A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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U.S. Marshals Service Uses Airborne “Dirtboxes” to Collect Cell Phone Data

By Katherine Kwong – Edited by Mengyi Wang

The U.S. government has been using “dirtboxes” to collect cell phone data. The program, designed for criminal suspect surveillance, is accused of also collecting cell phone data on numerous Americans not suspected of any crime. While many commentators express concern about the program’s legality, others argue that the program is an effective method of catching criminals.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News In Brief

By Henry Thomas

Ads For Content Scheme Held To Be Abstract Idea, Not Patentable Process

Federal Circuit Limits Application of Collateral Estoppel in Patent Litigation

Electronics Company Avoids Patent Enforcement By Directing Sales Outside U.S.

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Silk Road 2.0 Takedown Indicates Law Enforcement May Have Developed a Method to Trace Hidden Tor Websites

By Steven Wilfong — Edited by Travis West

The complaint filed against Blake Benthall, the alleged operator of Silk Road 2.0, indicates that the FBI identified a server that was used to host the popular drug market website, despite the fact that the website’s location was hidden by the Tor anonymity software.  Law enforcement may have developed a method of compromising Tor anonymity, a possibility that would prove useful in future operations, but that also raises concerns for legitimate users.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ken Winterbottom

Motion to Dismiss in Hulu Patent Infringement Suit Affirmed

“Virtual Classroom” Patent Infringement Case Remanded for Further Determination

Attorney Publicly Reprimanded for Circulating Email from Judge

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Spain Passes a “Google Tax,” Analysts Predict it Will be Short-Lived

By Michael Shammas — Edited by Yixuan Long

Spain recently amended its Intellectual Property Law and Code of Civil Procedure to levy fees on aggregators that collect snippets of other webpages. It is at least the third example of a European government fining search aggregators to support traditional print publishing industries, a practice often labeled a “Google tax” because of the disproportionate impact such laws have on the search giant. Some analysts are already predicting that Spain’s new law will fail.

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Dear Digest Readers,

The Digest will be taking a short break in the coming weeks as our Staff Writers prepare for final exams. We will be back shortly in mid-May with the same quality and coverage you’ve come to expect.

In the meantime, you can now follow JOLT Digest on twitter! We will tweet each time we put up a new post and link to content that may be of interest to our readers. We invite you to follow us at @JOLTdigest!

We look forward to a great summer of law & technology news! Stay tuned!

- The Digest Staff

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

By Tyler Lacey

Wiki Operator Seeks Right to Host Discussions About Circumvention of iPhone’s DRM System

Wired reports that on April 27, BluWiki operator OdioWorks filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against Apple in order to “clarify the rights of the parties.” Last November, Apple threatened OdioWorks with legal action over a thread discussing how to use unapproved software on both the iPod and iPhone. Apple claimed that the content was “designed to circumvent Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management system” in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. OdioWorks initially complied with Apple’s takedown demands, but is now being supported by Keker Van Nest and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in its lawsuit.

Ontario to Propose New Legislation Banning Ticketmaster from Reselling Tickets Through Its Subsidiaries

On April 29, The Toronto Star reported that Ontario’s Attorney General Chris Bentley plans to introduce a bill that would outlaw ticket sales companies such as Ticketmaster from reselling their tickets on subsidiary websites. Although ticket scalping is already illegal in Ontario, Bentley says the proposal is in response to complaints from customers upset with Ticketmaster’s practice of reselling tickets at prices above face value on its subsidiary TicketsNow. Ticketmaster had previously agreed to voluntary limitations on its use of TicketsNow in the United States.

European Union Votes to Extend Music Copyright by 20 Years

The European Parliament voted on April 23 to extend the length of musical copyright protection from 50 years to 70 years. If the proposal is approved by the European Council, artists will be able to continue receiving royalties for up to 70 years after the first release of their songs. Ars Technica reports that several groups have criticized the extension because most of the new royalties will go to record labels rather than the original performers of the songs.

Posted On Apr - 30 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Addresses Patent Pools and Antitrust Violations

By Sharona Hakimi – Edited by Chris Kulawik
Princo Corp. v. International Trade Commission, April 20, 2009, No. 07-1386
Slip Opinion

On April 20th, the Federal Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part a decision by the International Trade Commission in a suit regarding a patent pool for the “Orange Book” technology used to produce recordable and rewritable CDs. At the ITC, Princo conceded that it violated six patents owned by Philips Corp, but it claimed those patents were unenforceable due to patent misuse. Writing for the Federal Circuit, Judge Dyk affirmed the ITC’s findings that Princo failed to demonstrate that Philips committed patent misuse due to unlawful tying. However, the court remanded the case to determine whether Philips misused its patents by allegedly violating antitrust laws by agreeing not to compete with Sony.

The ITC originally ruled in Certain Recordable Compact Discs & Rewritable Compact Discs (Inv. No. 337-TA-474) that CD-R and CD-RWs imported by Princo infringed on six of Philips’ patents, all of which relate to industry standard “Orange Book” CD technology. The patents at issue were jointly developed by Philips and Sony in the 1980s and early 1990s.  When developing the technology and industry standards, Philips, Sony, and other companies pooled their patents and allowed Philips to grant package licenses to each company, with all of the patent owners sharing in the royalties.

Barry Herman and Alex Englehart of the ITC Law Blog summarize the decision.  Patently-O explains the relevant case law and antitrust theories. The Patent Prospector recaps the case’s background, providing excerpts from both the ITC and the Federal Circuit opinions. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 30 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

First Circuit Bans Webcast in Trial Court

By Debbie Rosenbaum* – Edited by Chris Kulawik
In Re: Sony BMG Music Entertainment Et Al., April 16, 2009, No. 09-1090
Opinion

On Thursday, April 16, The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, MA overturned a motion granted  by the district court which would have permitted the oral arguments in the case of Joel Tenenbaum vs. the Record Industry Association of America to be broadcast live over the Internet.

In a unanimous opinion by the First Circuit Court of Appeals authored by Judge Bruce Selya, the court ruled that the District of Massachusetts Local Rules, as well as policy statements by the First Circuit Judicial Council, and the United States Judicial Conference, all pointed toward one conclusion: no webcast would be permitted. The decision rested on two premises: 1) Judge Nancy Gertner lacked the authority to permit Internet broadcasts from her courtroom; and 2) the Judicial Council’s 1996 anti-camera resolution banned the use of recording devices in federal courtrooms unless they are used to preserve trial evidence. However, in so holding, the court noted that they were “reluctant to interfere with a district judge’s interpretation of a rule of her court, especially one that involves courtroom management.”

As explained by Copyrights & Campaigns, Judge Kermit Lipez filed a brief concurrence, agreeing with Judge Selya’s conclusion that the rules preclude the webcast, but arguing that there is no good policy reason to disallow it. Copyrights & Campaigns also argues, as does Recording Industry v. the People, that it is ironic that the court of appeals posted an audio recording of the oral argument on its website.

Ray Beckerman has consolidated all the legal documents associated with this portion of the case. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 29 - 2009 1 Comment READ FULL POST

To Students’ Dismay, Plagiarism Detection Website Protected by “Fair Use”

By Sharona Hakimi – Edited by Stephanie Weiner
A.V. v. iParadigms, L.L.C., April 16, 2009, No. 08-1424
Opinion

On April 16, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment ruling by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, holding that archiving of student works by commercial plagiarism detection website TurnItIn.com is a “fair use” under the Copyright Act, and therefore does not violate the students’ copyrights in their work. Additionally, Circuit Judge Traxler remanded the case to lower court to reconsider the defendant’s counterclaim for monetary damages under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. 1030, based on one plaintiff’s unauthorized access to the site.

The case arose when the plaintiffs were forced by their high school teachers to electronically submit their written work and assent to an online agreement with TurnItIn.com. The website compares student papers to a database of other essays to find instances of plagiarism. At issue was whether the website, operated by defendant iParadigms L.L.C., violated the students’ copyright rights to their work when it archived them for future comparison with other student works.

David Kravets of Wired summarizes the opinion. Nate Anderson, writer for Ars Technica (and a former teacher), analyzes the case and its potential revolutionary effects on education. A recent magazine interview with John M. Barrie, CEO of iParadigms, expresses Barrie’s goals for plagiarism detection services. A 2007 news article discusses the original filing of the case.

(more…)

Posted On Apr - 25 - 2009 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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