A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules on Protecting and Promoting Open Internet

By Shuli Wang – Edited by Yaping Zhang

Two weeks after voting on regulating broadband Internet service as a public utility, on March 12, the Federal Communications Commission (”FCC”) released a document (the FCC Order and Rules) on net neutrality, which reclassifies high-speed Internet as a telecommunications service rather than an information service, thus subjecting Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carrier to regulations under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The purpose of the new rules is to ensure the free flow of bits through the web without paid-for priority lanes and blocking or throttling of any web content.

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White House releases administration discussion draft for Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On February 27, 2015, President Obama released an administration draft of a proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act. The proposed bill’s stated purpose is to “establish baseline protections for individual privacy in the commercial arena and to foster timely, flexible implementations of these protections through enforceable codes of conduct developed by diverse stakeholders.”

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gallagher

Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of AT&T Motion to Extend or Re-open Filing Period for Appeal in Patent Infringement Suit

In Patent Suit Against Apple, Federal Circuit Affirms in Part, Reverses in Part

Federal Circuit Reverses DNA Sequencing Technology Patent Construction

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Wikimedia Sues NSA for Upstream Surveillance

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Wikimedia Foundation filed a suit against the NSA challenging the constitutionality of upstream surveillance programs, which allow the NSA to communicate by Americans and persons abroad. The claim, which was joined by eight other human rights organizations, challenges NSA’s actions as violations of the First and Fourth Amendments of the US Constitution.

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Florida Considers a Bill Outlawing Anonymous Websites

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Anton Ziajka

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill, the “True Origin of Digital Goods Act,”  that would require owners and operators of websites that disseminate “commercial” recordings or audiovisual works to prominently disclose their true names, physical addresses, and telephone numbers or email addresses on the websites. The bill extends to all websites that deal “in substantial part” in disseminating such recordings or audiovisual works, “directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.

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Ninth Circuit Holds Anti-Spyware Software Company is Protected by Communications Decency Act Sec. 230 Immunity

By Dmitriy Tishyevich-Edited by Anthony Kammer
Zango, Inc. v. Kaspersky Lab, Inc., June 25, 2009, No. 07-35800.
Slip Opinion

On June 25, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Kaspersky Lab, which distributes software that filters and blocks malicious programs.  The Ninth Circuit held that Kaspersky qualified for civil liability immunity under the Communications Decency Act Sec. 230(c)(2)(B) and rejected Zango’s argument that Sec. 230 immunity was limited only to Internet content providers.

The E-Commerce and Tech Law Blog summarizes the opinion. Eric Goldman provides another summary, agreeing with the outcome, but pointing out some questions the decision left open.
(more…)

Posted On Jul - 1 - 2009 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Andrew Jacobs

FTC Ready to Regulate Blogs

On June 21, The Washington Post reported that revised FTC advertising guidelines, set to be approved late this summer, will explicitly include blogs within their scope. The guidelines make clear that bloggers must disclose any compensation they receive for product endorsements and that they may be held liable for false claims made in those endorsements. According to the Post, while some bloggers worry about potential chilling effects, others believe that the guidelines will lead to more trust within the blogosphere and increased advertiser comfort with blogs.

City Removes Requirement that Job Applicants Disclose Social Networking Passwords

On June 22, the City Commission of Bozeman, Montana, rescinded a requirement that city job applicants disclose their usernames and passwords for websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace, the Billings Gazette reports. The requirement was part of Bozeman’s background check consent and release form. The commission’s decision came less than a week after a Montana television station discovered and reported on the policy, which quickly provoked additional coverage and criticism from tech media and legal blogs.

Google’s Italian Court Date Set Back

The AP reports that on June 23, the Italian trial of four Google executives for defamation and privacy law violations was postponed until September due to the absence of an interpreter. Italian prosecutors brought the case seeking to hold Google liable for allowing a video of an autistic child being beaten by his classmates to be posted on YouTube. Though an E.U. law similar to the U.S.’s 47. U.S.C. §230 immunizes internet service providers from liability based on third-party content, the suit was brought under an Italian penal statute which holds content providers responsible for user-generated material, according to the Proskauer Privacy Law Blog. Alessandro del Ninno, an expert on Internet law, says the case is the first of its kind in Europe.

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

Minnesota Jury Awards Nearly $2 Million in RIAA File-Sharing Suit

By Anthony Kammer-Edited by Amanda Rice
RIAA/Capitol v. Thomas-Rasset

On Thursday, June 18, 2009, a federal jury in Minneapolis, MN returned a $1.92 million verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset for willfully infringing the copyrights of twenty four songs she had made available for download on Kazaa, a file-sharing program. The suit, brought by the Recording Industry Artists of America (“RIAA”), involved copyrights owned by subsidiaries of four major recording companies, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony Music Entertainment.

ArsTechnica provides a full account of the trial. IT Blogwatch provides a compilation of some of the blog coverage of this case. As reported by Wire, several copyright academics have suggested that the ‘make available’ standard was not met in this case. (more…)

Posted On Jun - 22 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

California District Court Strikes at “Patent Trolling”

By Tyler Lacey – Edited by Amanda Rice
Diagnostic Systems Corp. v. Symantec Corp., June 5, 2009, No. SACV 06-1211 DOC (ANx) consolidated with No. SACV 07-960 DOC (ANx). Opinion

The United States District Court for the Central District of California granted in part defendant MicroStrategy’s motion requesting a more detailed statement of how its software products infringe on plaintiff Diagnostic Systems Corporation’s (“DSC”) patents, denying only MicroStrategy’s request for monetary sanctions.

The United States District Court for the Central District of California held that DSC must serve a supplemental answer to one of MicroStrategy’s interrogatories that includes more detailed Preliminary Infringement Contentions (“PICs”) within fifteen days. In so holding, the district court called DSC’s current PICs “vague” and “unacceptable,” especially given DSC’s status “as a company whose sole business is to enforce its patents.” MicroStrategy had given DSC’s software consultants copies of the allegedly infringing programs’ source code almost a year prior to the motion, but DSC had still failed “to provide PICs that explain how MicroStrategy’s source code infringes on the claims of DSC.” According to the court, the “bottom line” is that “after a plaintiff-patentee has had a reasonable opportunity to review the source code for the defendant’s accused software product, the patentee’s time for trolling the proverbial waters for a theory of infringement comes to an end.”

Peter Zurba provides an overview of the decision. (more…)

Posted On Jun - 22 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sharona Hakimi

Senators Urge FCC to Carefully Examine Exclusive Cell Phone Deals

On June 16, Ars Technica reported that senators wrote a letter to the FCC voicing concern over exclusivity agreements between service providers and phone manufacturers. The four senators who signed the letter – Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) – expressed particular concern as to whether the deals restrict consumer choice regarding handsets and geographic regions. They also noted that the agreements may disadvantage competing smaller carriers and discourage new innovation. According to the letter, the “Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will convene a hearing this week to examine issues confronting wireless consumers” and decide if legislative action is necessary. Although the iPhone’s exclusivity agreements have garnered the most attention, the letter considers all cell phone carriers.

Microsoft Files Suit After Finding Evidence of Click Fraud

On June 16, the New York Times reported that Microsoft sued three individuals and several corporations for $750,000 in damages for click fraud – manipulating clicks on online advertisements. After noticing suspicious spikes in traffic from auto insurance and World of Warcraft web advertisements, Microsoft began an investigation that eventually uncovered an alleged click fraud manipulation scheme. Microsoft’s complaint alleges that the defendant directed traffic to his competitors’ Web sites so they would pay for the clicks and exhaust their advertising budgets. Jeremy Fain, a vice president of Interactive Advertising Bureau, said that although there is much precedent for mail and wire fraud, there is little regarding internet fraud. He went on to say that this case may “create more of a legal precedent, and more of a legal library of cases to draw from in the future.”

EU Seizure of Indian Drugs Hinders Medicine Dispersal

According to a recent report by Intellectual Property Watch, an increase in European seizures of Indian medicines believed to infringe intellectual property rights has triggered concerns that there is a strategic pattern in enforcement. On June 16, Spicy IP reported that India has recently protested to the TRIPS Council, expressing strong disapproval of EU’s controversial regulations and demanding more transparency of the various seizures. In May, German officials held about 3 million pounds of Amoxicillin on suspicion of a trademark infringement, delaying shipment to the Pacific by 4 weeks. “These random seizures seriously impact our ability to service the healthcare needs of people living in developing countries in a timely manner,” according to a drug supplier spokesperson. The EU claims that it is merely trying to reduce the “fast growing and dangerous” problem of counterfeits in developing countries.

Posted On Jun - 20 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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