Diminishing Privacy to Information Receiving Growing Public Attention

by James Clemons April 18 2011, 14:47
It’s been several months now since my first article on the general subject of data and information in the law. Normally, I could attribute the delay to typical publishing delays, an overbooked 2L year, and an overly inquisitive (read: easily distractible) mind. But, in this case, I am writing about perhaps the most visible aspect of the topic: the privacy of personal information in an increasingly connected society. Given the increasing focus on the topic in academia, government, and media, it has been difficult to keep up with all of the recent developments. Even the turn of the New Year – often a good time for a retrospective look – hasn’t slowed the pace. There have been some significant developments in the legal and regulatory world. A small selection of some of the most significant news includes: [More]



Microsoft's Message to Its Partners

by Chris Collier January 27 2011, 16:40
From September 2009 to September 2010, Google’s share of the U.S. mobile phone OS market has risen a staggering 18.9 percent, going from 2.5 percent to 21.4 percent, while Microsoft has seen its share of the mobile OS market decline from 19 to 10 percent. Although such a loss in market share suggests that Microsoft’s lawsuit against Motorola, alleging that several of Motorola’s Android based phones violate Microsoft patents, is in direct response to the pummeling Microsoft has taken at the hands of Google. It is more likely that Microsoft is signaling to its current partners the consequence of abandoning the Window Phone 7 platform. [More]



The Social Network: Defamation or Right to Privacy

by Kasia Kaminski November 27 2010, 22:21
Facebook has become a fixture in pop culture, with over 500 million users to date. Its creator Mark Zukerburg has been thrust into the spotlight, seemingly not by choice, with the publication of such works such as Ben Mezrich’s “The Accidental Billionaires” and Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network. While creating one of the most widely recognized social networking platforms in the last decade, Zukerburg always attempted to put his product in the headlines, not himself or his story. The unwelcome push of Zukerburg’s personal story by The Social Network was intended to portray him, according to Sorkin, as being a part of “a very angry and deeply misogynistic group of people…[not] the cuddly nerds in the 80′s…[people who are] very angry that the cheerleader still wants to go out with the quarterback instead of the men (boys) who are running the universe right now.” The dramatic change in the amount of privacy allotted to a person, and the liberty with which third parties can take, begs the question of what recourse is available, if any, to protect our name and our image. [More]

Data, Information, and the Practice of Law

by James Clemmons November 14 2010, 21:10
The practice of law has changed substantially with the advent of computers, the Internet, and the “Information Age.” In many ways, these changes in the legal landscape are not surprising, as they roughly parallel those in the personal and commercial worlds. Much of the technology that has made its way into widespread use has focused on improving and streamlining existing methods. Though we certainly interact now in ways that we could not have 30 years ago, this has largely been within a scheme of roughly incremental changes – the word processor can act as a much more efficient typewriter, and hard drives can act as a very large file cabinet (or library). Court filings, collaboration, and record keeping, among many other tasks, have been streamlined; previously inaccessible sources of information are available even to those with the smallest budget; young law students may seem “dependent” on online services for their research, but they, in turn, don’t shudder instinctively at hearing the name “Shepard.” However, there is a deeper level of change occurring in virtually every area of commercial and academic pursuit. Some of the literally unprecedented advancement in data gathering, storage, and analysis is moving from behind the scenes into the forefront, and the potential pitfalls faced by the legal system in accommodating this already pose a risk of becoming a significant problem. [More]



A Value-Added Tax: Who is the Joke on?

by Henry Young February 23 2010, 14:42
A value-added tax (VAT) has been attacked by liberals as being regressive and by conservatives as a way to grow government. This article examines these criticisms of a VAT and concludes that both these criticisms are to heavily relied on by opponents of a VAT. [More]



Failure to Communicate

by Warren Albert Wilke III November 2 2009, 19:03
For years the music industry commanded a virtual stranglehold on the dissemination of music to the consumer. The median which gave birth to the record industry, the gramophone record, was relatively difficult and expensive to duplicate. That stranglehold began to loosen as many consumer products that could record or copy audio recordings were introduced into the market. Following the landmark decision in the “Betamax case” the music industry became quite concerned about home recording undercutting their profits. The introduction of digital recording fueled these fears because digital copies, unlike their analog counterparts, do not from degradation. Eventually the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) was passed to address these fears and control this dissemination, while still protecting the privileges afforded under the “Betamax case.” However, recent technological advances have led the development of home recording methods beyond the Court decided scope of the AHRA. Coupled with the rise of the Internet these new methods represent a drastic change which creates a more hostile environment to consumers and the music industry alike. It is posited here that the scope of the AHRA should be reexamined in order to protect the competing interests of the music industry and the consumer alike. [More]

Renewable Energy: Looking Toward the Future

by Michael Lenhardt October 12 2009, 09:38
I. Introduction

Rising gas prices and an increasing awareness of the environmental consequences associated with the use of fossil fuels have spurred the development of the biofuel industry. “From being merely an interest of marginal innovators, it has become a multi-million dollar business – transforming economies – thanks to rising attention and support from governments and the public.”[1] With the US consuming nearly 20.8 billion barrels of oil per day, and with OPEC officials claiming they will not be able to meet the projected western oil demands in 10 to 15 years, the prospect of meeting our energy needs through homegrown and renewable resources is becoming more appealing.[2],[3] But this seemingly cut and dry solution to the US dependency on fossil fuels is not as simple as it appears. The actual economic and environmental benefits realized by relying more heavily on biofuels is hotly debated, and due to the fluid nature and unpredictability of the world market, concrete answers are hard to come by. Before considering the impact of a switch to biofuels, it is important to understand the true costs of our current oil dependency. [More]



Protecting "The Progress of Science and Useful Arts."

by Warren Albert Wilke III September 21 2009, 03:41
I. Introduction

Patents have recently received a great deal of attention as tradable commodities, attracting the attention of several hedge funds, and giving rise to investment firms that specialize in patent acquisition.[1][2] This aspect is not unanticipated, and in fact is on its face congruent with the original means for attaining the goals behind patent law – “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” [3] The idea behind providing this protection is simple: encourage innovation by giving the innovator certain property rights and protections under the law which in turn encourages market participation.[4] The ability to monetize innovation is the means by which the U.S. Constitution proposed to incentivize the research and distribution of innovations. Nowhere else has this been more relevant than in the “Technology Sector,” where patents can make or break market share, and mean big bucks for the holders of those patents.[5] With the increasing number of patents issued and the amount of money tied up in them, the amount of litigation regarding those patents has increased accordingly[6]. This paper will address some of the issues created by the right to in IP litigation. [More]

International Personal Data Protection and Its Redress

by Soohye Cho November 8 2008, 09:06
I. Introduction

Personal data protection may be of concern anywhere, anytime in this information society. It is common to submit personal information to create digital identification or authorization to perform certain kinds of online activities, such as an electronic transaction. [1] In addition, all Internet traffic may be automatically tracked and restored by the visited website controller using Cookies technology or equivalent softwares. [2] There is a strong incentive to collect and store the data because it is valuable for business purposes in offering customized service and it is easy and cheap to do so. [3] However, it has not been guaranteed that data collectors manage the personal data in an appropriate manner. Thus, it has drawn the interests of the international society to establish personal data protection principles and have an effective redress or resolution method in case of breach. [More]



Chipping Away at the RIAA's "Making Available" Theory of Copyright Infringement

by Thomas Paschalis November 4 2008, 12:15
I. Introduction

On September 8, 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed copyright infringement lawsuits against 261 individuals for sharing songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.[1] In the five years since, the RIAA has sued, settled, or threatened litigation against over 30,000 Americans for alleged violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[2] These actions have attracted a great deal of public attention, largely due to the fact that the suits have hit very close to home for many Americans. Unlike prior lawsuits, which targeted software programs such as Napster and Grokster, this new chapter in the file-sharing saga has focused on ordinary people.[3] The targets of the RIAA’s legal claims run the spectrum of everyday people who are not typically the subjects of copyright actions, including children, parents, grandparents, single mothers, professors, and college students.[4]

The RIAA’s strategic offensive against music consumers has spurred a firestorm of debate concerning topics such as copyright law, technology, privacy, and legal procedure. For the first few years of the RIAA’s legal efforts, the focus of legal and social observers centered on the RIAA’s tactics for identifying and filing suit against potential defendants.[5] In the last year, however, as contested cases have made their way through district court litigation, the focus has shifted to the interpretation of black-letter copyright law. The RIAA’s “making available” theory of infringement has garnered a great deal of attention, though its acceptance by district courts has been inconsistent. To date, the few district courts to rule on the matter have each interpreted the Copyright Act differently in the context of file-sharing, indicating that there is likely to be ongoing uncertainty until appellate level courts offer clarification. For the moment, though the trend is moving away from acceptance of the "making available" theory, courts appear more willing to allow the RIAA to prevail on the basis of actual dissemination. [More]

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