GOING AFTER INDIVIDUALS FOR COPYRIGHT VIOLATIONS:
THE NEW BILL THAT WOULD GRANT COPYRIGHT OWNERS
A "LICENSE TO HACK" PEER-TO-PEER NETWORKS
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden discuses a new cyberlaw bill sponsor by California Representative Howard Berman. The bill would immunize copyright owners from legal liability, both criminal and civil, that would otherwise arise from their hacking into th peer-to-peer file trading networks, such as Gnutella, that have succeeded Napster as the place to trade MP3s on the Internet. Hilden summarizes the bill and its limitations, but argues they are not sufficient to protect users. She also predicts a trend in which copyright industries increasingly go after copyright-infringing users, whether through hacking or more traditional means.
Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2002
THE SUMMER OF KIDNAPPED GIRLS:
COULD AN EXPANSION OF MEGAN'S LAW HELP TO PREVENT MORE ABDUCTIONS?
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden argues that some of this summer's abductions -- including Samantha Runnion's and the two California teenagers' -- might well have been prevented by an expansion of California's version of Megan's Law. Under Hilden's proposed expansion, the law would provide for Internet posting of photos and addresses of anyone who had been charged with a sex or violent crime -- regardless of the outcome. That would have meant photos of Alejandro Avila (acquitted of molestation) and Roy Ratliff (prior rape charges pending) would have appeared, and possibly aided in saving their victims.
Tuesday, Aug. 06, 2002
THE HITCHING POST CASE:
THE SUPREME COURT WEIGHS IN ON
WHEN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES SHOULD KNOW THEIR ACTIONS
COUNT AS "CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT"
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden discusses Hope v. Pelzer, an opinion the Supreme Court issued at the end of its most recent Term. The opinion holds that prison guards violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "cruel and unusual" punishments if, as a prisoner claims, they tied him to a hitching post for hours in the hot sun without water or bathroom breaks. It also holds that any reasonable person would know such conduct violates the Eighth Amendment -- but the dissent disagrees, and Hilden notes there is something to be said for its position.
Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2002
WERE THE BUSH V. GORE JUSTICES' VIEWS REALLY POLITICAL
AND NOT PRINCIPLED?
A RECENT SUPREME COURT OPINION
ON STATES' ABILITY TO REGULATE JUDICIAL CANDIDATES' SPEECH
MAY PROVE THE CYNICS WRONG
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden discusses the recent case of Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, in which the Supreme Court struck down Minnesota regulations limiting what candidates for elected judgeships could say about disputed legal and political issues. Hilden draws a parallel between White and Bush v. Gore, noting that the majority and minority Justices lined up in the same way -- and took very similar positions -- in the two cases. Hilden concludes that the Justices' positions on intervention in state election systems may be much more consistent and principled than critics of Bush v. Gore have claimed.
Tuesday, Jul. 09, 2002
THE TOP SEVEN ARGUMENTS OF THE FIRST YEAR OF LAW SCHOOL,
AND THEIR COUNTERARGUMENTS
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden argues that the first
year of law school should not be as daunting as "The Paper Chase" and "One L"
made it appear -- for the basic arguments that are taught during that year,
she contends, are few and simple. Hilden provides a list of the top seven
arguments a One L will encounter -- from the "slippery slope" to the
"cheapest cost-avoider" -- and explains why they aren't always quite as
persuasive as they may seem.
Friday, Jun. 21, 2002
CAN A LIBEL DEFENDANT BE SUED IN ANY AND EVERY STATE
FOR MATERIAL PUBLISHED ON A WEBSITE?:
A NEW CASE TESTS WHAT ROLE INTERNET PRESENCE PLAYS
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden discusses a series of
questions suggested by a recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals case: Can a
local newspaper -- and its reporters and editors -- be sued for libel in a
state in which the paper has little or no circulation, simply because its
website is accessible in that state? What if the website includes an article
about a resident of that state? The questions have possible repercussions,
as Hilden explains, not only for local but also for national newspapers like
the New York Times and Washington Post -- who have filed friend-of-the-court
briefs in the case.
Tuesday, Jun. 04, 2002
THE TRAGIC MIS-INVESTIGATION OF CHANDRA LEVY'S DISAPPEARANCE:
HOW THE DISCOVERY OF HER REMAINS UNDERLINES POLICE
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden offer a point-by-point
argument suggesting that the D.C. police's excuses for why prior searches did
not uncover Chandra Levy's remains do not hold water. Hilden also explains
why the delay in discovering Levy's remains means the police have lost
crucial advantages in their investigation -- not only forensic, but
strategic. Finally, she explains why, in this age of terrorism, it is time
for a new police chief for D.C.
Monday, May. 27, 2002
WHAT LEGAL QUESTIONS ARE THE NEW CHIP IMPLANTS
FOR HUMANS LIKELY TO RAISE?
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden considers the potential
legal implications of a recent technological development:
commercially-available chips containing information to be accessed in medical
emergencies. The chips were implanted for the first time in humans late last
week. Hilden explains how the law may, and may not, constrain potential uses
of information chips --- and also potential uses of chips and pagers using
Global Positioning System (GPS) or similar technology, which may soon be on
Tuesday, May. 14, 2002
THE ROBERT BLAKE MURDER CASE:
WHY IT MATTERS, AND IT'S NOT BECAUSE OF HIS CELEBRITY
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden discusses the Robert
Blake indictment -- and in particular, the defense's potential use of murder
victim Bonny Bakley's sordid background to help raise reasonable doubt if the
case against Blake goes to trial. Hilden contends that the case may end up
being notable because of its sexual politics, not because of Blake's faded
Tuesday, Apr. 30, 2002
THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE INTERNET:
WHY TRADITIONAL LEGAL DOCTRINES APPLY DIFFERENTLY IN CYBERSPACE
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden discusses three First
Amendment doctrines that she argues are no longer accurate or effective when
it comes to the Internet. The "marketplace of ideas," Hilden argues, no
longer selects truth alone; "counterspeech" no longer effectively rebuts
false speech; and defamation law is toothless when anonymity is available.
Hilden suggests that another force, however, is replacing these three to help
ensure truth on the Internet.
Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2002
HOW TO SUCCEED AT HARVARD AND STANFORD LAW SCHOOLS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING:
A REVIEW OF ROBERT EBERT BYRNES & JAIME MARQUART'S BRUSH WITH THE LAW
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden reviews a recent memoir
by two former law students determined to counteract the portraits of law
school drawn by One L and The Paper Chase. For Robert Ebert Byrnes and Jaime
Marquart, law school had more to do with "class-ditching, orgies, hookers,
hard drugs, and card-counting" than with the Socractic method. Hilden
assesses their Harvard-meets-Hunter-S.-Thompson account of law school life.
An interview with the authors can be found here.
Friday, Apr. 12, 2002
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