Richmond Journal of Law and Technology

The first exclusively online law review.

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Blog: Google’s Street View Captures More Than Just Pictures

by Dylan Denslow, Associate Staff

 

If you ask someone a question and they don’t know the answer, it’s a fair guess that their answer will be “Google it.”  These days, it seems like Google is used for everything – it’s expanded much further than a simple Internet search engine.  While this expansion has its fair share of benefits, it also means that Google continues to collect even more piles of data from its users.  However, just recently the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in Joffe v. Google that will rein in some of Google’s activity and have implications for other Internet users.

 

Google’s Street View program is a feature connected to the company’s popular Google Maps and Google Earth applications, which allows users to see 360-degree panoramic images of cities from a street-level perspective.  Google provides this service by sending computer-filled vehicles with cameras down city streets. While capturing street images between 2008 and 2010, Google’s Street View cars simultaneously collected around 600 gigabytes of data transmitted over Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries.  Among the types of data captured were personal emails, usernames, passwords, videos and documents[1].

 

The US Wiretap Act generally prohibits the intentional interception, use, or disclosure of wire, oral and electronic communications unless a statutory exception allows for such activity.[2] One such exception involves communications that are readily accessible to the public, such as radio communications[3]

 

In Joffe v. Google, Google argued that the case should be dismissed based on the theory that its collection of data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks fit within the Wiretap Act’s exception covering communications readily available to the public.  However, the Ninth Circuit felt otherwise and held that “Google’s collection of data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks under its Street View program is not exempt from federal wiretap laws.”[4]  Specifically, the court noted that unencrypted Wi-Fi networks do not qualify as radio communications and that they are not electronic communications readily accessible to the general public.[5] This case represented the first time an appellate court addressed the issue and made a determination on the Wiretap Act’s applicability to unencrypted Wi-Fi networks.[6]

 

The practical implication of this ruling is that anyone who intercepts your information on an unencrypted Wi-Fi network may be punished. Anyone can join an unencrypted network, and once joined all of the data on the network is available to all connected devices. Without hacking, it is easy to collect data from these networks both intentionally or unintentionally. Some privacy experts are concerned that going forward, this court’s holding has the potential to “create accidental outlaws of researchers, and the generally technical and curious.”[7] Because of the relative ease in accessing data on unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, Internet users and researchers in particular should be aware that even their unintended use of an open Wi-Fi network may expose them to potential legal risks.

 


[1] Google Street View ruling denotes “landmark” privacy case on Wi-Fi-enabled data collection, SC Magazine, http://www.scmagazine.com/google-street-view-ruling-denotes-landmark-privacy-case-on-wi-fi-enabled-data-collection/article/311655/ (last visited September 22, 2013).

[2] See 18 U.S.C. § 2511 (2013).

[3] Id.

[4]Google loses appeal in Street View privacy lawsuit, PC World Australia, http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/526168/google_loses_appeal_street_view_privacy_lawsuit/ (last visited September 22, 2013).

[5] Apparently Open WiFI is actually private, The Privacy Blog, https://www.theprivacyblog.com/online-privacy/apparently-open-wifi-is-actually-private/ (last visited September 22, 2013).

[6] Google Street View ruling denotes “landmark” privacy case on Wi-Fi-enabled data collection, SC Magazine, http://www.scmagazine.com/google-street-view-ruling-denotes-landmark-privacy-case-on-wi-fi-enabled-data-collection/article/311655/ (last visited September 22, 2013).

[7] Id.

Blog: The Dangers of Keyloggers

by Miles Jolley, Associate Staff

 

A few college kids have recently found themselves in federal hot water for taking advantage of campus computers.  For two different but sinister ends, Matthew Weaver and Marcus Barrington used keyloggers to steal others’ online usernames and passwords.  If you’re like me, you have hopefully never encountered this technology.  Keyloggers are covert devices that can easily assist ne’er-do-wells in stealing your identity and accessing personal information.  Also, if you’re like me, you’ll be surprised at how obtainable these are and the relatively weak legal response preventing their use.  First, let’s marvel at the idiocy of these students.

Matthew Weaver was running for student council president at California State University, San Marcos in March of 2012.  Instead of kissing babies and shaking hands, he decided to steal the election.  Weaver installed keyloggers on campus computers to steal other students’ university network usernames and passwords in order to cast hundreds of votes for himself.  Once university officials got wise, they involved federal investigators.  The election ended up winning Weaver a year in jail for committing identity theft, wire fraud, and unauthorized access to a computer.[1]

Barrington was a student at Florida A&M University and similarly used keyloggers to access the school’s Registrar’s system.  Once Barrington infiltrated the system, he altered grades and other vital information.  All total, there were over 650 changes made which involved over 90 students.  Barrington wound up with 84 months in prison for various identity theft and fraud convictions.[2]

Keyloggers are computer applications that record your keystrokes.  The common criminal usage of a keylogger is for stealing online usernames and passwords that protect email accounts, online banking, you name it.  They come in both hardware and software formats and all it takes is a little internet surfing to get your hands on one.  Legitimate companies market keyloggers to IT admins and parents that want to track activity on their computers.  However, it is easy for criminals to wield this otherwise legal technology for wrongdoing.[3]

The reality is that this is a hard situation to remedy.  Nowhere in the federal code is the illegal use of a keylogger specifically mentioned.  Lawmakers attempted to pass relevant provisions in 2007 with the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act, but it died in the Senate after twice passing the House.  The law would make illegal “[c]ollecting personally identifiable information through the use of a keystroke logging function.”[4]  A clear law such as this might make technology companies think twice about to whom they sell keyloggers.  Additionally, this definitive language would let potential criminals know there will be consequences for illicit use.  However, until more is done, these devices will be used to take advantage of innocent, hard-working Americans.


[1] Press Release, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cal State San Marcos Student Sentenced for Rigging Campus Elections (July 15, 2013), http://www.fbi.gov/sandiego/press-releases/2013/cal-state-san-marcos-student-sentenced-for-rigging-campus-elections.  

[2] United States v. Barrington, 648 F.3d 1178, 1183-85 (11th Cir. 2011).

[3] Sachin Shetty, Introduction to Spyware Keyloggers, Symantec.com (Apr. 13, 2005), http://www.symantec.com/connect/articles/introduction-spyware-keyloggers

[4] Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act, H.R. 964, 110th Cong. § 2(a)(3) (2007).

Blog: Early NFL Matchups Giving Superbowl Stiff Competition

by Walton Milam, Associate Staff

 

Though the Superbowl typically provides the best television advertisement of the year, the 2014 political races and particularly the Virginia gubernatorial election are giving the NFL championship a run for its money.   From Voldemort like voice overs to overly done images of the candidates sharing their vast knowledge of Virginia agriculture and manufacturing techniques, these candidates make it clear that they are the key to a more prosperous Virginia and that their opponent is downright evil.  Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli have managed to spend what are likely millions in television marketing without making a single argument, instead relying on a litany of inductive fallacies that leave me laughing every time.[1] [2] 

 

Sadly, these commercials must be indicative of what political entities believe will sway voters.  Given the immense money spent by political groups across the nation to determine what campaigning tactics yields results, I think politicians vying for 2014 positions are likely catering to the demands of voters who are affected more by emotionally charged ad hominems than a candidate who ventures to make an argument.   The televised town halls meetings associated with Obamacare left me with impression that American political discourse is devolving to the “rabble- rabble” type meetings that occur on Southpark rather than a market of competing ideas that supposedly lead to a more fruitful society. 

 

Unfortunately both voters and politicians face incentives that give little reason to think the nature of political campaigns will change.  Voters face the prospect of choosing a “superior” candidate or facing the stigma of foregoing their civic duty to participate in elections.   This dilemma will likely force voters to give into the lesser of two evils and vote in November.  Hopeful politicians must get elected to have any impact and are willing to do what is necessary to achieve their end goal, including waging political warfare that does not actually get to any meaningful issue.

 

The perplexing issue facing voters is how to change demands so that politicians vying for office will be forced to switch campaigning tactics so that there is meaningful argument that involves improved government rather than alleged personal issues facing their political opponents.  Perhaps the best approach is the one put forth by PJ O’Rourke, to abstain from voting as it only encourages the political machine that their campaigning tactics and efforts are worthwhile.[3]

 

As mentioned supra, the prospect of abstaining from elections altogether is viewed with disdain as many consider election participation a fundamental element of American democracy.  O’Rourke’s idea then, though well-taken, will not sit well with a majority of voters and thus will not likely be a mechanism through which the nature of political campaigning shifts.

 

Long terms solutions might come through an improved education system through which both voters and potential elected officials come to understand the importance of using argument rather than fallacy.  This solution will have little impact in the short run and seems even more bleak as education policy stems from the same elected officials waging campaigns today. 

 

Though a solution seems distant, I think it is important to understand that the lack of inductive argument is a major issue in political races and all facets of society.  While I am entirely confident that this blog post will have a statistically insignificant impact on the 2014 Virginia Governor’s election and the commercials associated with it, I think informal discussion of argument and fallacy can only be helpful.[4]

 

At least the Virginia race is sure to provide us with more entertainment.  I can’t wait for the debates.   


[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz7gkphqchs

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1nTNP9Crlk

[3] http://www.cato.org/events/dont-vote-it-just-encourages-bastards

[4] http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/logical%20fallacies.htm

Blog: Mario vs. the Internet: How Nintendo Chose to Enforce its Intellectual Property Rights

By Dimitri Karles, Associate Staff

 

The universal appeal of video games is impossible to deny. According to data collected by the Electronics Software Rating Board, the regulatory body that oversees the video game industry, 67% of US households play video games.[1] This ubiquity has led to record sales and industry-wide revenue eclipsed $10.5 billion in 2009.[2] Many entities, from independent developers to giant publishing houses, comprise the video game industry, and each one has the potential to influence the industry. However, there is one company whose influence pervades the industry to a greater degree than any other. Nintendo not only has some of the most recognizable gaming mascots in the world, but has also released a number of best-selling consoles. As such, the gaming community, in a rare show of solidarity, is generally positive in its views towards the Japanese gaming giant.

 

In May of 2013, however, Nintendo took actions that drew the ire of a large part of the gaming community[3]. One of the recent phenomena of the gaming community sees YouTubers posting videos of footage of new games, with or without commentary, which they share among their followers[4]. The community frequently refers to these clips as “Let’s Play videos” and calls those who upload them “Let’s Players.”[5] A number of these “Let’s Players” run ads on these videos, in turn generating revenue dependent on the number of views the video garners.[6] On May 14, however, a Let’s Player posting to the ZackScottGames channel discovered that the ad earnings from videos he posted of Nintendo games had ceased.[7]

 

After the news broke, and after the denizens of the Internet reacted as they are wont to do, Nintendo released a statement explaining the situation. Rather than completely blocking Let’s Players from posting copyright content on YouTube, Nintendo chose to insert its own advertisements “at the beginning, next to or at the end of clips.”[8] This meant that Let’s Players would no longer be able to gain revenue from videos containing content containing Nintendo copyright material, and, in turn, many Let’s Players stopped posting such content.[9]

 

Did Nintendo make the right choice? Should it have left well enough alone and continued to allow Let’s Players to post copyright content? Or, was its decision to exercise its intellectual property rights sound corporate policy? Though there is solid precedent that abandonment of a copyright can only be accomplished by some overt act, Nintendo was justifiably concerned about the future of its copyrights had it continued to allow Let’s Players to post copyright content without comment.[10] So, did, as the Internet predicted, these policies spell doom and gloom for the corporation at the center of this “controversy”? As it turns out, only nine days after he reported the cessation of his ad earnings, the same Let’s Player was back to earning ad revenue on those videos.[11] Was this just Nintendo’s way of sending a message to the gaming community that they would do everything in their power to retain their intellectual property rights, regardless of any potential backlash? We might never find out the answer to that question, but, as the world becomes increasingly reliant on digital media, we have to figure out how this situation fits into the larger context of digital rights management and the gaming community.  


[1] Video Game Industry Statistics, Electronics Software Rating Board (last visited September 13, 2013), http://www.esrb.org/about/images/vidGames04.png

[2] Id.

[3] Stephen Totilo, Nintendo’s Turn for a 180? ‘Let’s Play’ Drama Might Have a Happy Ending, Kotaku (last visited September 13, 2013), http://kotaku.com/nintendos-lets-play-drama-might-have-a-happy-ending-513818999

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Nintendo comments on YouTube ‘Let’s Play’ situation, adding ads to certain videos, GoNintendo (last visited September 14, 2013), http://www.gonintendo.com/?mode=viewstory&id=202693&utm_source=feedly

[9] ‘Let’s Play’ Drama.

[10] See generally, A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004, 1026 (9th Cir. 2001); Hampton v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 279 F.2d 100, 104 (9th Cir. 1960).

[11] ‘Let’s Play’ Drama.

JOLT 2013-2014 Outlook and Announcement of 20th Volume Alumni Celebration

by Benjamin Fox, Editor-in-Chief

Following the announcement of the new staff members in August, JOLT turned its full attention to Volume XX.  I would like to take a few moments to discuss our outlook for this year, and announce some special plans.  First, however, I would like to say a huge “Thank You” to Editor-in-Chief Laura Cahill and the rest of the JOLT Volume XIX Editorial Board for all their exceptional work last year and help in the transition process.  In addition to publishing four issues and organizing an e-Discovery Symposium, the Board oversaw a complete re-design of the website, which now offers blog posts, reader and author interaction, and advanced searchable features.  We hope to build upon their advances.

Our staff is hard at work editing articles for Issue One and looking for quality articles to publish throughout the year.  We strive to continue JOLT’s tradition of publishing insightful, informative, and well-written articles that will drive discussion on a topic.  It is this tradition that has made JOLT the second most cited science, technology, and computing journal in judicial opinions over the past eight years.[1]  Furthermore, we have expanded our blog post section and will continue to increase the number and frequency of posts, so check back often!  Our blog posts present an opportunity to address evolving issues at the intersection of law and technology as they emerge.  As always, we appreciate your comments.  Additionally, while many of our blog posts come from JOLT staff, we welcome submissions from all sources.  Therefore, if you are interested in writing an article or blog post, please contact us at jolt@richmond.edu.

JOLT’s Annual Symposium is scheduled for February 28, 2014, and looks to be our biggest yet.  This year’s Symposium will focus on e-Discovery and Information Governance, with topics including the ethics of data retention, privacy and security of data, the importance of developing and implementing information governance procedures, and the effects of the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  We will provide updates under the “Symposium” tab on the site and will publish blog posts from a number of the authors and speakers in the months leading up to the Symposium.

Finally, it is with genuine excitement that I announce the JOLT 20th Volume Alumni Celebration.  On November 15, 2013, we will be hosting a reunion event for all University of Richmond JOLT alumni and their families.  JOLT alumni should be on the lookout for a save-the-date and a formal invitation with more information.  We will provide further updates on the website, but in the meantime, if you have questions about the event, please contact our Managing Editor Morgan Ackerman at morgan.ackerman@richmond.edu.  We hope to see many of you then!


[1] Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking, 2005-2012, Wash. & Lee Sch. L. L. Libr., http://lawlib.wlu.edu/LJ/index.aspx (search by selecting “Science, Technology and Computing” under Journal Criteria and “Case Cites” under Ranking Criteria)

Blog: Should Search Engines be Responsible for Personal Information on the Internet?

by Spencer Mead, Associate Staff

Should Search Engines be Responsible for Personal Information on the Internet?

 

            Advances in technology and the Internet have revolutionized how human beings interact. 20 years ago, embarrassing moments were rarely caught on camera. However, those recorded gems started one of the most popular television shows in recent history, America’s Funniest Home Videos. People knew that their embarrassing moments had a possibility of making it on TV to be viewed by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Thankfully, video recorders were fairly large and recognizable so people generally knew when they were being recorded.

 

Fast forward to today. The widespread availability of the Internet, vast improvements in video recording capabilities, the advent of YouTube, and the explosion of smart phone usage allows videos to be recorded at any time, without someone being aware they are being recorded, and accessible to the entire world in a matter of minutes. Now, an embarrassing moment can be seen by millions in a few weeks’ time. There are even TV shows that get all of their material strictly from YouTube. Information spreads so quickly across the internet that it can be almost impossible to fully remove something from the public realm. But what if you want one of your embarrassing or personal moments, that should not have been placed in the public realm to begin with, wiped from the Internet for good? Is it even possible to do?

 

Internet Search Engines, such as Google, are extremely complex and modifying the search algorithm is not easily done. Therefore, making it difficult to permanently remove items from the search engine’s databases. However, most Internet search engines have mechanisms in place to remove unwanted items from their search results.[1] But this does not mean the information is actually removed from the search engine. People can still find this information. Sometimes just changing the search terms is all it takes to find the information through a different search on the same search engine.

 

One man thinks the solution is permanently altering the search engines to remove the information from their databases.[2] However, this raises several public policy concerns. This would be a very expensive process, and it might not be economically feasible for search engines to accomplish this without the services offered to the public suffering. Also, it raises concerns about free speech under the First Amendment. Where should the line be drawn between the public having full access to as much information as possible and protecting an individual’s private rights? A French Court will decide where this balance lies on October 12.[3]

 

This ruling might not be on U.S. soil, but it raises many concerns that could have worldwide implications. If Syria does not like all the negative press it is receiving, should it be able to force Google to remove the articles from its database? Should only individuals have the ability to make such a request? Should the First Amendment right to freedom of speech trump all requests for personal information to be removed? The answer is not known, but we as Americans need to be aware of these concerns to make sure the right balance is struck.


[1] Remove a Page or Site from Google’s Search Results, Google, https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/164734?hl=en (last visited Sept. 8, 2013).

[2] Google in Fight Over Content That Appears in Search Results, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/technology/google-in-fight-over-content-that-appears-in-search-results.html?ref=technology (last visited Sept. 8, 2013).

[3] Id.

Blog: NCAA Getting Out of the Video Game Business?

By Kevin Conneran, Associate Staff

 

With the beginning of a new football season, every college football fan is acutely aware of the challenges that his or her school will face this season. However, more pressing than your school’s mid-October game against its in-state rival is the issue of player compensation.

 

The debate over compensation is nothing new in college sports. For years, there have been calls to more fairly compensate student-athletes. Is tuition, room, board, and books fair compensation for athletes who generate millions of dollars for their schools? South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier has been outspoken in his support for player compensation, stating that he wished he could give players a “piece of the pie” that they help create.[1]

 

The latest development that has reignited this debate is the 2009 lawsuit filed against the NCAA by former college basketball player Ed O’Bannon that has been joined by current and former football and basketball players. Detailed information on that lawsuit can be found here. The O’Bannon lawsuit takes aim at two major revenue sources for the NCAA and its member institutions both tied to player’s images and likeness: television revenue and video game licensing.[2]

 

In July, the NCAA announced that they would not renew its licensing agreement with EA Sports, maker of the NCAA College Football video game franchise.[3] The Pac-12, Big Ten, and the SEC have followed suit and announced that they will not be a part of the franchise moving forward.[4] While this may sound like a win for those championing reform in college athletics, the practical effect of these moves seems to be minimal. While the NCAA and major conferences have severed their ties with EA Sports, each university still has its own licensing agreements with EA Sports. According to industry sources, only one team that appeared in this year’s version of NCAA College Football will not appear in next year’s.[5]

 

It seems NCAA College Football has at least a few more years left in it. At the end of the day, colleges will continue to use players’ likeness without paying compensation until the threat of litigation becomes too onerous. Until then, college athletes will continue to play for tuition, room, board, and books. I’m sure Johnny Manziel is thrilled.

Blog: NSA Surveillance, the Boston Bombing, and Political Incentives

 

by Walton Milam, Associate Staff

 

The National Security Agency’s surveillance of domestic electronic communication has garnered much attention in recent months.  The NSA apparently has access to immense databases that the government claims will protect Americans from international and domestic terrorist threats.  While the extent of the NSA’s surveillance remains a mystery, the government clearly has the capability to collect data regarding personal communications.  Many opposed to the surveillance fear a slippery slope through which the NSA will eventually monitor individual electronic activity without end.  Some including the ACLU suggest monitoring phone calls, text messages, and email violates first amendment rights.  Supporters of the surveillance claim the data collection will be directed only at identifying and monitoring potential threats to United States.  These supporters include President Obama who claims the surveillance is “circumscribed, narrow system, directed at us being able to protect our people, and all of it is done under the oversight of the courts.”[1]

 

Regardless of the merits of those arguing for or against surveillance, it is likely that NSA surveillance is here to stay as public opinion and as a result politicians will favor homeland security above all else.  Homeland security, for better or worse, has emerged as a dogma in American politics that few politicians seeking reelection dare speak against.  In the wake of the Boston Bombing, where surveillance technology proved particularly helpful in catching the culprits, American sentiment is likely particularly favorable to increased surveillance.  Any politician who opposed NSA surveillance will almost assuredly be met with fear-mongering from opponents who will claim opposition to surveillance equals opposition to homeland security, a cardinal political sin.  At this point, all American voters will have lived through 9/11, the Boston Bombings, the Virginia Tech massacre, and the Sandy Hook school shooting. The vast majority is old enough to remember the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.  Thus, National Security remains at the forefront in voters’ minds. 

 

To wage successful campaigns, politicians must meet the demands of their constituents.  With national security such a prominent issue that politicians can ill-afford to oppose, it is unlikely that any substantial group of politicians will gain enough clout to create legislation ending the NSA’s surveillance.  Opponents of NSA surveillance thus likely stand the best chance of ending or limiting the surveillance in the courtroom.  A number of cases have already been filed.[2]  Major telecommunications companies have a dog in the hunt as their consumers may be upset with having data about their communications parlayed to the government.  These companies will likely be primary sponsors of lawsuits against the government seeking an injunction against the NSA’s continued surveillance.

 

While those opposing NSA surveillance have shout loudly and frequently make headlines on NPR, Fox, CNN, and NBC, it is likely these shouts will not be heard in the Capitol where politicians face major incentives to act like they care more about national security than individual rights that may or may not be infringed by NSA surveillance.


[1] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/19/barack-obama-nsa-people-emails

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/17/nsa-court-challenges-tech-firms

Blog: I Just (Don’t) Want My MTV: VMA Performances Spark Movement for A La Carte Cable

 By:  Catherine Gray, Associate Staff 

 

            I admit it. I love the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). From Lil’ Kim’s seashell pasty in 1999 to Beyoncé announcing her pregnancy with Blue Ivy in 2011, the VMA’s always deliver just the right combination of crazy, ridiculous, and pure celebrity trash I’m looking for. Unfortunately this year, the event that should have taken the cake—the reunion of *NSYNC and the subsequent restoration of all my middle school hopes and dreams—was overshadowed by Miley Cyrus and her dancing teddy bears. In what can only be described as one of the most bizarre performances in VMA history, Hannah Montana twerked her way into homes across the country wearing nothing more than a spandex bikini.

            While I found this horrific and embarrassing display highly entertaining, I realize that others, particularly those individuals with young and impressionable children, might not find this to be quality broadcast. Moreover, I recognize that these parents might not want their children to have access to networks that offer this kind of programming. Indeed, in the aftermath of Miley’s attempt to prove to the world she’s a big girl now, the Parents Television Council pointed to her display of ‘creativity’ as a reason for Congress to pass the proposed Television Consumer Freedom Act.[1] The bill, introduced by Arizona Senator John McCain, would allow multi-channel distributors to provide video programming to subscribers on an individual, per channel basis.[2]

            Despite the somewhat suspect source of this movement—the Parents Television Council has a history of criticizing MTV programming for failing to adhere to family values—the appeal of the Television Consumer Freedom Act extends beyond parents who want to protect their children from the likes of Miley Cyrus’ foam finger.[3] Even those of us who gleefully tune in to the VMAs, Jersey Shore, and Teen Mom stand to benefit from being able to purchase programming on a per-channel basis. Cost-conscious consumers, instead of paying roughly $70, $80, or $90 a month for a Verizon FiOS package of assorted channels, would be able to select each channel they wish to subscribe to individually, creating a substantial reduction in cost.[4] Gone would be the days of subscribing to a bundled package, paying for channels you’d never watch to have access to ones you want. This option already exists with regard to premium channels such as HBO and Showtime, so why not extend individual subscriptions to basic network channels?[5]

The Television Consumer Freedom Act was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on May 9, 2013. [6] Although it has a slim chance of becoming enacted, the idea of a la carte cable has mainstream consumer appeal.[7] Lastly, just in case you’re interested, you can catch all the highlights from the 2013 VMAs here.


[1] Parents Television Council Blasts VMAs as Serving Sex to Teens, The Hollywood Reporter (Aug. 26, 2013), http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/parents-television-council-blasts-mtvs-614448.

[2] Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013, S. 912, 113th Cong. (2013).

[3] Parents watchdog group assailts [sic] content of MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ and other shows, NY Daily News (Dec. 7, 2011), http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/parents-watchdog-group-assailts-content-mtv-jersey-shore-shows-article-1.988095#ixzz2drd5h9Vc.

[4] TV PackagesFiOS TV Packages, Verizon, http://www.verizon.com/home/fiostv/tv-packages/ (last visited Sept. 3, 2013).

[5] Premium TV Channels – FiOS TV, Verizon, http://www.verizon.com/home/fiostv/tv-packages/#premiumchannels (last visited Sept. 3, 2013).

[6] Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 (S. 912), GovTrack.us, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s912 (last visited Sept. 3, 2013).

[7] Id.

Blog: Welcoming our Volume XX Associate Staff

by Benjamin Fox, Editor-in-Chief, Volume XX
 
It is my distinct honor to introduce the incoming staff members of Volume XX of the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology.  These students worked extremely hard during the journal competition, and we look forward to working with them during the upcoming school year!
 
Congratulations to the following students:

Billy Raska
Brittani Lemonds
Catherine Gray
Danielle Bringard
Dimitri Karles
Dylan Denslow
Emma Buck
Fiona Clancy
Jasmine McKinney
Jessica Ertel
Kevin Conneran
Kit Mathers
Laura Bedson
Matt Miller
Miles Jolley
Silvia Lee
Spencer Mead
Taylor Linkous
Walton Milam

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