Monthly Archives: October 2008

What does “search incident to arrest” mean today?

A good article over at the Wall Street Journal on the recent controversy over warrantless searches of laptops was pointed out to me by Venkat Balasubramani. Thanks, Venkat!

The article is worth reading as it discusses the recent cases involving searches of electronic items at the border (based upon a “reasonable suspicion” test), and contrasts that to searches the police can do when you are stopped for another reason. The latter doctrine is called “search incident to arrest” and is meant to allow the police to search the person’s immediate possessions, or “containers,” to search for items that are dangerous, like a gun, or from concealing or destroying evidence. The question is whether the same doctrine will allow the police to search your cell phone, iPod, or laptop.

It’s an untested area of the law, and one which can be debated. Certainly, it is easy to imagine a scenario where a person is able to quickly wipe the memory on the laptop, etc. before a regular warrant could be obtained. The flip side would be that the officer could detain the item for a short period of time until a warrant could be obtained.

Any thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

10 years of the DMCA

It’s been 10 years today since President Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act into law.

Wired has put together a nice retrospective, available here. They call it a misunderstood law that created the Internet commerce as we know it today.

Public Knowledge’s take on the act is here.

David Robinson at Freedom To Tinker has Part I of a retrospective here.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation covers “Unintended Consequences: 10 years under the DMCA” here.

McCain campaign finding unsympathetic ear from YouTube

The McCain campaign’s efforts to have YouTube deal with DMCA takedown notices directed to its commercials uploaded to the video sharing site differently from other content owners have been rebuffed. Recent commercials have featured clips taken from CBS News and other news sources, which the campaign argues is a fair use of the material. Rather… Continue Reading

Professor Lessig on copyright reform

Here’s a link to a great article by Professor Lessig on the need for copyright reform. Despite the article’s title, he’s really not defending piracy per se, but merely noting that the law criminalizes certain behaviors that he believes should instead be encouraged. It’s well worth a read. Posting here on the blog has been… Continue Reading