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District Court Holds that Internet-Based Television Provider, FilmOn X is Entitled to a Compulsory License

By Anne Woodworth – Edited by Henry Thomas

The U.S. District court for the Central District of California ruled that an online streaming service that rebroadcasted network television fit the definition of a cable company, and was entitled to compulsory licensing under § 111 of the Copyright Act.  The order relied on the Supreme Court’s Aereo decision, which held that internet streaming was fundamentally the same as cable. The ruling conflicts with a Second Circuit case decided on similar facts, and is immediately appealable.

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Data Breach Victims, Rejoice: Seventh Circuit Finds that Threat of Injury is Sufficient for Article III Standing in Data Breach Class Actions

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ariane Moss

Last Monday, the Seventh Circuit Courto of Appeals ruled that victims of a data breach had standing to pursue a class action even when they had not suffered direct financial harm as a result of the breach or when they had already been compensated for financial harm resulting from the breach. The opinion reversed a contrary district court decision, which the Seventh Circuit said had incorrectly read the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.

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How Far Can Law Enforcement Go When Gathering Email Evidence? Former Gov. Scott Walker Employee Files Petition for Writ of Certiorari

By Kasey Wang – Edited by Ariane Moss

Kelly Rindfleisch is serving a six-month sentence for misconduct in public office while working for then-County Executive Scott Walker. Rindfleisch appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that the government violated her Fourth Amendment rights while searching her emails for evidence for a different case.

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Russia’s “Right To Be Forgotten” and China’s Right To Be Protected: New Privacy and Security Legislation

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

The legislatures in Russia and China took steps this month to tighten regulations over Internet companies with access to user data. In Russia, President Vladmir Putin signed a law ensuring a “right to be forgotten” reminiscent of the European Court of Justice’s right to be forgotten ruling of May 2014. And in China, the National People’s Congress released a draft cybersecurity bill that would formalize and strengthen the State’s long-standing regulation of websites and network operators.

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Washington Appeals Court Refuses to Compel Unmasking of Anonymous Avvo Critic Absent Evidence of Defamation

By Leonidas Angelakos – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Washington Court of Appeals held that—absent evidence of defamation—a third party website is not required to unmask an anonymous defendant. The court adopted an analysis similar to the widely cited Dendrite test for the showing a defamation plaintiff must make on a motion to compel disclosure of an anonymous defendant’s identity.

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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

Federal Circuit Rules Against PTO’s Interpretation of Patent Term Adjustments
By Gary Pong – Edited by Dmitriy Tishyevich

Wyeth and Elan Pharma Int’l Ltd. v. Kappos, No. 2009-1120 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 7, 2010).
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court for the District of Columbia, which had granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs, and held that they were “entitled to extended patent term adjustments under 35 U.S.C. § 154(b) due to the Patent and Trademark Office’s (“PTO’s”) delay in prosecuting their patent applications.”

In promulgating 37 C.F.R. § 1.703(f), the PTO had interpreted § 154(b) as limiting the length of patent term adjustments to the greater of the statutory delay periods, without the possibility of ever combining the two.  The Federal Circuit concluded that this reading was “contrary to the plain language of the statute,” and declined to afford Chevron deference to the agency’s interpretation, holding that the PTO “does not have authority to issue substantive rules, only procedural regulations regarding the conduct of proceedings before the agency.”

Patent Docs provides an overview of the case.  In another article, Patent Docs also provides insight into the PTO’s future course of action.  Patent Prospector features a thorough analysis of the judicial opinion. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 14 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

The Digest is celebrating our two-year anniversary! Since January 2007 we have grown from a dedicated group of five to a staff of more than twenty-five; this past year we’ve worked to bring our readers a greater quantity and variety of content, including the reintroduction of Flash Digest and Digest Comments. We hope to continue to be a valuable source of law and technology news.

We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage this year  - Stay Tuned!

The Digest Staff

Posted On Jan - 10 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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