By Amela Zukic
You can relax for now. Sharing your Netflix password probably won’t get you in trouble anytime soon. Though you may have had some anxiety this past summer following the Ninth Circuit’s decision in United States v. Nosal, in which the appellate court, in a 2-1 decision, held that the sharing of passwords could be found to be a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Social media went into frenzy over the possible implications of its decision regarding the legality of sharing Netflix passwords. While this decision is unlikely to have an immediate effect on users of streaming services such as Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, etc., the long-term repercussions remain unclear.
The CFAA, also known as the “worst law in technology,” renders unauthorized access of computers a federal crime. Under the CFAA, anyone who, “knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization” can be convicted. Yet, “unauthorized access” is not defined within the scope of the CFAA. This, therefore, leaves judges with the utmost discretion when interpreting the meaning of “unauthorized access.” The CFAA was initially drafted to criminalize the activities of hackers, but it is now increasingly being used to criminalize activities the public would consider normal – such as password sharing.
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By Tyler Quillin
This article began with an interest in the disparity between last year’s SEC Network and Pac12 Network revenue yields. However, research led to an even more disruptive evolution in cable television delivery – the end of cable bundling. As the internet continues to reshape the way we consume content, cable-bundling continues to decline.
Most of us still access cable television via the traditional bundling model, which functions through consumer subscriptions for desired channel lineups. Each of the channels provided by the service provider costs a fee to provide. These are called affiliate fees, which are licensing fees agreed upon between each service provider and the respective network. These affiliate fees are a growing influence on the pricing of service provider lineups in an evolving market where the internet provides the direct access to clients these networks never had before. Before the internet, networks needed cable servicer providers to disseminate their products to consumers, but now consumers can go straight to the source for targeted consumption of their desired programming via streaming subscription models. For example, remember the big splashes Hulu and Netflix made in the mid-2000s by providing streamed content? The Networks began offering content for free via Hulu while cable service providers were paying hefty affiliate fees. The cable service providers were unhappy, and Hulu became a subscription-based service. This marked the beginning of the end. Continue reading →
By Christian Kaiser
In 1995, Clayton M. Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, coined the term and theory “disruptive innovation.” This term has since become so popular in the tech startup world that most entrepreneurs use it in their pitch or when describing their business. The phrase “tech startup” is almost synonymous with disruptive innovation. However, as Prof. Christensen and his coauthors explain in their new article, many people, including top executives, are not using this term correctly and are misidentifying “disruptive” businesses. In his new article, Prof. Christensen explains the necessary conditions of “disruptive innovation” and applies them to Uber and Tesla, ultimately finding that neither is disruptive. In this blog article, I briefly address why it is important for lawyers working with technology to understand the theory of “disruptive innovation.” Continue reading →