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Internet Lawsuits: The Saga of Charles Carreon and The Oatmeal

By Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Lawyer

What started out as a copyright infringement dispute between The Oatmeal and Funny Junk has spawned numerous lawsuits and some unwanted publicity for Internet Lawyer Charles Carreon and alleged hacking of his business’s website. for a great overview of this tragic comedy of errors, I recommend reading ‘The Oatmeal’ Internet lawsuit dismissed, but litigation continues.

What are the lessons you can learn from these Internet lawsuits?

1. Copyright infringement issues continue to bedevil the heck out of website owners and the Internet attorneys who represent them.
2. Social media contains a court of public opinion that is sometimes more effective than a court of law.
3. There are no winners when a lawsuit gets filed. At best, you’re dealing with mitigating damages. Often, it’s a case of digging a deeper hole.

This is not the first case where an Internet lawyer ended up with an online backlash. For example, there’s an Internet attorney who asserted a copyright for the HTML on his website and apparently was Google bombed for it.

One of the great things about my Internet law practice is that I focus exclusively on Internet business transactional law instead of lawsuits. Although it means occasionally crossing swords with Internet scam artists, that doesn’t involve hostile social media responses and lawsuits. After all, Internet con men don’t want their dirty laundry aired in court.

Cyber Bullying: Online words can land you in jail

By Internet Lawyer

Remember the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”?

That’s not the case when it comes to the Web because of developments in Internet law.

Bad facts make bad law. Here’s what happened…

A college student did something in very poor taste with his web cam. His embarrassed roommate committed suicide. Instead of a civil lawsuit against the student (or a swift kick in the @ss), he was arrested, prosecuted for a “hate crime,” and will spend years in prison.

Although most states have anti-bullying laws, the response to the webcam incident is for at least five states to push for tougher “cyber bullying” laws. These Internet laws are often very vague and enforced inconsistently.

Be careful what you write online.

And if you own a site or blog that permits comments, these cyber bullying laws are painting a target on you.

It only takes one idiot posting the wrong thing to put you in the cross-hairs for assisting a cyber bully.

Utah Internet Speech Law Challenged

By Internet Lawyer
internet law free speech utah

Does Utah Internet law threaten free speech?

What does the Utah Internet Law do?

Utah has recently enacted a law in an effort to curb the ability of minors to access adult materials on the internet.

Specifically, the Utah Internet Law would set up a ranking system whereby parents and others concerned about the content displayed on websites could turn on and off access to those sites indicated as containing more adult content. Though the new cyber law would have no effect on websites based outside the state of Utah, the Utah Internet Law has still faced criticism from a variety of groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Why would legislators choose to enact the Utah Internet Law

As a historically conservative state with vast influence exerted by the Mormon Church headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah has seen an array of efforts throughout the years by legislators attempting to preserve ‘family’ and ‘traditional’ values. Politicians in this instance feel that the internet allows unknowing children to access pornographic and violent information in a way in which should not be allowed.

Moreover, politicians in Utah have expressed their belief, through the passage of the Utah Internet Law, that private filtering and parental control options are not effective when it comes to regulating what children are able to view on the internet. These politicians believe that a law specifying and allowing parents to see the rankings of websites prior to children being able to access these sites will effectively curb child access to adult content on the internet.

Why is the ACLU trying to get the Utah Internet Law overturned?

The ACLU views the Utah Internet Law as the Utah state government overextending its regulation authority into the realm of constitutionally protected free speech. Even though the Utah Internet Law would not be able to regulate even the most horrific pornographic images produced from sources outside the state, the ACLU argues that local Utah citizens have every right to express themselves and view what they choose to view without interference from the government.

The ACLU argues further that if parents want to personally limit their children’s access to pornographic or other material, the parents have the right to purchase private parental control programs or enact, in other ways, restrictions on the websites able to be viewed in their household. The ACLU has mentioned the inability of the Utah Internet Law to even effectively explain what constitutes offensive materials. Items that the ACLU fears will be banned if the Utah Internet Law is not overturned include access to medical and anatomy websites, and access to nude art from all eras in history.

Internet Lawyer: Does U.S. Internet law apply overseas?

By Internet Lawyer

Internet lawyer wantedThere’s a myth out there that one can do whatever you please online and get away with it if your business is not based in the United States.

Although there are international con artists who set up multiple scams off shore and keep one step ahead of the law, many get caught and pay the price. As an Internet lawyer, I see these cases all of the time.

For example, there’s a 26-year-old guy who committed computer fraud and other crimes. He was just extradited to the United States from Estonia and will be prosecuted. If convicted, he could spend 20+ years of his life in a U.S. federal prison.

In addition, the government plans to seize and confiscate all of the profits from his illegal activities. It’s hard to pay for a good Internet lawyer or criminal defense lawyer after the government has taken your assets.

If you’re doing business online with U.S. clients, you’re going to want to make sure that you don’t violate U.S. Internet law.

To your online success!

-Mike the Internet lawyer

P.S. Part of doing business online with U.S. clients is having the right website legal documents based on the latest U.S. Internet laws. Check out Website Legal Forms Generator software now.

Internet Attorney: How Much Does An Internet Law Firm Charge?

By Internet Lawyer

attorney-feesThe question isn’t how much an Internet attorney charges…it is, “How much money can an Internet lawyer save you?”

If seeking qualified legal counsel prevents just one lawsuit or government investigation, chances are you’ve made an excellent return on your investment.

When you do retain Internet legal counsel to represent your Web business, the attorney fees for professional services rendered will vary. For example, some projects take a little time. Others are complex and involve a lot of time.

Where the scope of work can be defined in advance, your Internet attorney may handle a particular legal project for a flat fee. If the work is going to take an unknown amount of time because it is ongoing or open-ended, you’re likely to be charged by the hour billed in 1/10 or 1/4 hour increments.

For flat fee Internet legal work, you’ll probably have to pay in advance. For hourly work, your Internet law firm may require a retainer to bill against. This type of prepayment is done to protect your lawyer’s interest and you in the process. Because practicing law is a business, your lawyer is going to want to be paid. The longer a law firm waits to collect (just like any business), the odds of receiving payment decreases exponentially.

Because of rules of professional conduct (and it is the right thing to do), your Internet attorney will explain billing practices and procedures at the beginning of your relationship.