Informational Inequality: How High Frequency Traders Use Premier Access to Information to Prey on Institutional Investors

By: Jacob Adrian

In recent months, Wall Street has been whipped into a frenzy following the March 31st release of Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys.” In the book, Lewis characterizes the stock market as being rigged, which has institutional investors and outside observers alike demanding some sort of SEC action. The vast majority of this criticism is aimed at high-frequency traders, who use complex computer algorithms to execute trades several times faster than the blink of an eye. One of the many complaints against high-frequency traders is over parasitic trading practices, such as front-running. Front-running, in the era of high-frequency trading, is best defined as using the knowledge of a large impending trade to take a favorable position in the market before that trade is executed. Put simply, these traders are able to jump in front of a trade before it can be completed. This Note explains how high-frequency traders are able to front-run trades using superior access to information, and examines several proposed SEC responses.

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Cite: 14 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 256

Aereo and Internet Television: A Call to Save the Ducks (A La Carte)

By: Pooja Patel

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck. The most recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the Copyright Act employed this “duck test” when determining that Aereo, an Internet content-streaming company, violated the Copyright Act by infringing on the copyrights of television broadcast networks. The Supreme Court ruled that Aereo’s Internet streaming services resembled cable television transmissions too closely. Therefore, by streaming copyrighted programming to its subscribers without the cable compulsory license, Aereo violated the Transmit Clause of the 1976 Copyright Act. Subsequently, Aereo used this Supreme Court decision to obtain a compulsory license from the Copyright Office but was denied. Forced back into litigation, Aereo filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

This Issue Brief describes Aereo’s technology, the litigation that followed, and the related precedent, and concludes that the district court should have granted Aereo a Section 111 Statutory License in line with the Supreme Court’s “duck test.” It considers the implications of the Court’s preliminary injunction against Aereo’s “a la carte” TV technology, what this means for the future of similar technological innovation, and the effects on consumers and competition.

Authenticity and Admissibility of Social Media Website Printouts

By: Wendy Angus-Anderson

Social media posts and photographs are increasingly denied admission as evidence in criminal trials. Courts often cite issues with authentication when refusing to admit social media evidence. Cases and academic writings separate recent case law into two approaches: The Maryland Approach and the Texas Approach. The first method is often seen as overly skeptical of social media evidence, setting the bar too high for admissibility. The second approach is viewed as more lenient, declaring that any reasonable evidence should be admitted in order for a jury to weigh its sufficiency. This Brief addresses the supposed differences between the two sets of cases and suggests that courts are not actually employing two distinct approaches. The Maryland Approach courts are not holding social media content to a higher standard than the Texas Approach courts, but are merely responding to a lack of evidence connecting the proffered content to the purported author.

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Cite: 14 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 33

Periodic Reporting in a Continuous World: The Correlating Evolution of Technology and Financial Reporting

By: Daniel C. Rowe

The evolution of technology has drastically altered what it means to be a reporting company in the eyes of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Technological development has also played a large role in the shifting trend from periodic reporting to continuous reporting, as is particularly apparent in the evolution of the Form 8-K. It is true that the increasingly technological world of continuous reporting does not come without disadvantages. This issue brief, however, argues that despite the increased risks and challenges of continuous reporting, its net effect on disclosure, and the investing community generally, is positive. With that benefit in mind, this paper further suggests four new amendments to the Form 8-K.

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Cite: 13 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 248