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Monday, August 28, 2017

Order Your Copy of Issues in Internet Law!

Now available as an electronic download to your computer, laptop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Android devices, Chromebook, and other e-readers! Save up to $10! Download the 11th edition of Issues in Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law from VitalSource !

The 11th edition of Issues In Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law has been updated for 2017 with the latest cases and trends in Internet Law. Of particular note are major changes in the areas of online privacy, and the European Union.

Topics include:

Privacy: Invasion of Privacy, Public Records, Workplace Privacy, Employer & ISP Monitoring, Data Collection, Data Retention, Data Breaches, the Right to be Forgotten, E-Mail & Chat Room Privacy, Web Site Privacy Policies, Behavioral Marketing, Flash Cookies, Device Fingerprinting, Privacy & Children, Metadata, Border Searches, FISA & the USA PATRIOT Act, the NSA, FISA Court, PRISM, XKeyscore, EU Privacy Directives;

Free Speech: Defamation, SLAPPs, Gripe Sites, Revenge Porn Sites, Mugshot Sites, Blogs & Vlogs, Obscenity & Pornography, Harassment & Hate Speech, Prior Restraint, Repression, Student Speech, CDA, Anonymous Speech, Commercial Speech, Expressive Conduct; "Fake News";

Social Media: Misuse, Ownership, Coerced Access, the Courts;

Cybercrimes: Spam, Phishing, Identity Theft, Spyware & Malware, Cyberstalking, Cyberbullying, Computer Trespass, Wardriving, Virtual Crime;

Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trademark, Patent, Trade Secrets, Creative Commons, Linking, Framing, File-Sharing, Fair Use, Public Domain, Work-Made-For-Hire, DMCA, VARA, Domain Name Disputes, Keyword Advertising, America Invents Act;

Business & the Internet: Internet Taxation, Internet Interstate Commerce, Web Contracts, e-Discovery, Corporate Securities, Crowdfunding, Reg A, Reg D;

European Union: Directives and Regulations; the General Data Protection Regulation; the Police and Criminal Justice Data Protection Directive; the Privacy Shield;

Also:Cloud Computing; Digital Currency; Right of Publicity; the Internet of Things; Web Accessibility; Net Neutrality; Online Reputation Management; Social Media Monitoring; Podcasts; Geofiltering; Digital Journalism; Hyper Local Web Sites, Digital Estate Planning; Sexting; Facial Recognition; E-Books and many more subjects.

Concisely written and covering a broad range of topics, this is the most current book of its kind!


Reviews:

“Concise overview of Internet-related legal issues.” (Law Library Journal)

“Although it deals with the complex legal issues surrounding the Internet, it is written in layman’s terms and illustrated with ‘ripped from the headlines’ court cases.” (Amazon)

“The concepts and issues are presented in a way that is sufficiently rigorous but very easy to read, making the book one I can recommend.” (Computing Reviews) * “A valuable resource, well-researched and well presented.”

“I want a copy on my bookshelf always within arm’s reach.”

“The anecdotal nature made it easy to understand the underlying legal concepts.”

“It is imperative that schools adopt this book in a way which would help young students gain knowledge about the various issues involving the Internet.” (Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law)

“Issues in Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law will be a welcome addition in both academic and public law libraries… It should be acquired by libraries for its concise overview of Internet-related legal issues.” (Law Library Journal)

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Since my last post, I’ve had some people take issue with my comment that Robert E. Lee was a great man. As is usually the case when people make such comments, they do so without any knowledge of history. The world is full of people who are quick to express their opinions regardless of whether they know what they are talking about. Unfortunately, we live in an era in which people absorb sound bites and headlines to form their opinions without delving further into the facts that are necessary on which to base their opinions. So let’s look at the facts, learn a little history, and answer the question Who was Robert E. Lee?

Robert E. Lee was the son of the revolutionary war hero "Light-Horse Harry" Lee. His father led raiders who captured food and medicine from the British enemy troops that helped Gen. George Washington and his troops survive the bitter winter at Valley Forge; he was elected to the Continental Congress and later as governor of Virginia. Harry Lee commanded the troops that ended the Whiskey Rebellion and was later elected to the U.S. Congress where he eulogized George Washington as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He died when Robert was 11.

The orphaned boy went on to graduate second in his class at the U.S. military academy at West Point. Lee, an engineer, helped construct the St. Louis waterfront and worked on coastal forts in Brunswick and Savannah, Georgia. He married into George Washington’s family. He distinguished himself in battle during the Mexican War. In 1859, Robert E. Lee led a company of U.S. Marines to quell abolitionist John Brown’s raid on the U.S. military at Harpers Ferry (Brown was executed for treason and murder).

Lee was recognized as a brilliant military tactician. It was because Lee was considered one of the finest officers in the U.S. Army that President Abraham Lincoln offered him the command of the federal forces in April 1861 following the secessions of seven southern states from the Union. But Lee was devoted to his native state of Virginia. As he wrote to a friend, “If Virginia stands by the old Union so will I. But if she secedes (though I do not believe in secession as a constitutional right, nor that there is sufficient cause for revolution), then I will follow my native State with my sword, and, if need be, with my life.”

The rest, as they say, is history. When Virginia also seceded, Lee resigned the commission he had held in the U.S. Army for 32 years and offered his services to Jefferson Davis, the newly-elected president of the Confederate States of America. After the Civil War ended, Lee accepted a position as president of Washington University, where he served until his death in 1870. The school was later renamed Washington and Lee.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower revered Robert E. Lee, stating he was “in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our nation. . . . selfless almost to a fault . . . noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history. From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities . . . we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.”

Yes, Lee owned slaves; but so did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In fact, the first six presidents of the United States were slave owners. However, in a letter he sent in 1856, before the Civil War, Lee wrote: “There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race. While my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more deeply engaged for the former.” A year before Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Lee, in accordance with his father-in-law’s will, freed the slaves at Arlington House.

Robert E. Lee was no saint but he was a great man both because of his personal accomplishments and those on behalf of the United States military during his 32 years of service, and because of the way his actions affected the course of history. He might come up short by today’s standards in some critics’ estimations but while the application of universal relativism may be appealing to the politically correct of the 21st century, men must be judged through the prism of the times in which they lived.

Robert E. Lee was an honorable man and his decision to place loyalty to his state above loyalty to the Union is understandable given the context of the times. The United States was a young country, less than a century old when the Civil War began. There were Americans older than the country itself. Today, we envision America as a monolithic entity but that wasn’t the case when the country was founded in the 18th century. Back then, it was called the United States for a reason: it was not so much one nation as it was a union of former colonies. The Founding Fathers and their constituents actually feared a strong central government. They wanted the 13 colonies to be 13 sovereign states but they recognized the need to form a union for two specific purposes: mutual trade and defense.

They realized a common currency would facilitate trade among the contiguous former colonies, and that no individual state could stand against an assault from larger nations such as England or France so it made sense to band together. They drafted the Constitution, explicitly giving the federal government the power to coin money, raise and support armies, and provide and maintain a navy but also adopted the 10th Amendment, which states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Most 18th century Americans looked upon the American Union the way the European Union is viewed in the 21st century: as a union of sovereign states banding together to create a common currency to facilitate trade and to provide for mutual defense. As with any union (even the union of marriage) membership is voluntary so member states should be able to enter or leave such a union. No one expects the European Union to go to war against Britain because it has voted to leave the union. One could argue the foolhardiness of both Brexit and southern succession, which leaves both the exiting states and the remaining members in a less advantageous position, but while the wisdom of doing so is debatable, the right to do so appears straightforward. If one can enter into a marriage union, then one should also be able to file for divorce, and certainly not be compelled by force or violence to remain in the union.

Robert E. Lee was not, as many this week have labeled him, a traitor; he simply placed his loyalty to his native state above that to the Union of which it no longer wished to be a part. The real traitors, if you want to be technical, were George Washington and the Founding Fathers, who at the time of their rebellion against England did not represent sovereign states but rather colonies of the British empire. But history is written by the victors and they are now American heroes; had they lost, they would have been executed by the crown as traitors and vilified as such in all the history books.

Likewise, had the American South not been defeated in the Civil War, history would have regarded Gen. Robert E. Lee as a hero and founding father of the Confederacy. It’s important to remember that in any civil war half of the population is on the other side. In the American Civil War, 642,427 Americans died – and 483,026 of them were Southerners. Part of the process of healing and reunification requires us to respect the memory of those who fought, and of those who died, on both sides because they were all Americans.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Scam Alert!

A word of caution, especially for students. There are several websites purporting to offer a free PDF download of my book, Issues in Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law. Two important things you should know: First, there are no PDF copies in existence. This is a scam to get you to sign up with these sites and hand them your credit card info. Once these unscrupulous crooks have that, it will cost you a lot more than the price of the book. If you are foolish enough to register and pay their fee, what you get to download is a four-page brochure (available free at the www.IssuesInInternetLaw.com site) PDF file. Second, we've also received reports of students getting more than they bargained for from these sites, by way of downloaded Trojan viruses with the file.

You can buy the book legitimately from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Amber Book Company, VitalSource, eBay, and many reputable online booksellers. Also, any bookstore can order it for you if you provide them with the ISBN (the number above the bar code, also listed on the Website).


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Statues Don't Get Up and Move

One person is dead and 34 were injured in the wake of a protest that saw Americans parading under a flag bearing the Nazi swastika turn violent, as fights broke out and a domestic terrorist drove a car into the crowd in Charlottesville, Virginia today.

Let that sink in for a moment. Someone was killed today. A lot of your fellow citizens were injured, half of them in a street fight with other citizens and the other half in an act of domestic terrorism. Not Islamic terrorism, which we hear so much about, but white nationalist terrorism. But perhaps the most stunning image of today’s news was not the physical violence or the car assault, but rather young American men proudly marching under the Nazi banner. We fought a war against the Nazis. Thousands of Americans gave their lives fighting for American values and against the un-American, fascist, and hate-mongering philosophy of the Nazis. While, unlike the Nazi regime, America allows free expression of even the most heinous beliefs, anyone who feels the need to carry a Nazi flag through the streets of America should pick themselves up and leave our country. If you’re rallying behind a Nazi flag then this is not your country and those of us whose families have fought and died for America and everything it stands for want you to go.

The violence took place in a city park. I’ll tell you its name later. Ostensibly, the protest was over the removal of a statue. That’s right, someone is dead tonight because of a piece of stone in a park. But it’s not really about the statue, not directly. The removal of the statue is what we can call the inciting incident. This is what attracted the people we’ll refer to as outside agitators. Agitators seize on an inciting incident and use it to promote their own agenda. In this case, we didn’t just have local citizens concerned about a park statue: we had groups, each with its own agenda, on both the far left and the far right. They came to clash; some even dressed in paramilitary outfits with shields and weapons and could easily have been mistaken at first glance for police. Others showed up with torches evoking memories of the Ku Klux Klan burning crosses in the previous century. But make no mistake, these agitators were not there because of the statue; they came looking for a fight and they found it.

So we have an inciting incident, local citizens concerned about the removal of the park statue, and groups of outside agitators intent on exploiting the situation and the media presence to further their own agendas. Oh, and one deranged individual who decided to mow down protesters and bystanders with a car. The groups ranged from an anti-fascist organization and Black Lives Matter on the political far left; and the Alt-Right, the KKK, and the neo-Nazis on the political far right. But let’s talk about that statue.

We need to examine both sides behind the inciting incident. Since this matter involves such polarizing groups, many of you probably believe there is only one side. But if that’s what you truly believe, then you’re part of the problem not part of the solution. Yes, the Alt-Right, the KKK, and the neo-Nazis are among the most odious humans scum ever to crawl from the primordial ooze. But that makes it even more curious that anyone, especially so many young people, would literally and figuratively march beneath their banner. The question we must ask is why, and while in some cases, such as those of the outside agitators, it could be summed up as simple hate-mongering, for others it is a matter of societal alienation and disenfranchisement. Far left liberals may be creating their own far right monsters.

The statue commemorates Gen. Robert E. Lee. Lee was a great man and a great general who chose the wrong side of the Civil War. I say chose, because both the North and the South wanted him to lead their troops; he was that well respected by both sides. The antebellum South had both a proud history and a shameful one. Beginning with Reconstruction, Southerners were browbeaten over their shameful past and attacked whenever they sought to assert any part of their antebellum culture. Yes, slavery was a large part of that culture, but it’s simplistic to paint the North as good and the South as evil, or to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Southerners must acknowledge the shameful parts of their history but Northerners must also acknowledge Southerners are entitled to their own heritage. Likewise, history is a matter of record and not something that should be changed in an Orwellian manner to suit the political climate of the day.

The statue used to sit in Lee Park, named for Gen. Robert E. Lee. Now it sits in Emancipation Park, named for the freeing of American slaves. No, the statue didn’t get up and move; it’s a statue, they don’t do that. The park was renamed. Gen. Lee’s name was taken off the park (which was then renamed for the cause he fought against) and the city voted to remove his statue. Basically, this was an attempt to rewrite history. It was an affront to Southerners whose families fought and died under Gen. Lee’s command. But more importantly, it was an attempt to erase history. History is important. Monuments and place names are important because they remind us of history. Even bad history. Especially bad history. Philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We should not erase historical monuments that represent unpleasant periods of the past, but rather we should preserve them as a valuable lesson for all who come after us.

We should encourage people to visit Robert E. Lee’s statue and read his biography. It should serve as a teachable moment to learn about the man’s conflicted life during a period of our nation’s conflicted history. It should not be discarded, just as history should not be whitewashed.

Far left liberals need to stop creating opportunities for far right agitators to seize upon. There should never have been an inciting incident in this case. By renaming Lee Park and removing the statue, the message being sent to Southerners was not that slavery was wrong but rather a total repudiation of their entire heritage, both the good and the bad parts. . They feel they are being marginalized in their own country or in their words “replaced.”The reaction of many is naturally to become defensive  -- the young particularly, because they are seeking their own sense of identity, and are therefore easily brainwashed into becoming fodder for the far right groups.

We must see that there are two sides and rather than discounting one side’s views or grievances entirely, or allowing ourselves to become indoctrinated by the extreme left or the extreme right, we should approach inciting incidents with an open mind and a willingness to learn the history behind them and to use that as a teachable experience. Understanding each other, where we are each coming from, and why we believe as we do is the first step toward conflict resolution. Failing to do this invariably leads to the violence we’ve witnessed today.