CLBR #270: Venkat, Data Scraping and Daily Stormer

CLBR #270: Venkat, Data Scraping and Daily Stormer


Focal Law Group’s Venkat Balasubramani joins us to discuss two recent developments:

Dating Scraping after the hiQ Labs Decision

The decision in hiQ Labs, Inc. v LinkedIn, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-03301-EMC (N.D. Cal. Aug. 14, 2017) in which the court enjoined LinkedIn from blocking access to publicly available information on its website.  See blog posts on the case by Venkat and ILC Cyber Report.

Cloudflare, Free Speech and the Daily Stormer

The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi website that takes its name from the Nazi Party’s tabloid newspaper Der Stürmer.  After the violence at Charlottesville, Daily Stormer attacked Heather Heyer, who was killed in the car attack, as a “Fat, Childless 32-Year Old Slut” it triggered a chain of events that led to it being dropped by its web host and proxy server.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation and others have expressed alarm over internet intermediaries blocking sites based on content.  See blog post by ILC Cyber Report.

About Venkat

Web – Focal Law Group / Twitter – VBalasubramani 

Venkat is a co-founder of the Seattle-based Focal Law Group.  Venkat is primarily a litigator, and his practice focuses on commercial and intellectual property disputes. He also counsels clients on privacy, social media, marketing and other issues in the Internet space. He has a keen interest in blogging and social media, and once covered a trial for The Hollywood Reporter. Super Lawyers magazine profiled Venkat in a 2015 article, writing “tough cases energize Balasubramani—even when they’re not his own.”

Venkat clerked for the Honorable John C. Coughenour (W.D. Wash.), then spent a year at Perkins Coie LLP. He left Perkins Coie to start UrbanEarth, an Internet company. Venkat then worked as in-house counsel for WildTangent, Inc., a multimedia platform company. He also spent four years focusing on Internet-litigation matters at Newman & Newman before establishing his own firm.

During his career, Venkat has handled a wide range of litigation matters, including several precedent-setting cases. For example, he was counsel in one of the first enforcement actions where a judgment creditor seized the domain name of a debtor (Bodog). He also argued a case where the Washington State Supreme Court invalidated a statute prohibiting false political advertising. He frequently takes on cases pro bono, primarily for the ACLU of Washington.

Aside from being a contributor to Prof. Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog, Venkat is most known for representing Matthew Inman (aka “The Oatmeal”) in his hysterical 2012 battle against Charles Carreon (which we covered with Popehat’s Ken White.)


Our thoughts and prayers are with those suffering through the impact of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and to the families of those killed.

How can you help?  I gave to Houston’s relief through Global Giving which provides relief through vetted local charities.

I also must give a shout out to my La Salle Academy classmate Steve Kimmel who paddled then walked for nearly a mile through Houston’s flooded streets to perform emergency surgery.



50th Anniversary of Confirmation of Thurgood Marshall III as first African-American Justice to the Supreme Court.

NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terri Gross celebrates its 30th anniversary this week.


September 6  – Laura Rosenberger and Jamie Fly, Securing Democracy

 September 13 – TechStars’ Ted Serbinski

September 20 – Alan O’Rourke, The Emerging Law of Active Cyber Defense