that’s a terrifying reality. For others, that’s a cause for celebration. For all, however, that means radical change is on the horizon.

Now, what will change? Who knows—like all politicians, Trump (likely) made more promises than he can keep. His 100-day agenda, for example, is devoid of several policies that he championed during his campaign such as the wall and the Muslim ban. But, based on Trump’s FCC landing team (and 2014 tweet), at least one thing seems certain: Net neutrality will be on the chopping block.

Federal Labor Law Protections in the Age of Social Media

Websites like Facebook and Twitter have given millions of people a chance to publicly express thoughts and opinions they otherwise would have kept private. Social media also leaves a record of the views its users express. Some of these views are benign, but others are controversial.

Unsurprisingly, many people use their social media profiles to discuss work. Many people are unhappy in their work life, and it should come as no surprise that these are often the topics of social media activities. This has required courts and federal agencies like the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to determine how well-established standards in labor and employment law apply to the era of social media.

The Most Tech-savvy Government in the World

Estonia, a small country on the Baltic Sea, has faced subjection by larger, more powerful countries throughout its history. Following decades of occupation by the Soviet Union, the country emerged free and independent at the end of the Cold War. Since its independence in 1991, the country has embarked on a major efforts to change the way governments and citizens interact through technology.

Political Conversations in the Age of the Unfollow Button

During the Second World War, Americana artist Norman Rockwell created a painting entitled Freedom of Speech. The painting, which depicts a man standing to speak at a town meeting, was based on a 1941 speech by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, where he presented four fundamental freedoms that should be enjoyed by all, the first being freedom of speech.

Heavy Baggage: Liability and Risk in the Space Tourism Industry

As private space companies continue to grow, monetized space travel is becoming a booming industry. So far, much of the economic activity associated with the private space industry has involved the transportation of telecommunications satellites into orbit. Increasingly, however, these companies are eager to begin launching even more valuable cargo in orbit: thrill seeking tourists willing to pay top dollar for a chance to spend a few days in space.

Machine Learning: The Basics

As machine learning (also called data mining) becomes a more integral part of technology everywhere, it will become increasingly important for lawyers and businessmen to be able to relate to and understand how it works.

Google Won’t Let Us Forget You

In 2014 the European Union’s highest court held that EU citizens had the “right to be forgotten,” or in other words, the right to request that a search engine remove from its results materials that are “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive.”

No Man’s Skynet: Copyright in Procedurally Generated Programs

No Man’s Sky, a highly anticipated video game released this summer, allows players to explore a massive game world consisting of eighteen quintillion planets. Creating this much content would have been impossible for human game designers, so Hello Games used a technique called procedural generation.

The DMCA and Digital Music

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed in 1998 to address emerging threats posed to copyrighted material by circumvention technology. But is the DMCA either protecting artists and fostering art?

Prosthetics That Restore Feeling: Person or Property?

Traditional prosthetic limbs allow amputees to walk, dance, and hold objects, but all while relying heavily on vision. To hold an object with a traditional prosthetic, a person must visually determine where and with how much force to grasp the object without dropping or crushing it.

How “Free” is Speech on Social Media?

To many, social media is a venue where one can express his or her views, no matter how favorable or abrasive, and the only expected backlash is the vehement disagreement from one’s friends or followers. However, in light of the recent threats to police officers and specific racial groups, the Department of Justice is taking a sharper look at what citizens say on various social media platforms.

IVF for Veterans?

Advocating for government support of soldiers trying to start families might seem like a political cakewalk unlikely to generate pushback. Yet, veterans across the country are repeatedly denied access to assisted reproductive technologies.

Connecting a Divided America

As Election Day 2016 approaches, the political division in America becomes increasingly obvious. The Associated Press recently published a revealing series of articles on Divided America, exploring the tensions and disconnects between different populations of the country. As one of its articles highlighted, one of the starkest political dividing lines in America today is the urban-rural divide. What is causing the ever-rising tension between these populations? Surely, there are a lot of factors at play—different lifestyles, different types of work, and exposure to different groups of people. But as technology becomes an ever-larger part of American life, one factor is a source of increasing disparity between urban and rural populations—telecommunications infrastructure and ability to connect to the Internet.

YouTube Video Criticism: Journalism or Defamation

Before the internet became so prominent, criticism was contained primarily in newspapers and magazines. This allowed critics to share their honest opinions about movies, television shows, and books, with some level of protection from defamation lawsuits because they worked for a newspaper which had both financial and constitutional protections.

Flame-throwing Drones: Can the FAA Intervene?

While many drone hobbyists attach cameras to their devices, two creative Connecticut men decided to aim higher with their drone accessories: handguns and flamethrowers. The two men flew their weaponized drone in their backyard and uploaded two videos of the flights to YouTube in 2015, including a holiday themed turkey roasting tutorial.

Elon Musk’s New Master Plan: Brilliant, Devious, or Both?

When Tesla announced it had agreed, in principle, to purchase SolarCity, many analysts were shocked. Not only does the deal represent a merger of two innovative companies, neither of which is currently turning a profit, but many analysts also believe the deal represents a massive conflict of interest.

Bankruptcy & The Electronic Signature

While infrequent, cases involving proof of one’s electronic signature are not unheard of. Saving someone sign a document electronically is perfectly fine until a court demands proof of the signature. As one might imagine, evidencing a client’s signature in such a case might prove challenging.