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Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

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Posts Tagged ‘legal news’

Have Flag, Will Claim

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


All I have to say after skimming the news this Tuesday morning is that I clearly was not loved enough as a child. Back in the day when I announced my intentions to become a princess, all I got was laughter. But when seven year old Emily Heaton wanted to become a princess, her father tracked down a disputed tract of land and claimed it for his own kingdom.  Yep you heard me. One little girl in Virginia indicated her desire to become a princess and within a year her father kinda sorta made it happen.

Now all you international law people out there know that there’s more to creating a kingdom or country than following the Eddie Izzard method of country claiming. So before you go off trying to earn your #1 Mom or Dad titles, you might want to pop on over to the Law Library to check out some of our international law sources to make sure you cross those t’s and dot those i’s before establishing your dynasty. Might I suggest consulting the Encyclopedia of Public International Law  (it’s only available on site) or one of our international law study aids (such as Murphy’s Principles of International Law)? As one quoted expert pointed out,  diplomatic recognition is kind of a big deal and should probably be worked out before one goes ordering new letterhead. In other news, I’m currently working on my own flag so I can claim the reference area as my own fiefdom and become the Empress of All Knowledge.

The Sound of Sort-of Silence

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |

Calm Act

Lately it seems like everyone and his mother is espousing some version of the Brits’ Keep Calm and Carry On paraphernalia. But for the last week, calm has taken a whole new meaning this side of the pond. Since December 13, the CALM  Act has been in effect. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act was passed in 2011 (with a one year grace period) to keep television commercials from being louder than the programming they accompany.  The Federal Communications Commission put together some information if you want to know more.

Thanks to CALM, no longer do you have to lunge for the mute button as soon as your show hits a commercial break. Of course it does mean that you more likely to sleep through a show now…

Up Social Media Creek Without a Paddle

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! With an app recently pulled for possible COPPA violations by he? SpongeBob SquarePants!

This past Monday, the Center for Digital Democracy filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that SpongeBob Diner Dash, a free app featuring the popular Nickelodeon character SpongeBob SquarePants, is in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. COPPA was enacted in 2000 to protect children under the age of thirteen from privacy violations online. The law contains marketing restrictions, privacy policy standards, and parental consent requirements for any website or online services targeted towards or used by children under the age of thirteen. Today the FTC announced amendments for COPPA that will bring the twelve-year-old law up to speed to today’s social media.

According to the CDD’s complaint, the app collected children’s email addresses and other personal information without requiring children to ask their parents first, and violates COPPA’s marketing restrictions by using push notifications. Nickelodeon temporarily pulled the app from the Apple and Google Play stores while it investigated the complaint. But, today, the Nickelodeon resubmitted the app, claiming that it was unfairly accused of COPPA violations.

Online privacy—particularly with social media—has been a constant concern, but really reached fever-pitch over the past couple of weeks. First there was the Facebook hysteria over copyright protections. Then, just a couple of days ago, Instagram learned what happens when a sleeping giant is rudely awoken with an announcement that advertisers will gain more access to photos on its site. In case you haven’t heard, the results aren’t pretty, with National Geographic, the hacktivist group Anonymous, and countless individual users calling for a boycott. In response to the outrage, Instagram pulled a Qwickster-esque turnaround and promised to remove the offending policy language, but even that has not smothered the fire.  It seems that society is now attuned to privacy issues online and more than willing to read the fine print.