June 08, 2005

Blogs as lawyer advertising

The Kentucky Attorneys' Advertising Commission apparently has taken the position that every post on a lawyer's blog constitutes an advertisement, requiring the lawyer to submit a copy of the post to the Commission along with a $50 filing fee. See Ben Cowgill's Legal Ethics Blog, Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground, Dennis Kennedy in Between Lawyers, and David Giacalone in f/k/a. Eugene Volokh says it's "surely unconstitutional."

May 16, 2005

Wining across state lines

The Supreme Court today handed down Granholm v. Heald, striking down (by a 5-4 majority) state laws that ban direct sales to consumers by out-of-state wineries while permitting direct sales by in-state wineries, on the ground that such laws violate the dormant Commerce Clause.

April 12, 2005

Watch what you blog

If you're planning to commit a crime, don't brag about it in your blog. (State v. Velardi (N.C. App. Apr. 5, 2005), via InternetCases.com)

April 11, 2005

ICANN do whatever I want

The Ninth Circuit held last week (in McNeil v. Verisign, Inc.) that ICANN isn't a state actor and therefore isn't required to respect free speech or due process rights under the U.S. Constitution. (For general background, see these law review symposium issues: 6 J. Small & Emerging Bus. L. no. 1 (Spring 2002) and 15 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. no. 3 (Spring 1997).)

UPDATE: Eric Goldman lists previous decisions declining to find state action by private Internet entities here.

March 08, 2005

The King v. The King of Pop?

(Via Kings & Things)  Elvis tribute artist Matthew Tuttle last week won a seat in the public lottery to watch a day of Michael Jackson's child molestation trial. The Sonora (Cal.) Union Democrat reports that Tuttle was a criminal defense lawyer before giving up the law to live life as Elvis.

March 02, 2005

MGM v. Grokster

Oral arguments in MGM v. Grokster are scheduled for March 29. The briefs of the parties along with numerous amicus briefs are available from EFF. (I signed onto the brief submitted by 60 Technology Law Professors and USACM.)

February 23, 2005

eBay accused of Shill Bidding

A class action suit filed in California last week alleges fraud and unconscionability in eBay's bidding system. The suit focuses on the manner in which eBay handles proxy bids, and characterizes eBay's actions as tantamount to "shill bidding." The plaintiffs' firm has issued a press release; Reuters [alternate link] and InternetNews.com have more.

The plaintiffs may have a point, but the impact of eBay's practices isn't particularly significant (less than one bid increment) except on an aggregate level. I'm guessing this one will settle for substantial attorney's fees for the named plaintiff's firm, a thousand dollars or so for the lead plaintiff, worthless coupons for all of the other class members, and a promise by eBay to do a better job of explaining how proxy bids work.

EBay's bidding system is inherently broken -- a timed auction makes sense only where bids are sealed until the auction closes (hence the existence of eSnipe and similar services that exploit this design flaw) -- but that problem has little to do with this case.

UPDATES: Commentary on the case from Eric Goldman and Slashdot. And a printable copy of the complaint.

February 20, 2005

No Spam for Cows?

Karl Auerbach notes that cows infected with mad cow disease enjoy greater privacy protection than people who register domain names.

I told you we were on the wrong side of the cow.

All Your Mail Is Spam

CircleID reports that spam now represents 70%-85% of all email. That sounds very low to me -- those numbers must be based upon email that is actually delivered (i.e., they don't include spam that is blocked successfully).

February 12, 2005

Don't Spam My Domain

Last year the FTC rejected my suggestion that it permit domain-wide opt-out in a national Do Not E-Mail Registry ... but the FCC has now done precisely that in its registry of Wireless Domain Names.