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 Friday, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed a comment on behalf of a coalition of medical device researchers in the Library of Congress’s triennial rulemaking regarding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anticircumvention provisions. As we noted in the blog post from when the Clinic filed an initial petition in this rulemaking, every three years the Librarian of Congress, at the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, considers exemptions to the general law against circumventing technological measures that prevent the public from accessing copyrighted works. These exemptions are granted in cases where the law against circumventing technological measures around copyrighted works unduly prevents the public from making lawful uses of those works. (For more on anti-circumvention law, see the Chilling Effects FAQ.)
The team at the Cyberlaw Clinic could not be more excited about the news that our friend and Berkman Center Faculty Director Susan Crawford is joining the faculty of Harvard Law School as a Clinical Professor of Law! Susan worked with us in the Clinic when she visited HLS in 2014, and our students had a phenomenal experience working with her on matters relating to government and civic innovation. We look forward to many more collaborations in the future!
Harvard students should be aware that the application deadline for the Deans’ Food System Challenge at the Harvard Innovation Lab is fast approaching. Interested teams must submit their applications by no later than Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm. To be eligible, a team’s leader must be a matriculated and degree-seeking Harvard undergraduate student, graduate student, postdoctoral candidate, or clinical fellow. Applicants should register with iStart and submit their applications here. And, those interested in issues relating to the food system should feel free to participate in the challenge’s Open Forum community to share and refine their ideas.
The Cyberlaw Clinic began in 1999, with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s announcement of a new “Clinical Research Program.” As the program heads into its sixteenth year, we at the Clinic have the opportunity to reflect on the events of 2014. From student work and public events, to changes among the Clinic staff, to new modes of teaching and updates to structure of the program itself, we wanted to share some highlights of the past calendar year as we look ahead to the rest of 2015.
On Friday the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus letter (PDF) on behalf of Global Voices Advocacy and the Media Legal Defence Initiative on an important case concerning anti-SLAPP law in California, currently being petitioned for review by the Supreme Court of California. Anti-SLAPP laws exist in numerous states to protect those speaking in government proceedings or on matters of public concern from facing frivilous lawsuits designed to dissuade them from speaking out. (“SLAPP” is an acronym for “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.”) In order to quickly remove vexatious lawsuits while allowing valid claims to go through, courts considering an anti-SLAPP motion require plaintiffs to show that a lawsuit has merit before before allowing the litigation go forward. Under California’s anti-SLAPP law, this means the plaintiff must state and substantiate all elements of their claim if they want to proceed. When a lawsuit is based on a claim of defamation, this includes proving that the speaker acted with fault, either with negligence or “actual malice.”
“Bitcoin” and “law.” At first glance, the two concepts seem unlikely to appear together in a sentence, unless that sentence is “bitcoin exists outside the law” or “bitcoin was used to break the law.” Much of the mainstream media’s coverage of Bitcoin focuses on cases like the prosecution of the founder of Silk Road, a “Deep Web” marketplace where drugs were bought and sold using bitcoins. On the other hand, many within the Bitcoin community believe Bitcoin either cannot or should not be regulated.
To be in Boston on Thursday, October 30th was to be in mourning for the Mayor who led the City on the Hill for two decades, Thomas Menino. As Boston’s citizens paid tribute to the man nicknamed the “urban mechanic” for his attention to the minutiae of city life, many cited ways in which the late Mr. Menino had used technology to make large-scale changes aimed at improving government efficiency, even when he himself was often the least tech-savvy person in the room.
The Cyberlaw Clinic has filed a petition on behalf of a coalition of medical device researchers as part of the Copyright Office and Library of Congress’ rulemaking for exemptions to copyright’s anti-circumvention law. Every three years the Librarian of Congress, at the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, considers exemptions to the general law against circumventing technological measures that prevent the public from accessing copyrighted works. These exemptions are granted in cases where the law against circumventing technological measures around copyrighted works unduly impedes on lawful uses of those works. (For more on anti-circumvention law, see the Chilling Effects FAQ.)