By Olga Slobodyanyuk
Amici urge the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its ruling in the “Innocence of Muslims” case
Numerous news organizations, academics and Internet companies have filed briefs in support of Google’s petition for a rehearing of Garcia v. Google, No. 12-57302 (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2014), reports Reuters. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Garcia, an actress tricked into appearing for five seconds in an inflammatory anti-Muslim film, was entitled to a preliminary injunction, and it ordered Youtube to take down all copies of “Innocence of Muslims” with Garcia’s performance. Garcia, slip op, at 2. One group of amici support Google’s petition for a rehearing based on the ruling’s unworkability with established business practices and copyright doctrine. This group includes the International Documentary Association; Netflix; technology companies such as Facebook, eBay and Yahoo!; and IP professors, reports Techdirt. According to Reuters, another group of amici focus on Garcia’s exploitation of a copyright “loophole” in the liability shield for online intermediaries. The EFF’s brief, joined by the ACLU, the American Library Association and others, urges for a rehearing “in order to protect free speech in the debate over the film and also to safeguard the future of free expression online.” News organizations such as the Washington Post and NPR raise similar First Amendment concerns in their brief, reports Eric Goldman from The Technology and Marketing Law Blog. He also notes the absence of big entertainment companies from Google’s list of amici and the lack of discussion among the briefs of the fixation issue, “the most obvious legal defect in the panel’s majority opinion.” JOLT Digest and The Washington Post have analyzed the original opinion.
Record companies sue Pandora for royalties on songs made before 1972
In a complaint filed in the New York State Supreme Court last week, major record companies, including Sony, Universal and ABKCO, have alleged that Pandora violated state common law copyright by playing old songs without permission, reports The New York Times. Songs made before 1972 are covered by “a patchwork of state laws,” not by federal copyright law. The lawsuit is similar to the suit filed last year against Sirius XM, another listening service. Songs made after 1972 are covered by federal copyright law – together with Sirius XM, Pandora paid around $656 million in royalties for these songs last year. According to Ars Technica, payment for pre-1972 recordings would earn record companies about $60 million more per year. Pandora acknowledged the possibility of this lawsuit in its annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, noting that the company would be significantly liable if it was found to be infringing. However, Pandora told The New York Times that it “was confident in its legal position and looked forward to a quick resolution of the matter.” State copyright laws typically cover misappropriation and unfair competition. These common-law concepts would not traditionally cover Pandora’s performance of the songs, analyzes Techdirt.
Alleged Heartbleed hacker arrested
Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes, a 19 year-old Canadian student, was arrested on April 16 for allegedly stealing 900 social security numbers from the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) using the Heartbleed vulnerability, reports The Washington Post. Solis-Reyes is charged with one count of “Unauthorized Use of Computer” and one count of “Mischief in Relation to Data” per the Canadian criminal code and is scheduled to appear in court in July, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police press release. The CRA discovered the cyber theft of social security numbers on April 11 and has delayed the tax collection deadline from April 30 to May 5 in response, reports the DailyTech. Heartbleed is an OpenSSL flaw which “allows a connected Web client or application that sends messages to keep a connection active during a transfer of data,” explains Ars Technica. According to Top Tech News, the bug has been present for over two years in over 500,000 websites. The attack on the CRA is the first to be recorded since Heartbleed’s discovery, but it was soon followed by an attack at Mumsnet, a British website with around 1.5 million users. Although most websites have upgraded to a secure version of OpenSSL, 50 million Android users may still be vulnerable to a Heartbleed attack.