SPAM, Bots, and Malware. Oh my!

Posted By: Jonathon Sanchez


Anyone who uses email knows about spam emails, and in 2010, there was an estimated 200 billion pieces of spam sent per day. However, recently, there seems to be an unexplained precipitous drop in spam. The one question that I have always had, as a person who was raised on technology, who actually falls for spam emails?

A University of San Diego and International Computer Institute joint research found that spam is big business. The researchers estimated that they could have made $7,000 per day. They ran a fake pharmaceutical website that mirrored a legitimate website. The faux-website asked for financial information and then told the user there was an error to try again. The actual hit rate was about .0127 percent of people who received the solicitation actually fell for the trick – since there is little limitation on how many e-mails can be sent out – the potential for big profits remain Continue reading


Aaron Swartz’s Alleged Conduct and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Posted By: Tammy Thibodeau


AaronSwartzIndictment_Page_01In Aaron Swartz’s superseding indictment the government alleged Swartz, accessed JSTOR and the MIT network “without authorization.” (United States v. Aaron Swartz, Crim. No. 11-CR-10260-NMG, 3, Sept. 12, 2012). Swartz had accessed the MIT network (and computers) four times “without authorization” after being blocked in three separate incidents. (Id.). Further, JSTOR’s software configuration enables computerized measures to block automated downloads of large amounts of articles. (Id. at 2). All of Swartz’s conduct violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) under both definitions of access; “exceeds authorized access” and “without authorization.” (18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(6) (2008)). Continue reading

The Trans-Pacific Partnership & Modern Copyright Law

Posted By: Justin McKay


Jay_treatyIf you haven’t noticed, there has been an increasing amount of commentary on the internet about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ever since Wikileaks released the negotiated draft text of the intellectual property chapter on November 13, 2013. Unfortunately, most of that commentary contains suggestive and alarming language without many (or any) references to the text to substantiate their doomsday attitude. So, I decided to take a look at the text. Below are my findings:

What is the TPP?

Simply put, it is a trade agreement aimed at 21st century trade issues, created in 2005, and originally known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. The United States joined negotiations for an expanded agreement in 2008, with many other countries joining in 2010, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and Mexico.

Since 2010, the agreement has undergone 19 rounds of negotiations. Interestingly, each country’s positions are documented in the leak (see below for an example). Continue reading

Posted By:  Daniela Madrid


200px-RegisteredTM.svgWhat happens when an owner of a trademark wants to use his trademark as a domain name for his website but discovers that the domain name is already being used by a third party? There are several options to resolve this dilemma. The trademark owner can use an alternative domain name suffix, can file a dispute with ICANN, can file suit in court for trademark infringement or cybersquatting. Continue reading

Net Neutrality

Posted By:  Chris Fong


net neutralityControl of information is hugely powerful. In the US, the threat is that companies control what I can access for commercial reasons. In China, control is by government for political reasons.

Tim Berners-Lee

Regulating the internet is not just limited to interactions over the internet. Internet regulations also include the control over access to the internet and the information provided through the internet. In the United States the issue of what can be accessed online and how to access it is a highly debated issue. Network (“Net”) Neutrality is one attempt to regulate access to the internet with the goal that all internet traffic will be treated equally.

Network Neutrality was introduced in an Internet Policy Statement by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) through the agency rulemaking process. In support of the FCC’s Net Neutrality, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, wrote in support of Net Neutrality a “To Whom this May Concern” letter to the FCC detailing importance of having Net Neutrality. Mr. Wozniak claims Net Neutrality is the reason information on the web is distributed in an unbiased manner and is accessible to everyone with a computer, in a designated area, for the same cost. Continue reading

Personal Jurisdiction and the Internet – Localizing Actions from Cyberspace

Posted By:  Chris Fong


10349418The advent of the internet created an area where the traditional lines of jurisdiction are nearly entirely erased. The Supreme Court foresaw the how the advances in technology could affect the notion of jurisdiction and noted in Hanson v. Denckla that “[a]s [technological] progress has increased the flow of commerce between states, the need for jurisdiction has undergone a similar increase.” Though, the Hanson decision was published in 1958, before the internet, the reasoning applies to the internet.

The internet has created an area for people to interact, in real time, regardless of where they are in the world. Firstly, in order to understand the complex interaction of the internet and jurisdiction, I will explain the traditional form of personal jurisdiction. Continue reading Video Game Streaming and Fair Use

Posted By: Chris Fong is a website that provides video gamers a website location to share and stream their video game experiences with others. A major concern is whether the streaming of the video game can be constituted as copyright infringement or protected use under Fair Use. In order to determine if it is infringement or Fair Use, we must first understand what rights are given through Copyright laws and what constitutes Fair Use. Continue reading

Hip Hop Lyric Site Issued Take Down Notice By NMPA

Posted By: Ross Arkin


Bso_Glee_The_Music,_Volume_5--CDEver since the Sugar Hill Gang proclaimed “I said a hip, hop, the hippie – the hippie
to the hip hip-hop, and you don’t stop 
the rocking to the bang-bang, boogie say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie the beat.”, hip-hop fans have collectively often said: “What?”

Enter the function of the lyric site. Not just hip-hop fans but fans of music of every genre have often found themselves utterly confounded when it comes to certain lyrics. Before the advent of the internet, the most common way for people to settle lyric disputes was to simply check the hardcopy booklet that came with a retail version of an album, if the album did in fact come with such an insert. Before these inserts existed the only way to obtain a copy of the lyrics to a song was to purchase a song book or sheet music. Now, if anyone were to tell you that Jimmy Hendrix was singing about kissing a guy, you can pull up any number of websites dedicated to displaying the lyrics of songs and clarify what has been misheard. By some reports, five million people google the term “lyrics” every day. (Alex Pham, NMPA Targets Unlicensed Lyric Sites). However, it turns out that the unauthorized (read: unlicensed) display of copyrighted lyrics may be an infringing activity. Continue reading

Duke University has Sent You a Friend Request?!

Posted By: Ryan Bethell

facebookRecent surveys from U.S.News suggest that Universities are increasingly looking at Facebook, Linkden, and other social network profiles to help make admissions decisions. Using Facebook in admissions criteria may implicate certain obvious (government actors accessing private information) and non-obvious (admissions officers making fun of applicant essay topics online) privacy concerns, though these issues have been discussed at length elsewhere. A novel question exists, however, of whether or not a public University’s using Facebook to gain information about its applicants creates conflict between new laws banning race conscious admissions in public Universities. Assuming such bans survive the Supreme Court’s scrutiny, will examining a student’s Facebook page, and subsequently discovering their race, violate these statutes? If not, will universities be able to use Facebook to actuate their interest in preserving a diverse learning environment without directly “asking” about race? Continue reading

Patent Litigation, Coming to a Podcast Near You!

Posted By:  Ryan Bethell

Image by Yagraph

Image by Yagraph

Hot off the heels of an $8,000,000 settlement with apple over a patent covering “Downloadable Playlists,” Personal Audio, a digital audio company in Texas, has set its sights on popular podcast producers. Personal Audio has asserted a patent pertaining to cover “how audio files are organized and downloaded on the internet,” over several popular podcasts producers, including Adam Carolla, who owns Carolla Digital, and hosts the most downloaded podcast in the world, The Adam Carolla Show. Not to be intimidated, Carolla is deputizing his listeners to raise social awareness about patent trolls, and is preparing to crowd fund a robust legal defense. Personal Audio’s attorney, Richard Baker says “We’re putting our effort into the larger people because there’s a larger return there,” but will the company ultimately regret their decision to anger some of the loudest and most influential voices in on the internet?

Personal Audio isn’t doing anything drastically different than the other so called “patent trolls” (a term to describe patents holders that litigate on patents that they own but do not use) have been doing since 2002, but jurors and voters may respond more favorably to podcast personalities than they are the corporations that are normally defending these suits. Neel Chatterjee, former counsel for Mark Zuckerberg and Partner in charge of intellectual property at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, dropped by the Adam Carolla show on November 21 to discuss his thoughts on the case, as well the state of patent litigation generally. Continue reading