December 2008 Quick Links, Part 2

By Eric Goldman

Social Networking Sites/Cyber-Bullying/Sexual Predation

* More on the Lori Drew conviction:

- Wired has a tough behind-the-scenes look at the Lori Drew jury deliberations.

- The jury instructions

- In case you missed it, my special three part series on implications of the Lori Drew conviction: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

* Yet more fallout from the Lori Drew prosecution and conviction. Wired has a story on the cyberbullying litigation frenzy. The Washington Post has a recap on the proliferation of state anti-cyberbullying laws.

* U.S. v. Morris, 2008 WL 5101636 (7th Cir Dec. 5, 2008). Judge Posner talks about the difference between entrapment (not OK) and vigilantism (OK) in the context of a mom who created a fake MySpace persona to chat with an alleged sexual predator who had contacted her underage daughter.

* Facebook’s policy on breast-feeding photos has sparked protests both online and off (1, 2, 3). It reminds me a bit of one of my first challenges as Epinions’ general counsel. (search for Epinions).

Google

* Barry Schwartz: is Google getting desperate for ad revenue?

* The Register: “Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results.” However, I don’t think the article supports this aggressive statement. Instead, it appears the article is getting excited about the fact that Google manually tweaks the algorithms when they produce goofy results–something we’ve known for years.

* Updates on Axact v. Student Network Resources, the case involving alleged copyright infringement of term papers. Axact allegedly has been trying to get its domain name registrars to release its domain names for transfer, and SNR is trying to cut them off. Apparently Google also balked at the instructions to kick the subject domain names out of its index, but SNR and Google resolved their differences enough to reach a stipulation. Finally, I’ve received numerous threats and requests from Axact to modify my original post, which has prompted me to make some minor changes.

Marketing

* IMS Health v. Ayotte. New Hampshire passed a law restricting the use of a doctor’s past prescribing practices (i.e., behavioral information) for personalized/targeted sales calls. This opinion upholds the NH law against a First Amendment and dormant Commerce Clause challenge.

* Australian advertisers are cookie-ing users at high CPM sites so that they can show the users targeted ads when those users appear at lower CPM sites.

* Sony busted for COPPA violations.

* New advertising medium: school exams.

Miscellaneous

* Good article on the Sprint v. Cogent peering fight.

* And a good article showing limits to the Long Tail theory.

* U.S. v. Grober, 2008 WL 5395768 (D. N.J. Dec. 22, 2008). Grober pleaded guilty to uploading and downloading child porn over the Internet. The judge rejects the 19 1/2 year minimum sentence specified by the Sentencing Guidelines and instead sentences Grober to the 5 year statutory minimum. This opinion poignantly explains why this judge, like several others, rejects the Sentencing Guidelines in Internet child porn cases because the dictated sentences are too severe.

* BusinessWeek is still amazed that people actually–get this–provide their time and efforts over the Internet without getting paid!

* Lior Strahilevitz, Reputation Nation: Law in an Era of Ubiquitous Personal Information, 102 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1667 (2008). Lior explores the cross-elasticities of demand for types of reputational information and shows that if some information isn’t available (due to, say, privacy laws), decision-makers will consult less credible or pernicious sources. For example, if a landlord can’t get good credit information about a prospective tenant, the landlord may resort to discriminatory considerations (like race) to decide whether or not to rent to the tenant. Good article.

* I have previously written about New York v. Synergy6, Inc., 404027/03 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Jan. 6, 2006), where the court soundly rejected the New York Attorney General’s office regarding a marketer’s liability for allegedly illegal emails sent by downstream affiilates (i.e., not in direct privity). I have not been able to find a copy of the opinion electronically, but over the holidays I found my hard copy and scanned it to a PDF. Check it out, especially in combination with the 2008 New York v. DirectRevenue opinion, which soundly rejected the NYAG’s affiliate liability arguments in the adware context.