Category: Stuff

Social Network Sites after Death

Over a billion people across the world have created a profile on the social networking site Facebook. Millions of people also use other social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and a number of other sites.

Logging on to these sites has become a daily habit like taking a shower or eating a meal, but what happens to someone’s accounts after he or she is no longer living? It is a question that many people think about and has even grabbed the attention of lawmakers in New Hampshire and other states.

Earlier this month, State Rep. Peter Sullivan introduced a bill that would give control over a deceased’s social networking pages to the executor of the estate. This includes one’s Facebook, Twitter, and additional accounts like Gmail to be passed to the executor of one’s estate in the event of death.

Sullivan is proposing such a bill in order to provide a sense of peace and closure to family members that lose a loved one. He said the bill would also prevent any form of bullying on a deceased’s Facebook or Twitter page.

Along with New Hampshire, five other states, including Oklahoma, Idaho, Rhode Island, Indiana, and Connecticut, have legislation dealing with one’s online and digital presence after death.

Currently, there are online services available such as Entrustet, Legacy Locker, and My Webwill, so individuals can pass on digital assets and account information to trusted sources. People can also speak with a probate lawyer.

Ohio Gets Cracking With Creeper Tracking

In Ohio, a state which currently has more than 19,000 registered sex offenders living within its borders, new technology is helping to monitor the actions of these individuals. The office of Ohio’s attorney general has helped to create an online database through which sex offenders can update their information online, speeding up the reporting process and helping law enforcement agencies better track the movements of registered sex offenders at all times.

Even more intriguing is a new mobile app that allows police officers to identify all registered sex offenders within a quarter-mile radius of a sexual assault or missing person investigation. In combination, these two technological tools should allow Ohio law enforcement agencies to more effectively protect the communities under their care. However, many of these new technologies have been controversial among criminal defense lawyers and other parties, who claim that they unduly punish individuals who have been convicted of sex crimes, making it difficult or in some cases, impossible, for them to secure housing, jobs, and other opportunities, even after they have served their sentences in full.

Apple vs. Samsung

Tech powerhouses Apple and Samsung are facing off in court in order to determine possible patent breaches between their phone and tablet products.  Apple began the legal battle in 2011 when they filed a lawsuit against Samsung for copying the iPhone and iPad models.  Samsung retaliated with a counter-suit and in turn, Apple pushed for similar patent cases in other countries.

But fortunately, a verdict has been reached!  United States District Court Judge Lucy Koh determined that sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 should be postponed until Samsung can prove innocent in the lawsuit.  Should the infringement claims be found invalid, Apple has agreed to compensate Samsung’s potential losses up to $2.6 million.

The decision will undoubtedly be appealed by Samsung, so possible changes to the ruling could go into effect in upcoming weeks.  Cases like this can be complicated and often requires the on-going dedication of legal teams, so it may be a while before we hear a final decision regarding the appeals process.

Dangerous Nerd Toys!!?

Millions of wonderfully nerdy products reach consumer shelves annually in the United States.  With so many products available for purchase, it’s critical that electronics manufacturers ensure that these products are safe to buy and use.  Unfortunately, sometimes the importance of safe product release escapes manufacturers, and consumers are injured or become ill from dangerous products.  When this happens, a manufacturer may be held legally responsible for any injuries or illnesses that their products lead to, and may have to pay out compensation to victims.

Any products have the potential to be dangerous, if they are not handled, packaged, or distributed correctly, but some products are implicated in product liability cases more often than others.  Some of the industries that tend to be involved in more product liability lawsuits include:

  • Child care and toy industries
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Packaging industries
  • Tool and machinery industries

These industries are used by millions of Americans, and it’s critical that their products are not dangerous for consumer purchase and use.  Unfortunately, sometimes their products are released with some kind of defect or flaw, which increase the chances of an unsuspecting consumer to be injured.  Fortunately, a victim of an unsafe product may have the legal ability to hold a manufacturer financially responsible for an unsafe product. If you’re interested, this Urbana personal injury lawyer recently made some good recommendations about the defective products.  In case you’re wondering, Urbana is somewhere in Illinois.

Patent Trolls

Non-practicing entities (NPEs) are what we all recognize as patent trolls: individuals and firms who own patent rights to technologies for the sole purpose of suing people with the audacity to actually put said technology to use in innovative ways. These firms do not use the tech which they hold the rights to in any way, but instead rely on the patent rights to generate income by trapping legitimate companies in lengthy and costly lawsuits which siphon resources away from research and development efforts.

In recent years, the litigation costs associated with these types of lawsuits has absolutely skyrocketed, rising from $6.7 billion in 2005 to more than $29.2 billion in 2011. That figure doesn’t even take into account the indirect costs associated with defending against frivolous litigation such as resource diversion, new product delays, and significant losses in market share sustained during the litigation process.

Small businesses are among the most negatively affected by NPE litigation, as they are frequently forced to settle out of court in so-called “nuisance suits” for a few hundred thousand dollars. Small potatoes to bigger tech companies, but these kinds of suits can be absolutely devastating to the viability of a small business. The assistance of a personal injury lawyer can help protect your business against frivolous lawsuits, as a skilled attorney may be able to have baseless claims against your company dismissed.