Copyright Strikes as a Tool for Censorship, Bullying, Extortion

With the advent and then explosion of consumer internet access in the 1990s, a concomitant threat of massive, anonymous, and difficult-to-trace copyright infringement also arose. Congress faced significant pressure from two major industries: traditional media producers and internet service providers. Traditional media producers feared the practical death of their intellectual property through unstoppable and untraceable internet file-sharing, while internet service providers feared endless lawsuits for the infringing activities of their users. Congress responded.. Read More

Speaking About Politics: A Fireable Offense?

President Trump’s remarks that NFL owners should fire players who chose to kneel during the national anthem and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ statement that Jemele Hill’s tweets disparaging Trump were a “fireable offense” pose an important question: can a private-sector employee be fired based on his or her political speech? The simple answer is yes; an employer may impose restrictions on speech relating to politics and decide to terminate employment.. Read More

Online Subscriptions: The Key to Fighting Piracy in the Internet of Tomorrow?

I recently came across The New York Times article “How the Internet Is Saving Culture, Not Killing It,” by Fahrad Manjoo. Being that I’m fascinated by the idea that the Internet is the manifestation of consciousness and culture is the expression of it, I was immediately intrigued by an analysis of the relationship between the two. The article begins by acknowledging how business sectors in the past few decades have suffered at the.. Read More

Why It’s Time to End the Federal Prohibition on Sports Gambling

An estimated $90 billion will be bet on NFL and NCAA football games during the 2016-2017 season—yet only $2 billion will be done so legally. This discrepancy is a testament to the failure of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), a federal statute that outlawed sports gambling in the United States. Four states—Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana—were able to avoid this prohibition due to exemptions in PASPA that allowed.. Read More

Automated copyright infringement detection systems and their effect on music producers worldwide

  Weeks ago, Apple and Spotify announced they had reached agreements with the music royalty analysis company Dubset. Dubset’s services include the ability for streaming providers to easily and legally allow users to upload music, even if those particular pieces of music contains copyrighted material. Dubset then analyzes the copyrighted material within the song using an automated scanning technique and distributes royalties based on prior royalty agreements. This specific service is known as.. Read More

#Trademarks: Are hashtags protected by trademark law?

On August 23, 2007, Chris Messina asked a new and growing Twitter audience, “How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” The former Googler and current Uber executive is often credited with inventing the “hashtag,” a word or phrase preceded by the # symbol. Hashtags categorize topics, making it easier for social media users to organize and search for particular content. Although the hashtag first gained popularity.. Read More

The Potential Implications of the Instagram Regram

Instagram has become one of the most widely used social networking applications today. Its interface is based entirely off of user-generated content by allowing its users to share photos, videos, and network with other members either publicly or privately on the application. As of June 2016, the mobile photo-sharing network has reached 500 million monthly active users, meaning that a whopping 20% of all Internet users use Instagram. Users post both their own.. Read More

The Growth of League of Legends, And the Need for Collective Bargaining

eSports has become more prominent over the past decade. In 2015, the global revenues for all eSports games combined reached $325 million, with North America accounting for a third of that total. The trend shows that such revenue will reach $1 billion by 2019. In terms of viewership, statistics show a global audience of 226 million viewers in 2015, trending towards 450 million viewers by 2019. In mainstream media, eSports has also grown.. Read More

Chasing YouTube: How Europe Plans to Hold Web Platforms Accountable

As the Internet gravitates toward social media and viral content, claims of ownership over online content become more and more difficult to enforce. Songs and music videos are posted illegally on dozens of sites, and even news articles are often compiled by aggregators before finding their way to large segments of the public. Record labels that previously enjoyed sizable profits on the music they produced have now seen their revenues decline sharply over.. Read More

The Companies Behind the #WTFU

If you follow vloggers like Nostalgia Critic or Honest Trailers, you might be familiar with the hashtag #WTFU. No, it’s not an acronym for a rude phrase—it stands for “Where is The Fair Use?” Here’s the lowdown: YouTube videos that use clips or sound bites from other work have been facing an flurry of takedown notices for alleged copyright infringement. The problem is that these videos are only using bits and pieces of.. Read More