We registered for fall classes this week. Luckily, I got into everything I wanted:
- Business Associations
- Patent Law
- European Union Internet Law
Hopefully I will also be on a journal in the fall, and Legal Skills will continue as well. The EU Internet Law class should be interesting. It’s a one week, one credit course taught by a professor from Spain. Unfortunately they only offer “regular” Internet Law over the summer, so this is my only chance to get an Internet-focused class. I’m looking forward to my first IP course with Patent Law, too. I jumped on a wait list for a First Amendment course, but there are 30+ people ahead of me for the 35-seat class.
My second post for the William & Mary IP blog is up. It dives a little deeper into one of the campaign video cases that my previous post covered:
In September, Fox News filed a copyright infringement suit against the campaign of Robin Carnahan, the Democratic then-candidate for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat. (Carahan was eventually defeated at the polls by Republican Roy Blunt.) The complaint alleged that Carnahan’s campaign “usurped proprietary footage from the Fox News Network to made it appear – falsely – that [Fox News] and Christopher Wallace, one of the nation’s most respected political journalists, are endorsing Robin Carnahan’s campaign.” The ad (which you can watchhere) consists almost entirely of footage taken from Wallace’s interview of Blunt on Fox News earlier this year. In addition to copyright infringement, the complaint alleges invasions of Wallace’s privacy and publicity rights.
There are at least two key issues at stake in this lawsuit. The first is the nature of the rights that Fox News is seeking to protect. Instead of alleging an infringement of economic rights to its work, Fox News focuses its complaint largely around the effect of the unauthorized use of its work on its reputation. Throughout its complaint, Fox News speaks of the ad “compromising its apparent objectivity” and “misleading” its viewers into thinking that it endorsed Carnahan as a candidate.
The aforementioned CDT reports put it best: “These are not copyright interests.”
Click through to read the rest. [Update: It’s also now live on State of Elections.]
I just had my first post published on the William & Mary IP Society blog:
If you follow election campaigns, you’re likely familiar with the idea of the October surprise. The term refers to a last-minute revelation that forces a candidate’s campaign into crisis response mode, at a time when the slightest hiccup might derail their success. Take, for example, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s recent woes over her former housekeeper.
Now a very different sort of October surprise looms as campaigns increasingly come to rely on the Internet for their messaging. In addition to defending against traditional last minute revelations, campaigns must now fight against censorship disguised as copyright enforcement.
The rest of the post discusses the recent CDT report on illegitimate DMCA takedowns of political campaign videos, and how the DMCA poses particular problems for this type of content. Read the rest of the post here.
The afternoon portion of today’s Law Camp session was mostly administrative. We heard from several deans and student leaders about various different aspects of academic and social life at law school. The last speaker this afternoon was the dean of career services.
The dean went over a few important dates, and then offered us a piece of advice. I paraphrase:
The single most useful and important thing that you can do in these first several weeks is to investigate and think carefully about the images and information about you that exist on the Internet.
He went on to propose two hypotheticals, in both of which we should assume the role of a hiring partner at a national law firm.
- You gain access to a promising candidate’s Facebook profile, and find a picture of the candidate sitting on the beach in her swimsuit with two of her friends, raising beer cans in a toast. Do you disqualify the candidate based on this image?
- In researching a different but also promising candidate online, you come across a college newspaper article complete with photo that says, referring to that candidate: “SGA Secretary Convicted of Stealing School Supplies.” Turns out, it was the April Fool’s edition of the newspaper, but it is not clearly marked on the article and not apparent from the writing style. Do you disqualify the candidate based on this discovery?
Tomorrow begins Law Camp, the one week orientation session preceding the start of “real” classes. We take our individual and class photos, pledge ourselves to the Honor Code, and are otherwise initiated as 1Ls. We will also meet for the first time in our fourteen Law Offices: the small groups where for the next two years we will practice our writing, speaking, interviewing, negotiating, and other important skills.
I organized a group outing last Friday via our class’s Facebook group. We had a really strong showing, almost 25 folks. It was great to get to know some people before we were all thrown in together at the Welcome Reception this afternoon. Everyone seems really nice, smart, and excited about the coming adventure. It’s going to be a fun time, I think.