Harvard Law School‘s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, provides high-quality, pro-bono legal services to appropriate clients on issues relating to the Internet, technology, and intellectual property. Students enhance their preparation for high-tech practice and earn course credit by working on real-world litigation, client counseling, advocacy, and transactional / licensing projects and cases. The Clinic strives to help clients achieve success in their activities online, mindful of (and in response to) existing law. The Clinic also works with clients to shape the law’s development through policy and advocacy efforts. The Cyberlaw Clinic was the first of its kind, and it continues its tradition of innovation in its areas of practice. The Clinic works independently, with law students supervised by experienced and licensed attorneys. In some cases, the Clinic collaborates with counsel throughout the country to take advantage of regional or substantive legal expertise. The Cyberlaw Clinic advocates with or on behalf of collaborators and clients on a variety of law and policy topics. The Clinic generally does not take positions in its own name. It makes client selection and other decisions relevant to its practice mindful of a set of core values and actively seeks to advance those values through its work. Values at the heart of the Clinic’s practice and teaching activities include: promotion of a robust and inclusive online ecosystem for free expression; advancement of diversity as a key interest in technology development and tech policy; elimination or mitigation of the impact of bias in the development and deployment of technology; respect for and protection of privacy, vis-à-vis both private and government actors; open government; transparency with respect to public and private technical systems that impact all citizens (and, in particular, members of vulnerable populations); access to knowledge and information; advancement of cultural production through efficient and balanced regulatory and enforcement regimes; and support for broad participation in public discourse
From the Blog
This week, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (pdf) in the United States Supreme Court in the case, Georgia, et. al v. Public.Resource.Org Inc, No. 18-1150. The Clinic filed the brief on behalf of the Caselaw Access Project (CAP), a team of legal researchers, software developers, and law librarians based in the Harvard Law Library. The Clinic’s brief advocates for upholding the Eleventh Circuit’s holding in favor of the respondent, Public.Resource.Org (PRO), arguing for an easy, universal, and unrestricted access to the law. The case raises one major copyright concern: does the “government edicts doctrine” extend to—and therefore render uncopyrightable—materials that lack the force of, but are published alongside, and sometimes even inextricably mixed with, the law?
The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus curiae brief (.pdf) last week in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Dr. Seuss Enterprises v. ComicMix, on behalf of several individuals and non-profit organizations (including groups that advocate for freedom of expression and individual science fiction authors). The brief supports the creators of Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go! (“Boldly”), a Star Trek-inspired mash-up of several Dr. Seuss works, including Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The case has implications for the scope of fair use protection for mash-ups and other works that incorporate original works.
RIDEOUT v. GARDNER | No. 15-2021 | First Circuit | April 22, 2016 | The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (pdf) on behalf of the New England First Amendment Coalition and The Keene Sentinel in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in this case addressing the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s so-called “ballot selfie” law. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 659:35 prohibits “taking a digital image or photograph of [one’s] marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media.” Arguing that the statute is unconstitutional under the First Amendment, the brief notes that it prohibits many types of speech that play important roles in elections, and democracy more generally. The brief highlights specific examples of times when photographs of ballots helped the public clear up misunderstandings about government conduct, demonstrated how to ensure that one’s vote would be counted, and conveyed messages about civic participation and advocacy for a candidate that could not expressed with words alone. Spring 2016 Cyberlaw Clinic students Michael Linhorst and Jacqueline Wolpoe took the lead on this brief, working closely with Managing Director Chris Bavitz and Clinical Fellow Andy Sellars.