A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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DOJ Indicts Nine for Zeus Malware Theft From Online Bank Accounts
By Emma Winer – Edited by Sheri Pan

United States v. Penchukov

Last week, the Department of Justice released a previously sealed indictment against alleged conspirators in an international scheme that stole millions of dollars from online bank accounts. The conspirators allegedly infected thousands of computers with “Zeus” malware, which captured passwords, bank account numbers, and other online banking information. Two of the defendants were arraigned in Nebraska after being extradited from the United Kingdom.

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European Court of Justice Invalidates Data Retention Directive
By Paul Klein – Edited by Alex Shank

In a preliminary ruling requested by courts in Ireland and Austria, the European Court of Justice found that Directive 2006/24/EC was invalid. The Grand Chamber recognized the legitimacy of retaining telecommunications data as a means to combat serious crime and terrorism, but it ultimately held that the far-reaching scope of the Directive disproportionately affected individual privacy under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

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Google to Supreme Court: Snagging Data from Unsecured Wi-Fi is Perfectly Legal
By Michael Shammas – Edited by Mary Schnoor

Google has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to label its Street View cars’ collection of unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic legal, appealing the Ninth Circuit’s decision that Google may have violated the federal Wiretap Act. Google believes unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic should be classed as “radio communications” accessible to the public.

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Mozilla Announces Resignation of Recently Appointed CEO Brendan Eich Following Controversy over Gay Marriage Opposition
By Sheri Pan – Edited by Corey Omer

On April 3, Mozilla Corporation (“Mozilla”), a subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation most widely known for producing the Firefox browser, announced that its CEO of less than two weeks, Brendan Eich, has resigned, after pressure from Mozilla employees, bloggers, and developers who opposed his appointment in light of a $1000 donation that he made in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that sought to ban gay marriage in California.

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Flash Digest: News In Brief
By Emma Winer

Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue

French Unions and Employers Agree to Curb After-Hours Work Email

Limited Sale of Google Glass Slated For April 15

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Personal entry on MySpace admitted into evidence in Indiana murder case

By Kassity Liu – Edited by Stephanie Weiner

Clark v. State, No. 43C01-0705-FA-127 (Ind. Oct. 15, 2009).
Opinion

On October 15, the Supreme Court of Indiana affirmed a murder conviction and sentence, rejecting the defendant’s claims on appeal, including an argument that the trial court improperly admitted as character evidence an entry he made online on his MySpace page.  The defendant claimed the admission was in violation of the Indiana Rules of Evidence.

Internet Cases and the WSJ Law Blog provide an overview of the case. Evidence Prof Blog criticizes the court’s reasoning on the MySpace entry issue, noting that the evidence was likely admitted in violation of Indiana Rule of Evidence 404(a), not considered by the court. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 19 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Delaware District Court Distinguishes Posting and Publication for Purposes of the Copyright Act.

By Ian C. Wildgoose Brown – Edited by Stephanie Weiner

Moberg v. 33T LLC, Civil No. 08-625(NLH)(JS) (D. Del. Oct. 6, 2009).
Opinion

On October 6, the United States Court for the District of Delaware ruled in a case of first impression that a photograph posted to the Internet from a foreign server is not a “United States work” within the meaning of section 411 of the Copyright Act, and thus need not be registered in the U.S. in order to bring suit for infringement. 17 U.S.C § 411(a). Håkan Moberg, a Sweden-based photographer, brought a copyright infringement action against 33T, LLC, a Delaware corporation, and Cedric and Erwan Leygues, France-based website operators, for unauthorized use of photographs he had displayed on a German website in 2004.  The court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, allowing the photographer to go forward with his suit without having to first register his copyright in the United States.

Loeb & Loeb LLP provides an overview of the case. Ex©lusive Rights suggests that the outcome was largely inconsequential. But CyberLaw Currents sees the case as significant for international copyright law. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 18 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Davis Doherty

Freedom of Speech Prevails in UK Thanks to Twitter

On October 12, the UK-based newspaper The Guardian reported it was unable to report on a question asked of a minister during Parliamentary proceedings due to “legal obstacles, which cannot be identified.” Political bloggers and tweeters quickly responded, reporting the question was related to the oil-trading company Trafigura, which is under investigation for allegedly dumping toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Within hours, Trafigura rose to the top of the Twitter “trending topics.” The resulting publicity led the company to relax the terms of its court-ordered gag rule. On October 13, the Guardian reported the details of Trafigura’s “super-injunction,” a gag order so broad that it prevented the newspaper from revealing the injunction’s existence.

Copyright Treaty a Secret, Unless You’ve Got Connections

The next round of negotiations for the multinational Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (“ACTA”) is scheduled to run November 4 through November 6 in Korea, but the United States Trade Representative is being coy about its contents. Wired reports that although the language of the treaty is classified, forty-two individuals from the private sector are allowed access to its contents under a nondisclosure agreement. Their names, including both industry and public interest organization representatives, were revealed after Knowledge Ecology International requested the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Winner of Patent Suit Against Microsoft Sues Internet Giants

Eolas, an internet technology company that won a patent-infringement suit against Microsoft in 2003, is now taking action against the rest of the high-tech world. Ars Technica and CNET reported on October 6 that Eolas, which holds two patents related to web browser plug-in technology, is suing twenty-three other companies for infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. After withstanding Microsoft’s legal challenges to its patent in the 2003 case, Eolas is looking to repeat its success against the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and YouTube. However, a Supreme Court decision in the upcoming case Bilski v. Doll may reduce Eolas’ chances at court if software patents are weakened.

By Davis Doherty

Freedom of Speech Prevails in UK Thanks to Twitter

On October 12, the UK-based newspaper The Guardian reported it was unable to report on a question asked of a minister during Parliamentary proceedings due to “legal obstacles, which cannot be identified.” Political bloggers and tweeters quickly responded, determining the question was related to the oil-trading company Trafigura, under investigation for allegedly dumping toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Within hours, Trafigura rose to the top of the Twitter “trending topics.” The resulting publicity led the company to relax the terms of its court-ordered gag rule. On October 13, the Guardian reported the details of Trafigura’s “super-injunction,” a gag order so broad that it prevented the newspaper from revealing the injunction’s existence.

Copyright Treaty a Secret, Unless You’ve Got Connections

The next round of negotiations for the multinational Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is scheduled to run November 4 through November 6 in Korea, but the United States Trade Representative is being coy about its contents. Wired reports that although the language of the treaty is classified, forty-two individuals from the private sector are allowed access to its contents under a nondisclosure agreement. Their names, including both industry and public interest organization representatives, were revealed after Knowledge Ecology International requested the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Winner of Patent Suit Against Microsoft Sues Internet Giants

Eolas, an internet technology company that won a patent-infringement suit against Microsoft in 2003, is now taking action against the rest of the high-tech world. Ars Technica and CNET reported on October 6 that Eolas, which holds two patents related to web browser plug-in technology, is suing twenty-three other companies for infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. After withstanding Microsoft’s legal challenges to its patent in the 2003 case, Eolas is looking to repeat its success against the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and YouTube. However, a Supreme Court decision in the upcoming case Bilski v. Doll may reduce Eolas’ chances at court if software patents are weakened.

Posted On Oct - 17 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Back to Drawing Board for Pa. State Legislature in Protecting Trademark Holders
By Brittany Blueitt – Edited by Stephanie Weiner

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Omar, No. J-162A-B-2008 (Pa. Oct. 5, 2009)
Majority Opinion (Baer, J.)
Concurring Opinion (Castille, J.)
Dissenting Opinion (Eakin, J.)
Dissenting Opinion (Greenspan, J.)

On October 5, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed two consolidated Centre County Court of Common Pleas decisions dismissing criminal trademark counterfeiting charges on the ground that Pennsylvania’s Trademark Counterfeiting Statute, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4119, is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.  The court held that the statute is unconstitutional because it criminalizes a substantial amount of speech protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Commonwealth v. Omar, No. J-162A-B-2008, slip op. at 10 (Pa. Oct. 5, 2009).

IP Spotlight provides an overview of the case. CNBC features an extended analysis of the decision.  The Madisonian declares the decision overly formalistic. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 16 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Court Rules That Software License Transfers Ownership
By Kate Wevers – Edited by Anthony Kammer

Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc., No. C07-1189RAJ (W.D. Wash., Sept. 30, 2009)
Opinion

On September 30, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington granted, in part, Vernor’s motion for summary judgment against Autodesk.After Autodesk became aware of Vernor’s attempts to sell copies of its copyrighted software, AutoCAD, on eBay, it invoked the takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, causing Vernor to be barred from selling anything on eBay for a month. Vernor sued, seeking, among other remedies, declaratory judgment that these sales were not in violation of copyright. In granting summary judgment for Vernor, the Court held that a customer who had acquired AutoCAD packages pursuant to Autodesk’s software license agreement (“License”) became an owner of the physical copies of the software with the right to resell the AutoCAD packages under the first sale doctrine (17 USC § 109(a)).

The Court also accepted that the owner was protected from claims of contributory copyright infringement by 17 USC § 117. The Court had previously considered very similar issues in the context of Autodesk’s earlier motion to dismiss. See Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc., 555 F. Supp. 2d 1164 (W.D. Wash. 2008)).

A selection of briefs and relevant court documents are available here. The Technology & Marketing Law Blog provides a useful overview and analysis of the case. The outcome was heralded as pro-consumer by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but Blog Nauseum suggests that the decision is not much of a win for consumers. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 12 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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DOJ Indicts Nine for

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European Court of Ju

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Google to Supreme Co

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Mozilla Announces Re

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By Emma Winer Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue The ...