A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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By Ellora Israni – Edited by Filippo Raso

IMDb is challenging the constitutionality of Assembly Bill 1687 (“AB 1687”), a California law requiring IMDb to remove ages from its website upon request from paid subscribers, claiming that the law violates the First Amendment’s free speech protections.

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Facebook Blocks British Insurance Company from Basing Premiums on Posts and Likes

By Javier Careaga– Edited by Mila Owen

Admiral Insurance has created an initiative called firstcarquote, which analyzes Facebook activity of first-time car owners. The firstcarquote algorithm determines risk based on personality traits and habits that are linked to safe driving. Firstcarquote was recalled two hours before its official launch and then was launched with reduced functionality after Facebook denied authorization, stating that the initiative breaches Facebook’s platform policy.

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Airbnb challenges New York law regulating short-term rentals

By Daisy Joo – Edited by Nehaa Chaudhari

Airbnb filed a complaint in the Federal District Court of the Southern District of New York seeking to “enjoin and declare unlawful the enforcement against Airbnb” of the recent law that prohibits  the advertising of short-term rentals on Airbnb and other similar websites.  Airbnb argued that the new law violated its rights to free speech and due process, and that it was inconsistent with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online intermediaries that host or republish speech from a range of liabilities.

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Medtronic v. Bosch post-Cuozzo: PTAB continues to have the final say on inter partes review

By Nehaa Chaudhari – Edited by Grace Truong

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Federal Circuit”) reaffirmed its earlier order, dismissing Medtronic’s appeal against a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). The PTAB had dismissed Medtronic’s petition for inter partes review of Bosch’s patents, since Medtronic had failed to disclose all real parties in interest, as required by 35 U.S.C. §312(a)(2).

 

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California DMV Discuss Rules on Autonomous Vehicles

DOJ Release Guidelines on CFAA Prosecutions

Illinois Supreme Court Rule in Favor of State Provisions Requiring Disclosure of Online Identities of Sex Offenders

Research Shows Concerns for Crucial Infrastructure Information Leaks

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by Alea J. Mitchell

Obama Seeks Secure Online Identities

The White House Blog announced that President Obama released the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” (PDF), a plan to improve online security and e-commerce. The proposal is aimed at combating online fraud and identity theft, and calls on the private sector to design a trusted identity system to better protect an increasingly wired culture. Wired reports the proposal distances itself from a national ID approach and instead urges the private sector to develop ways for consumers to create privacy-enhancing secure identity credentials that will enable safer online transactions.

Senators Kerry and McCain Propose Online Privacy Legislation

Wired reports that Senators John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and John McCain (R-Arizona) introduced on Tuesday the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights, online privacy legislation that would allow web users to demand websites stop tracking and selling their online behavior.  The bill aims to regulate how identifiable information is used, stored, and distributed. Ars Technica reports that consumer groups criticize the bill for shying away from overt “Do Not Track” legislation, giving special interest treatment to social media marketers, and creating a conflict of interest by allowing the Department of Commerce to influence privacy policies.

House Votes to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules

Reuters reports that the House of Representatives voted last Friday to reject the FCC’s net neutrality rules, which were adopted last year and bar Internet service providers from blocking or interfering with traffic on their networks. The Hill reports that Republicans, who oppose the rules, claim the FCC lacks authority to regulate the Internet and that net neutrality rules impose unwarranted government regulation over an open and thriving Internet. The largely partisan effort is expected to fail once the legislation reaches the Democratic-controlled Senate. As Wired reports, the vote is largely symbolic, as President Obama has promised to veto any legislation proposing to reverse the rules.

Congress Revisits COICA

Ars Technica reports that the battle over the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is heating up again as both chambers draft amended versions of COICA, set to be rolled out in coming weeks. Last November, JOLT reported on the bill, which would grant the Attorney General power to seize domain names through in rem action and require online ad services and credit card companies to stop working with blacklisted sites, with the goal of targeting foreign piracy and counterfeiting sites not easily reached by US courts. While the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the bill, it never made it to the Senate floor, owing to efforts of Senator Ron Wyden, who has again vowed to oppose the billWired reports that Google’s Kent Walker testified at one of two recently held House hearings to oppose the Act, particularly the private right of action a COICA claim would give rightsholders. The Citizen Media Law Project laments the bill’s return.

Posted On Apr - 16 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

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
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