Issues to Watch, Uncategorized

Will the Visual Artists Rights Act Prevent Cities from Removing Offensive Artwork?


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Will the Visual Artists Rights Act Prevent Cities from Removing Offensive Artwork?

                  Angela Kershner*

The current debate over the removal of statues honoring Confederate soldiers has led at least one commentator to question whether a federal statute protecting the moral rights of artists might prevent their removal.  See Cathy Gellis, Because of Course There Are Copyright Implications with Confederacy Monuments, Techdirt (Aug. 18, 2017, 11:55 AM), https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170818/09155838022/because-course-there-are-copyright-implications-with-confederacy-monuments.shtml.  Due to the age and nature of most Confederate statues, it is unlikely that laws such as the Visual Artists Rights Act would prevent their removal.  Brian Frye, Moral Rights & Confederate Monuments, Faculty Lounge (Aug. 21, 2017, 12:18 AM), http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2017/08/moral-rights-confederate-statutes.html.    However, because of changing societal norms, it may well be the case that such laws will prevent the removal of other public art that is deemed offensive.

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New House Bill Targets Service Providers and Tech Giants, Aims to Give Consumers More Control Over Their Data


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New House Bill Targets Service Providers and Tech Giants, Aims to Give Consumers More Control Over Their Data

Bradley Clark*

            Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee introduced a new data privacy bill to the House of Representatives on May 18, 2017.  BROWSER Act of 2017, H.R. 2520, 115th Cong. (2017).  The bill, titled “Balancing the Rights [o]f Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly Act of 2017” or simply the “BROWSER Act of 2017,” aims to give consumers more control over their personal data by allowing them to “opt-in or opt-out . . . with respect to the use of, disclosure of, and access to user information collected” by internet service providers and other tech firms.  Id.

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From Marches to Motions: The Future of Protest Management After the Violent Protest in Charlottesville, Virginia


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From Marches to Motions: The Future of Protest Management After the Violent Protest in Charlottesville, Virginia

Martha Effinger*

           This year began with the Women’s March on Washington, which “was likely the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history.”  Erica Chenoweth & Jeremy Pressman, This Is What We Learned by Counting the Women’s Marches, Wash. Post (Feb. 7, 2017), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/02/07/this-is-what-we-learned-by-counting-the-womens-marches/?utm_term=.e234124e5cfa.  Now, in the wake of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, where three people were killed and thirty-four injured, there are more marches, rallies and protests occurring across the United States.  Maggie Astor et al., A Guide to the Charlottesville Aftermath, N. Y. Times (Aug. 13, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/us/charlottesville-virginia-overview.html; Emily Bohatch, Is There a Protest Near You Today?, USA Today (Aug. 15, 2017, 2:26 PM), https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/08/15/there-protest-near-you-today-rallies-against-hate-trump-across-usa/569275001/. (more…)

Issues to Watch

Designer Babies, Heritable Diseases, and Patent Applications: Legal Issues Surrounding CRISPR Gene Editing Technology


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Designer Babies, Heritable Diseases, and Patent Applications: Legal Issues Surrounding CRISPR Gene Editing Technology

Adrianne C. Blake*

            The science fiction movie GATTACA first brought the concept of eugenics and its surrounding ethical concerns to the big screen.  GATTACA (Columbia Pictures 1997).  When the movie was released in 1997, human gene editing was not yet possible.  Only twenty years later, the idea of a designer baby is no longer a matter of science fiction, but of reality.   (more…)

Issues to Watch, Uncategorized

Open Mic Night: Does Subpoenaing a Home Voice Assistant Device Pose a Constitutional Threat?


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Open Mic Night: Does Subpoenaing a Home Voice Assistant Device Pose a Constitutional Threat?

Tiffany Meekins*

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right of citizens “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures . . . and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.”  U.S. Const. amend. IV.  This Amendment guarantees an individual’s fundamental right to privacy in their own home. Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 565 (1969).  There is a general understanding that possessions, such as a laptop computer or a cellular phone, can be seized and their contents searched with a valid warrant.  Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2485 (2014).  But what about technological devices that one decides to invest in to improve the “quality of [their] life?”?  Amy B. Wang, Can Amazon Echo Help Solve A Murder? Police Will Soon Find Out, Wash. Post (Mar. 9, 2017), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/03/09/can-amazon-echo-help-solve-a-murder-police-will-soon-find-out/?utm_term=.c01a88c258a8.  For instance, devices containing voice assistants have become a staple in many Americans’ homes.  See Andrew Burger, Report: Voice Assistant Penetration Jumps to 12% of U.S. Broadband Households, telecompetitor (Mar. 21, 2017, 1:53 PM), http://www.telecompetitor.com/report-voice-assistant-penetration-jumps-to-12-of-U-S-broadband-households/.  What are the constitutional implications of subpoenaing these devices? (more…)