Further Reading Does it violate federal export law if a website publishes CAD files of firearms? A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday against Defense Distributed , the Texas organization that promotes 3D-printed guns, in a lawsuit that it brought last year against the State Department. In a 2-1 decision, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was not persuaded that Defense Distributed’s right to free speech under the First Amendment outweighs national security concerns. The majority concluded : Ordinarily, of course, the protection of constitutional rights would be the highest public interest at issue in a case. That is not necessarily true here, however, because the State Department has asserted a very strong public interest in national defense and national security. Indeed, the State Department’s stated interest in preventing foreign nationals—including all manner of enemies of this country—from obtaining technical data on how to produce weapons and weapon parts is not … [Read more...] about Court: With 3D printer gun files, national security interest trumps free speech
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Further Reading Still “civilizing the electronic frontier”: EFF marks 25 years of activism, litigation On Friday, July 10, the Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary. The San Francisco-based group has been a stalwart of tech and legal advocacy since its founding and has played a key role in a number of seminal cases. To celebrate, Ars interviewed Executive Director Cindy Cohn, who mentioned that, within the list of cases that the organization has worked on, she had a number of favorites. Here’s a quick summary of those cases, in chronological order. Case name: Bernstein v. Department of Justice Filed: February 21, 1995 Result: Court ruled that computer code is speech, and is protected by the Constitution. This was one of EFF’s first significant cases, and it won big. Back in 1995, Daniel Bernstein, then a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to be able to publish “Snuffle.” This program converted a … [Read more...] about Here are EFF’s most influential cases from its first 25 years
Further Reading Pistol plans hit P2P after creator pulls design offline Last Thursday, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence stepped into a notable legal battle between Defense Distributed , a group that promotes gunsmithery via 3D printing, and the State Department, which aims to halt re-publication of the relevant CAD files. The Brady Center is arguing in favor of the government , while the Electronic Frontier Foundation is on the side of Defense Distributed . The lawsuit, Defense Distributed v. Department of State , centers on whether a website that publishes CAD files—which would enable foreigners outside the US to print a firearm—violates munitions export laws. While Defense Distributed took the files down three years ago , they have since reappeared on BitTorrent sites. The case remains pending in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans , which has yet to schedule oral arguments. "Not only is Appellants’ position reckless and hazardous to … [Read more...] about Does it violate federal export law if a website publishes CAD files of firearms?
A senior manager at Amazon Web Services has filed suit against the company alleging race and gender discrimination, saying that she was underpaid, denied promotions, and sexually assaulted at the firm. Charlotte Newman, who is Black, began working at AWS in 2017 in a public policy role. Prior to joining Amazon, she served as a congressional advisor, including a senior role advising US Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). From the start, she alleges, she was "de-leveled"—hired at a position below the one for which she applied and for which she was qualified—and undercompensated as a result. Underpaying Black employees through de-leveling is routine at Amazon, the suit ( PDF ) alleges. "When a company's top leaders traffic in stereotypes of Black employees and fail to condemn intimidation tactics, managers farther down the chain will take note of that modus operandi and behave accordingly," the filing reads. During the 2017-2019 time frame, no Black employees were hired at or promoted … [Read more...] about AWS director sues Amazon, alleging systemic racism in corporate office
The Supreme Court held today that the government can't refuse to register trademarks because some may find the trademarked words offensive. The opinion (PDF) in Matal v. Tam means that Simon Tam, lead singer of an Asian-American rock band called "The Slants," will be able to trademark the name of his band. It's also relevant for a high-profile case involving the Washington Redskins, who were at risk of being stripped of their trademark, but are now likely to retain it. The court unanimously ruled that a law on the books holding that a trademark can't "disparage... or bring... into contemp[t] or disrepute” any "persons, living or dead," violates the First Amendment. Further Reading Asian-American band “The Slants” overturns USPTO rule on “disparaging” trademarks Tam headed to federal court years ago after he was unable to obtain a trademark. In 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in Tam's favor , finding that the so-called "disparagement … [Read more...] about Supreme Court rules: Offensive trademarks must be allowed