Congressional Research Service Reports Now Officially Publicly Available

19 09 2018

TechDirt

For many, many years we’ve been writing about the ridiculousness of the Congressional Research Service’s reports being kept secret. If you don’t know, CRS is a sort of in-house think tank for Congress, that does, careful, thoughtful, non-partisan research on a variety of topics (sometimes tasked by members of Congress, sometimes of its own volition). The reports are usually quite thorough and free of political nonsense. Since the reports are created by the federal government, they are technically in the public domain, but many in Congress (including many who work at CRS itself) have long resisted requests to make those works public. Instead, we were left with relying on members of Congress themselves to occasionally (and selectively) share reports with the public, rather than giving everyone access to the reports. . . .

And, this week, it has come to pass. As announced by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, there is now an official site to find CRS reports at crsreports.congress.gov.

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Congress OKs sex trafficking bill that critics say will “censor the Internet”

22 03 2018

Ars Technica

– 3/21/2018, 5:54 PM

The US Senate today passed a bill that weakens legal protections given to websites that host third-party content, saying the measure will help stop promotion of prostitution and sex trafficking on the Internet. But the legislation won’t actually help victims of sex trafficking, and will erode online free speech, critics say.

The Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in a 97-2 vote. Only Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voted against the bill, which is also known as the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). It already passed the House of Representatives, and is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump.

The bill changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides website operators with broad immunity for hosting third-party content. The bill declares that Section 230 “was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims.”

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The content in this post was found at https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/congress-oks-sex-trafficking-bill-that-critics-say-will-censor-the-internet/

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Top Internet Law Developments of 2017 (Very Late)

14 03 2018

Eric Goldman
Technology and Marketing Law Blog

March 13, 2018

[It’s a sign of my busy 2018 that I’m only now posting my annual Internet Law year-in-review recap. Better late than never?]

Can the Print-on-Demand Industry Survive?

Trump and Twitter.

Uber.

Europe’s GDPR.

Net Neutrality.

Section 230 and Sex Trafficking.

SESTA/FOSTA

“Conservatives” Bring Censorious Civil Rights Lawsuits Against Internet Giants (and “Liberal” Google/Facebook/Twitter Haters Cheer Them On).

Internet Companies Are Viewed as the Problem, Not the Solution (Especially for Political Ads).

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2018/03/top-internet-law-developments-of-2017-very-late.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com.

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Leveling the Playing Field: Potential Copyright Reform

27 02 2018

–Greta Messer

FEBRUARY 25, 2018

jetlaw.org

Of the many movements garnering current political interest, music hubs such as Nashville have a keen eye on one more under the radar: copyright reform.  . . . The currently pending legislation to aid these musicians may be packaged differently in omnibus bills moving forward, but the core components include the Music Modernization Act, the Classics Act, and the Allocation for Music Producers Act.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.jetlaw.org/2018/02/25/leveling-the-playing-field-potential-copyright-reform/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com.

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Congress Probably Will Ruin Section 230 This Week (SESTA/FOSTA Updates)

27 02 2018

For the past year, I’ve been covering Congress’ efforts to create a sex trafficking exception to Section 230’s immunity. From the beginning, it was clear that the proponents did not understand Section 230’s powerful but counter-intuitive doctrinal mechanisms, yet their initiative to gut Section 230 had momentum. Two bills were introduced: SESTA in the Senate and FOSTA in the House. Both bills as introduced were terrible.

After a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, SESTA was amended to fix some of its roughest edges, but the amendments didn’t resolve SESTA’s structural flaw (I’ll discuss that below). As part of a House Judiciary Committee hearing, FOSTA as introduced was replaced by substitute FOSTA, which still had problems but represented a more productive approach to address sex trafficking. Amended SESTA and substitute FOSTA passed the Senate Commerce Committee and House Judiciary Committee, respectively, queuing both up for passage by their respective chambers. However, amended SESTA has been slowed by Sen. Wyden’s hold; and for reasons that aren’t clear to me, the House Judiciary Committee didn’t report substitute FOSTA until last week. Ten days ago, the House Energy & Commerce Committee waived jurisdiction over FOSTA to help get the bill on the House floor.

Ever since substitute FOSTA emerged, one of the key questions has been how Senate and House might reconcile the different policy approaches in SESTA and FOSTA if both advanced. No one I spoke to, not even the inside-Congress experts, were confident in their predictions. Last week, a backroom deal was announced that apparently answers that question, but in substantively and procedurally deficient ways. This is BAD NEWS.

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2018/02/congress-probably-will-ruin-section-230-this-week-sestafosta-updates.htm

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ESA Comes Out Against Allowing Museums To Curate Online Video Games For Posterity

27 02 2018

Tech dirt
[retrieved 2-27-18]

A week or so back, we discussed the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) calling on the Copyright Office to extend exemptions to anti-circumvention in the DMCA to organizations looking to curate and preserve online games. Any reading of stories covering this idea needs to be grounded in the understanding that the Librarian of Congress has already extended these same exemptions to video games that are not online multiplayer games. Games of this sort are art, after all, and exemptions to the anti-circumvention laws allow museums, libraries, and others to preserve and display older games that may not natively run on current technology, or those that have been largely lost in terms of physical product. MADE’s argument is that online multiplayer games are every bit the art that these single-player games are and deserve preservation as well.

Well, the Entertainment Software Association, an industry group that largely stumps for the largest gaming studios and publishers in the industry, has come out in opposition to preserving online games, arguing that such preservation is a threat to the industry.

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IP and Sovereign Immunity: Why You Can’t Always Sue for IP Infringement

3 02 2018

The overlap between sovereign immunity and IP issues is not something that comes up all of the time. However, when it does, the impact of the immunity can be significant. The law for certain matters, such as lawsuits in Federal court, is fairly well resolved. However, its application when new procedures are made available, such as for IPRs which were established in 2012, has provided new challenges and opportunities… So can the Federal or State government be sued for infringement under Federal patent, trademark, or copyright law? The answer often depends on the particular facts and specific legal issues of a dispute. That said, in most cases the answer is Yes for the U.S. Government and No for states and Tribal Nations, unless they have taken a specific action to waive immunity for that matter. A brief summary follows.

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3D Printing for Consumers: What Does it Mean for the Future of IP?

5 01 2018

Patent filings relating to 3D printing have increased 23-fold over the last five years, and trademark filings for businesses involved in 3D printing have increased 300 percent over the same time. Obviously, there is great excitement over the promise of 3D printing, but there is also concern about how 3D printing could make it too easy to copy a patented product with a push of a button… Traditionally, it is more important to have patent claims that protect products, components of products, arrangements of products, etc. Future IP will weigh more heavily on ideas and designs, rather than methods, which will be increasingly become difficult to police. These files will serve as proof of an owners’ pre-established rights, and could prove to be a major profit-making source in the future. And while copyrights are susceptible to fair use claims in a way patents are not, copyrights last for an extremely long time (e.g., 70 years beyond the death of the author).

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The content in this post was found at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2017/04/25/3d-printing-consumers-future-ip/id=82533/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Imitation Game: The Legal Implications of Voice Cloning

5 01 2018

“I am not a robot. My intonation is always different.” — “Donald Trump” “I am not a robot. My intonation is always different.” —”Barack Obama” Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama never actually uttered the line, or at least those 10 words in that order. But over at the website Lyrebird.ai, you can play recordings […]

[ed note to students: use the BU lib subscription to WSJ to access this article.]

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The content in this post was found at https://blogs.wsj.com/law/2017/04/25/imitation-game-the-legal-implications-of-voice-cloning/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



The Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Trade Secret Law

4 01 2018

The current extraterritorial reach of U.S. trade secret law may seem ironic given trade secret law’s “local” roots. In the United States, common law trade secret principles emerged through a diverse patchwork of state court decisions addressing local commercial disputes. These local common law principles were first distilled in the Restatement of Torts and the Restatement of Unfair Competition and then codified in the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in 1979. Underscoring the local prerogative of trade secret law, state legislatures modified and tailored the Uniform Trade Secrets Act to reflect their state-specific concerns and needs. For many years, despite a push for national uniformity, a number of states chose not to adopt a statutory scheme at all (some still haven’t).

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The content in this post was found at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2017/05/30/ready-to-use-the-extraterritorial-reach-of-u-s-trade-secret-law/id=83698/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.