A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The Court of Justice of the European Union Finds the Harbor No Longer Safe

Written by: Ann Kristin Glenster - Edited by: David Nathaniel Tan

This fall, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a landmark ruling,  holding that the Safe Harbor Agreement on the handling of personal data by U.S. companies in Europe was invalid. This article will give a brief overview of the case, and explore the salient issues to which the European Court took umbrage. Finally, it will attempt to sketch out some possible consequences of the ruling, and the options that now face E.U. and U.S. legislators.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Yiran Zhang – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Senators Introduce a Bill which Requires Social Media Companies to Report Terrorist Activity

New EU Copyright Rules Left Possibility for Google Tax

COP21 Reached an “Ambitious and Balanced” Deal on Climate Change

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By David Nathaniel Tan – Edited by Adi Kamdar

Software Pirate Settles Suit Via YouTube

After Paris Attacks, FCC Chairman Calls for Expanded Wiretap Laws

Hoverboards Declared Illegal in New York City

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Belgian Court Demands that Facebook Stop Tracking Non-Members

By Mila Owen – Edited by Kayla Haran

The Belgian Privacy Commission requested a cessation order against Facebook regarding their practice of placing “datr” cookies on devices of non-Facebook users to track activity on other Facebook pages or on pages containing the “like” or “share” button. The court ruled that this tracking violates the Belgian Privacy Act because it amounts to the collection and “processing of personal data.”

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Facebook not liable for discrimination against Sikhs in India

By Ann Kristin Glenster – Edited by Yaping Zhang

By dismissing Sikhs for Justice Inc.’s case against Facebook for discrimination by blocking the group’s page in India, the United District Court of Northern California maintains the neutrality of interactive online providers and exempts them from liability under Title II of the Civil Rights Act.

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Second Circuit Holds that Submission of Entire Copyrighted Work in Judicial Proceedings Constitutes Fair Use

By Kaethin Prizer – Edited by Esther Kang
Hollander v. Steinberg, No. 10-1140-cv (2d Cir. Apr. 5, 2011)
Summary Order hosted by Scribd.com

The Second Circuit affirmed the decision of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which had granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant in a copyright infringement suit.

The Second Circuit applied the traditional four-factor fair use test, 17 U.S.C. § 107, to filings in judicial proceedings. The court held that the grant of summary judgment for non-infringement was appropriate, because the filing of an author’s essays in their entirety in judicial proceedings constituted fair use.

The Copyright Litigation Blog provides an overview of the case.  (more…)

Posted On Apr - 15 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Hears Oral Arguments for Myriad Gene Patent Case

By Elina Saviharju – Edited by Esther Kang
Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. USPTO, No. 2010-1406 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 4, 2011)
Oral Argument Recording

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments on April 4, 2011, for Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. USPTO. The court focused on the issues of jurisdiction and patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. §101, although it also briefly addressed the nature of the process claims.

The Digest has covered the earlier course of the proceedings on several occasions. The oral arguments before the court have also been discussed in Patent Docs, PatentlyO and by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others.  (more…)

Posted On Apr - 14 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Emily Hootkins

Federal Judge Overturns $625.5 Million Judgment against Apple

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis reversed an October 2010 decision requiring Apple to pay over $625.5 million in patent infringement damages, CNET news and PC Magazine report. This reversal is the latest decision in a three-year battle between Mirror Worlds and Apple. Last October, a jury handed found Apple liable for infringing Mirror Worlds’ patents with its Cover Flow, Spotlight, and Time Machine software. Judge Davis reversed this decision, holding that there was insufficient evidence to support the patent infringement claims.

Federal Appellate Court Hears Oral Arguments in Music Piracy Case

Computer World and Boston.com report that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit heard oral arguments on Monday challenging a damage award for music piracy. This is the first case of its kind to make it to a federal appellate court. In 2009, a jury verdict of $675,000 was entered against Joel Tenenbaum for illegally downloading 30 copyrighted songs. A district judge later reduced that award to $67,500; both the defendant and the plaintiff, the Recording Industry of America, appealed. During Monday’s oral argument, the parties revisited the appropriateness of this damage award. The court should issue a judgment sometime later this year.

Calls for Changes to Electronic Communications Privacy Act

PC World reports that several Democratic members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee have called for changes to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). These senators contend that the 25-year-old law is outdated in light of current privacy and national security concerns. According to CNET, ECPA is “notoriously convoluted and difficult even for judges to follow.” Among other provisions, ECPA gives internet users who store data locally more privacy rights than users of cloud-based services.  However, the Justice Department has expressed opposition to the proposed changes in the law.

 

Posted On Apr - 9 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Court Upholds Subpoenas Compelling ISP to Identify Over 1000 Alleged File-Sharers
By Paul Cathcart – Edited by Jad Mills

Call of the Wild Movie, LLC v. Does 1-1,062, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29153 (D.D.C. March 22, 2011)
Memorandum Opinion
hosted by Scribd.com

In two copyright cases, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied Time Warner Cable’s (“TWC’s”) motions to quash subpoenas compelling the identification of subscribers associated with allegedly infringing IP addresses. In a third case, the court granted TWC’s motion on procedural grounds but permitted the plaintiff ten days to re-issue the subpoena.

The court rejected TWC’s claim of “undue burden,” finding that TWC failed to demonstrate hardship sufficient to outweigh the information’s “critical” value to the plaintiffs’ cases. The court additionally rejected three arguments submitted in amicus briefs. Considering judicial efficiency, the potential for prejudice, and the alleged relationship among defendants, the court ruled that defendants were not improperly joined as of this “nascent” stage in the case. The court also rejected amici’s challenge to personal jurisdiction, pending additional discovery. Finally, the court ruled that defendants’ First Amendment rights to anonymity did not outweigh plaintiffs’ need for the information sought, applying a five-part test laid out in Sony Music Entm’t v. Does 1-40, 326 F. Supp. 2d 556, 564-65 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).

Internet Cases provides an overview. The Electronic Frontier Foundation commented prior to the decision. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 8 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Judge Rules Instant Message Modified Contract
By Andrew Crocker – Edited by Jad Mills

CX Digital Media, Inc. v. Smoking Everywhere, Inc., No. 09-62020-Civ (S.D. Fla. Mar 23, 2011)
Slip opinion
hosted by Scribd.com

Last month, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled in favor of plaintiff CX Digital Media, Inc. in a contract dispute with Smoking Everywhere, Inc.

The district court found that an instant message conversation between an employee of CX Digital, an online advertising referral provider, and the Vice President of Marketing at Smoking Everywhere, an electronic cigarette manufacturer, constituted a modification of the companies’ contract for CX Digital to provide online advertising referrals for Smoking Everywhere’s promotional sales offer.  The verdict resulted in an award of over $1.2 million in damages plus accrued interest and attorney’s fees for CX Digital.

The Technology and Marketing Law Blog provides an overview of the case. Techdirt notes that while it may be surprising that instant messaging can constitute contract negotiation, courts regularly find that informal discussions are binding in this way. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 6 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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