Harvard Law School‘s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, provides high-quality, pro-bono legal services to appropriate clients on issues relating to the Internet, new technology, and intellectual property. Students enhance their preparation for high-tech practice and earn course credit by working on real-world litigation, client counseling, advocacy, and transactional / licensing projects and cases. The Clinic strives to help clients achieve success in their activities online, mindful of (and in response to) existing law. The Clinic also works with clients to shape the law’s development through policy and advocacy efforts. The Cyberlaw Clinic was the first of its kind, and it continues its tradition of innovation in its areas of practice. The Clinic works independently, with law students supervised by experienced and licensed attorneys. In some cases, the Clinic collaborates with counsel throughout the country (including lawyers at Cooley LLP) to take advantage of regional or substantive legal expertise.
From the Blog
On Monday, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Massachusetts, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the case of Commonwealth v. Gelfgatt, SJC No. 11358. In the brief, we argue that the Fifth Amendment and article 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights prohibit the government from compelling a defendant to decrypt their electronic data for use against them in criminal proceedings because it involves the kind of testimonial acts protected by constitutional protections against self-incrimination.
The Cyberlaw Clinic is excited to be a part of an innovative collaboration launched this week by Fordham Law School’s Center on Law and Information Policy (“CLIP”). CLIP has developed and released a curriculum for privacy education geared toward middle-school students and has teamed up with institutions at law schools nationwide (including Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society) to implement it. The Clinic — in collaboration with Berkman’s Youth and Media Lab – will be helping to adapt and roll out the curriculum to middle-schoolers next spring. Continue Reading →
TUTEUR v. CROSLEY-CORCORAN | Civil Action No. 13-cv-10159 MBB | D. Mass. May 1, 2013 | The Cyberlaw Clinic filed this amicus curiae brief (pdf) on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Digital Media Law Project, asking the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts to join other courts that have addressed the issue and confirm that that copyright owners must consider whether a use is fair before sending a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice pursuant to Section 512(c) of the Copyright Act. The case concerns a Section 512(f) misrepresentation claim asserted by a plaintiff who alleged that defendant’s 512(c) notice was improper, because plaintiff’s use of defendant’s photograph constituted fair use. The Court issued an order to show cause, suggesting that it might read Section 512(f) very narrowly and require only that those sending takedown notices represent that they own the content at issue. EFF and DMLP expressed concerns that this view of Section 512(f) might undermine its effectiveness in serving to balance users’ rights against those of content owners in the DMCA’s takedown regime. This concern is particularly apparent in cases involving critical speech, where – absent an effective mechanism to challenge wrongful takedowns under Section 512(f) – Section 512(c) may be used improperly to silence a speaker with whom a copyright owner disagrees.
SEATON v. TRIPADVISOR | Docket No. 12-6122 | 6th Cir. February 27, 2013 | The Cyberlaw Clinic filed this amicus curiae brief (pdf) on behalf of the Digital Media Law Project, asking the Sixth Circuit to make clear that website operators that aggregate citizen reports and rely on that data to draw conclusions cannot be liable for defamation based on those conclusions. The case concerns TripAdvisor’s 2011 “Dirtiest Hotels in America” list, which was based on travelers’ ratings for cleanliness on TripAdvisor. The proprietor of the hotel identified as the dirtiest in America sued TripAdvisor for defamation and false light, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee granted TripAdvisor’s motion to dismiss the claim. In support of TripAdvisor on appeal, the DMLP argued that opinions based on disclosed facts are not defamation under Tennessee law and that protecting such opinions is consistent with the goals of the First Amendment. By disclosing the reviews on which it relied, TripAdvisor enabled its readers to independently assess the rankings, subjecting its conclusions to the marketplace of ideas rather than the courts.