Technology

Professor Brian Tamanaha

* Professor Brian Tamanaha: “Not since 1986-1987 have law schools seen total applicant numbers this low.” Good news, or bad news? Actually, a bit of both. [Balkinization via Instapundit]

* Musical chairs: Michael Chepiga, the retired Simpson partner and erstwhile Broadway playwright, has a new and unusual job. [Am Law Daily]

* Elsewhere in job switches, the law schools at Albany and the University of Missouri (Columbia) have announced new deans. [Faculty Lounge]

* Goldman bankers don’t want to own shares in a company connected with sex trafficking. They just want to enjoy its services like normal paying customers. [Dealbreaker]

* One Chicago court seems to think it can quash the social media revolution. #goodluckwiththat [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Elsewhere in social-media news, thank God for this ruling. Otherwise, everyone we know would be fired and in jail. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If you still aren’t on Twitter, here’s another reason you should jump on the bandwagon. You never know when your boyfriend might get kidnapped in South Africa and thrown in the trunk of a car, and you have to tweet the kidnappers’ license plate so he can be rescued. [Ars Technica]

* Speaking of Twitter, this is unacceptable behavior (unless you’re a federal judge from Montana). [Fashionista]

I had today’s column dealing with confidentiality provisions all set to go. However, given the Baylor Law School fiasco, I changed topics to another very contentious issue in business-to-business terms and conditions negotiations: data security. I will take some liberties with the factual scenario of the Baylor data release in order to make the issue more relevant to those of us in-house.

Let’s assume that instead of an employee of Baylor’s admissions office allegedly being responsible for the data release, it was an outside contractor who had been hired to perform data collection for Baylor. Let’s further assume that the contractor acted negligently in releasing the information. Finally, let’s assume that Baylor’s legal counsel vetted the Agreement and Statement of Work (“SOW”) between Baylor and the contractor, and included a data security provision. What should happen now that prospective students’ personal information, including LSAT scores and GPA, are in the public domain? I would begin by stanching the bleeding and assessing the damage….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “House Rules: Data Security”

Last week’s massive credit card data breach was a frustrating reminder that despite everything, all the fights over privacy rights and legislative shouting, if somebody wants to steal an extraordinarily large number of personal consumer information for nefarious purposes, they can probably do it.

As a refresher, on March 30, Global Payments, a third-party payment processor, reported that it had suffered a data breach. Someone gained unauthorized access to company information, a.k.a. private data of people with accounts with major credit card companies such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover Financial Services.

So, exactly how many people’s information might have been compromised? Let’s just say it’s more than six figures…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Massive Data Breach Exposes A Lot Of People’s Credit Card Information; Welcome to the 21st Century”


What's the matter with you? Don't you get it?

After writing about enough jurors who get in trouble for posting about their cases online, one begins to feel like Tom Smykowski in Office Space, desperately and hopelessly trying to justify his job to the Bobs. It seems so simple, but no one seems to get it.

You can’t talk about the case on Facebook! Can’t you understand it? What is the hell is wrong with you people?!

This week, we have two more cases of idiot jurors in California and Colorado who simply could not resist going to Facebook to say, ironically, the same thing about the cases they were hearing.

What did they have to say? What kind of titillating trials were they supposed to decide while they were iPhoning instead? And more importantly, how did the attorneys in the cases respond?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “There Has Got to be a Better Way to Keep Jurors Off Facebook”

Every so often we hear a new story about a student getting suspended / expelled / paddled for some nonsense offense. These days, the disciplinary problems usually are are a result of some alleged electronic misconduct.

A debate usually follows, where people question the legality and general appropriateness of several issues: was the student punished for something he did at school or at home? Was he or she making some kind of threat, whether serious or sarcastic? How much should a school insert itself into its students’ private lives?

Whatever side of those questions you fall on, at least they are valid points to raise. But what about the student who is expelled for a 2:30 a.m. tweet from his home — a tweet that was simply a juvenile exploration on the word “f***”?

You have to be f***ing kidding me.…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why the F*** Was This High School Student Expelled for Tweeting the F-Word?”

Attorneys for Facebook went on the offensive yesterday, filing a bold motion to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit, which claims a 50 percent ownership stake in the company.

Among other things, the motion, which is a product of an extensive forensic investigation, calls Ceglia’s case “a fraud and a lie.”

I am excited to see this motion, and I hope it succeeds. Ceglia and his cockamamie lawsuit have had their day in the sun. It’s time for Mark Z. to move on to bigger and better things, like handling the company’s impending IPO and fixing the stupid Timeline, which is currently only useful for seeing exactly how terrible my friends’ tastes in music are.

Anyway, let’s look at Facebook’s extensive allegations, as well as Ceglia’s unsurprisingly oddball responses….

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'Hahaha, and then I said that I didn't know they were prostitutes.'

* Was the Obamacare case brought prematurely? Did the Supreme Court’s judicial intervention come too soon? Yesterday’s arguments before SCOTUS can be summed up in four simple words: “That’s what she said.” [New York Times]

* Howrey going to get out of this one? The defunct firm’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond, is trying to decide whether he’ll be bringing adversary claims against the dissolution committee and its members. [Am Law Daily]

* U.S. News is doing what the American Bar Association refuses to do: make law schools its b*tch. Listen up, administrators, because your next “reporting error” could cost you your ranking. [National Law Journal]

* Armed with a treasure trove of new evidence, Facebook has moved to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit. What does his lawyer from Milberg have to say? A hacker planted all of the evidence, duh. [Wall Street Journal]

* Apparently Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s got hos in different area codes. He’s been keeping his pimp hand strong — so strong, that he’s been charged with aggravated procurement of prostitutes. [Bloomberg]

* Broke your nose trying to walk through a glass wall at the Apple store and now you’re suing for $1M? That’s an app for that! It’s called common sense, and for a limited time only, it’s being offered free of charge. [Forbes]

When you went to law school or started thinking about starting your own practice, did you have dreams of waking up in the morning, walking down the hall to another room in your house and sitting down to do legal work? Did you hope to bounce ideas off of the dog, or plan strategy watching Matlock re-runs at 2 p.m.?
 
I’m sorry, I just don’t get this “Do I need an office?” back and forth, in which my “future of law” friends are quick to say “You don’t need an office.”
 
No, you don’t need an office. They’re right. You also don’t need to wear clothes that make you look respectable. You don’t even have to have any idea what you’re doing. You can work from your computer in your dining room, in shorts, and find answers (some which are correct) to questions like “how to draft a will,” on the internet. Some client, somewhere, will hire you. Maybe a few.
 
As you build your practice, you can do everything small, cheap, and sloppy. Forget about being downtown or by the courthouse. Forget about having to dress like you want to be hired for important legal work. Forget about building anything of significance. Just stay home and be happy that you’re saving money every month on an office. Way to go. Hopefully you won’t take advice from business owners who know building a business takes investment….

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The war on internet piracy currently being waged by entertainment industry lobbyists the U.S. Justice Department seriously puts me in an ideological bind. On one hand, I am a creative person. I understand the need for content creators to be compensated for their work. Whether that means movie producers, musicians, or journalists, the internet has deeply screwed with the compensation structure for “artists.”

On the other hand, that should not be the internet’s problem. The entertainment industry needs to figure out a way to update its outdated business model. Going after every 23-year-old with a few personal servers and high-speed internet is never going to fix the piracy problem.

But that would take a lot of actual work and planning and compromise. In the meantime, it’s business as usual. And that means extraditing a 23-year-old software engineering student from the U.K. who ran the website TVShack, a site which linked to streaming video files.

The kid has never been to the U.S. He did not even break any British laws, but OMG piracy, and woe to all who get caught anywhere near the crosshairs of the American entertainment industry….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Since When Is Merely Linking to Copyrighted Content an Extraditable Offense?”

After the feds took down Megaupload in January, the major change to many people’s lives is that it is now much harder to stream bootleg versions of the new season of Archer. What also happened is authorities took control of content hosted on the site and a lot of people who posted files there are worried getting busted as well.

Well, one man’s crisis is another man’s golden opportunity.

Keep reading to see how a new batch of criminals is trying to cash in on folks already worried about Megaupload-related copyright liability. It’s actually quite a clever plot…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fake Filesharing Lawsuits? Dang, That’s Devious”

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