Law

Law / Recently Commented

Is 47 USC 230(c) an Immunity or an Affirmative Defense (Does it Matter?)

Procedure matters. It matters whether a defendant can dispose of a litigation right out of the gate, or whether the defendant must suffer the slings and arrows of discovery, motions, and trial before presenting a successful defense. Procedurally, once a litigation has been initiated, defendant has a chance to say, "hey, wait a minute, there isn't actually a cause of action here." It's like someone suing me for being tall. Well, yeah, but there is no recognized cause of action against being tall. more»

The Internet and OpenStand: The Internet Didn't Happen by Accident

On the World Standards Day of 2013 it seems appropriate to recognize that on the Internet and throughout the Web, nothing goes anywhere without standards. These technical standards - communication protocols, data exchange formats, and interfaces - allow different computers and networks to talk to each other. They are the lifeblood around the world for multibillion dollar industries that didn't exist 20 years ago. They are born of a collaborative, open process that prides itself on technical expertise and measures success by the depth and breadth of their acceptance across a hodgepodge of vastly different technologies all interconnected to what we euphemistically call "the Global Internet." more»

The Boundary Between Sec. 230 Immunity and Liability: Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings

Out in the wilderness of cyberspace is a boundary, marking the limits of Sec. 230 immunity. On the one side roams interactive services hosting third party content immune from liability for that third party content. On the other sides is the frontier, where interactive content hosts and creators meet, merge, and become one. Here host and author blend, collaborating to give rise to new creations. more»

Registrars That Complied With "Shakedown" Requests May Now Be in Violation of ICANN Transfers Policy

At the time we posted 'Whatever Happened To Due Process,' we were unaware that we were just one of many registrars receiving these notices from the London (UK) Police. We have since been made aware that this was part of a larger initiative against the BitTorrent space as a whole, and that most if not all of the other registrars in receipt of the same email as us folded rather quickly and acquiesced to the shakedown orders. more»

Filtering the Internet Is Still a Bad Idea: DCA, ABC, and Steroid Searches

A few days ago, ABC News ran an "investigative" piece called "Group Probes Ease and Danger of Buying Steroids Online." ABC describes the "group" at issue as "an online watchdog," the Digital Citizens Alliance. That group determined that some of the millions of available YouTube videos encourage steroid use and that YouTube (which is owned by Google) places ads next to steroid-related videos and search results. They argue that Google and YouTube should be held legally responsible for any illegal content linked or posted. more»

NJ Content Liability Law Ruled Inconsistent with Sec. 230 (just like in Washington and Tennesse)

Back in a time before most members of Congress or prosecutors knew that there was an Internet, there was Prodigy. Prodigy, as part of its service, ran family-friendly chat rooms that it moderated in an effort to keep kids protected from unfortunate content. In a different Prodigy chat room, some unknown third party said something apparently bad about an investment firm Stratton-Oakmont. Stratton-Oakmont didn't like that very much, and sued. more»

ICANN - Dispenser of Internet Justice

The following is a paper presented as a keynote speech at Studienkreis 2013 in Pisa, Italy last week. ICANN is beginning to look more and more like a government. It assesses taxes, it has amassed an enormous treasury, it passes laws with international effect, and it has developed an ad hoc judiciary system to enforce its laws. This paper will take a look at that judiciary system and ICANN as dispenser of Internet justice. more»

Spam Arrest's Sender Agreement Fails Because Email Marketer's Employees Lacked Authority

People hate receiving spam, but most people stopped obsessing about spam a decade ago or more. In the interim, anti-spam filters have improved dramatically. Still, some anti-spammers hate spam so passionately -- or, perhaps, hope to put a little coin in their pockets -- that we still see a steady stream of lawsuits against email marketers. For the most part, those lawsuits don't win; in the past half-decade, repeat anti-spam plaintiffs have rarely won in court. more»

How Not to Stop Spammers

Spam Arrest is a company that sells an anti-spam service. They attempted to sue some spammers and, as has been widely reported, lost badly. This case emphasizes three points that litigious antispammers seem not to grasp: Under CAN SPAM, a lot of spam is legal; Judges hate plaintiffs who try to be too clever, and hate sloppy preparation even more; Never, ever, file a spam suit in Seattle. more»

More Petition by Google for Greater Transparency

Google reported today that it has filed an amended petition in the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The company, in a blog post, reports: "This petition [PDF] mirrors the requests made to Congress and the President by our industry and civil liberties groups in a letter [PDF] earlier this year. Namely, that Google be allowed to publish detailed statistics about the types (if any) of national security requests we receive under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, including Section 702." Request has also been made by Google for the court to hold its hearing in open rather than behind closed doors. more»

When an IP Address Does Not Equal Individual Culpability - Breaking Glass Pictures v Does, DAZ 2013

Something bad happens online. I can tie that something-bad back to an IP address. Do I know who did the bad thing? According to the Federal District Court in Arizona, I don't. An IP address may identify the owner of an Internet access account; it does not identify who was online at that particular time and who may be responsible for the actions in question. In Breaking Glass Pictures v Does, DAZ 2013, Plaintiff brought a claim for copyright infringement, wants early discovery, but the court is refusing. more»

Paths of Glory: Privacy Still Matters

The world has changed dramatically for the better over the last 15 years, mainly due to the commercialization of the Internet. That is what I would like to believe. Unfortunately, I am no longer sure. True, the Internet connects all of us with every corner of the world... For the rest, the times may be changing, because there are those who believe that the Internet should be molded to fit those same old bureaucracies and corrupted institutions that have plagued humanity for decades, if not centuries. The solution, many times, feels far out of reach. more»

Google Books Case Part 4,523: Decide Fair Use First

The endless lawsuit by the Authors Guild (which purports to represent authors, no longer including me), against Google moved another small step toward completion today. The Guild is just sure that Google's book scanning project means that end of civilization as we, or at least they, know it. Their arguments run from the somewhat plausible, that the scans are in violation of copyright, to the just plain goofy, that the scan data is so amazingly valuable yet vulnerable that Google must destroy it before someone steals it. more»

Introducing Internet Society's Intellectual Property Issues Paper

What made an organization like the Internet Society draft an issues paper on Intellectual Property? What is the aim of this paper? How does the paper relate to overall Internet governance discussions? And, what - if any - impact does it aim to have on the discussions regarding Intellectual Property? At a time when there is a desire to resolve policy considerations by employing technological measures, the Internet Society, through an issues paper, amongst other things, seeks to chart a path forward... more»

Google Asks U.S. Government to Allow Transparency for Its National Security Request Data

In an open letter published today, Google has asked the U.S. Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for more transparency regarding national security request data in light of the NSA data collection controversy. more»