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August 9, 2018

Thanks to both the growth of vaping and the legalization of adult-use cannabis, new smoke shops have been popping up across the Golden State in recent years like strictly-regulated weeds. This article surveys some of the rules that California imposes on the sale of both tobacco and cannabis products.
 

Tobacco
 

The major statute regulating tobacco retail sale...

July 23, 2018

Earlier this summer, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented, significantly changing the potential liability faced by online businesses with respect to their handling of user data. The GDPR created a quandry for U.S. companies with limited contact with European consumers: Did they need to change their practices to compl...

June 27, 2018

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, Juliet famously mused. It was surely with a sense of irony, then, that flower breeder David Austin named his new cultivar—purportedly developed over 15 years at a cost of £3 million—the “Juliet Rose.”

Whether it’s flowers, vegetables, or cannabis, skilled breeders have an amazing ability to shape the characterist...

April 19, 2018

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently hearing oral argument in HiQ v. LinkedIn, a case that could have far-reaching implications for Internet businesses. The case is about scraping.
 

“Scraping” broadly refers to collecting electronic data from a third party without their permission. Typically, we’re talking about software used to automatically harv...

March 6, 2018

Hacking into protected networks. Transmitting viruses. Trafficking in stolen passwords. Identity theft. These are among the federal crimes defined by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Spurred to action in part by the 1983 Matthew Broderick vehicle WarGames, Congress passed the original CFAA over thirty years ago, though the law has been amended on sev...

January 11, 2018

TL;DR:

  • Created after 1978? Probably not public domain

  • Published before 1923? Probably public domain

  • Published between 1923 and 1978? Investigate further

  • Created before 1978 but published after 1978? Investigate further
     

As discussed in our article about safely sharing content, under modern U.S. copyright law, there’s a good chance just...

December 19, 2017

Last week, we took a basic look at libel and slander laws and the types statements that can and can’t be defamatory. This week, we continue to talk trash talk with an overview of some legal issues particular to online speech.
 

Sock Puppets and the Anonymous Troll
 

Even if what someone posted about you is genuinely defamatory (see Part 1), it’s tough to do an...