FTC vs. Toysmart

By: Daniel Bronski, Conway Chen, Matthew Rosenthal & Robert Pluscec Last summer, Toysmart agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission concerning use of its customer information database. Under the terms of the settlement, the defunct Internet toy retailer was permitted to sell customer information without either providing its former customers notice or giving them an opportunity to block the sale or use of their personal information. This issue ignited a privacy-rights maelstrom, but ended anti-climatically for Toysmart; in January, Buena Vista Internet Group, a Disney subsidiary and 60% majority shareholder of Toysmart, agreed to compensate the company’s creditors $50,000 for the privilege of destroying the database. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Carol Kenner approved this plan, subject to the limitation that Toysmart attorneys must retain the list and destroy it (rather than physically transfer it to Buena Vista) when all creditor claims are satisfied. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 2001 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0010

Digital Television: Has the Revolution Stalled?

By: Aaron Futch, Yemi Giwa, Kisa Mlela, Amy Richardson & Yelena Simonyuk When digital television technology first hit the scene it garnered great excitement, with its promise of movie theater picture and sound on a fraction of the bandwidth of analog. A plan was implemented to transition from the current analog broadcasting system to a digital system effective December 23, 2006. As we reach the half point of this plan, the furor begins to die as the realities of the difficult change sink in. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 2001 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0014

The Fate of Napster: Digital Downloading Faces an Uphill Battle

By: Jennifer Askanazi, Glen Caplan, Dianne Descoteaux, Kelly Donohue & Darin Glasser First Diamond Multimedia, then MP3.com, now Napster. The recording industry, in a flurry to protect its copyrighted material, has waged an all-out battle against the dot-coms for the future of copyrighted music on the Internet. Since A&M Records, along with several other labels which comprise the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), filed suit against Napster, emotions have run high in the online community. Some have heralded this technology as a much-needed alternative to the strangling grasp of the major record labels; others view it as blatant theft of property. Students, musicians, computer programmers, trade organizations, and even the US government have voiced their opinions – all perhaps sensing that the outcome of the Napster litigation will have far-reaching consequences. Not only does the current battle over the fate of peer-to-peer technology promise to reshape the face of copyright law, it will also mark the future of the music industry, emerging technologies, and business models for years to come.The following iBrief describes the emergence of Napster’s peer-to-peer technology, the legal proceedings to date, and Napster’s defensive strategy, as well as the potential technological and cultural ramifications of the