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Google Appeals Ruling that Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong– Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as application programming interfaces (APIs). Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ariane Moss

Microsoft Tax Banned in Italy

California Responds to Data Breaches by Strengthening Privacy Laws

EU Court Rules Embedding Is Not Copyright Infringement

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Google Appeals Ruling That Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as APIs. Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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UN Report Finds Government Mass Surveillance Violates Privacy

By Olga Slobodyanyuk – Edited by Jesse Goodwin

The UN Report from the Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights found that government Internet mass surveillance violates Article 17 of the ICCPR by impinging individuals’ privacy.

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Functional Claim Elements Must Be Backed by Sufficient Structural Guidance

By Asher Lowenstein – Edited by Mengyi Wang

The Federal Circuit found that patent claim terms that offer no guidance to structure and are solely functional are means-plus-function terms and indefinite under § 112(f).

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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

Class Action Seeks Compensation for Use of Likeness of Former NCAA Players

By Ian B. Brooks – Edited by Sarah Sorscher
Class Action Complaint, O’Bannon v. NCAA, No. CV 09-3329 (N.D. Cal. July 21, 2009)
Complaint

Former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) player Edward C. O’Bannon, Jr. filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of former NCAA student-athletes in the US District Court for the Northern District of California against the NCAA, the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), and multiple alleged co-conspirators for unlawful use of class member’s images. The complaint seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief for violations of the Sherman Act and unjust enrichment of the defendants as well as accounting of licensing revenues. In support of his complaint, O’Bannon cites sources of NCAA licensing of players images for which the players receive no direct compensation including DVDs, rentals of game films, on-demand sales of game footage, cable and network broadcasts of games, photographs, action-figures, posters, and video games. The complaint further seeks injunctive relief on behalf of current students with respect to their rights to control the use of their image and likeness.

Sports Illustrated provides an overview of the case and Projo Sports Blog provides background. Kevin Arnovitz and Rush the Court have weighed in their support in favor of the athletes. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 26 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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