The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief today (PDF) at the United States Court of a Appeals for the First Circuit, on behalf of the New England First Amendment Coalition and the Keene Sentinel. The case, Rideout v. Gardner, concerns a law passed by the State of New Hampshire to prevent “ballot selfies” – photos of completed ballots that are posted on social media. The brief argues that the law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment, as it prohibits a variety of speech important to monitoring the government, educating voters and engaging in political debate.
On April 1st, the Copyright Office closed the initial comment period for a public study undertaken to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) safe harbor provisions, embodied in Section 512 of the United States Copyright Act. On April 7th, the filed comments were released online.
HLS clinical registration for the 2016-17 academic year is just around the corner. We in the Cyberlaw Clinic often field questions this time of year from HLS students thinking about enrolling in the Clinic, trying to determine how we operate and whether the Clinic would be a good fit. To help guide students in their decision-making, we have assembled answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions:
The Cyberlaw Clinic has filed a comment (PDF) before the Copyright Office as part of the office’s Section 1201 Study, which looks into copyright’s anticircumvention law, embodied in Section 1201 of the United States Copyright Act. Anticircumvention law prohibits bypassing or evading “technical protection measures” on copyrighted works — such as CSS encryption on DVDs or digital locks present on many eBooks — even if one’s use of the underlying work otherwise does not infringe copyright. As required in the statute, the Copyright Office holds hearings every three years to consider requests for temporary exemptions when the law works to prohibit noninfringing uses of others’ works. The Clinic’s comment in the 1201 proceeding addresses deficiencies present in the Office’s approach to this triennial rulemaking, and recommends a set of solutions.
Harvard Law School students Olga Slobodyanyuk and Leo Angelakos of the Cyberlaw Clinic recently teamed up with the Berkman Center‘s Youth and Media team to develop a set of resources regarding the legal doctrine of fair use. Olga and Leo helped to develop three new sets of resources for students and teachers. Together, they produced a podcast in collaboration with Radio Berkman; a guide for teachers (including a number of education-specific resources); and an infographic to explain fair use doctrine in a visual way. You can find out more about the resources here.
Last week, the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic, on behalf of a group of law scholars, filed an amicus brief (pdf) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in American Educational Resource Association (AERA) v. Public.Resource.org, Case No. 1:14-cv-00857-TSC (D.D.C.). In January, amici joined a similar brief in the case, ASTM v. Public Resource, Case No. 1:13-cv-01215-EGS (D.D.C.), which is pending before the same court. As in the previous case, the plaintiffs in this case are organizations that develop standards (SDOs). They include AERA, the American Psychological Association, Inc., and the National Council on Measurement in Education, Inc. Plaintiffs allege copyright and trademark infringement by defendant Public Resource, a non-profit organization dedicated to making government information accessible to the public, for publishing on its website privately developed standards that have been incorporated into federal law.
This week, the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic, on behalf of a group of esteemed law scholars, filed an amicus brief (pdf) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) v. Public.Resource.org. Amici argue in the brief that model codes incorporated into law are not, and should not be, copyrightable. Several standards developing organizations (SDOs) – including ASTM, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) – filed the lawsuit against Public Resource back in 2013, alleging copyright and trademark infringement. After a lengthy discovery process, the federal District Court in D.C. is currently considering motions for summary judgment from both parties.
In November 2015, the Cyberlaw Clinic supported the Electronic Privacy Information Center in submitting comments to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding a proposed registration regime for operators of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”), commonly known as drones. Fall 2015 Clinic students Katherine Kwong and Sophia Choi contributed to EPIC’s comments, in which EPIC expressed general support for a drone registration requirement but raised concerns about the inclusion of personal information about drone operators in a registration database.
Harvard students seeking ongoing support and mentorship with their startups are encouraged to apply for the Harvard Innovation Lab‘s Spring 2016 Venture Incubation Program. The Program offers a great opportunity for current Harvard students (including students throughout the university, from the Law School and beyond) who are looking for space and related community resources as they try to build out a venture. Information about the program and the application process is available at the i-Lab website. Applications for the spring are due on January 4, 2016.
The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) in Commonwealth v. White, SJC-11917. This is the third case in as many years in which Massachusetts’s highest court has sought the input of amici to help clarify when law enforcement may glean information from a cell phone to advance a criminal investigation.