My Instagram, My Image, My Lawsuit?

white smartphone

Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

By: Alex Nelson

The rise of social media usage across the world has been nothing short of meteoric. Nearly thirty-percent of the 7.7 billion people on Earth use Facebook. TikTok, a social media company that launched in 2016, hit half a billion users by mid-2018. Instagram users have increased to one billion since the app’s launch in 2010. The popularity of social media has created new markets and commercial opportunities for individuals who are able to amass large numbers of followers. Celebrities typically are able to get the largest number of followers and thus have the most opportunities to monetize their social media accounts. Kylie Jenner, for example, can earn up to an estimated $1.2 million per Instagram post. Although she is certainly on the high end of the spectrum for earnings per post, it is fairly common for a celebrity to pull in around $100,000 per post.

Continue reading

The Chilling Effects of the ReDigi Decision on Consumer Rights in their Digital Property

black record vinyl

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

By: Emily Donohue

Many people argue that if a person legally purchases a copyrighted good, like a book, computer, or album, they should also have the right to sell. This right was recently affirmed by the Supreme Court in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, which dealt with textbooks purchased legally in Thailand and imported to the United States. The decision in Kirtsaeng hinged on the “first sale doctrine,” which is the common copyright principle that limits a copyright owner’s ability to control the distribution of a particular copy of their work once a legal first sale has taken place.

One would assume the first sale doctrine would also apply to legally purchased digital property, however, in the 2018 case Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal district court decision holding the first sale doctrine did not apply to digital music files. The decision in the ReDigi case severely limits consumers’ digital copy rights and has a chilling effect on innovation in secondary sales markets for any digital property. Continue reading

Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections: Is Hindsight Really 2020?

i voted sticker lot

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

By: Paige Suelzle

The dawning of the new year brings with it renewed concerns over foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election. Foreign interference can take the form of cyberattacks, hacking, “social media agitation,” and infiltrating state-controlled TV, radio, and online sources. While candidates are traversing the state of Iowa and stumping for votes in other early primary states, state and local election departments, elected officials, and election administrators across the country should be taking a hard look at whether their systems can withstand a sophisticated cyberattack.

Continue reading

Skipping class? Your smartphone might be watching.

auditorium benches chairs class

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By: Scott Gutierrez

Your smartphone can track your location, your favorite places to shop, and the topics you most often engage with on social media. But be warned college students: Your phone also may know the next time you skip class.

Dozens of  colleges and universities in the United States now use apps installed on students’ personal phones to monitor student attendance. The apps connect through campus Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology, and can alert a professor or advisor when students don’t show up to class or arrive a few minutes late. SpotterEDU, a system employed by about 40 schools, including Syracuse, Auburn, Central Florida, Indiana, and Missouri, logged more than 1.5 million student check-ins last year.

Continue reading

Responsibly Managing the Arms Race in Space

astronomy atmosphere earth exploration

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By: Michael McNeil

As humanity races to advance in the 2020s, many have become uneasy about the amount of space weaponizing that has occurred.  Last month the United States officially created the sixth branch of its military, the Space Force, signaling to the world America’s long-term intent to develop and protect its space-based capabilities. However, the United States is not the only government that is actively weaponizing space, or has been for a long time.    China has a robust space weapons and technologies program that is very secretive and active.  Same is true of Russia which has a storied history of developing and deploying space-based weapons in the past, like its famous R-23M Space Cannon from the 1970s.  And in early 2019, Japan shot an explosive at an asteroid it landed on in space, which created a crater much larger than they expected.

Continue reading