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David Giacalone on the FTC’s Price Gouging Statement

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David Giacalone has a nice new post up about the FTC’s recent position statement against a federal price gouging law. I had missed this development last week.

According the FTC’s chairperson, “[e]nforcement of the antitrust laws is the better way to protect consumers.”

As a first take, I think I agree that there is no pressing need for yet more federal regulation of economic activity, especially where states are both capable, and in this case motivated, to take care of the “problem” themselves. This is particularly true in this context, where the harms attributed to price gouging are localized and fleeting.

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Article III Groupie Groupie

Howard Bashman has yet more on A3G here, here, and here. If he keeps up this pace of blogging about A3G, I’m going to nickname Bashman “Article III Groupie Groupie.” And the story has now made the New York Times.

Hat tip: ECPA Groupie

Related Posts:

1. Solove, Article III Groupie Disrobed: Thoughts on Blogging and Anonymity

2. Solove, The Mysterious Disappearance of Article III Groupie

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Does Anything Really Disappear from the Internet?

magician1.jpgI just posted about the Wayback Machine and that got me wondering whether anything really disappears from the Internet when it is deleted. Certainly, a ton gets archived in the Wayback Machine as well as in Google cache and in RSS readers. Of course, if something appears on the Internet, somebody could see it and copy it before it gets taken down.

But I was wondering to what extent information can vanish completely from the Internet. Thus, if a blogger posts something and then deletes it a minute later, can it escape from permanent fame? Maybe some ill-fated performances might be so brief that they can sneak on and off the Internet without being caught. What about a comment to a blog post that gets zapped quickly by the blog author? Can this escape becoming part of some permanent record?

The question, put another way: Can something posted briefly on the Internet, seen and heard by hardly anyone, not snatched up by anybody, and then deleted, be gone forever? Is there an Internet equivalent to a tree falling in the forest that nobody hears?

I don’t know the answer to this question, and I would like to hear from those with more technical expertise.

UPDATE: People with expertise have answered, and their replies are worth checking out if you’re interested in the issue.

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What’s On the Net Stays on the Net: Thoughts on the Wayback Machine

waybackmachine.jpgSteve Vladeck (law, Miami) visiting at PrawfsBlawg tells an interesting anecdote about the Internet Archive, otherwise known as the “Wayback Machine.” Steve writes about a student who discovered his childhood pictures:

Well, apparently that cute idea I had for a webpage when I was a freshman in college, including the fun pictures page, didn’t die quite the fiery death I had hoped for it upon graduating (or, to be more honest, one month after last updating it in the fall of my sophomore year).

So, new law prawfs, beware!! If there’s a cute, funny webpage all about you from somewhere out there in the Internet ether, your students will find it… what they do with it, well, I’m just glad I kept some of the college photos off the page.

Sobering thoughts for any blogger before clicking on the “publish” button.

According to the Wayback Machine’s FAQ:

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I don’t know why Jack Chin says Goodbye; the Virginia Legislature Says Hello

cedarhillconfederatemonument.jpgIn a recent issue of Constitutional Commentary, Gabriel J. Chin has a very thoughtful article, “Jim Crow’s Long Goodbye,” [21 Constitutional Commentary 107 (2004)]. I applaud Professor Chin’s research, which measures vestiges of the Jim Crow era in education, primarily through a study of statutes left on the books, which are now largely unenforced. Such statutes, for instance, provided for public financing of segregation academies. While the statutes are now largely symbolic, Chin identified several that have some continuing impact on state budgets. Alabama and Mississippi both allow teachers at private schools to join the teachers’ retirement system.

Chin is correct that in order to understand the appropriate legal and legislative response to Jim Crow we must have accurate data on its extent and continuing impact.

I don’t know why Professor Chin says goodbye; the Virginia legislature says hello. Well, hello, at least, to funding the memory of the Confederacy. The Virginia Code, § 10.1-2211, provides for a modest grant ($5 per grave per year) to be administered by the United Daughters of the Confederacy for the maintenance of graves of Confederate soldiers.

State funding for cemeteries is appropriate, in my opinion. We ought to remember our ancestors and preserve their places of repose. So funding for the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers, which the legislature began to do in 2002, is appropriate. Va. Code § 10.1-2211.1. Civil War cemeteries (and in an earlier era pensions for Civil War veterans) pose particular questions, however. For in the years after the war, as the nation struggled to reunite itself, cemeteries and the seemingly ubiquitous public monuments in both north and south were places where the memory of suffering at the hands of the former enemy was kept alive and where the place of slavery in the war was forgotten. The understanding of the war in both North and South become one of Southerners fighting honorably for preservation of their homeland and for a cause they honestly (if mistakenly) believed to be just.

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More on National Security Letters

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Orin Kerr has a post about National Security Letters (NSLs) with comments by Michael J. Woods, former chief of the National Security Law Unit in the FBI. Woods was quoted in a recent Washington Post story that provided extensive information about NSLs. Check out Orin’s post, which quotes from an email Woods sent in response to Orin’s request for further comments.

Related Posts:

1. Solove, National Security Letters

2. Solove, The USA Patriot Act: A Fraction of the Problem

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Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Privacy

privacytop10.jpgChris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s West Coast Office has posted a list of the “top 10 things you can do with very little money or effort to protect your privacy.” There’s hardly anyone who knows more about consumer privacy than Chris, so his Top 10 tips list is definitely worth checking out.

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The Mysterious Disappearance Article III Groupie

underneaththeirrobes1.jpgHaving unmasked himself as Article III Groupie, David Lat has disappeared. We haven’t heard a word from him. His blog is now offline. Why? What’s become of David? Will his blog be back?

Howard Bashman is sleuthing out the case like Sherlock Holmes, so check out How Appealing for the latest news here, here, here, and here.

Bashman also has done some original reporting too, interviewing Judge Richard Posner, who says he feels vindicated because he thought A3G was male, and Jeffrey Toobin (the author of the New Yorker article), whose answer to practically every question is “I don’t know.”

Related Posts:

1. Solove, Article III Groupie Disrobed: Thoughts on Blogging and Anonymity

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Unauthorized Practice on Craigslist?

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I was recently browsing Craigslist’s Legal Forum. On that forum, folks post legal problems and others answer them. Some of the answering posters identify as lawyers, but do not provide their names.

The forum describes itself as follows:

res ipsa loquitur

DISCLAIMER – craigslist is not responsible for, and you may not rely upon, the accuracy of any information or advice posted here – this forum is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only – you should consult with an attorney prior to acting on any information found here.

Will such boilerplate really protect CL if, say, the PA Bar were to seek an injunction again the discussion group for hosting the unauthorized practice under 42 PA C.S.A. 2524? Or if the Bar were ask the attorney general of Pennsylvania to seek criminal penalties under that section’s misdemeanor provisions? I’m imagine that CL would try to avoid liability by pointing to the “Terms of Use” provisions on the page, but do such disclaimers survive a Grokster-like analysis? Maybe Dan’s analysis of suing wikipedia would throw some light on this problem. I haven’t been able to find much in the legal ethics literature on this problem – and some might argue that state bars have enough on their hands without investigating internet practice.

Obviously, what constitutes the practice of law is a matter for debate, and you should feel free to visit the site yourself and make your own mind up.