Internet Law Three-Fer

Today’s flurry of posts is the product of two weeks of focus elsewhere: grading hundreds of papers, cooking for Thanksgiving, spending time with friends and family.  Now it is back to clearing out the inbox. . .

Internet Attacks Are Growing More Potent and Complex presages the type of cyber 9/11 that Jonathan Zittrain has been writing about for the past few years:  “Attackers bent on shutting down large Web sites — even the operators that run the backbone of the Internet — are arming themselves with what are effectively vast digital fire hoses capable of overwhelming the world’s largest networks . . .”  Just in case we don’t have enough to worry about.

The cause of digital publishing has benefited from the $125 million settlement of the book publishers’ copyright infringement lawsuit over Google’s Library Project.  The New York Times reported that the settlement “is only one of many initiatives under which books are making what may be the biggest technological leap since Gutenberg invented moveable type.”  A group of European libraries is opening a two-million title online database of “books and other cultural and historical articles.”  Google will provide online access to out-of-print books and share access revenues with publishers and authors, with 63% going to the copyright holders and 37% going to Google.  And Random House announced that it will add thousands of digital book titles to its offerings–and not just back-catalog and remaindered works.

Last, a federal court judge struck down the Massachusetts law banning Internet wine sales because it “has a discriminatory effect on interstate commerce because as a practical matter it prevents the direct shipment of out-of-state wine to consumers but permits all wineries in Massachusetts to sell directly to customers, retailers and wholesalers.”  Judge Zobel did not go out on a limb–her ruling brings Massachusetts’s obviously unconstitutional statute in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Granholm v Heald striking down a similar Michigan law.

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