The Cyberlaw Clinic is hiring summer interns for 2022! Current U.S. JD candidates with an interest in the intersection of tech, law, and social justice are invited to join our dynamic team! Summer legal interns work on all aspects of the Cyberlaw Clinic’s caseload and, like Fall and Spring semester students, take the lead on the projects they join, supported by the Clinic staff. Although Clinic projects vary from summer to summer, they often include substantive law related to the First Amendment, computer security, digital privacy, intellectual property, civic innovation, emerging technologies such as AI, human rights, and media and the arts. Interns will be involved in supporting the Clinic’s ongoing docket and in planning decisions about clients, cases, and topic areas to be addressed in the Clinic’s work during the upcoming academic year. Interns are supervised and mentored by the Cyberlaw Clinic instructors, and are provided with feedback and growth opportunities.
On October 15, 2021, the Cyberlaw Clinic submitted a Comment on behalf of the Public Interest Patent Law Institute (PIPLI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring that the patent system promotes innovation and benefits the public. The Comment responded to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Request for Information seeking opinions on the current state of patent eligibility jurisprudence. That jurisprudence — including a quartet of Supreme Court decisions in Bilski, Mayo, Myriad, and Alice — reinforced the importance of baseline standards that the USPTO and federal courts should apply in determining whether a patent application involves eligible subject matter.
On August 27, 2021, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Media Law Resource Center, and the MuckRock Foundation in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The case, ACLU v. ICE (Second Circuit No. 21-1233), raises questions about how database design choices affect the availability of public information under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The amicus brief argues that technical, legal, and public policy factors all weigh in favor of using databases to facilitate, rather than hinder, the public right of access to government records.
As we gear up for the fall semester, the Cyberlaw Clinic could not be more excited to welcome Alejandra Caraballo to the Clinic’s teaching team! Alejandra is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and has been a staff attorney at both the New York Legal Assistance Group and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. Alejandra brings to the Clinic deep expertise as a civil rights and civil liberties attorney, with extensive practice experience focused on advancing the rights of LGBTQ people in a variety of legal contexts. Alejandra has a passion for all manner of tech law and policy issues (including intellectual property, encryption, and quantum computing). We expect that she will support projects in many of the Clinic’s existing practice areas while also taking us in some new and exciting directions. We are thrilled to be starting up the new academic year with Alejandra on board!
Last week, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in Sanchez v. Los Angeles Department of Transportation, a Ninth Circuit case about the reasonableness of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT)’s requirement that rental scooter companies like Uber and Lime provide their mobility data–which includes location information–to the city. The Clinic’s amicus brief, filed on behalf of seven individual technologists, urban planning experts, and geoprivacy researchers, argues that the lower court erred in its finding that the mobility data specification (MDS) data was anonymous, and that at the very least, the court should have allowed discovery so that any decision as to the reasonableness of the search could be based upon a full understanding of the data collected and the city’s needs.
Update 8/9/2021: We have set up a permanent page where you can always find the latest version of the How to Read a Docket guide.
As the Cyberlaw Clinic continues to expand our amicus brief and direct representation practices, we’re finding that many students encounter court dockets for the first time in their clinical work. Looking back at our own experiences, we realized that many of us learned the ins and outs of dockets at clinics or on the job. Given how convoluted long-running dockets can get–and how essential good docket management is to litigation–we decided to compile the basics of docket use into a living document.
As the 2020-21 term at the Supreme Court winds to a close over the coming weeks, we are awaiting a decision in the case, Minerva v. Hologic (Supreme Court Case No. 20-440). The Court heard oral argument in the case on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, and a decision is expected by the end of June. The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Engine Advocacy, challenging the application of assignor estoppel doctrine in patent litigation. This brief expands on arguments made in an earlier brief submitted by Engine and the Clinic, supporting a petition for certiorari in the case.
Harvard Law School students will soon have the opportunity to enroll in clinics for the 2021-22 academic year. We urge students to consider all of the extraordinary clinical programs at HLS, which cover a huge range of substantive issue areas, offer different types of practice opportunities, and take a variety of approaches to learning and pedagogy. And, we particularly hope that they will consider joining us here in the Cyberlaw Clinic.
We wanted to collect in one place some general information about the Clinic and offer resources to HLS 1Ls and 2Ls thinking about enrollment next fall or spring. We hope you will find this helpful and informative, and you can of course reach out (as described below) to get any additional information that might be useful as you make your decision.
This spring, the Cyberlaw Clinic is returning to the eighth triennial rulemaking proceeding under 17 U.S.C. 1201, which considers exemptions to the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Section 1201 of the DMCA outlaws the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs) that prevent the unauthorized copying of digital materials. The blanket ban on TPM circumvention, however, applies regardless of whether the underlying use of materials is infringing or fair. Therefore, every three years the Copyright Office holds hearings to determine appropriate exemptions to 1201 restrictions, and make a recommendation to the Librarian of Congress, who ultimately decides which uses are exempted from 1201. This year, the Cyberlaw Clinic, on behalf of the Software Preservation Network and Library Copyright Alliance, seeks to expand the exempted uses to allow eligible memory institutions to access out-of-commerce software and video games remotely for qualifying preservation, research, and teaching purposes.
On February 15, the Technology and Social Change Team at the Harvard Shorenstein Center (TaSC) submitted a comment drafted by the Cyberlaw Clinic to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan. The call for comments was issued in anticipation of the Special Rapporteur’s upcoming report on the relationship between disinformation and freedom of expression that will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2021. The Special Rapporteur welcomed contributions that addressed how human rights law applies to disinformation, what impact of measures already taken to address disinformation has had on human rights, and any recommendations on how to protect human rights while addressing disinformation.