Computers in Law and Society: Preface


Computers in Law and Society: Introduction

Robert P. Bigelow and William H. Webster
The following introduction by Robert Bigelow highlights several issues which have developed during the first quarter-century of the computer age, and which are discussed more fully in the remaining pages of this Symposium.

Computers and Society: Problems and Potentialities

Thomas F. Eagleton

Computers from the Perspective of Social Philosophy

Gray L. Dorsey and Arthur M. Weisburd
Assuming computers to be an extremely important technology in a post-industrial society, we need a sense of what society is, and of the basic interrelationships between society, technology, law, science, and ethics. A functional, evolutionary context will serve the purpose. In this Article, Professor Dorsey suggests that the computer will replace production machinery as the essential technology. Computers will enable us to anticipate the future effects of scientific discoveries so…

Computers in the Legislature

Brian V. Faller and Frank B. Ryan
This Article focuses on the impact of the computer on the legislative process. Dr. Ryan identifies two major problems with computer use which may prevent it from becoming the control mechanism envisioned by Professor Dorsey. First, although the House of Representatives is currently using a computer for various administrative, legislative, and information gathering functions, its potential is limited by the lack of imagination of its users. Thus, a fully automated…

The Impact of Computers on the Legal Profession

Christian A. Bourgeacq and John D. Randall
The organized bar should aggressively promote continuing education for computer research and discourage the conversion of law libraries to data banks. The social value of our profession depends on the freedom of individual, family lawyers. Their freedom must be ensured by securing for them the same benefits of computer research available to the state employed lawyer and the members of large firms. In this Article, John Randall examines the effect…

Computers and the Law: The Impact of Technology on Prevailing Legal Principles

James G. Buell
Computers present difficult problems for the legal system. Because the subject matter is technically complex, many lawyers regard computer law as an esoteric, highly specialized area in which only the prescient and foolhardy dare enter. The authors in this section vigorously dispute this assumption. They suggest that the real problems presented by computers in our society—i.e., the invasions of privacy and absence of accountability of computer designers and users-result from…

Contracting in the Computer Industry

Richard L. Bernacchi and Tom A. Glassberg
It is the responsibility of the lawyer to upgrade contracting procedures in order to meet the needs of the computer user. Simply incorporating by reference the proposals, correspondence, and communications between the parties would do much to improve the legal position of the purchaser. Moreover, by establishing firm standards that would govern delivery dates, warranties, and software performance, satisfaction of the parties’ reasonable expectations would be aided greatly. The key…

Computer Transactions: Potential Liability of Computer Users and Vendors

James P. Chandler and JoAnne Levy
This Article will review the social milieu in which computer liability issues arise. It will explore the alternative legal theories upon which liability of the computer manufacturer and user might be based, from the negligent use of computer information to the implied or express warranties of computer vendors. Finally, it will suggest various methods by which users and dealers might avoid or reduce their liability exposure. Professor Chandler considers the…

Discovery, Evidence, Confidentiality, and Security Problems Associated with the Use of Computer-Based Litigation Support Systems

Haley J. Fromholz and Russell D. Phillips Jr.
This Article focuses on the problems of admissibility of computerized records in general, and the specific admissibility, confidentiality, and security problems which relate to computerized litigation support systems. Haley J. Fromholz discusses the modifications in the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure that provide courts with sufficient discretion to adapt to problems presented by computerization. After reviewing the reported cases, he notes approvingly that courts generally recognize that the…

Computer Intellectual Property Claims: Computer Software and Data Base Protection

Michael S. Keplinger and Richard Power
The National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works has defined a set of subsidiary issues which have formed the basis for conducting its research and study activities. These issues include: (1) The manner in which computer software should be dealt with by copyright law; (2) How the copyright law should apply to automated data bases; (3) The copyright consequences of the input or output of a copyrighted work…

Government Regulation of the Computer Industry: Computer Communications


Computer Communications: Industry Interdependence

Wayne Robins
The computer and communications industries, drawing upon a common base of technology and competing for the same markets, are growing increasingly interdependent. Convergence of the technology used by these industries is evinced by the development in the telecommunications industry of an electronic switching system controlled by a stored program very similar to the system software utilized by computers. In this Article, Wayne Robins details recent technological developments that are crucial…

Computer Communications: Government Regulation

Stephen R. Bell and Herbert E. Marks
As the sole suppliers of telephone or telegraph services, certain carriers have the market power to tie or compel the purchase of their data processing services; they can subsidize the cost of their data processing services with the revenue derived from their monopoly; and they are able to divert resources needed to provide basic telecommunications services to promote their competitive data processing business. The issues raised by such competition will…

The Relationship Between Government Regulation and Competition

Charles Cutler
There has been, and is, a battle of remarkable proportions being waged in the field of computer-related communications. Essentially, the protagonists are: the telephone industry, new “specialized” communications common carriers, independent equipment manufacturers, and major users of communications. In this Article, Charles R. Cutler discusses the effects of certain substantive regulations on both industries and considers whether regulations should be promulgated at the federal or state level. He concludes that…

Electronic Funds Transfer

One of the most controversial topics in the computer industry concerns the development of electronic funds transfer (EFT) systems. Although banks have employed EFT in interbank transactions for several years, their recent attempts to replace the check with the debit card to settle a depositor’s account have created considerable dissention in the financial community.

Electronic Funds Transfer in the Bank Card Industry

Bruce E. Woodruff
EFT is an excellent replacement for the check. Six billion dollars of float could be eliminated by creating a more efficient payment system. EFT is faster, more efficient, easier to use, and less susceptible to fraud and theft. In many areas of the country the check is useless to obtain cash. The law must now demonstrate that it is flexible enough to cope with electronic checks. If it does not…

National Commission on Electronic Fund Transfers: Problems and Prospects

Ronald L. Winkler
In this Article, Ronald Winkler details the history of the National Commission on EFT and considers the implications of its first report to Congress.

Electronic Funds Transfer and the Small Bank

Richard Peterson

Electronic Funds Transfer and National Banks

The controversial growth of electronic funds transfer (EFT) has caused a series of economic dislocations and inequities. The dispute is caused not by differences in academic or philosophical opinion, but rather by competing economic forces attempting to protect their legitimate interests. Much of the controversy concerns four important issues: the application of state and federal branching laws, the sharing of EFT terminals, the government’s role in EFT development, and the…

Computer Abuse and the Courts


Legal Problems of Computer Abuse

Susan Hubbell Nycum
Computer abuse consists of incidents caused by intentional acts from which a perpetrator realized or could have realized a gain and/or a victim suffered or could have suffered a loss. In this Article, Susan Hubbell Nycum discusses a wide variety of criminal acts relating to computers and notes that, because of the unique nature of the computer itself, these acts do not fit within traditional criminal classifications. Reform at both…

Legal Problems of Data Base Technology

David J. Dixon
As computers become an integral part of court and business procedures, conflicts will arise that cannot be readily solved by traditional legal theories. Lawyers, acting as planners and advisers as well as advocates, must anticipate the potential problems presented by computers and provide a rational basis for their ultimate solution. In this Article, Judge David Dixon discusses the potential confidentiality problems created when a court uses a computer to collect…