By Brian Kozlowski
Lori Drew “Cyberbullying” Conviction Thrown Out
The Los Angeles Times reports that on July 2nd, a federal judge dismissed the case against “cyberbully” Lori Drew, saying that the clear terms of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) preclude a guilty verdict. The Lori Drew case received widespread media attention eight months ago when the 50 year-old mother was found guilty of “unauthorized computer access” under the CFFA for aiding her daughter in creating a fake MySpace account that led to another girl’s suicide. The guilty verdict was ardently criticized for criminalizing violations of websites’ terms of service, which few users actually read when creating accounts, essentially allowing websites to make their own law.
China’s Mandatory Client-Side Censoring Program Delayed
Only a day before the previously announced July 1st deadline, the Chinese government announced, through official news agency Xinhua, a delay in the requirement that PC makers pre-install a web-filtering program called “Green Dam Youth Escort.” The Wall Street Journal reports that the project is not abandoned, but merely delayed. Green Dam was first released several months ago as a pornography-filtering program and didn’t evolve into a requirement until the beginning of June, much to the chagrin of PC manufacturers. After the University of Michigan discovered serious security holes, which would open computers to remote code execution, PC manufacturers began to worry about liability issues and possibly acquiring reputations for supporting censorship. So far, only Sony has shipped computers with the software pre-installed in advance of the July 1st deadline.
Supreme Court Allows Remote Storage DVR
Ars Technica and Wired both report that the Supreme Court declined to hear a final appeal in the Cablevision DVR case on the final day of its term. The Second Circuit had allowed Cablevision to continue offering its customers a recording system that is different from traditional recording only in that it stores the customers’ recordings of copyrighted content remotely on Cablevision’s servers. Because the consumer maintains control over the recordings, rather than accessing an on-demand library provided by Cablevision, the court ruled that the recordings were still fair use. Television networks called the case the most important since the 1984 ruling that consumer VHS recording of copyrighted movies falls under fair use. The Supreme Court’s silence aligns with the filing by the Obama administration suggesting that this case was not the appropriate forum to “clarify” the legal issues of fair use.
Another Nesson-RIAA Continue to Clash over File-Sharing
As reported by Ars Technica, Harvard Law professor Charlie Nesson is once more facing off against the RIAA’s MediaSentry in the illegal file-sharing suit against Joel Tenenbaum. Tenenbaum, like Jammie Thomas-Rasset before him, is accused of sharing songs illegally on KaZaa. Nesson and his associates aim to try the same legal tactic that has failed them in the past, namely attempting to discredit the evidence brought by the RIAA as being gathered illegally. The high-profile cases, including controversial high damage awards and internal defense disputes, have been part of a larger attempt to establish solid legal precedent, or prompt a legislative solution, for future file-sharing disputes.