Contributions

Should a board of direc­tors of a par­ent com­pa­ny owe fidu­cia­ry duties not just to its share­hold­ers, but also to the share­hold­ers of com­pa­nies involved in lim­it­ed part­ner­ships with one of its sub­sidiaries? In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Natal­ie Noble (’18) dis­cuss­es the impli­ca­tions of In re USACafes, L.P. Lit­i­ga­tion, in which the Delaware Chancery Court held that the board of direc­tors of a cor­po­ra­tion engaged in a lim­it­ed part­ner­ship owe fidu­cia­ry duties to the lim­it­ed part­ner­ship and the lim­it­ed part­ners. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that the USACafes doc­trine should be aban­doned because it dis­cour­ages free­dom of con­tract, dis­suades investors from financ­ing new enter­pris­es, and con­tra­venes bedrock doc­trines of cor­po­rate law.

Contributions

Should musi­cians be free to use sam­ples from the work of oth­ers in their songs with­out hav­ing to pay for them, or should sam­pled artists have a right to get paid for their work? In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Lee Nis­son (’18) unpacks the copy­right issues around dig­i­tal sam­pling of music, explor­ing the doc­trine of de min­imis use. Despite the artis­tic mer­its of sam­pling in music, the Con­tri­bu­tion argues that all sam­pling con­sti­tutes copy­right infringe­ment.

Contributions

In the dig­i­tal age, how should pri­va­cy con­cerns con­strain police inves­ti­ga­tions? In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Christo­pher J. Ryd­berg con­sid­ers this prob­lem with respect to forc­ing sus­pects to unlock smart­phones and speci­fici­ty require­ments with respect to smart­phone search war­rants. Ulti­mate­ly, the Con­tri­bu­tion argues that smart­phones are dif­fer­ent in kind because of the mas­sive scope of data they con­tain, and thus his­tor­i­cal doc­trines of police process will have to change to accom­mo­date the smart­phone era.

Contributions

Can antitrust law be made rig­or­ous in how it ana­lyzes whether a firm is harm­ing com­pe­ti­tion in a mar­ket? Jonathan Het­tle­man (’18) tack­les this ques­tion, which was at the cen­ter of the 2017 Prob­lem at the Glob­al Antitrust Institute’s Invi­ta­tion­al Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. His­tor­i­cal­ly, EU law imposed height­en duties on firms con­sid­ered “dom­i­nant,” with­out look­ing to the mar­ket effects of par­tic­u­lar actions. By look­ing to recent devel­op­ments in how EU law con­sid­ers rebate schemes, this Con­tri­bu­tion argues that antitrust law should con­tin­ue to build on the bur­geon­ing effects-based approach to deter­min­ing whether a firm’s con­duct fore­clos­es com­pe­ti­tion.

Contributions

If a bak­er has a reli­gious objec­tion to same-sex mar­riage, would a law that doesn’t allow him to refuse to sell to a same-sex cou­ple for their wed­ding vio­late his First Amend­ment rights? In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Jesse Klinger tack­les the prob­lem of whether pub­lic accom­mo­da­tions laws — laws that pro­hib­it dis­crim­i­na­tion in the pro­vi­sion of goods and ser­vices — imper­mis­si­bly com­pel a per­son to speak. The Con­tri­bu­tion exam­ines the Supreme Court’s com­pelled speech prece­dents and argues that mes­sage attri­bu­tion is the key issue. In par­tic­u­lar, because pub­lic accom­mo­da­tions laws are con­tent-neu­tral, a speaker’s First Amend­ment rights are vio­lat­ed only if one would attribute a par­tic­u­lar mes­sage to the provider of the goods or ser­vices in ques­tion.

Contributions

Should the copy­right law doc­trines of merg­er and scènes-à-faire be eval­u­at­ed by courts as bars to copy­righta­bil­i­ty or as defens­es to infringe­ment? Ryan Law­son (’17) engages this ques­tion, based on his expe­ri­ence writ­ing for the 40th Edi­tion of the NYU Moot Court Board’s Case­book pub­lished in Decem­ber 2016. There is cur­rent­ly a cir­cuit split with­in the Unit­ed States Courts of Appeals regard­ing whether the doc­trines of merg­er — which exempts from copy­right pro­tec­tion ideas that can only be expressed in a sin­gle or few ways — and scènes-à-faire — which exempts from copy­right pro­tec­tion cer­tain ubiq­ui­tous, foun­da­tion­al expres­sive tropes and devices — should be treat­ed by courts either as bars to copy­righta­bil­i­ty, or as defens­es to infringe­ment. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that, in order to resolve this cir­cuit split while pre­serv­ing the flex­i­bil­i­ty and strength of these doc­trines, courts should adopt a copy­right law test that incor­po­rates con­sid­er­a­tions from the relat­ed trade­mark doc­trine of gene­r­i­cide.

Contributions

Is the Board of Immi­gra­tion Appeals’ (“BIA”) test for deter­min­ing whether an asy­lum-seek­er qual­i­fies as a refugee too restric­tive? Clay Venetis (’17) address­es this ques­tion based on his expe­ri­ence at the Asy­lum and Refugee Law Nation­al Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion, held at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Davis School of Law in March 2016. In order to obtain pro­tec­tion from per­se­cu­tion on the basis of their mem­ber­ship in a group not spec­i­fied in the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­i­ty Act (“INA”), asy­lum-seek­ers must show that their par­tic­u­lar social group pos­sess­es “soci­etal dis­tinc­tion” — recog­ni­tion by soci­ety in gen­er­al, and not just the alleged gov­ern­ment per­se­cu­tors — in their coun­try of ori­gin. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that the “soci­etal dis­tinc­tion” require­ment cre­ates a “catch-22” that unfair­ly denies asy­lum to those who deserve it, and urges courts to adopt a more flex­i­ble, case-by-case approach to deter­min­ing whether an indi­vid­ual qual­i­fies for asy­lum.

Contributions

Do state laws that con­di­tion the issuance of con­cealed car­ry per­mits on an applicant’s show­ing of “good cause” uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly bur­den those appli­cants’ Sec­ond Amend­ment rights? Sarah Good­field (’17) explores this ques­tion, raised at the 2016 “Fall” Mar­den Com­pe­ti­tion, at the New York Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law. Gen­er­al­ly, “good cause” restric­tions require that appli­cants show some spe­cial rea­son for car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon. Writ­ing from the per­spec­tive of the 2016 “Fall” Mar­den respon­dent, this Con­tri­bu­tion ana­lyzes “good cause” require­ments in their his­tor­i­cal and legal con­text, and ulti­mate­ly con­cludes that such restric­tions do not bur­den core Sec­ond Amend­ment rights.

Contributions

Do state laws that con­di­tion the issuance of con­cealed car­ry per­mits on an applicant’s show­ing of “good cause” uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly bur­den those appli­cants’ Sec­ond Amend­ment rights? Andy Deb­bins (’17) address­es this ques­tion, raised at the 2016 “Fall” Mar­den Com­pe­ti­tion, at the New York Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law. Gen­er­al­ly, “good cause” restric­tions require that appli­cants show some spe­cial rea­son for car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon. Writ­ing from the per­spec­tive of the 2016 “Fall” Mar­den peti­tion­er, this Con­tri­bu­tion argues that a sim­ple, straight-for­ward read­ing of the Sec­ond Amend­ment ren­ders “good cause” restric­tions uncon­sti­tu­tion­al.

Contributions

Does the fair use doc­trine apply to online search results that dis­play excerpts from copy­right­ed mate­ri­als? Mol­ly Bal­ti­more (’17) address­es this ques­tion based on her expe­ri­ence at the Car­do­zo BMI Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion held in March 2016, and con­cludes that it should be answered in the affir­ma­tive. The fair use doc­trine allows sec­ondary users to copy or repro­duce oth­er authors’ works with­out being liable for copy­right infringe­ment in cer­tain instances. Ulti­mate­ly, the Con­tri­bu­tion argues that, under an expan­sive read­ing of the fair use doc­trine, search­able online data­bas­es that mere­ly con­vey infor­ma­tion about a copy­right­ed work can do so in a trans­for­ma­tive man­ner, and with­out caus­ing real eco­nom­ic harm.