SOPA

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”

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Should We Let the Internet Make Laws?”


* 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]

* The American Bar Association may be taking baby steps toward improving the way law schools report graduate employment and salary statistics, but progress is progress. [National Law Journal]

* 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]

* Proskauer Rose is down to get dirty with Edwards Wildman. Gregory Rasin, a labor and employment partner, will be representing the firm in its love triangle lawsuit. [Am Law Daily]

* New Jersey needs nugs now! A civil lawsuit against the Garden State’s health department is in the works due to an alleged delay in implementing its medical marijuana program. [Star-Ledger]

Laura Kaeppeler

* The Fourth Circuit denied Rick Perry’s Virginia election law appeal in about four seconds flat. Not like it matters. He’s probably going to be out of the race come Saturday. [Washington Wire / Wall Street 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]

* Her Royal Hotness, Pippa Middleton, has hired Harbottle & Lewis to stop harassment from the paparazzi. As long as they allow more pictures of her ass, we won’t have a problem. [Daily Mail]

* Lindsay Lohan got a glowing report at her latest probation progress hearing from a pleased Judge Sautner. Maybe LiLo really did give the judge a signed copy of her Playboy spread. [CNN]

* End piracy, not liberty. Do you like the Internet the way it is? Got something to say about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act? Sign this petition and make your voice heard. [Google]

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SOPA Protests Will Make Tomorrow Super Boring”

This ship be sinking.

* How many one percenters do you think are members of the 11%? According to this poll, Congressional approval ratings have hit an all-time low. Looks like it’s time to occupy Congress. [CNN]

* Wikipedia is planning a site-wide blackout this Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act. At least they’re giving some advance notice. If you’ve got papers to write, hurry up and finish. [Businessweek]

* Racial profiling ain’t easy. Sheriff Joe Arpaio still wants to detain people based on the suspicion that they might be here illegally, so he’s appealing Judge Snow’s ruling. [Washington Post]

* The part you won’t see in the inevitable movie starring Robert Pattinson: victims of Italy’s Titanic reenactment will probably be unable to sue for damages in U.S. courts. [Reuters]

* Here’s the umpteenth rehashing of the “are law schools cooking their employment statistics?” argument. Better question: without minimum standards for employment, does it matter? [NPR]

* Jesse Dimmick — the kidnapper who sued his victims for breach of contract — won’t get his day in court. The “most ridiculous lawsuit of 2011″ has been dismissed. [Topeka Capital-Journal]

Come on people. Throw me a friggin' bone here.

One of my favorite Mitch Hedberg jokes goes something like, “I love the FedEx driver, because he’s a drug dealer and he don’t even know it.”

Well, it turns out you might be able to say the same thing about Google AdWords. A new BBC report reveals the sketchier side of Google’s flagship, profit-making endeavor.

Keep reading to learn about the formerly Don’t-Be-Evil corporation’s inadvertent involvement in selling weed, scalping tickets to major sporting events, and providing youngsters with fake IDs.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Google Is an Unwitting Drug Dealer and Ticket Scalper”

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’”

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….

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