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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Bayer Schering Pharma v. Barr Labs

By Aaron Dulles – Edited by Evelyn Breithaupt
Bayer Schering Pharma AG and Bayer Healthcare Pharm., Inc. v. Barr Labs., Inc., No. 2008-1282 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 5, 2009)
Slip Opinion

On August 5, 2009, a Federal Circuit panel affirmed the decision of the District of New Jersey, which had found Bayer’s U.S. Patent No. 6,787,531 (“’531 Patent”) invalid because of obviousness. The ’531 Patent concerns a formulation of the well-known contraceptive drug drospirenone. The patent previously protected Bayer’s formulation of a daily oral contraceptive product, marketed as the drug Yasmin. When Barr Labs sought approval from the FDA to market a generic version of Yasmin, Bayer filed a patent infringement suit. The district court found that under KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007), the formulation of drospirenone in the Yasmin product was obvious. The sole issue of appeal was obviousness, and by a 2-1 vote the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.

Passino PLLC suggests that the majority’s application of the In re O’Farrell, 853 F.2d 894 (Fed. Cir. 1988) standards was too rigid, and thus appeared to go against warnings in KSR concerning rigid application of tests. Patent Docs agreed, asserting that the judges both at the trial and appellate levels disregarded important evidence and emphasizing that the “common sense” of obviousness is that of the practitioner, not the judge. AboutLawSuits.com noted the ruling, but focused on known potential negative side effects of the drospirenone-based contraceptives such as Yasmin. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 13 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Stephanie Weiner – Edited by Evelyn Breithaupt

On July 31, a Boston federal jury ordered physics Ph.D student Joel Tenenbaum to pay $675,000 in damages to various recording companies for willfully infringing 30 songs by downloading them over KaZaA — an award of $22,500 per song. It was only the second file-sharing case to go to verdict in the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) anti-downloading litigation campaign, along with that of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, though thousands are settled or pending.

Each day of the trial was thoroughly covered by Ben Sheffner, guest reporting at Arstechnica. JoelFightsBack — Tenenbaum’s defense team’s blog — provides extensive information about the case, including firsthand accounts from Tenenbaum himself. Ray Beckerman argues that the most salient legal issues remain unresolved, and that the plaintiffs ought to have been held to higher evidentiary standards in order to establish infringement and entitlement to statutory damages higher than the minimum available.

Defending Tenenbaum was Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson, whose unusual litigation tactics have been much blogged about since he took the case in September 2008.

(more…)

Posted On Aug - 12 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Andrew Jacobs

Marine Corps Bans Social Networking Sites

In a directive issued Monday, the U.S. Marine Corps banned the use of social networking sites on its Marine Corps Enterprise Network, Wired and InformationWeek report. Characterizing these sites — including Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter — as “a proven haven for malicious actors and content,” the Corps hopes the ban will protect the network from cyberattacks and keep adversaries from acquiring user-generated information leaks. The directive does not limit Marines’ access to social networking sites on non-military networks, and a follow-up press statement encouraged the use of social media by Marines on their own ISPs.

Senate Hears Debate on Radio Performance Rights

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard debate Tuesday on the proposed Performance Rights Act, which would compel terrestrial radio stations to pay royalties recording artists, Ars Technica reports. Under current copyright law, webcasters and satellite radio stations pay royalties to both a song’s writer and its performer, while terrestrial stations are only obliged to pay songwriters. The debate pits two powerful interest groups, among others, against each other: the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) staunchly opposes the bill, while the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has voiced its strong support.

FTC Takes New View of Online Privacy

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times report new FTC consumer protection head David Vladeck plans to shift the agency’s approach to online privacy protection. In a New York Times interview, Vladeck states he hopes to address the “notice and consent” framework that he considers “no longer sufficient” online, as it has resulted in privacy disclosures that are rarely read or understood. He also plans to consider not only economic harm, but also the “dignity interest” that arises in online information collection. Though no new rulemaking is yet planned, updated FTC privacy guidelines are expected next summer.

Posted On Aug - 8 - 2009 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Blogger’s Use of Unaltered Copyrighted Photos Deemed Legal Fair Use

By Tyler Lacey – Edited by Amanda Rice
Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. v. Delsman, No. C 09-1468 SBA, July 17, 2009

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted the defendant blogger’s motion to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit following its determination that the blogger’s use of unaltered copyrighted photos is fair use and therefore not violative of copyright laws. The court held that Delsman’s use of two photographs of Sedgwick’s upper management, although unaltered, was fair use because Delsman’s use of the photographs was transformative insomuch as the images were used for a critical purpose, rather than Sedgwick’s original promotional purpose. Also important to the court’s fair use analysis was the fact that Delsman’s use of the images did not affect the commercial market for the original images in a legally important manner, since no market existed for the images anyway.

Eric Goldman has posted a summary of the order on his Technology and Marketing blog. Loeb & Loeb provides a thorough description and analysis of the order. Eugene Volokh notes that the court’s “fair use analysis strikes [him] as quite right” on his blog, “The Volokh Conspiracy.” (more…)

Posted On Aug - 2 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sarah Sorscher

European Court of Justice Cracks Down on International News Search Engine

Slashdot reports that on July 16, Europe’s high court held in Infopaq International v. Danske Dagblades Forening that newspapers have a claim against a media monitoring service providing 11-word excerpts from newspaper articles. DDF, a group representing newspaper interests, has sued Infopaq, a service that searches newspaper articles for key words and then shares snippets with clients. The court ruled that the news articles were covered as copyrighted material by several directives of the European Parliament, and remanded the case to the national courts to determine whether the copyright laws in each state would be subject to the ruling.

Posted On Aug - 2 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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