Cyberlaw

Like it or not, sex offenders have rights, too.

Sex offenders are the easiest people to take away rights from. Even other criminals hate sex offenders. Their crimes are heinous, it’s unclear if recurring sex offenders can ever be “cured,” and if they ever get out of jail, even most progressives are happy to severely curtail their rights and freedoms.

It’s tough to take a public stand for the rights of pedos. But someone has to do it. Yesterday, a Louisiana federal judge struck down a state law barring sex offenders from Facebook and other social media. He used a First Amendment argument to scrap the law, which took effect in August, and created a “near total ban on internet access” for sex offenders.

That’s all well and good, although Facebook isn’t exactly pleased….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sex Offenders, Welcome to Facebook (Well, Kind Of)”

Ah, yes. I am familiar with this internet of which you speak.

The first month of 2012 was a crazy one for internet law. The Stop Online Piracy Act gloriously crashed and burned, Apple is getting sued in China for naming rights to the iPad, and in America someone is suing to show that porn doesn’t deserve copyright protection. In the wake of all the hot debate and hot tempers, it seems some people highly invested in internet freedom and content protection have begun looking to gain support for their causes outside of the legislature.

This week, we learned from a couple news stories that advocates from both sides of the internet aisle have turned to lawyers and the court system to defend their causes. Earlier this week, some OG internet pioneers testified to a jury, and a major media company executive has begun courting law professors for support.

I’m not sure whether I think the fact that people have decided the legal system is a good place to argue high-level, fundamental internet freedom questions is impressive (give yourselves a pat on the back, attorneys, you are hip to the tech set now), or a little bit scary (do these people realize how technophobic lawyers can be?).

You will have to decide for yourself…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are Lawyers Officially No Longer Technophobic?”

Not going to lie. These guys are starting to make me nervous.

While the Internet was throwing itself a party yesterday for taking down the Stop Online Piracy Act, getting drunk off its own power and shooting pistols into the air like a Mexican fiesta, the Department of Justice was already throwing up a big middle finger to offshore rogue websites, or whatever they’re calling pirates now.

Yesterday, the DOJ and FBI seized and shut down one of the largest filesharing websites on the internet. The department also filed indictments against seven people involved in the site, in what authorities call one of the “largest criminal copyright cases ever brought.” That’s pretty big news all by itself. But, oh it gets better.

Everyone’s favorite shady hacker collective, Anonymous, struck back in revenge almost immediately. The group launched massive denial of service attacks against every media and governmental website their deranged hive mind could think of.

So, which of your favorite movie streaming sites is no longer online? And who faced the wrath of Anonymous? It’s a long list…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SOPA Be Damned, DOJ Has Sent a Message to Internet Pirates. And the Internet Sent a Message Right Back”

Hey! Who turned out the lights?

Tomorrow is going to be the most boring day in the recent history of the Internet. For 24 hours — on January 18 — several high-profile websites will go dark, to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act.

No one will be able to research potentially fake facts about their favorite celebrities, discover the newest nerdy memes, or upload photos to social media sites.

It’s true, the frightfully unpopular bill is losing legislative steam, but the Internet’s collective rage is still hot, hot, hot.

So who’s shutting down tomorrow?

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has been busy lately. First, the Southern California-based non-profit responsible for the Internet’s address system created a porn-only, top-level domain. And on January 12, ICANN will start allowing people to register top-level domains of whatever they want.

.Com, .net, and .org — your days of tyranny are over!

Leave it to government officials and businesses concerned about protecting their intellectual property online to spoil the party. Companies are worried that allowing just anything to sit at the right side of a URL address will lead to useless costs and headaches in order to protect against cybersquatters.

We’ve got the nitty.gritty after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Under New Internet Rules, URLs Like AboveTheLaw.YourMom Will Soon Be Available”

Unless you drowned yourself in a bathtub full of eggnog over the holidays, hopefully you are at least superficially aware of the Stop Online Piracy Act.

The House of Representatives is considering the bill, known as SOPA for short, that people fear will destroy the Internet as we know it.

Last week, Elie and I were “debating” the insidiousness of SOPA on Gchat. Our conversation went something like this:

Elie: SOPA is terrible.
Chris: It’s pretty much the worst thing ever.
Elie: It’s f***ing disastrous.

Elie and I aren’t the only ones upset. The Internet has whipped into a tizzy over the act. We mentioned it last week in Non-Sequiturs. And I wrote about it back in November. But the story has kept picking up speed. Reddit has gone mad over the bill. Just before the new year, a bunch of Biglaw firms got mistakenly dragged into the fray.

Keep reading for a primer on SOPA and its sister Senate bill, the Protect IP Act. And see why a bunch of Biglaw firms were unintentionally listed as supporters after the jump.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Stop Online Piracy Act Wants Biglaw Support; Biglaw Says, ‘Aw, Hell No’”

The former military intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks has spent the last four days in a Maryland military court, undergoing a hearing to determine whether or not his case will proceed to court-martial.

For those new to the party, 24-year-old Bradley Manning is accused of committing the biggest security breach in American history. He has been in detainment for the last 19 months, and he faces a multitude of military charges.

The Article 32 hearings, which began on Friday, are something akin to grand jury proceedings in civilian court. At the end, Investigating Officer Colonel Paul Almanza, an Army Reserve officer and Justice Department prosecutor, will decide recommend whether Manning’s case will proceed to court-martial.

So far, the hearings have been interesting to say the least. Let’s see what’s going on….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Soldier Accused of Leaking Military Cables to WikiLeaks Is in Court Right Now”

The real Elizabeth Sky

The Internet may be infinite, but people still are constantly fighting over online real estate. It happens in the porn industry, and it happens to celebrities. Even Miami Dolphins cheerleaders have to fight for their right to party at their own website.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently ruled in a dispute between two models using the stage name Elizabeth Sky. The defendant allegedly went on a campaign across the Internet to destroy the other model’s social networking presence. Will the real Elizabeth Sky please stand up, please stand up, please stand up.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Model Who Says, ‘I’m Too Sexy For This Trademark’ Loses $81K Suit”

Businesses spend a surprising amount of time and effort protecting their brand and intellectual property from cybersquatters. It often takes the threat of litigation or creative domain name registry to prevent random people from registering websites like Pepsisux.com.

So, it’s kind of funny that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is in the process of introducing a new top-level domain — .XXX — built specifically for porn websites. In doing so, it may have created a cybersquatter’s dream come true.

Eighty thousand .XXX domain names have been registered in the past few months. A new lawsuit shows that some companies are registering even though they really don’t want to. Let’s find out why….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nobody Likes Porny .XXX Domain Names, Except Cybersquatters”

As we mentioned in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, congressional hearings for the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act began yesterday. People are really not happy about the bill.

Google’s CEO called SOPA, as the bill is known for short, “draconian.”

Time’s Techland blog ran the headline this morning, “SOPA Won’t Stop Online Piracy, Would Censor Everyone Else.”

What is going on here, and why is everyone freaking out? Let’s find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New Piracy Bill Could Lead to National Censorship Nightmare”

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