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“Tool Without a Handle: Reflections on 20 years from Reno v. ACLU”

On 26 June 1997, in Reno v ACLU, the US Supreme Court decided the fate of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), insofar as it criminalized the intentional transmission of "obscene or indecent" messages or information.  In doing so, the Court made not only a finding that this provision of the CDA violated the 1st Amendment, but applied an approach to Internet cases with clear implications for cases the Court faces today.

Reno established that it is essential the Court recognize differences between the measured pace of judge-made law and the blistering pace of technology’s evolution, a point that is still cited by the Court today. And, it identified that the capabilities and availability of the tools at issue have an important role to play in the constitutional analysis. As the Court continues to address Internet and technology-related constitutional cases, the importance of considering the capabilities of Internet tools may well be the most impactful legacy of Reno.

 

 

The Cross-Border Data Fix: It’s Not So Simple

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing yesterday on cross-border data requests, featuring testimony from the Department of Justice, the U.K. government, Google, the Center for Democracy and Technology, state law enforcement, and Professor Andrew Woods. Everyone recognizes the problem: law enforcement outside the U.S. can’t get data for their legitimate investigations from U.S.

BREIN v. Ziggo: The Pirate Bay Dies Again

The Pirate Bay (TPB), that perennial nemesis of copyright holders, is on the ropes again following the CJEU's decision this week in BREIN v. Ziggo. BREIN, the Dutch entertainment industry trade group, sued two ISPs—Ziggo and XS4ALL—seeking a court order to compel them to block the domain names and IP addresses of the legendary torrent sharing site. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands referred two questions to the CJEU: (1) whether TPB’s operation of a searchable index of torrent files violates copyright holders’ right of communication to the public under Article 3(1) of the EU InfoSoc Directive; and (2), in the event that it does, whether the requested injunctions are appropriate against intermediaries under Article 8(3) of the InfoSoc Directive and Article 11 of the IPR Enforcement Directive. This post will focus on the first question, concerning TPB’s liability for unauthorized “communication to the public.”

Tool Without a Handle: Mutual Transparency in Social Media

“Tool Without a Handle:  Mutual Transparency in Social Media”

“I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you”

Bob Dylan – “Positively 4th Street”

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