Internet

Personal email accounts introduce possible threats to firm computers. A careless employee could open a trojan horse attachment and unleash a virus on the system. Even if the attack only infects the local drive, confidential information may be at risk.

This puts firms in a bind. Either invest time and energy teaching basic Internet skills to their employees — lessons like, “don’t open attachments from unknown email addresses” — that most of us learned when we still had Prodigy emails, or condescendingly cut off access to a modern necessity because the employees are too hopeless to understand the rules.

Yesterday, a major law firm chose the latter route…

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Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

A few weeks ago we wrote about Iceland’s thoroughly daft idea of trying to block porn there. Bad proposals for the Internet always seem to spread, and so it should perhaps come as no surprise that the European Parliament will be considering a similarly unworkable proposal, but in a rather more covert way, as the Pirate Party politician Christian Engström noted on his blog:

Next week in Strasbourg, probably on Tuesday, the European Parliament will be voting on a Report on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU. To promote gender equality and eliminating gender stereotypes are of course very laudable goals, so my guess would be that unless something happens, the report will be approved by the parliament, possibly by a very large majority.

That would be a good thing, were it not for the following detail….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “European Parliament Considers Banning All Pornography”

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

Last week, we wrote about some of the copyright issues around the whole “Harlem Shake” meme (and, yes, we know it’s not the “real” Harlem Shake, so don’t even bother commenting about that). However, a few days ago, I was talking to an old friend who also happens to be an IP lawyer, and he pointed out one of the nuttier things about our copyright system. Yes, he said, Baauer is making tons of money by monetizing all of those Harlem Shake videos with ads. But Baauer actually had almost nothing to do with the popularity of the song or the meme itself. This isn’t a Psy situation, where his video/dance created the meme. Instead, as we discussed, there was this video, which led to this video, and then this video and then this video… and then tens of thousands of copycats bloomed.

Yes, they all use 30 seconds from Baauer’s song (which itself included many samples from others, some of which do not appear to be licensed, based on Baauer’s own statements), but the popularity was because of the original video by “Filthy Frank,” and then TheSunnyCoastSkate (TSCS) building on that to create the basic framework, quickly followed by PHLOn NAN and the folks at Maker Studios. In many ways, this reminds me of Derek Sivers’ popular discussion of the importance of the “First Follower.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is It ‘Fair’ That Baauer Gets The Proceeds From Harlem Shake Videos?”

* Legendary union leader Marvin Miller died today at the age of 95. This is a guy who lost a huge case at the Supreme Court fighting against Major League Baseball, and still found a way to win. He wasn’t a lawyer, but he mastered the law. [USA Today]

* Tax professors weigh in on the fiscal cliff. [Tax Prof Blog]

* Jersey Shore residents are suing over sand dune protection from storms. They’re not suing because they’re weren’t protected enough, they’re suing because the new sand dunes block their ocean view. [Asbury Park Press]

* Yahoo! and NBA lawyers might need to talk about what, precisely, the NBA is endorsing. [Marc Edelman Blog]

* I’m going to go on and vote “no” on the question of whether or not the U.N. should get to “govern” the internet. Wait… I don’t get a “vote” on what the U.N. should do? Well, that sounds like a good reason to go back to not giving a crap about anything the U.N. says. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Looks like the wheel finally came ’round on InTrade. [Dealbreaker]

* The Justice Resource Center, coordinator of the 2013 NYSBA High School Mock Trial Tournament, seeks voluntary attorney-coaches. Help teach young people about the law — and get CLE credit, too! [Justice Resource Center]

On the list of those whom you may feel some measure of sympathy for, convicted sexual offenders rank somewhere between National Socialists and those who key cars. Perhaps lower. And yet, this is precisely why they are often the first against the wall when it comes to needless regulation and harassment. Like the bespectacled little spazz on the playground, sex offenders make for an easy mark.

And so it was that the state of California passed a ballot initiative that requires those already on the sex offender registry in that state to further register all of their internet activities. They must register their e-mail addresses and their impossibly witty usernames and handles. The cloak of anonymity on the internet, vital to its snark, nihilism, and generally poor table manners, has been denied to sexual deviants in California with this new law.

Well, not if the ACLU can help it. Continue reading after the jump, but only if your state allows you to…

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Back in April, we wrote about Mark and Rhonda Lesher, a couple in rural Texas who won a massive defamation verdict against formerly anonymous online commenters. The online comments followed a trial during which they were acquitted of sexual assault. The multimillion dollar verdict appeared to set things right.

But it turns out there is much, much more to their story. Theirs is an unsettling tale of small-town justice, politics, and Mark Lesher, a lawyer-slash-“professional agitator,” who tried to do the right thing in a town that apparently wanted none of it.

Let’s start with news that the defamation verdict was overturned last month, and go backwards from there….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Don’t Mess With This Texan: He is One Tough Underdog”

We celebrate America on July 4th because that is the day in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress. The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in history. Even though the brilliant men who wrote it and signed it were largely hypocrites who couldn’t see the self-evident truth that women and blacks were endowed with the same inalienable rights as white male landowners, the fact that they bothered to write them down is a starting gun for the modern march of freedom that even today topples tyranny and oppression.

Nobody will ever write the above paragraph about the “Declaration of Internet Freedom” that is making the rounds this week. In fact, most likely nobody will write anything at all about the Internet Declaration two weeks from now because the document is devoid of anything approaching a coherent articulation of the rights of “the internet” or anybody else.

Apparently, 85 organizations and many people have signed this thing, which looks to capitalize on the grassroots effort to stop SOPA legislation. I’m not sure if anybody involved with the project ran this by a lawyer, because this doesn’t appear to be a serious effort to promote a legal construct that will protect the freedom of anything….

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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”

If your job is wearing you out, or you just plain hate it, have you ever considered that you may be contributing to the problem? Lateral Link has come up with four bad office practices that are detrimental to your career.

Find out if you’re guilty of any of these bad work habits, and how you can break them….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Four Bad Work Habits You Should Break”

SLU Law's Raven Akram

* Time for a Biglaw battle: William Baer of Arnold & Porter is the front runner to take over the DOJ’s antitrust division, but could he lose the spot to one of O’Melveny’s finest, Richard Parker? [Blog of Legal Times]

* It’s about time people remembered there’s no such thing as privacy anymore, but in case you forgot, Google is here to remind you. Say hello to the company’s latest plan for internet domination. [Washington Post]

* Welcome to New Jersey, a lovely place where Governor Chris Christie thinks that gay people are qualified to be state supreme court justices, but completely unqualified for marriage. [Businessweek]

* Indiana Tech is breaking ground on the law school nobody wants, and St. Louis University is moving the law school everyone hopes will attract more NFL cheerleaders. [National Law Journal; St. Louis Business Journal]

* Pamela Anderson has settled a lawsuit over her alleged failure to promote the sale of condominiums. Because people would totally buy a condo after a pair of boobs told them to do it. [Winnipeg Free Press]

* Two men from West Virginia claim that they were sexually assaulted by Andy Dick in a nightclub. The long and short of this lawsuit: Andy Dick has been accused of allegedly acting like Andy Dick. [Toronto Sun]

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