Harvard Law School‘s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, provides high-quality, pro-bono legal services to appropriate clients on issues relating to the Internet, technology, and intellectual property. Students enhance their preparation for high-tech practice and earn course credit by working on real-world litigation, client counseling, advocacy, and transactional / licensing projects and cases. The Clinic strives to help clients achieve success in their activities online, mindful of (and in response to) existing law. The Clinic also works with clients to shape the law’s development through policy and advocacy efforts. The Cyberlaw Clinic was the first of its kind, and it continues its tradition of innovation in its areas of practice. The Clinic works independently, with law students supervised by experienced and licensed attorneys. In some cases, the Clinic collaborates with counsel throughout the country to take advantage of regional or substantive legal expertise.
From the Blog
Today marks the beginning of Fair Use Week, a celebration of the doctrine of fair use in copyright law. Fair use allows a judge to decide – using a set of four factors articulated by the Copyright Act to guide the analysis – that a person can use another’s copyrighted work without permission or payment, despite the copyright holder’s normal ability to control the use. →
The Clinic is pleased to have played a role in preparing a far-reaching new report released by the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, addressing questions about intermediary liability around the world. The report is a first output of a larger initiative on the governance of online intermediaries. It consists of: (a) a case study series exploring online intermediary liability frameworks and issues in Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam; and (b) a synthesis paper that seeks to distill key observations and provide a high-level analysis of some of the structural elements that characterize varying governance frameworks, with a focus on intermediary liability regimes and their evolution. Clinical Fellow Andy Sellars helped to support the project overall, and he — along with the Clinic’s Managing Director Chris Bavitz and two summer 2014 Cyberlaw Clinic interns, Nick DeCoster and Michael Lambert – helped to craft the US case study.
On December 5, 2014 the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus letter in the Supreme Court of California on behalf of Global Voices Advocacy and the Media Legal Defence Initiative in the case of Wineland-Thomson Adventures, Inc. v. Doe 1, No. S222624. In the brief, we argue that California’s anti -SLAPP law, Cal. Code Civ. P. § 425.16, should not allow a defamation plaintiff to survive a motion to strike if their complaint does not specify which statements on the defendant’s website they allege to be defamatory. The brief further argues that courts should not place a lower burden on defamation plaintiffs to prove a valid claim under anti-SLAPP law when suing anonymous online speakers. The amicus letter – a special form of brief allowed by the Supreme Court of California when they are considering taking on a case – demonstrates why the decision below can have particularly negative effects on independent online media operating internationally, who rely on Internet services in California to get their message out to the world.