The three tribes of the internet

Authors Primavera De Filippi, Juan Ortiz Freuler, and Joshua Tan outline three competing narratives that have shaped the internet: libertarian, corporate, and nationalist. “[These narratives] emerged from a community of shared interests; each calls for a set of institutional arrangements; each endures in today’s politics.” » about 400 words

The legal case for emoji

Emoji are showing up as evidence in court more frequently with each passing year. Between 2004 and 2019, there was an exponential rise in emoji and emoticon references in US court opinions, with over 30 percent of all cases appearing in 2018, according to Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman, who has been tracking all of the references to “emoji” and “emoticon” that show up in US court opinions. So far, the emoji and emoticons have rarely been important enough to sway the direction of a case, but as they become more common, the ambiguity in how emoji are displayed and what we interpret emoji to mean could become a larger issue for courts to contend with.

From Dami Lee, amplifying Santa Clara University School of Law professor Eric Goldman’s ongoing research into the role of Emoji in legal proceedings. Lee tells us emoji have “shown up in all types of cases, from murder to robbery,” and the examples in the story include solicitation and a civil complaint. Goldman is especially concerned about how the courts will handle the different rendering of emoji on on different devices.

Naming things is hard. Naming people is harder.

Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback scoured American census records searching for atrocious baby names. The results are compiled in an amusing little book called Bad Baby Names: The Worst True Names Parents Saddled Their Kids With—and You Can Too!. Among the names they discovered were “Toilet Queen,” “Leper,” “Cholera,” “Typhus,” “Stud Duck,” “Loser,”224 “Fat Meat,” “Meat Bloodsaw,” “Cash Whoredom,”“Headless,” “Dracula,” “Lust,” “Sloth,” “Freak Skull,” “Sexy Chambers,” “Tiny Hooker,” “Giant Pervis,” “Acne Fountain,” “Legend Belch,” and “Ghoul Nipple.” The forces of darkness were particularly well represented, with a “Satan,” a “Lucifer,” a “Zombie,” a “Demon,” at least eight children named “Evil,”and at least ten named “Hell.”

That’s just the start. Carlton F.W. Larson, UC Davis, School of Law professor quoted Sherrod and Rayback’s work in a much larger review of the constitutional dimensions of parental naming rights. We might laugh at the names above, but Larson uncovered a mishmash of laws and regulations regarding names that in turn reflect presumptions, biases, technical limitations, and some earnest attempts to protect children from their parents.

Respond To Your Next Subpoena Like A Pro

Thanks to Kathleen Seidel, a fellow New Hampshire resident and blogger at <>, I now have what appears to be a good example of a motion to quash a subpoena (even cooler, she filed it pro se). I’ve also learned that NH is among the states that allows lawyers to issue subpoena in civil cases without prior approval of a judge.

Take a look and prepare yourself for some law talking.

Is Internet Linking Legal?

You’d think the top search results on the matter would be newer than 1999, but that’s where you’ll find this NYT article and PubLaw item story, both from precambrian times. Worse, both of those articles suggest that my links to them may not be entirely kosher.

The problem is probably that US courts have not spoken clearly on such a case. A Danish court in 2006 did, but I think that no case in the US has gone far enough to actually set a precedent. Another chance at settling this issue was lost earlier this month when BlockShopper settled, rather than continue a costly defense of such a case. The EFF is confident BlockShopper could have won, but that means little when the legal bills come in.

Related at EFF: Kelly v. Arriba Soft and Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Dance Dance Revolution, NYC

I caught the following story on NPR’s All Things Considered (RealAudio stream) last night: New York is known for its vibrant nightlife, yet in many bars and restaurants it’s illegal to dance. Now, a law professor is challenging the “Cabaret Laws,” claiming they violate a dancer’s right of free expression. The city says dancing by […] » about 300 words

Game Law Redux

Matt says my attempts to analogize online roleplaying games to more familiar contests like chess or automobile racing are “just silly.” But his response appears to reinforce my point rather than refute it. It is the responsibility of the gamers and gaming organizations to create and enforce rules. People violating those rules are subject to […] » about 300 words

Wide World of Video Games

Matt started talking up the weird issues developing around multiplayer online games a few weeks ago. Then soon after he blogged it, a story appeared in On the Media (listen, transcript)

Short story: online gaming is huge — one developer claims four million paying customers. More significantly, the interplay between real and virtual worlds might create new challenges for this real world legal system. “Theft” of in-game money and equipment among players in the online world is possible, but it’s lead to the real-world arrest of at least one person and the murder of another when authorities refused to act.

One argument is that these games occupy players time and cost money, so in-game theft results in real-life loss. Baloney. Chess and Monopoly occupy great deals of time, but try telling the cops I rooked your knight. Money? A huge number of Americans invest time and money on building and racing cars on the approximately 1800 racetracks around the country. Real time and and hard-earned money are lost when cars crash, but the track has its own rules “rubin’s racin, Cole” — and none of us would excuse a driver for off-track violence against a competitor.

Blogger’s Legal Guide

Copyfight is pointing to the EFF‘s new Legal Guide for Bloggers. Most of the content is about liability, but it also addresses issues of access and privilege that are generally granted to journalists, election law, and labor law. From the introduction: Whether you’re a newly minted blogger or a relative old-timer, you’ve been seeing more […] » about 400 words