Technology

This column will be published the day our year-end numbers are made public. Word on the street (and the Street) is that we should beat expectations. If true, that would be a very good thing. This isn’t inside information; it’s been opined and published in several national media outlets, and in any event, I am not on the side of the house that has access to that information. I get the comuniques at the same time as everyone else. Luckily, I’ve been here in times of growth. That said, I have colleagues across town experiencing a very different situation.

The downfall of Eastman Kodak can be attributed to many things, and the failure to exploit its own invention of digital photography is chief among them. However, this isn’t a piece pointing the finger of vision opacity just at Kodak. The statement above this column is attributed to Steve Jobs after he viewed a mock-up graphic user interface (“GUI”) invented in Rochester, New York. The company that invented the prototype failed to capitalize on the invention, and the story goes that Jobs stole/borrowed/utilized the idea. We all know where that led. That same company also invented the computer mouse, and again didn’t capitalize on the invention. Stories like these are legend in the field of technological advancement.

What is it that causes companies, which are often on the cutting edge of technology, to miss opportunities that, in hindsight, seem so obvious?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “House Rules: They Don’t Realize What They Have”

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]

[T]his might be a helpful alert to lawyers who are hiring someone to try to promote their sites: It’s possible that the promotion might consist of behavior that is par for the course for purported penis enlargement products, but not really in keeping with the sort of reputation that lawyers generally seek to cultivate.

– Professor Eugene Volokh, issuing a warning to lawyers that hire outside companies to promote their law firm websites using spam blog comments.

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”

Anyone who works with e-discovery has no doubt encountered the bewildering array of vendors and service providers clamoring for legal technology business. It can be confusing.

As the e-discovery industry has exploded, vendors’ roles have expanded and changed as well. Just a few years ago, it was more common for attorneys and their firms to have to piece together several vendors to form a cohesive e-discovery attack plan. These days, many service providers offer more start-to-finish options.

Even though it is all very technical, vendor work sometimes walks the line between IT work and actual lawyering. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has become wary of discovery vendors that might offer misleading advertisements about their legal certifications. Last week the Court’s Committee for the Unauthorized Practice of Law (sounds intimidating!) delivered an opinion clarifying some rules relevant to discovery vendors.

While they were at it, the committee delivered a couple solid kidney shots. Ouch….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Is the D.C. Court of Appeals Feeling Testy Toward E-Discovery Vendors?”

Shoes. Oh my God, shoes.

On Monday, my roommate came home griping that his Zappos.com account, which he had not used in a year, had been hacked. Instead of feeling sympathetic, I started wondering how I might write about it. Data breaches are a dime a dozen these days.

It seems almost every company loses control of their customers’ sensitive data at some point. Someone almost always sues after the news breaks. But the lawsuits are rarely successful, unless customers can show real harm caused by the breach.

Most often, companies do not give up full credit card or Social Security numbers. This week, Zappos said it only suffered unauthorized access to somewhat less sensitive information. It’s a bit unnerving, but not the end of the world.

Did that stop some opportunistic consumer from taking action against the online shoe retailer?

Of course not. And we didn’t have to wait very long. A Texas woman filed a class-action lawsuit against Amazon, which owns Zappos, the same day the breach was announced. Is her lawsuit premature, vague, and a bit silly? Probably. Will it go anywhere? Probably not. But c’mon, you gotta love melodramatic, eager-beaver, consumer litigation.

So what, exactly, did Zappos lose? And how many people’s data was compromised? (Hint: it’s a lot.) Let’s mosey on past the jump and find out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Zappos Suffers a Data Breach, and the Other Shoe Drops with a Lawsuit”

Alex Macgillivray

Bad day for the Internet…. Having been there, I can imagine the dissension @Google to search being warped this way.

– Alexander Macgillivray, general counsel of Twitter, commenting via Twitter about Google’s recent plan to alter search results based on users’ Google+ networks. Macgillivray used to be in-house counsel at Google. Corporate Counsel analyzed his comments yesterday.

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”

Sorry folks, no relation.

Hi everybody! I’m Chris Danzig. You might have seen me around Above The Law over the past year, covering technology and West Coast legal news. As of today, I’m excited to be the site’s newest full-time editor, joining David Lat, Elie Mystal, and Staci Zaretsky.

I’m a journalist by trade, not a lawyer. I’ve spent too much time writing about the law — and the stressful situations that can arise within the legal profession, which sometimes drive lawyers to drink — to ever want to practice.

I went to journalism school at Northwestern University. I helped investigate a wrongful conviction case with the Medill Innocence Project while I was in school. After graduation, I was the assistant editor at InsideCounsel magazine in Chicago, where I covered legal technology.

I left that job about two years ago, and have worked as a full-time freelance reporter since then. I’ve written for a variety of publications, covering health care, music, social justice, and a bunch of other stuff. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was born and raised.

Keep reading for more personal trivia about yours truly (and to see the photo of myself that Lat asked me to provide)….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mother, Tell Your Children Not To Read My Stories: Meet Team ATL’s Newest Member”

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]

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