A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Aereo Struggles as Supreme Court Finds It Violated Copyright Law
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

On June 25, 2014, in its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Aereo, Inc.  The U.S. Supreme Court held that Aereo violated the Copyright Act of 1976 for streaming TV shows shortly after they were broadcast without paying for the copyrighted works.  As a result, Aereo suspended its service and has struggled to find a way to re-operate its business. This decision has not come without criticism, however, as some warn this ad hoc decision could lead to uncertainty in the courts.

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DRIP Bill Expands UK’s Data Surveillance Power

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Insue Kim

House of Lords passed the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (“DRIP”) on July 17, 2014. DRIP empowers the UK government to require all companies providing internet-based services to UK customers to retain customer metadata for 12 months. It also expands the government’s ability to directly intercept phone calls and digital communications from any remote storage. Critics claim the bill goes far beyond what is necessary and its fast-track timeframe prevents meaningful discussion.

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Federal Circuit Grants Stay of Patent Infringement Litigation Until PTAB Can Complete a Post-Grant Review

By Kyle Pietari – Edited by Insue Kim

Reversing the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit granted a stay of patent infringement litigation proceedings until the PTAB can complete a post-grant patent validity review. This was the court’s first ruling on a stay when the suit and review process were happening concurrently.

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Ninth Circuit Rejects Fox’s Request to Shut Down Dish Services, Despite Aereo Decision

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Insue Kim

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Fox’s motion for a preliminary injunction.  Fox argued that the technologies would irreparably harm Fox because they violate copyright laws, but the Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court did not err in finding that the harm alleged by Fox was speculative, noting that Fox had failed to present evidence documenting such harm.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gutierrez

Senate passes bill to make cell phone unlocking legal

ABA urges lawyers to stop pursuing file sharing lawsuits

FBI cautions that driverless cars may be used to assist criminal behavior

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Court Reduces $1.92 Million File-Sharing Jury Award to $54,000
By Dmitriy Tishyevich – Edited by Joey Seiler

Capitol Records Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset, No. 06-1497 (D. Minn. Jan. 22, 2010)
Order

In June 2009 a jury returned a verdict against Defendant Jamie Thomas-Rasset after finding that she willfully infringed the copyrights of twenty-four songs by making them available through a file-sharing program.  The jury awarded Plaintiffs statutory damages of $80,000 for each willful infringement, resulting in a total verdict of $1.92 million.  On January 22, 2010, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis for the District of Minnesota remitted the jury award by 97% to $54,000 ($2,250 per song), three times the statutory minimum, noting that even this reduced award remains “significant and harsh” and finding that it sufficiently serves both the deterrent and the compensatory purposes of statutory damages.

JOLT Digest previously covered the Thomas-Rasset case.  ArsTechnica and Wired report on Judge Davis’ order.  Copyrights and Campaigns comments on the decision and provides continuing coverage of the updates in the case. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 28 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Affirms TTAB’s Refusal of South Carolina Baseball Logo Registration
By Harry Zhou – Edited by Davis Doherty

Univ. of S. Carolina v. Univ. of S. Cal., No. 2009-1064 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 19, 2010).
Slip Opinion

In a nonprecedential ruling, the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (“TTAB”) refusing the appellant’s (“South Carolina’s”) registration of its Carolina Baseball Logo mark and granting summary judgment against the appellant on its counterclaim for cancellation of a trademark registration held by the appellee (“Southern California”).

Despite the absence of evidence of actual confusion, the TTAB held that consumer confusion of goods marketed by the two schools was likely due to similarities in channels of trade and conditions of purchase. Furthermore, the TTAB held that South Carolina lacked standing to bring the counterclaim. On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the TTAB’s conclusion of likely confusion, but ruled that South Carolina had standing as to the counterclaim. But the Federal Circuit upheld the TTAB’s grant of summary judgment on the counterclaim, finding that South Carolina failed to establish any genuine issue of fact.

Patently-O provides a thorough analysis of the opinion. The TTABlog features an overview of the decision and provides a link to the mp3 recording of the oral argument. The Los Angeles Times blog reports the reaction of an attorney representing the University of Southern California in its coverage of the matter. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 24 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Vacates Lower Court Ruling in Elevator Patent Case
By: Helen (Ye) He – edited by Davis Doherty

Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Otis Elevator Co., No. 2009-1146 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 15, 2010)
Slip opinion

The Federal Circuit vacated the District Court for the Southern District of New York’s grant of summary judgment of noninfringement in favor of Defendant Otis Elevator.  The Federal Circuit concluded that the district court constructed Schindler Elevator’s patent claims too narrowly by construing the terms “hands-free,” “information transmitter” and “recognition device” “to exclude any ‘personal action’ by an elevator user other than ‘walking into the monitored area’.”  The case was remanded in light of the Federal Circuit’s broadened claim construction.

Gray on Claims provides an overview of this case.  717 Madison Place comments on the case and raises some questions. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 24 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Issues a Stay to Prevent Broadcasting of Proposition 8 Case
By Andrew Segna – Edited by Dmitriy Tishyevich

Hollingsworth v. Perry (on application for stay), Case No. 09A648 (U.S., Jan. 13, 2010)
Slip Opinion

The Supreme Court granted a stay of the order issued by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California for a broadcast of the California lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define a valid marriage as only between a man and woman.  The District Court issued this order following an amendment to a local rule of the District Court that had forbidden broadcasting of trials outside of the courthouse.  The court had planned to stream the trial live in federal courts in several other cities and to post it on YouTube as part of a pilot program to test broadcasting of court proceedings.  Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order allowing for real-time broadcasting to five federal courthouses, but did not address broadcasting the trial online due to technical difficulties encountered by the District Court staff.  In a per curiam decision, the Supreme Court held that the revision of the local district rule did not follow procedures designated by federal law, found that applicants would suffer irreparable harm if the live broadcast occurred, and granted a stay of the order.

DC Dicta has an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision.  SCOTUSblog provides an analysis of the opinion and what it means for the future broadcasting of this challenge to Proposition 8.  An editorial in the New York Times criticizes the effect this decision will have on public discussion regarding this case. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 18 - 2010 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Tyler Lacey

Comcast Claims It Would Accept Net Neutrality if Rules are “Clear”

Ars Technica reports that on January 11, Comcast’s executive vice president David Cohen has issued a blog post declaring that it “is time to move on, and for the FCC to decide, in a clear and reasoned way, whether and what rules are needed to ‘preserve an open Internet.’” Cohen claims that the FCC’s 2008 sanctions of Comcast are invalid because they were not based on any “applicable federal law,” and notes that the issue is not “a fight about net neutrality.” Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson argues in response that Comcast’s portrayal of the circumstances leading to the sanctioning order has been “disingenuous” and that much of the confusion surrounding the FCC rulemaking “has been emanating from Comcast HQ.”

Canadian Government Misrepresents Websites as Phishing Attempts to Have Them Taken Down Without a Court Order

On January 11, the Toronto Star reported that the Canadian government wrote to an ISP asking that websites operated by activist group Yes Men be taken down. Yes Men had been operating two websites that “looked official” but satirized the Canadian government’s position on climate issues. According to the article, Canadian law requires a court order before an ISP must take down a website, but allows for an exception if a website is engaged in phishing activity. The Toronto Star’s Michael Geist argues that “officials used both the persuasive power of an official government request combined with inaccurate claims that the sites were engaged in phishing to escalate the issue,” ultimately persuading the ISP to take down the sites. Geist concludes that the government’s “phishing claim effectively substituted one hoax for another and, in the process, undermined the trust in a global system designed to guard against identity theft.”

Amendments Tabled to Clarify UK Proposal Authorizizing Officials to Amend Copyright Law Without Legislation

On January 13, the BBC reported that the United Kingdom government has tabled amendments to its forthcoming Digital Economy Bill. Section 17 of the bill is particularly controversial because it “would have allowed ministers to amend existing laws on online piracy without the need for further legislation.” The proposed amendments do not remove this section, but according to a spokesman for the UK’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), they will “clarify the breadth and scope of the clause and further reinforce the transparency of the process and the scrutiny of Parliament.” BIS argues that the bill “will drive the UK’s vital creative and digital sectors to bolster future growth and jobs.”

Posted On Jan - 15 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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