Legal Issues Assignment

Answer all questions in detail (At least 25 lines AND no more than 50 lines for each answer – including sub sections). Provide your justification based on earlier cases or other supporting material. Structure and presentation of your answers will affect the points. (Cite your references in the body of the answers if needed)


1.[13] The oral arguments before the Supreme Court concerning the Communications Decency Act (CDA) focused extensively on determining the most appropriate analogy for cyberspace. Arguments were presented that compared the Internet to a library, to television, and to a public place such as a street corner or park.

(a) Why are these comparisons important? Briefly explain the differences between libraries, television, and public places with respect to First Amendment protection.

(b) For each of these three analogies (library, television, and public place), describe one significant way in which the Internet is similar and one significant way in which it is different. Explain the relevance of each of these similarities and differences to the issue of regulation of the Internet.


2.[12] Veterinarians implant computer chips into pets and farm animals to identify them if they get lost. Some people suggest doing so for children. Discuss the privacy implications of this proposal and answer the following questions:

a. What are the risks?

b. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? If yes, in what way? If not, why not?

c. Do parents have the right to have the chips implanted in their young children? Why or why not?

d. If there was a bill in Congress to require ID chips in children under the age of 5, would you support it? Why or why not?


3. [10] a. Two approaches to the problem of protecting personal information are (a) the free market view and (b) the consumer protection view. How do these points of view differ on the issue of a company disclosing personal information about its customers? How do they differ on the issue of errors in the data about an individual that is distributed by a credit bureau?

b. Briefly describe what an “opt-in” policy is and an “opt-out” policy is. Let’s say you were filling out a survey for an online magazine. Give an example of what you’d see that would distinguish an opt-in from an opt-out policy.


4. [15] a. Briefly describe the difference between negative and positive rights (liberties and claim rights). Give an example of a negative right and a positive right.

b. Explain the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). What are its two main provisions?

c. How are the Napster and Grokster copyright cases similar, and how are they different?

d. Explain the difference between deontological theories of ethics and utilitarian theories of ethics

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