Law and Public Policy

Privileged Communication?

An email list I'm on ends every message (well really only some of them as the list server is not set up properly):

All e-mail sent through XXXXXXXXX's e-mail lists is considered privileged and confidential, and is intended only for the individuals or entities named above.

I wonder how many people believe there is some sort of actual weight to this boiler plate disclaimer. 'lectlaw defines privileged quite well. The definition includes the important fact that "to qualify for privileged status, communications must generally be made in a private setting." Therefore any e-mail sent to a mailing list is not privileged.

Passing Zone

While we're on the topic of laws to require people to do what they are supposed to. Colorado House Bill 1076 would make it illegal to ride in the left lane. It would return the passing lane to being a passing lane. Imagine.

Disclosure Requirements for Tax Exempt Orginizations

I was a part of a discussion tonight about the disclosure requirements for tax-exempt organizations. There are two publications by the IRS on the matter. They are publication Publication 4221 and Publication 557. The key point is this:

A 501(c)(3) organization must make certain documents available for public inspection and copying upon request and without charge (except a reasonable charge for copying). The organization must disclose its exemption application (Form 1023) along with all supporting documents and a copy of the exemption ruling letter issued by the IRS.


Groklaw has been covering the SCO vs. IBM lawsuit. In the latest rejoinder SCO claims that "The GPL violates the U.S. Constitution, together with copyright, antitrust and export control laws, and IBM's claims based thereon, or related thereto, are barred."

If I'm not mistaken SCO has been distributing Linux for some time now. I guess they are knowingly and willingly a participant in violating the Constitution, export control and antitrust laws. How much more culpable is a company who knowingly violates the laws.

SLAPP Suit Gone Bad

Wired: a group of anonymous e-mail marketers who had earlier sued anti-spam groups wants to drop the suit. The anti-spam groups, however, are asking a judge to do otherwise. The anti-spam groups see the move as an attempt to avoid paying the legal fees of the group. They have asked the case be decided on its merits.


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