By: Gabrielle Gravel
On the heels of a global shutdown in the wake of COVID-19, courthouses all over the country turned to technology to keep their very full calendars in motion. The solution was to move the myriad of required hearings and in some cases, even jury trials, to the now commonplace Zoom platform. By moving court to Zoom, the judicial branch has been able to reduce foot traffic in normally packed courthouses and still meet the requirements of due process and equity. In this move, incarcerated defendants can “appear” in court via a webcam in the jailhouse, attorneys can represent their clients without ever meeting them in person, and judges can sift through a hundred cases in a day. While this solution has helped tremendously to support social distancing measures, the impact on privacy in these proceedings is cause for concern. To uphold constitutional integrity, criminal court hearings are to be open to the public, and by live streaming directly from Zoom to YouTube, the judiciary can maintain this canon of the criminal justice system. Typically, an interested party would need to schlep it to the courthouse, take off work or find childcare, and maintain courtroom etiquette while observing court. The people attending such hearings had enough interest in viewing the proceeding that the costs related to physically traveling to the courthouse were outweighed by the benefit of actually being there. In this new era, anyone with internet access can stumble upon an American criminal court livestream and tune into some of the most personal (and juicy) information in a defendant’s life. Court websites containing streaming links warn spectators not to record any aspect of the streaming and Judges snap at defendants and witnesses not to share personal information such as names and addresses, but we are only human, and precious information is now being broadcasted to an incredibly wider audience than ever imagined by the Framers. While judges are still working out the various kinks in such a system, this blog argues that there are not enough safeguards in place to protect the privacy of these individuals and will offer an array of safeguard solutions for a safer Zoom Courthouse.
By: Mikela Gassert
Modifications to video games, typically called mods, are a staple of gaming communities. These derivative works are not always supported or authorized by the original game publishers. In the absence of a legal method to paywall mods, developers have turned to crowdsourcing tools to fund the upkeep or creation costs for mods. The ramifications of this practice are unclear. Publishers and mod creators may soon become caught between the desire to provide freedom to players and the need to protect intellectual property rights. This post explains why the uncertainty should be resolved in favor of permitting crowdfunding. As a further remedy, video game mod creators and industry decisionmakers could adopt industry standards in the absence of legislation to the same effect.
By: Shivani Patel
While the right to be forgotten is an understood legal right in Europe and many other countries, it is also a right that does not align with the values of the United States, specifically our First Amendment values. With privacy laws becoming a more commonplace discussion, it seems that this is inevitable conversation. How do we in United States deal with the clash between our First Amendment rights and a potentially necessary right to be forgotten? In Europe, the right to be forgotten allows people to have search engines remove links or information about them. Are there not times that this right could be a necessary evil? In this blog, I will explore this right as it functions in Europe and other countries, as well as how this right clashes with the First Amendment. I will then analyze how and why the right to be forgotten can be reconciled with the First Amendment in the United States. Also, I will explore how the United States can benefit from this right and what the implications of not having this right are.
By: Eddy Atallah
Since the inception of the Hatch-Waxman Amendments, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) determination for three-year clinical investigations exclusivity was generally unquestioned. However, Braeburn v. FDA brought about significant interpretive challenges to the provision and questions about agency deference. This Blog considers the “double-edged sword” in trying to mitigate ambiguity within the Hatch-Waxman act. This Blog proposes a legal and scientific standard that should suffice the Court’s new requirement over the exclusivity determination process, a standard already firmly rooted in intellectual property law. Finally, this Blog also proposes changes to the FDA’s drug approval process which will help the agency fend off interpretive challenges.
Hopefully, with these suggestions, litigation surrounding this inherently ambiguous statute will diminish. But importantly, these suggestions hope to maintain the overall purpose of the three-year clinical investigation’s exclusivity provision; incentivize the development of new drugs, albeit in forms such as a new indication, a new route of administration, or new dosage forms, while still enabling the approval of lower-cost generic copies or competitive therapies.
By: Sam Hayes
The Supreme Court left the government edicts doctrine untouched for nearly 130 years until last year, when the Court revisited the doctrine in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc. The central issue in Georgia v PRO concerned the copyrightability of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, which included the text of every Georgia statute, as well as various non-binding annotations. The Court concluded that the Code’s annotations were not copyrightable because they were authored by legislators who have the authority to make the law. Particularly, although the annotations were drafted by a private company in a work-for-hire agreement with the Code Revision Commission, the Court nevertheless found that the Commission functioned as an arm of the Georgia Legislature. Despite the favorable judgment for the public, the standard developed by the Court, one in which the government edicts doctrine bars copyright protection based on authorship, remains too narrow to protect the public. It is unclear how the newly explained doctrine would apply in situations where works are authored by private parties, and then referenced or incorporated after the fact by lawmaking officials. Lower court decisions present two possible solutions for the Supreme Court to take in order to protect the public from this problem: (1) treating lawmaking officials as the authors of works that were produced by private parties when those lawmaking officials publicly incorporate them in their own works, or (2) adopt a case-by-case framework for when to consider lawmaking officials as authors of privately authored works on a case-by-case basis.