Ashcroft v. ACLU link roundup

Justice Dept. Dir. of Public Affairs: Regarding the Supreme Court’s Decision on the Child Online Protection Act:

Our society has reached a broad consensus that child obscenity is harmful to our youngest generation and must be stopped. Congress has repeatedly attempted to address this serious need and the Court yet again opposed these common-sense measures to protect America’s children. The Department will continue to work to defend children from the dangerous predators who lurk in the dark shadows of the World Wide Web.

Ernest Miller: First Thoughts on Ashcroft v. ACLU: “The least restrictive means in this case are filters. Yea filters! Go filters! The opinion reads like a censorware author’s dream marketing campaign.”
Lawrence Solum: Ashcroft v. ACLU
Lyle Denniston: Sex, the Internet and congressional frustration

The Supreme Court, telling Congress for the third time that it has only limited power to try to censor sexually explicit material on the Internet, dropped a broad hint today that the lawmakers may be doomed to frustration if they try again. Because technology is advancing so rapidly, the Court said in blocking enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act, Congress may find that it has laid down rules based on a current state of technology only to see the rules become outdated through years of court review.

Eugene Volokh looks at the case and asks: “what does “prurient” mean here?”
Lawmeme: Ashcroft v. ACLU: Evaluation

Justice Breyer makes a very good point in dissent: The majority here that wholeheartedly endorses the effectiveness of filtering software is mostly the same as the dissenters who unhappily listed the faults of filtering software in the American Library Association case. Indeed, Justice Breyer seems to make a special effort to list the exact text of the dissenting opinion’s criticisms in ALA.

NY Times: Justices Uphold Block of Web Porn Law but Send Case Back

The majority explicitly stopped short of deciding whether the law is constitutional. That is a question that can only be answered after a trial, the majority said, even as it acknowledged that the rapid advances in Internet and computer technology make it difficult to foresee what all the issues at a trial will be.

Washington Post: Justices Leave Online Porn Case Unresolved

One COPA supporter said that the court is exceeding its powers. “This is akin to judicial tyranny,” said Patrick Trueman, senior legal adviser at the Family Research Council and former chief of the child exploitation unit at the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The court is dismissing acts of Congress which reflect the will of the people… This decision says to pornographers that you have a green light to distribute material to children.”

Ashcroft v. ACLU

The Supreme Court released its decision in Ashcroft v. ACLU, upholding the injunction on the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), because the statute likely violates the First Amendment.
The decision is 5-4. Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion, joined by Stevens, Souter, Thomas and Ginsburg. Stevens filed a concurring opinion, joined by Ginsburg.
Scalia dissented.
Breyer dissented, joined by Rehnquist and O’Connor.
Now, off to read the decision.

Taxi Confidential

Taking a taxi for the first time since the fare hike last month, I was shocked at the cost. Both rides I took this weekend– one between Brooklyn and Manhattan and the other between Williamsburg and Brooklyn Heights– cost nearly 50% more than prior to the fare increase.
Gothamist covered the fare hike when it happened: Taxi Fares Go Up Today and The Taxi Fare Increase After 10 Days. Gotham Gazette analyzed the Taxi Fare Hike. New Yorkish looks into the future, all the way to: New York in 20 years
Taxi Blog gives a driver’s perspective on the new fares: “Overall, drivers will end up consistently making more. By October. I fully expect this summer to be a disaster, business-wise.”
If taxi rides weren’t a luxury before, they certainly are now and make the $70 Metrocard seem like a great deal.
Of course, the subway is becoming more interesting every day (if interesting means dangerous.)

Posted in NYC.

Every Gator has its day in court

The 9th Circuit held oral arguments en banc on Wednesday in v. L.L. Bean, 02-15035. The 9th Circuit panel decisions is v. L.L. Bean, 341 F.3d 1072 (2003).
Here is a background at FindLaw: The Ninth Circuit to Look at Internet Jurisdiction: Does Business Conducted in Cyberspace Satisfy the Requirements of Continuous and Systematic Contact? 9th Circuit Snaps at Gator’s Argument

The en banc arguments were lively, with nine of the 11 judges questioning lawyers about the benefits — and dangers — of allowing to sue L.L. Bean Inc. over pop-up advertising that the latter says infringed on its intellectual property.

Joe Gratz: v. L.L. Bean

The en banc panel focused more than I expected on the jurisdictional effect of the cease-and-desist letter. On one hand, L.L. Bean lobbed this potentially damaging document into California, and causing damage within the jurisdiction makes jurisdiction proper. On the other hand, all L.L. Bean was doing was enforcing their trademark rights, which they had a legal duty to do; the C&D wasn’t intended to cause any damage, only to ask Gator to stop infringing. Toward the end of the oral argument, L.L. Bean’s attorney (who was doing a great job with a hard case) made the point that they had no other way to tell Gator to stop, so if the court held that sending C&Ds caused personal jurisdiction to attach, every IP owner would be instantly amenable to suit anywhere someone infringed their IP rights, if they told the infringer to stop.

The Act formerly known as Induce

Ernest Miller: The Obsessively Annotated Introduction to the INDUCE Act
News roundup at FurdLog: IICA (née INDUCE) Act Coverage
Chirs Rush Cohen: INDUCE Act inducing me to do lots of research
EFF lawyers drafted a fake complaint which could be filed if the Induce Act passes: Prelude to a Fake Complaint

When the lawyers at EFF first sat down and asked “Whom could we sue under the Induce Act if we were an abusive copyright holder?” the answer was clear: pretty much everybody. Playing the devil’s advocates, we knew we could draft a legal complaint against any number of the major computer or electronics manufacturers for selling everyday devices we all know and love—CD burners, MP3 players, cell phones—and that with that complaint, we could file a lawsuit that would survive any attempt to dismiss it before trial, costing the targeted company up to $1,000,000 per month in legal fees alone. The Induce Act is a nasty, brutish stick in the hands of the wrong plaintiff.

Not just the subway

Apparently, Time Warner does not want photographers to take pictures of the Time Warner Center:

“You’re not allowed to photograph the structure of the building,” Ms. Siesel quoted the first guard as telling her. She showed them her press identification card, issued by the Police Department, and insisted that she was within her rights to photograph a building from the public way on assignment. But she said the second guard told her, “If you persist, I’m going to call the police.” Pressed, he backed down from this threat.
Though unfamiliar with the particulars of the encounter, Mr. Himmel said, “If someone on our security force stopped a photographer from a newspaper from photographing the building, they probably overstepped.”
“There should be no restrictions in terms of the public’s ability to photograph the building from the outside,” he said, “because it’s a public space.”

New York Times: Amid All the Signs, Confusing a Circle for the Square (via Curbed.)