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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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?
user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
4k 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? ...
44 votes
4 answers
20k 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 ...
Script Kitty's user avatar
32 votes
3 answers
130k 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 ...
user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k 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,...
APCoding's user avatar
  • 163
85 votes
4 answers
28k 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 ...
Sam I am says Reinstate Monica's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
j. doe's user avatar
  • 163
24 votes
3 answers
28k views

In the USA, do parents have the right to control their children's possessions?

Let's say a minor (17 or younger) living with his parents gets a job or does chores, and with the money thereby earned, buys a video game console. The parents decide that the console is not ...
ErikE's user avatar
  • 489
14 votes
1 answer
12k 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 ...
Pat W.'s user avatar
  • 6,104
37 votes
6 answers
8k views

Why does browser cache not count as copyright infringement?

My browser is saving a copy of the web pages I visit on my computer. How is that not copyright infringement? in this answer I read: I would hazard a guess that displaying an HTML webpage online is ...
Mario Trucco's user avatar
23 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
dsollen's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
3k 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.
Aashish Loknath Panigrahi's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
890 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". ...
user516's user avatar
  • 131
6 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
Steven Schobert's user avatar
29 votes
4 answers
52k 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 ...
Jon's user avatar
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25 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
feetwet's user avatar
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14 votes
7 answers
230k 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 ...
Digital fire's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Can killing be "self-defense" if you are committing a crime yourself?

Kyle Rittenhouse has been charged with murder. I believe that the facts of the incident are not in dispute, because of ample video evidence: Rittenhouse was attacked, tried to escape, and when he ...
MWB's user avatar
  • 1,294
33 votes
6 answers
14k 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: ...
feetwet's user avatar
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26 votes
3 answers
14k 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 ...
thunderblaster's user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
Albert Renshaw's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
7k views

How far does the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine extend?

Suppose that an individual has been arrested, multiple times, for possession of controlled substances (i.e. illegal drugs), but has managed to get the charges dropped or dismissed by a court after a ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 213k
11 votes
5 answers
41k 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 ...
Jankin's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

In the United States, must state courts follow rulings by federal courts of appeals?

In the United States, must state courts follow rulings by federal courts of appeals?
Jen's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
7k views

Can the US president be charged of crime such as murder while in office?

If the US president commits murder during his vacation as an unofficial action during his presidential term, can he be charged with a crime in court (i.e., in the judiciary branch) before he steps ...
xuhdev's user avatar
  • 1,124
4 votes
1 answer
245 views

What is the practical difference between "fair use" and "fair dealing" in Copyright law?

In the united-states, fair-use is a defence to copyright infringement. In other jurisdictions, particularly members or ex-members of the British Commonwealth such as united-kingdom and australia ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 209k
2 votes
1 answer
1k 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? ...
user5760's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
311 views

Does the U.S. Fifth Amendment prevent one from being tried again for the same crime?

I have a question about the Fifth Amendment. Imagine I committed a crime but I was acquitted at trial. After some time, some new evidence came up showing that I did do it. Does the Fifth Amendment say ...
Yovel's user avatar
  • 21
61 votes
6 answers
85k 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), ...
J.Todd's user avatar
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51 votes
4 answers
13k views

Course of action in a criminal case when there is no conceivable defense

I am not a lawyer or a law student; my work is in mathematics, but I like to learn about criminal law as a hobby. I have spent some time googling and searching to find an answer to my question but ...
Prince M's user avatar
  • 662
38 votes
2 answers
11k 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 ...
wberry's user avatar
  • 629
37 votes
3 answers
37k views

Can women also go shirtless in public legally?

Do women have the same rights as men to walk on the beach or sidewalk topless where men are also walking bare-chested without being discriminated against? If a woman is arrested or asked to leave by ...
Muze's user avatar
  • 1
30 votes
3 answers
12k 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 ...
MWB's user avatar
  • 1,294
23 votes
2 answers
3k 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....
user2138912's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
5k 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, ...
moonman239's user avatar
  • 3,060
15 votes
6 answers
63k views

As a US citizen, what law requires me to pay income tax?

I've found content (especially from Irwin Schiff) that says there's no law requiring US citizens to pay income tax. Other sources claim that income tax is mandatory. If there really is no law ...
jcarpenter2's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
38k views

Is it legal to sell something that uses another product as one of its ingredients?

In example: If someone sells homemade ice cream where they have crumbled oreos and mixed in to make homemade Oreo ice cream, but generically named "Cookies & Cream" or If someone uses Great ...
Howard Davis's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
12k 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 ...
adam.baker's user avatar
  • 1,207
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can you plead the 5th in a civil case?

There seems to be the idea that the right not to self-incriminate does not apply to civil cases. Is that true?
Neil Meyer's user avatar
  • 4,889
8 votes
2 answers
678 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 ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 191
7 votes
5 answers
40k 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 ...
user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
7k 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 ...
user541686's user avatar
  • 1,376
5 votes
1 answer
11k 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 ...
amphibient's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
4k views

Do you have to follow all the orders a police officer gives?

Saw a video on YouTube where a woman is being filmed in Walmart. From what I understood, she was being accused of shoplifting (I guess rolled the cart beyond the registers without paying?), and then ...
KingsInnerSoul's user avatar
69 votes
2 answers
56k 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 ...
feetwet's user avatar
  • 21.8k
53 votes
3 answers
8k views

How does the mandate to report income from illegal activities in the US jibe with the Fifth Amendment?

Al Capone was famously taken down for tax evasion for not reporting income from his illegal activities. If someone were to report the income from illegal activities like a marijuana dispensary or a ...
A. K.'s user avatar
  • 2,302
41 votes
2 answers
7k 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 ...
Sam I am says Reinstate Monica's user avatar
36 votes
7 answers
18k 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 ...
FlanMan's user avatar
  • 1,093
31 votes
3 answers
6k views

Do disclaimers need to be capitalized?

Are disclaimers of warranty, liability, and the like legally required to be in all-caps? For example, the "disclaimer of warranty" section from the GNU GPL: THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 6,369
25 votes
1 answer
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 ...
aebabis's user avatar
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