Business Law and the Legal Environment Study Set 1

Business

Quiz 11 :

Cyberlaw

Quiz 11 :

Cyberlaw

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On July 24, 2002, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) served its first subpoena to obtain the identity of a Verizon subscriber alleged to have made more than 600 copyrighted songs available for downloading over the Internet through peer-to-peer file transfer software provided by KaZaA. Verizon claimed that because RIAA's subpoena related to material transmitted over Verizon's network-rather than stored on it-it fell outside the scope of the subpoena power. Should the subpoena be quashed as Verizon requests, or should it be honored? [In re Verizon Internet Services, Inc., 257 F Supp 2d 244 (DDC)]
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Refer to the case In re Verizon Internet Services, Inc., (257 FSupp2d 244)
Facts of the case:
Verizon motioned to quash a subpoena of RIAA for a list of its subscribers who allegedly made available music illegally in a peer-to-peer sharing system.
Opinion
The court denied Verizon's motion. The subpoena will be served. It doesn't matter that the information need to be "stored" in Verizon's system, the subpoena order is to provide a "copy of a description" of the information. The court also failed to find any undue burden on Verizon for providing such information.

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Colleges and universities continue to work to help students understand that what they post on the Web is not private information and can often have unintended consequences. The following examples resulted in student disciplinary proceedings: ? Several students at The Ohio State University boasted on Facebook (a networking/socializing site) that they had stormed the field after Ohio State beat Penn State and had taken part in what erupted into a riot. Law enforcement officials were able to trace the students through the university system, and 50 Ohio State students were referred to the office of judicial affairs. ? Students at the University of Mississippi stated on an open site that they wanted to have sex with a professor. ? A student at Fisher College threatened to take steps to silence a campus police officer. Another problem with the open sites is that the students are posting personal information with which stalkers and others can access them. These nefarious individuals can then easily obtain students' cell phone numbers, addresses, whereabouts, and other information. The most popular college site, Facebook, indicates that students spend an average of 17 minutes per day on the site. A great deal of information can be conveyed during that time period. Students do so without thinking through the possibility that outsiders with bad intentions could be seeking and using information about them that is posted there. What legal and ethical issues do you see in the types of comments that students make on these sites and in the sites themselves? Why and how can the colleges and universities obtain information from these sites without a warrant?
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In this age of growing social media almost nothing seems private anymore. When college students sign up for social media sites and allow public access or loose privacy settings they can't expect privacy. A warrant is mostly necessary for things involving privacy, such as search of a house, locker, and password protected files etc. However, social media profiles effectively become public data when privacy settings are not set, and anybody can legally obtain the information publicly displayed by their profile without warrant.
People need to be aware that if their profiles are public to any groups of people, the things they say may incriminate them, e.g. posting malicious or false information on someone is defamation, and even posting criminal thoughts can be viewed as conspiracy to commit a criminal act.

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Jane Doe filed a complaint against Richard Lee Russell and America Online (AOL) to recover for alleged emotional injuries suffered by her son, John Doe. Doe claimed that in 1994, Russell lured John Doe, who was then 11 years old, and two other minor males to engage in sexual activity with each other and with Russell. She asserted that Russell photographed and videotaped these acts and used AOL's chat rooms to market the photographs and videotapes and to sell a videotape. In her six-count complaint, Doe claimed that AOL violated criminal statutes and that AOL was negligent per se in distributing an advertisement offering "a visual depiction of sexual conduct involving [John Doe]" and by allowing Russell to sell or arrange to sell child pornography, thus aiding in the sale and distribution of child pornography, including obscene images of John Doe. Does Mrs. Doe have a cause of action? What laws discussed in this chapter apply? [Doe v America Online, Inc., 783 So2d 1010 (Fla)]
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Refer to the case Doe v America Online (AOL) (783 So2d 1010) to answer the following question as below:
Facts of the case:
(1) Doe (plaintiff, anonymous) sued AOL for actions Russell (defendant). Russell solicited sexual act from Doe's son recorded it. Doe claimed AOL provided a medium for Russell to distribute the child pornography.
(2) Doe charged AOL tort for negligence , by failing to monitor its services. AOL motioned to dismiss which was accepted by trial court and affirmed by appeals, both argued that federal internet statute pre-empted civil action by barring suits against internet services. On review by the Florida Supreme Court
The Florida Supreme Court found that federal statute and a previous ruling in Zeran v AOL barred Doe from filing civil law tort against AOL. AOL can't be held liable for the doings of a third party. Doe will probably have a claim against Russell who was also charged for criminal acts.

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Customers of a chat room are using the chat room, Maphia, for access to each other and to transfer Sega games to each other. They are able to avoid paying the $19 to $60 the games cost for purchase in the stores. The users say they are simply transferring files and that there is no crime. The chat room says it cannot stop customers from interacting. Do you think there are any civil or criminal law violations in their conduct? [Sega Enterprises, Ltd. v Maphia, 857 F Supp 679 (ND Cal)]
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Immunomedics, Inc., has discovered sensitive information about its technology posted on various Web sites and chat rooms. The information is so proprietary that it could have come only from company employees, all of whom have signed agreements not to disclose such information. Those who posted the information used screen names, and Immunomedics has asked the court to issue a subpoena to the ISP so that it can determine the identity of those posting the information and recover for breach of contract and trade secret infringement. Should the court issue the subpoena? [Immunomedics, Inc. v Does 1-10, 2001 WL 770389 (NJ Super 2001)]
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Glenayre Electronics announced to its employees that it could inspect the laptops it furnished for its employees to use. An employee challenged the inspection of his laptop as a violation of his privacy. Could the company search the laptops? [Muick v Glenayre Electronics, 280 F3d 741 (7th Cir)]
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Discuss whether employees would have the right of privacy in the following e-mail situations: a. E-mail sent in a company in which there is no warning given about the lack of privacy in e-mails. [Smyth v Pillsbury, 914 F Supp 97 (ED Pa 1996)] b. An e-mail sent to co-workers from home using the employee's AOL account. c. An e-mail sent from a laptop while the employee is traveling for the company. d. An e-mail sent to a coworker over a company Internet system in a company in which the employer has promised privacy in e-mail. [Commonwealth v Proetto, 771 A2d 823 (Pa Super Ct 2001)] e. Employer monitoring of the e-mails of any employee when those e-mails were stored in a file folder marked "Personal." [Mclaren v Microsoft Corp., 1999 WL 339015 (Tex App- Dallas 1999)] f. Employees using company e-mail for union organization purposes. [Pratt Whitney, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Advisory Memorandum Cases 12-CA-18446, 12-CA-18722, 12-CS-18863 (February 23, 1998)]
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A state university provided a written notice to employees that their computers could be monitored and added a splash screen with the same notice that appears on the computers each time employees start their computers. Has the university done enough to allow monitoring without invading employee privacy? Would it make any difference if the employees had a password for their e-mail access and computer access? What about state public records law? Would employee e-mails be subject to public disclosure because the e-mails would be considered public record? [U.S. v Angevine, 281 F3d 1130 (10th Cir)]
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The New York Times discovered that 24 of the employees in its payroll processing center were sending "inappropriate and offensive e-mail in violation of corporate policy." Do the employees have any right to privacy with regard to the jokes they send over their e-mail accounts at work? Applying what you have learned about the nature of cyberlaw, determine whether, under existing sexual harassment laws, a company could be held liable for harassment via e-mails.
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