Electronic Discovery & Computer-Assisted Review

Posted By: Timothy T. Emmart

RND_0906_0035_v3cYou work for a large firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions, or perhaps class action suits. Much of the work that you do requires you to sift through mounds of documents, spreadsheets, etc… Increasingly, in the information age, you must also swim through a sea of electronically stored information (ESI). Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to efficiently mine that ESI? As it turns out, the answer to that question is here.

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Google AdWords and Trademarks: The Difficulties and the Confusion

Posted By: Aidan L. Clark

Avoiding consumer confusion is the paramount goal of trademark law. Being able to identify a name or slogan—called a mark—with a certain product, service, or source of that product or service, can only benefit a well-running consumer market. As with many of our laws in the United States, they were drafted and codified in an analog-type time. Though, as we’ve moved into a digital-type era, issues and questions have arose about how to apply these laws to the new type of world in which we live. Trademark law is a prime illustrator of this struggle.
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The Rising Jurisdictional Problem of International Companies

Posted by: Michael Avila

April 20, 2015

InternetAs access to the Internet has grown to include almost half of the world’s population in its user base, the chances of websites and the companies owning them running awry of laws not inside that of its home country have grown much larger and more concerning. Google has had many conflicts with China in the recent years due to China’s censorship laws, and as recently as 2014 Google’s gmail service had its access blocked in mainland China. As companies like Google grow and begin having a more substantial presence in countries outside of the U.S. they will likely have to learn how to bow to pressure and possibly fragment their services in order to comply with the laws of local jurisdictions. Continue reading

Protecting Innovation

Posted by: Michael Avila

April 20, 2015

Page_37_Digest_of_United_States_automobile_patents_from_1789_to_July_1,_1899_closeupArticle I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution provides Congress with the power “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their writings and discoveries”. Through this statement the legitimacy of copyright and patent law was born, and the rights of these innovators were protected and codified under Title 35 of the United States Code. Recently the rash of so called “Patent Trolls” has reached epidemic levels has threatened this system and put many such innovators on the defensive as evidenced by Apple’s claim that they had been the target of over one hundred Patent Trolls in the three years preceding 2014. Continue reading

Penalties for Misrepresented Take Down Notices

Posted by: Chase Millea

April 20, 2015

Image_removed_DMCAIn the United States, a holder of a copyright under the Copyright Act maintains exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute work fixed in a tangible means of expression. In essence, that means that a person can protect against redistribution of original work without authorization.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) authorizes a copyright holder to issue a “take down notice” to an infringer to remove infringing works “expeditiously… or disable access to the material.” For example, a copyright holder may make a claim under the DMCA to require YouTube to take down a personal video that was uploaded without their authorization. The DMCA requires YouTube to comply or face a penalty.

Although the DMCA offers broad protections for copyrighted material, it also explicitly prohibits entities from citing the Act to unlawfully restrict others from using non-copyrighted material. Now, one of the first cases on the topic affirms that courts are willing to penalize breaches of this provision. Continue reading

Apps and Jurisdiction: Are apps automatically creating personal jurisdiction for app creators?

Posted by: David Medina

April 19, 2015

 

Iphone_2The law on internet jurisdiction has been complicated from day one. Prior to the internet, a company’s actions had to be fairly deliberate to cause them to be exposed to personal jurisdiction in a given state. The reason for such a relatively strict rule was that otherwise, a company that had a website could be exposed to personal jurisdiction in every state since the internet is accessible everywhere. So to make things fair, companies were only exposed to personal jurisdiction in states where they actively tried to conduct business or otherwise had a significant amount of interaction with people in that state. Smartphone apps threaten to upset that balance.

Interaction with customers in a given state is currently the prerequisite for personal jurisdiction, but almost by definition, smartphone apps are designed to create interaction between the app creator and the app user. The question I am presenting is: does the interaction apps seek to create automatically render app creators subject to personal jurisdiction in every state in which someone downloads the app? Continue reading

Silk Road Shutdown: The Applicability of Conspiracy Law to “Ebay-like” Websites

Posted by: Stephen Mostrom

April 18, 2015

 

Silk_Road_SeizedConspiracy is a staple of the United States judicial system. The term “conspiracy,” in the legal sense, means an agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act. In essence, a conspiracy is a meeting of the minds with a sinister purpose, and it is this small, yet important, area of criminal law that keeps many criminals from going unpunished.

Consider, for example, the getaway driver for a high-stakes bank robbery. The driver is involved in the planning of the heist. He is integral in the act of the heist. And yet, did he walk into the bank with a gun himself? No. But it still seems fair that the getaway driver share in the punishment of the other robbers. That is where conspiracy law comes in—reaching those criminals who were integral to the action of a crime, but did not commit the action themselves.

There are countless other examples of conspiracy law hard at work in the real world—drug cartels, organized crime, embezzlement. But while application of conspiracy principles is relatively straightforward in most areas, courts have struggle much more in the area of online marketplaces. Enter the Silk Road case. Continue reading

Google Search Autocomplete and Defamation

Posted By: Kyle Sol Johnson

April 5, 2015

google_416x416Google is the world’s leading search engine service, with over a 65% market share in the U.S. and over 90% in Europe. An integral part of Google’s search feature is ‘autocomplete’ which shows an algorithmically derived list of search completion suggestions to users based on what millions of other users have searched for previously. The autocomplete terms are published algorithmically and have no human intervention, though Google has tweaked the terms to remove some illicit autocomplete suggestions.

Nevertheless, Google has come under legal fire in recent years for autocomplete results that link individuals and corporations to illegal or otherwise unsavory activities. In 2011, a Milan Italy court issued an order requiring Google to filter libelous autocomplete suggestions. Google autocomplete suggestions returned the words “truffatore” (con man) and “truffa” (fraud) when users queried the plaintiff’s first and last names, allegedly damaging the plaintiff’s reputation and public image as an entrepreneur. 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

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