Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

July 2012 Archives

Twitter Apologizes, Puts Reporter Back Online After Angering NBC

UK reporter Guy Adams was kicked off Twitter this weekend after posting a tweet that included the email address for NBC executive Gary Zenkel. Adams's account was reactivated on Tuesday and he's back on Twitter.

Things quickly steam rolled and now Twitter has apologized, the Los Angeles Times reports

Adams posted a tweet on Friday criticizing NBC for tape-delaying their broadcast of the Olympics and singled out Zenkel as the executive behind the idea. He included Zenkel's NBC email address in his tweet.

Several days later, Twitter notified Adams that he had violated Twitter's terms of use and that as a result they were suspending his account.

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Some people wonder whether social networking is a passing fad that will diminish in importance and attention over time. However, a recent social networking study by the McKinsey Global Institute concludes that more than $1 trillion can be realized annually by the value chain of social technologies. When used across enterprises, these technologies have the potential to raise the productivity of high-skilled workers as much as 25%.

The study, titled "The Social Economy: Unlocking Value And Productivity Through Social Technologies," notes that:

A former Virginia prosecutor could go to jail for ten years for making a Facebook threat against his former boss. Clifton C. Hicks has been charged with the felony of making threats.

It seems the ex-prosecutor posted on his Facebook page that he was tired of being intimidated by his former boss and wanted to kick his rear end.

In light of recent mass shootings and other tragedies, the target of the threat, Virginia Attorney General Greg Underwood, contacted authorities and indicated that he took the threat seriously, reports The Virginian-Pilot. As a result, Hicks now faces a class 5 felony charge and could face up to ten years in jail for the stupid Facebook comment.

Classified ads giant Craigslist has filed a lawsuit against Padmapper for scraping Craigslist's apartment data and putting it on a map on its own website.

The Padmapper lawsuit follows a recent trend of increasingly litigious action by Craigslist. Craigslist has reportedly filed several cease and desist letters and threatened several companies with lawsuits for using data curated from its site, reports Tech Crunch.

Given the value of the ads on Craigslist, it makes sense that the classifieds giant would want to keep all that data to itself.

Attorneys Must Share Dropbox Folders With Care

Dropbox makes it easy for attorneys to store files online and access them remotely. Files can be shared between members of an office with a simple click and then stored in an easy to find location rather than under lawyers of email.

When you're working on a big case or have important notes there's no need to save in multiple locations. That can be a big time saver for any law office.

Too bad that ease also comes with a price.

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

People tend to think that anything goes on the Internet. But is that true everywhere? Perhaps not. Indeed, according to a recent New York Times article, a series of controversial Russian Internet bills, approved last week by Parliament, seeks to strengthen the government's Internet controls.

The Russian Parliament's approval of the bills reportedly follows the Russian government's imposition of fines relating to unsanctioned protests and the reinstitution of criminal charges for slander.

An Apple v. Samsung iPad infringement case has led to a victory for Samsung. A UK judge has ordered Apple to pay for a series of newspaper and magazine ads that disclaim any infringement, Reuters reports.

Apple must also post a notice on its UK website that says Samsung's Galaxy tablets do not copy the iPad's design, the judge ruled. The notice must stay up at least six months.

The same judge last week ruled the design of Samsung's Galaxy was indeed far, far and away different from Apple's design for its much more popular iPad. But the judge's latest ruling wasn't a complete defeat for Apple either.

Google Voice App Can Transcribe a Solo Attorney's Voicemail

Attorneys often field dozens of phone calls a day -- but some days are busier than others. There may be times where all you seem to do is run in and out of the office -- and the courthouse.

That's why your voicemail becomes so important. It can be the difference between a new client or a missed or lost client.

If you are an attorney looking for a voicemail alternative, you may want to try the Google Voice app.

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Is the information you post via social media of potential governmental interest? Probably not, but still, it's possible.

To bring home the point, Twitter just issued its first Transparency Report. That report details the number of government demands it has received for user information in the first six months of 2012.

What do the numbers reveal?

RIM Hit with $147 Million Verdict in Wireless Patent Lawsuit

Research in Motion has lost a significant patent lawsuit just a few weeks after it posted its first operating loss in eight years.

The suit, filed by Mformation Technologies, claims that RIM infringed on a patent for wireless device management reports Reuters. The ruling from the jury comes at a hard time for the Blackberry-maker which has struggled to keep its share price up.

Shares in the company have dropped to about $8 from a high of more than $30 almost a year ago according to Huffington Post.

The jury ruled that RIM owes $8 in royalties for every device sold with the infringing technology. Even though the company's popularity has declined somewhat in the last few years, that still adds up to a lot of money.

KY Woman Didn't Download Porn: Lawsuit Alleges Porn Extortion

Downloading porn from the internet means no one has to know it happened. When a lawsuit threatens that privacy, some people just pay up even if they're not guilty.

Jennifer Barker of Louisville, Kentucky is not one of them.

Barker started receiving phone calls from representatives for Malibu Media LLC in May. The callers told her that she had illegally downloaded multiple porn titles using a client called "BitTorrent."

The choice was to pay up a few thousand now or face litigation and hundreds of thousands in court judgments. But Barker claims she never heard of BitTorrent and certainly didn't download porn.

When Malibu reps started calling her at work, she hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit.

WestlawNext iPad App Now Even More Powerful, Useful

Attorneys know that time is money. New associates will understand this lesson especially well after seeing their billable hours cut in half for the first time. But fear not, the most recent update to the WestLawNext iPad app might just be the thing to solve this most heinous of heartache.

Developed by Thomson Reuters, the revised app incorporates some pretty nifty features that weren't available in previous versions. Most notably the app now has access to West km, Westlaw's knowledge management service that can do wonders for even the most disorganized of offices.

If you're an attorney with a BlackBerry, it might be time for an upgrade. Unless you like your smartphones bulky, boring, and poorly compatible with the rest of your life, that is.

Don't be fooled by BlackBerry maker Research in Motion's latest plan to shutter its consumer market division and focus entirely on business users either. As of late, the grand daddy of smartphones hasn't proven itself to be much of an innovator in the corporate world.

Now most of you lawyers out there probably started your career with a BlackBerry in hand. But don't let a false sense of nostalgia keep you from ditching that old clunker and getting something better.

The only question is, which smartphone is right for the budding and veteran lawyer alike?

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

Lawyers should know how to protect information belonging to their firms and their clients, right? Well, perhaps they can do a better job, according to The Wall Street Journal. Indeed, it's now more important than ever for lawyers' cybersecurity skills to get up to speed.

According to the article, hackers intent on insider trading may target attorneys who handle merger and acquisition transactions. They could put links in text messages that, when clicked on smartphones, activate malware that could log keystrokes and record phone conversations.

Time Master + Billing App: Is it Worth Your Time?

There are many ways for lawyers to keep track of their billable hours. From going old-school with pen and paper to using Excel spreadsheets, there are a lot of options, including using your iPhone. Time Master + Billing is one such app geared towards this purpose.

Developed by On-Core Software LLC, Time Master isn't specifically designed for lawyers. Rather it's meant to be used by any hourly professional. The app allows users to turn their iPhones and iPads into a fully functional billable hour record keeping device.

But at $9.99, is it worth the price of admission?

Twitter Will Give You Up to the Cops 75% of the Time

If you are constantly tweeting, you should at least know about your Twitter privacy rights. And let's just say be careful what you tweet (and where you surf) if you plan on committing a crime.

American law enforcement officials are turning to Twitter more and more for incriminating evidence against you. And the information they get is much more than just what you tweet.

According to the company, U.S. law enforcement officials made 679 requests for information from the micro-blogging site in the first half of 2012, and the company granted the information 75% of the time, reports the Los Angeles Times. But it's not these numbers that are most shocking.

5 Ways to Speed Up Slow Law Firm Computer Boot Times

Slow law firm computers are the bane of most attorneys' existence. The only thing worse is having to endure needlessly long boot times beforehand. The time loss can be brutal, but there are ways to speed up the process.

While buying a new computer or more RAM can obviously solve the problem, not every lawyer or firm is willing to shell out for the upgrade.

Thankfully though, there are alternative ways for attorneys to cut down their PC's boot time.

Apple Settles China iPad Trademark Feud for $60M

After paying $60 million to a Chinese company, Apple is now free to use the iPad name and sell the popular tablet freely in China.

Apple had been hampered from selling its popular iPad in China because of a protracted legal dispute with Chinese company Proview over the iPad trademark in China, reports Reuters.

Proview had trademarked the name back in 2001, well before Apple came up with the iPad.

AdWords Trademark Dispute: Can AdWords Sell Your Mark?

Google Adwords can sell your trademarked terms to competitors. In a recent trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Rosetta Stone against Google, the U.S. Court of Appeals laid down the law with regards to this issue.

Google can sell trademarked terms to advertisers on AdWords depending on how recognizable the trademarked term is and whether Google is diluting the trademark by selling it.