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?).
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…
SOPA is getting pwned. Yesterday, all the uber players with their epic gear hopped on Vent and raided the SOPA base, and now the newbie Congress people who sponsored the law are running scared. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act have “renounced” their law. The New York Times reports that Senators and Congresspeople are abandoning this thing like it was a campaign promise.
Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, all of the big internet corporations flexed their muscles — and oh, by the way, this is what it looks like when corporations use speech for speech, as opposed to pretending that anonymous corporate campaign contributions magically count as speech.
In the wake of this victory, here’s a question: Is this what we want? Yesterday, the internet used its power for good (though I fear the movie industry will strike back by making you watch full-length Kevin James movies before you can download the next Batman preview). But what if in the future “the internet” wants something bad, something that is more than the mere protection of freedom?
* Occupy Wall Street supporters, please take note: this is how you stage a protest. Yesterday’s internet blackout definitely made lawmakers think twice. SOPA bill backers dropped like flies. [New York Times]
* A judge has nixed Duncan Law’s request for injunctive relief against the ABA. Because really, what’s the harm in a memo about a lack of accreditation when you never had it in the first place? [ABA Journal]
* Women are having trouble making equity partner in Biglaw firms, and not because of the glass ceiling or other imposed barriers. No, apparently women are just making bad choices. [Chicago Tribune]
* Laura Kaeppeler, the new Miss America, plans to use her $50K pageant scholarship to go to law school. Well, at least one year of law school, since that’s all she’ll be able to afford with so little cash. [WHBL]
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.…
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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