Questions tagged [united-states]

For questions specific to the United States as a whole, or that span multiple state jurisdictions. If your question is related to a specific state then you should use that state's tag instead (or as well).

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13
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1answer
2k views

In the US, when is fair use a defense to copyright infringement?

What is fair use in the US? When would it be a successful defense to copyright infringement?
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1answer
1k views

Is this copyright infringement? Is it fair use? What if I don't make any money off it?

If someone were hypothetically working on a project that required them to incorporate copies of a copyrighted work (music, movies, books, etc.), how would they know if it would be considered fair use? ...
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3answers
720 views

Can the Developer of a Program be penalized if it is used illegally?

If a developer writes a program, for example a password cracker or a code decipher, and it is used illegally, will the developer or the user get punished? A password cracker could be used, for example,...
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4answers
16k views

What are the legal repercussions of taking a stranger's picture in public?

With Snapchat and Instagram it is all too easy to abuse picture taking and really inexpensive to snap a photo of an unknowing stranger. If you are in public and will only post pictures online without ...
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2answers
2k views

Can you be accused of hotlinking/copyright violation if you use an iframe?

Can you be accused of hotlinking or copyright infringement if you use an iframe (web element) of another website? Can you be sued for this if the website doesn't prevent iframe using and doesn't ...
74
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4answers
20k views

How can you tell if you have to follow a police officer's instructions?

If a police officer gives me an order, how can I tell whether or not I'm legally obligated to follow that order? If I ask the officer, is he/she required by law to answer truthfully? If the police ...
18
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4answers
6k views

Can a US citizen be required to provide the authentication key for encrypted data on a confiscated computer?

I'm asking this for the sake of a story I was considering writing. Assume that someone has a computer, and within that computer he has some encrypted data. He is accused of a crime and the police ...
11
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7answers
205k views

Do you need a driver's license to travel in the U.S.?

In the U.S., the law that governs motor vehicles is the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. But according to the Constitution; Freedom of movement under United States law is governed ...
12
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1answer
8k views

Can I defend myself from excessive police force?

Hypothetical situation: Say the police are chasing me. I get tackled after which I go limp and stop resisting. Subsequently the officer starts throwing elbows to my face. I'm not sure why he's ...
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4answers
30k views

If someone steals something of mine, is it legal to steal it back?

Let's say someone steals my phone. I use tracking tools to figure out where it is, then call it to make it ring (so I know it is my phone and not just someone else's with the same model). If I take ...
5
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3answers
17k views

Is creating and selling “cheats” or “hacks” for games illegal?

I sell game hacks for a living, but wanted to learn more about the laws regarding what I do. Most of you probably haven't heard of this, but there are people like me who reverse engineer games, and ...
5
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1answer
3k views

Can a store sell merchandise I've left in the store?

If I purchase merchandise in a physical store, and then (accidentally or not) leave the merchandise at the store after I've paid for it, is the store allowed to resell that merchandise to another ...
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3answers
109k views

Is it illegal to throw away the previous tenant's mail?

Say I move into an apartment. And over the next months and years, I keep receiving mail for the previous tenant, whom I do not know. This is understandably annoying. The easiest and most convenient ...
24
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2answers
2k views

Are there any remedies for abusive or insulting behavior by agents executing a search warrant?

Suppose I am a particular person who maintains a clean and orderly residence. I have a sign inside my front door asking visitors to put booties over their shoes before entry. Now some LEOs show up ...
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5answers
17k views

Is the banning of large events in the USA constitutional?

Recently several US cities banned large gatherings of events such as listed here. Given that the 1st amendment of the US constitution states Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment ...
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1answer
708 views

Would what happened in South Park (human centipede) be legal?

There's an episode of South Park where buried in the terms and agreement of iTunes, you agreed that Apple could forcibly make you into a human centipede. See: In the real world could this happen? ...
13
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2answers
658 views

How exactly does civil asset forfeiture work in the United States?

Civil asset forfeiture is a concept that frequently crops up in the news, e.g. the recent Washington Post article "Drug cops took a college kid’s savings and now 13 police departments want a cut". ...
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7answers
10k views

Can I booby-trap my property against police?

Inspired by this question: Suppose I'm paranoid (perhaps justifiably) that law enforcement personnel might conduct a warranted raid of my property. So I setup booby-traps that are designed to either: ...
35
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1answer
7k views

USA: Is “I am not a lawyer” disclaimer generally necessary?

Is it legally necessary to disclaim "I am not a lawyer" when engaging in casual conversation, writing Internet posts, etc. to avoid civil or criminal liability for one's comments? Specifically, in ...
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2answers
2k views

If other party notified me that phone conversation is being recorded, do I need to tell them if I am also recording it?

When I call, for example, AT&T or any other company, then before they pick up the phone they sometimes give me a notice that the phone conversation could be recorded for training or other purposes....
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4answers
4k views

Can someone more wealthy than me bury me in legal fees?

USA Federal Law - I have a company worth about $6m. I got on the bad side of a person with a company worth well over $750m (with attorneys on staff). The CEO threatened to bury me in an endless sea ...
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3answers
10k views

Am I legally able to use lethal force against a police officer in defense of another?

Hypothetically, let's say I come across a police officer about to discharge his firearm at a person laying face down on the ground, hands in my clear view, clearly (to me) unarmed and apparently ...
5
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1answer
6k views

Guidelines to claim right to use physical force as self defense?

I was wondering what constitutes a provocation to which it is justifiable to use force as self defense. For example, if someone came a slapped you on the face but did not proceed hitting you (at which ...
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7answers
70k views

What power do I have as a driver if my interstate route is blocked by a protest?

I recently read about protests blocking an interstate. I feel like ethically no one no (non-police) citizen has the right to obstruct my travel (on a public interstate for the sake of protest), ...
9
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1answer
88k views

Can you legally defend yourself against an attacking police officer?

If a police officer physically attacks you, with or without intent to arrest, can you legally defend yourself? Assume that the police officer punches/kicks/grabs first, and you are not guilty of any ...
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3answers
102k views

Is it illegal to post a picture of someone without their permission?

If I took a potentially embarrassing photo of someone and posted it on a social media site without the person’s permission, such as instagram, could that person take legal action against me? Also, ...
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2answers
7k views

Must the reason for a permanent ban for a paid online game be provided?

Suppose that a fully automated anti-cheat system (claimed by a company to be 99.99% accurate) wrongfully and permanently banned a player from a game that requires a one-time fee to begin playing, ...
7
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5answers
26k views

Are you allowed to strike a person if they say you can?

It's my understanding if a person agrees to fight then it's legal. So if they say "hit me" does that mean it's legal for a person to hit them? What if they obviously mean it in a sarcastic way, or ...
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1answer
3k views

Does the US Fifth Amendment only apply to criminal trials? Do any laws protect a person in civil court when testimony would implicate them in a crime?

Suppose someone is accused of burglary. This person is asked to appear in civil court regarding an unrelated event that occurred at the same time as the burglary but in a different location. If the ...
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2answers
2k views

When a criminal statute is struck down as unconstitutional, what happens to people who were convicted under it?

We just had a question about what happens to convicts if a law is repealed. However, that question's example of homosexual behavior wasn't decriminalized in the US by legislative action, but rather by ...
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2answers
2k views

Can president of the united states pardon himself if convicted of treason or some other wrong doing

I wanted to know whether the POTUS could pardon himself if he/she is criminally charged with treason or some other wrong doing.
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3answers
10k views

When is it illegal to lie?

It occurred to me the other day that (in America) I could write book claiming that soda cures cancer, and there would be no legal consequence to that—free speech. But if I sold soda and claimed that ...
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2answers
554 views

Where can I find a comprehensive document of computer laws?

I am interested in computers and want to pursue this interest further by getting my education in programming and security. I've only just started so I'm scared that I might break some law that was not ...
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1answer
2k views

Is it legal for police to travel with a film crew and publicize arrest footage without consent?

Am I right to assume that police bodycam footage is only allowed to be released as part of a court order / as evidence? If this were true, than wouldn't a news crew accompanying the police officer ...
12
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2answers
1k views

What exactly are an officer's requirements in order to demand ID in the US (New York)?

I watched a YouTube video recently which depicted the following situation, and I'd like to learn more about what peoples' rights are and what an officer's obligations are in a situation like this: A ...
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2answers
2k views

Can a natural US person hold citizenship while remaining non-juridical?

What law should be referenced regarding when and how a natural person becomes a juridical person in the US? According to Wikipedia: While human beings acquire legal personhood when they are born, ...
9
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2answers
154k views

To what extent is suicide legal in the U.S. and in individual states?

At one point, legal scholars referred to suicide as a form of self-murder (for example, see Coke or Hale). Are those who take their own lives guilty of some crime, or have some forms of the act been ...
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1answer
2k views

In California, if a baseball lands in my yard, is it legally mine?

Say some neighborhood kid was playing baseball and accidentally hit the ball into my yard. Theoretically, if I own the house or my lease permits, I have the right to control access to my yard and, ...
5
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3answers
5k views

Can you pay a restaurant bill in pennies?

Say you eat at a restaurant, and after you are finished, the waiter brings you your bill. Is the restaurant legally obligated to accept pennies as payment regardless of the amount? (Of course, I ...
2
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1answer
117 views

What is trademark tarnishment or dilution under US law?

What is a person not allowed to do with a trademark in the US, beyond using falsely to sell goods? In what ways can a trademark owner prevent tarnishment (disparagement) or dilution (blurring)?
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1answer
415 views

What are the legal requirements in the United States for being recognized under federal law as “white” or a “white” person?

Primary resource: [Hefny v. _ (1997) (citation needed, appears to have been dismissed by the U.S. District Court)] Secondary sources: Egyptian Immigrant Wants to be Reclassified as Black Race, ...
62
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2answers
36k views

Why are lawyers typically excluded from juries?

At least in the United States practicing lawyers are called to serve on juries. But my understanding is at least one side will always remove them before trial. Why would it always be the case that ...
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2answers
5k views

If the police search my vehicle or house without my consent, and they don't find anything, what recourse is there?

I understand that if the police perform an illegal search, then any evidence found during that search will be excluded from a trial, but what if they didn't find any evidence? If the police do an ...
32
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7answers
12k views

What if a restaurant suddenly cannot accept credit cards, and the customer has no cash?

If a restaurant normally accepts credit cards, and a customer eats a meal there, then tries to pay with his valid credit card, and the cashier says the credit card system is down and they can only ...
31
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3answers
11k views

Why does the victim have to press charges?

Case in point that was in the news: "BART identifies man in viral video of racist attack on train", East Bay Times A California man attacked a stranger while expressing his hatred of the victim's ...
6
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1answer
688 views

Why do municipalities keep laws on the books that are invalid?

Why do some municipalities keep laws on the books that are not valid? For example, what if municipal law violates state law (for example, due to the state law having preemption) -- is it up to the ...
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4answers
548 views

Does there really exist such thing as “no contract” when doing business with other party?

Sales persons are sometimes advertising their service as "contract free", so that they would get a better chance to convince you to sign up for their service. I guess the reason why this works is ...
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4answers
11k views

Can one be liable for poisoning food one expects to be stolen?

A friend of mine posted about how someone keeps stealing her food at work, and I recommended she lace it with some insanely hot hot sauce. Someone else commented that she could be liable for ...
18
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3answers
34k views

If an adult is raped by a minor, is it statutory rape?

Say an adult is raped by a minor, and does not give legally applicable consent regardless of knowledge of age of the minor. Do statutory rape charges against the adult still apply?
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4answers
9k views

At what point does refusal to report a crime make one an accomplice to a crime?

This is a question out of curiosity only, indirectly inspired by my last question post. I'm wondering at what point not reporting a crime is itself a crime. I know that if someone happens to witness ...

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