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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Volume 9  | Winter 2014  | Number 3

The Internet and the Constitution: A Selective Retrospective

M. Margaret McKeown
9 Wash. J.L. Tech. & Arts  133

4/3/2014

Constitutional & Regulatory

Over the last two decades, the Internet and its associated innovations have rapidly altered the way people around the world communicate, distribute and access information, and live their daily lives. Courts have grappled with the legal implications of these changes, often struggling with the contours and characterization of the technology as well as the application of constitutional provisions and principles. Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has had a close-up view of many of these Internet-era innovations and the way the courts have addressed them. In this Article, adapted from her October 2013 Roger L. Shidler Lecture at the University of Washington School of Law, Judge McKeown offers her retrospective thoughts on the way courts have handled constitutional issues in Internet cases. She also discusses some of the challenges currently facing courts and legislators alike as the U.S. legal system incorporates and accommodates Internet-based technologies and the societal, commercial, governmental, and relational changes they spawn.

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Pacific Northwest Perspective: The Impact of the America Invents Act on Nonprofit Global Health Organizations

John Morgan and Veronica Sandoval
9 Wash. J.L. Tech. & Arts  177

4/3/2014

Intellectual Property

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 (“AIA”) makes fundamental changes to the legislative landscape governing patent law in the United States and will bring about corresponding changes in the manner in which inventors and attorneys address patent issues.  While the law is newly implemented, inventors in all sectors of the economy are eager to formulate reactions to it. In this Article, we explore the effects of the AIA on nonprofit research organizations dedicated to global health and life sciences. We report the perspectives of counsel representing such organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. We also consider the patent system, and the Act’s effects on the system, in the context of scientific and humanitarian motivations.

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When Is a YouTube Video a "True Threat"?

Pedro Celis
9 Wash. J.L. Tech. & Arts  227

4/3/2014

Constitutional & Regulatory

In United States v. Jeffries, the Sixth Circuit upheld a defendant’s conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 875(c) for transmitting a threat through interstate commerce after the defendant posted a music video on YouTube. The video threatened a local judge presiding over the defendant’s child custody proceedings. Circuits have split on whether§ 875(c) and other similar federal threat statutes require the defendant to possess a subjective intent to threaten. This Article argues that the “true threat” test courts use to apply § 875(c) essentially incorporates a subjective intent to threaten. The Article then applies the subjective intent requirement to YouTube videos, using the reasoning in United States v. Alkhabaz as a model.

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Aereo and Cablevision: How Courts Are Struggling to Harmonize the Public Performance Right with Online Retransmission of Broadcast Television

Sam Méndez
9 Wash. J.L. Tech. & Arts  239

4/3/2014

Intellectual Property

Americans increasingly turn to the computer instead of the television to gain access to their favorite shows. With this in mind, Aereo allows its subscribers to stream broadcast television content to their computers, but does not compensate the broadcasters for these retransmissions. The broadcasters argue this violates their public performance right under the Copyright Act’s Transmit Clause, but because of Aereo’s curious technology platform, in which thousands of tiny antennas are each assigned to a unique subscriber, infringement is uncertain. The Supreme Court will soon hear American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., arising out of the Second Circuit, and decide whether Aereo’s retransmissions on the Internet constitute public performances. This Article argues that Aereo is infringing the broadcasters’ public performance right and that by expanding on the earlier decision in Cartoon Network LP, LLLP v. CSC Holdings, Inc., the Second Circuit misinterpreted the text and the spirit of the Copyright Act.

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