Cyberlaw

A large portion of the strenuous life of bloggers consists of cruising various news sites, looking for some tidbit ridiculous interesting enough to merit a couple hundred words. You do this long enough, and you wind up getting picky pretty quickly. So, last night, when I clicked over to Wired, it was surprising in and of itself that when I saw the following story I literally stared at the screen, slack jawed, for close to a minute.

That’s how ridiculous this proposed legislation coming out of New York is. The only thing I can say is that if this bill somehow managed to become law, the Above the Law commentariat would not be happy at all…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New York Lawmakers Want to Ban Anonymous Commenting. I Wish I Were Kidding.”

About a month ago, we wrote about an interesting lawsuit that Twitter filed against the allegedly “most aggressive” Twitter spammers. The social media giant took action against companies with goofy names, such as TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, and TweetBuddy.

At least one of the defendants, Skootle, the company that developed TweetAdder, is fighting back against Twitter’s allegations. The company filed a response brief on Friday and is represented by none other than one of Above the Law’s own regular columnists.

Keep reading to see Skootle’s brief and learn which ATL columnist is helming the defense…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Alleged Spammers Respond to Twitter Lawsuit: We Are Not the Spammers You’re Looking For”

The [Megaupload] prosecution is a depressing display of abuse of government authority. It’s hard to comprehensively catalog all of the lawless aspects of the US government’s prosecution of Megaupload[.]

– Eric Goldman, Professor at Santa Clara Law and editor of the Technology and Marketing Law Blog, criticizing the government’s prosecution of the infamous cyber locker and its eccentric leader, Kim Dotcom, in a post earlier this week.

(Goldman had a lot to say about the Megaupload case, most of it quite critical of the government. Keep reading to see more of his blunt analysis.)

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We’ve covered the trials and tribulations — and occasional dishonorable public unveiling — of anonymous internet commenters before. And we have learned that just because someone comments anonymously does not mean no one can find out their identity.

A Texas couple, a day spa owner and a prominent attorney, won a large defamation suit against would-be anonymous commenters last week, showing once again that your secret identity is never as secret as you might hope.

The couple may not be billionaires, but after the massive defamation verdict, which stemmed from untrue criminal accusations made online, they might feel compelled to start rocking out to a milli, a milli, a milli, a milli

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Texas Couple Wins Massive Defamation Verdict Against (No Longer) Anonymous Commenters”

The U.S. government seems to be losing ground quickly in the PR war surrounding the case against Megaupload, the massive file-sharing site, and the company’s leader, Kim Dotcom. Just over a week ago, we learned that Quinn Emmanuel had signed on as the company’s defense team; the firm hit the ground running with a brief calling B.S. on one of the government’s objections.

And on Friday evening, news broke that the FBI may have again screwed the Megaupload pooch. The potential procedural goof was apparently severe enough that a federal judge wondered aloud if it might have killed the case…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Megaupload Trial May Never Happen Because of Possible FBI Error”

One of the worst parts of attending an institute of higher learning, whether for undergraduate studies or law school, is being forced to purchase overpriced textbooks that in all likelihood you will never need or open.

A cottage industry has sprouted up for people trying to find ways to let students pay less for the costly laptop stands. These days, students can take advantage of local used bookstores, Amazon or eBay, and in some cases, their iPads.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case regarding the legality of one unexpectedly common way to make a little cash, and still sell affordable-ish books: buy that s**t abroad for cheap, bring the books back to the U.S., and sell them online for normal American prices.

Unsurprisingly, publishers are not excited about this emerging “gray market.” That’s where SCOTUS comes in….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS! eBay! Cert and Other Sundries”

Following the federal government’s raid in January 2012 on Megaupload, the company that owned and operated the notorious file-sharing site megaupload.com, the criminal case has already started making its way through the court system. The government froze the company’s assets, and the CEO is under house arrest, but Megaupload still managed to hire some high-powered, Biglaw representation. Good for them, right?

Well, maybe not. The government has objected to Quinn Emanuel entering the case to represent Megaupload. The government cites conflicts of interest.

What are the alleged conflicts? And what does Quinn have to say about the situation?

The firm just filed a saucy brief responding to the objection. Let’s just say that Quinn isn’t taking it lying down…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quinn Emanuel Calls B.S. on Government Conflict-of-Interest Objection in Megaupload Case”

The war on internet piracy currently being waged by entertainment industry lobbyists the U.S. Justice Department seriously puts me in an ideological bind. On one hand, I am a creative person. I understand the need for content creators to be compensated for their work. Whether that means movie producers, musicians, or journalists, the internet has deeply screwed with the compensation structure for “artists.”

On the other hand, that should not be the internet’s problem. The entertainment industry needs to figure out a way to update its outdated business model. Going after every 23-year-old with a few personal servers and high-speed internet is never going to fix the piracy problem.

But that would take a lot of actual work and planning and compromise. In the meantime, it’s business as usual. And that means extraditing a 23-year-old software engineering student from the U.K. who ran the website TVShack, a site which linked to streaming video files.

The kid has never been to the U.S. He did not even break any British laws, but OMG piracy, and woe to all who get caught anywhere near the crosshairs of the American entertainment industry….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Since When Is Merely Linking to Copyrighted Content an Extraditable Offense?”

Google's new privacy policy is not this sexy.

* Remember Phillip Closius, the former dean of University of Baltimore Law, who said the university was raiding the law school’s funds? Yeah, he was totally right. Just guess what percent of the law school budget was going to the rest of the university. Starts with “A” and rhymes with “dot.” [National Law Journal]

* The humanity! Oklahoma’s worst fears have come true; American judges are enforcing Sharia Law! Whatever are we going to do? There is no solution in sight — except to maybe stop overreacting… [CNN]

* Mitt Bot won in both Arizona and Michigan last night. Can we send Santorum back to the 16th century yet? [Washington Post]

* Twenty-five suspected members of Anonymous were arrested across Europe and South America. They ain’t anonymous anymore. [New York Times]

* In other cyberlaw news, Google’s new privacy policy not only stinks, it probably violates European Union law. Hey Google, don’t be evil! [New York Times]

Did this young soldier aid the enemy?

Bradley Manning, the American traitor or human rights champion depending on your perspective, was back in court yesterday. His court-martial officially began, and he now faces 22 serious charges that could carry a life sentence, if he is convicted.

The 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst allegedly gave more than 700,000 classified documents to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. Manning deferred his plea, so he and his attorneys have more time to strategize. Both sides are still working to set a date for trial, but is getting close to do-or-die time for the embattled Manning.

Let’s see the newest details about his case…

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