Freedom “2” Speak

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. *Silence.* The smart phone apocalypse has come. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) criminalizes electronically decoupling a mobile phone from its contracted service provider, otherwise known as “unlocking”:“No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.” “Section 1201 also makes it illegal to circumvent the access controls on DVDs, e-books and video games to make bootlegged copies for sale on the Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 13, 2013

Harvard Defends Email Search Harvard faculty reacted angrily to Harvard’s search of Resident Deans’ emails. (Resident Deans are administrators who oversee the affairs of Harvard’s residential dorms.) Harvard conducted the search, without notice to the deans whose accounts were searched, in order to determine how confidential information regarding last year’s cheating scandal leaked to the press. Through the search, Harvard determined that the memo was forwarded by one Resident Dean to two students. Harvard faculty criticized the search Continue Reading →

The Far Reach of Copyright: Unlocked Smartphones and the DMCA

The Library of Congress Ruling Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Congress set up a mechanism to allow copyright holders to enforce penalties against individuals who bypass “copyright protection systems” (i.e. the digital locks that copyright holders use to restrict access or manipulation to copyrighted content). DMCA § 1201 grants the Library of Congress the ability to grant exemptions for certain actions bypassing copyright protection systems if the Librarian of Congress believed that the Continue Reading →

Can Assistive Technology Eliminate Disabilities?

Assistive technologies that enable an amputee to not only walk, but run and dance, are obviously incredible.  New prosthetic limbs simulate natural gait.  Brain-Computer Interfaces allow people who are completely paralyzed, “locked in,” to communicate. Enable Talk Gloves (only $75!) translate sign language to spoken words.  The recent trend of technological advancements is so remarkable—and accessible—that it may even, as one prominent roboticist boldly claims, largely eliminate disabilities during the 21st century. However, whether his Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 6, 2012

F.C.C. Backs Consumers in Unlocking Cellphones The F.C.C. announced that it supports unlocking of cellphones for consumers not bound by a service agreement. Under a ruling from last fall by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress, unlocking cellphones would be in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s Circumvention of Technological Protection Measures. R. David Edleman, an Obama administration adviser on Internet and privacy issues, said that the F.C.C.’s position was “common sense Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 4, 2013

SHIELD Act Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) have introduced the Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act, an act that attempts to fight back against patent trolls. The bill would force plaintiffs to pay for the defendant’s attorney fees and other legal costs if their patent lawsuit fails in court.  Plaintiffs would be exempt if they invented the patent themselves or could show that they had made a substantial investment Continue Reading →

Good Egg, Bad Egg

When you buy eggs, how long do you stand in the aisle, reading the labels and trying to decide which carton to get? For many of us, the choice is straightforward- the cheapest dozen, or the brand you’ve always bought. But for others, stories of the benefits of the organic choice, the perils of antibiotic use in livestock, and animal cruelty, have prompted a closer look at the labels on egg cartons. However, labels such Continue Reading →