Bills to curb cyber-bullying raise free-speech concerns

By Kathleen Fitzgerald, SPLC staff writer at 2008 Student Press Law Center February 4, 2008 Legislators in several states this year have proposed or reintroduced bills to protect students from cyber-bullying, giving school administrators a role in combating what they see as a new wave of electronic harassment. While some feel this will protect students, First Amendment advocates worry the policies will infringe on students’ rights. Craig L. Rice, a Democratic delegate in Maryland, introduced Continue reading Bills to curb cyber-bullying raise free-speech concerns

Dreamworks and Paramount Sued By Beeceuticals Over Bee Movie Slogan

Paramount Pictures Corp. and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., makers of the animated film “Bee Movie,” were sued by a honey-products company over claims they copied the firm’s “Give Bees A Chance” slogan. Click here to view the story. Continue reading Dreamworks and Paramount Sued By Beeceuticals Over Bee Movie Slogan

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

When company data is stolen or maliciously destroyed, the modern cause of action is the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, a criminal statute that expressly provides for a civil action for damages and injunctive relief for anyone “who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of” the statute. 18 U.S.C. 1030(g).

Truth in Music Advertising Law

On June 18, 2007, Florida joined 16 other states in passing a truth in music advertising law. See F.S. 817.4115, False, deceptive, or misleading advertisement of live musical performances. The law was created to protect artists from identity theft and consumers from being deceived by acts that are not comprised of the legendary artists that initially made the original songs famous. The states that have thus far joined the bandwagon and have passed laws regulating Continue reading Truth in Music Advertising Law

Three Hurdles to Website Owner Liability

Federal law provides that no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider, 47 U.S.C. §230(c)(1), and that no cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section, §230(e)(3). Note, the statute contains important exceptions. See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(1) (excepting federal Continue reading Three Hurdles to Website Owner Liability

TorrentSpy Ordered to Log Users’ IPs

On June 27, 2007 in a copyright infringement lawsuit, Columbia Pictures Industries v. Bunnell, No. 06-01093 FMC, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ruled that TorrentSpy, a popular search engine that indexes materials made publicly available via the Bit Torrent file sharing protocol, must activate logging and turn the logged data over to the studios, despite its privacy policy. The magistrate judge reasoned that because the Continue reading TorrentSpy Ordered to Log Users’ IPs

Son of Sam Law in FL

The “Son of Sam” Law in Florida is codified at F.S. 944.512. In Rolling v. State ex rel. Butterworth, 741 So. 2d 627 (1999, FL 1st DCA), Appellee State, pursuant to Fla. Stat. ch. 944.512, sought imposition of a lien against property in an action against appellant, convicted criminal, especially seeking proceeds from sale of a book containing accounts of the crimes for which appellant was convicted. Appellants argued that Fla. Stat. ch. 960.291(7) violated Continue reading Son of Sam Law in FL

EMI Offers Higher Quality Downloads Without DRM

EMI will be offering, at a greater price, higher quality digital music downloads without digital rights management (“DRM”) through Apple’s ITunes Store in addition to its lower quality restricted catalog. We’ll have to gaze into our crystal balls to determine whether distributing unprotected MP3s will help expand the market and what effect this will have on music piracy.

Trademarks Trumped by Freedom of Speech

Click here to read the decision of the National Arbitration Forum in Homer TLC, Inc. v. GreenPeople, Claim Number: FA0508000550345, dated 10/25/05, wherein the panel found that respondent’s use of the domain name “” did not violate the Home Depot marks of the complainant.

Internet Addiction

DAXING, China – Sun Jiting spends his days locked behind metal bars in this military-run installation, put there by his parents. The 17-year-old high school student is not allowed to communicate with friends back home, and his only companions are psychologists, nurses and other patients. Each morning at 6:30, he is jolted awake by a soldier in fatigues shouting, “This is for your own good!” Sun’s offense: Internet addiction.