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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Olga Slobodyanyuk

ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain names are not property

D.C. District Court rules that FOIA requests apply to officials’ personal email accounts

Class-action lawsuit brought against ExamSoft  in Illinois

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Federal Circuit Applies Alice to Deny Subject Matter Eligibility of Digital Imaging Patent

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang

In Digitech Image Technologies, the Federal Circuit embraced the opportunity to apply the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice to resolve a question of subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101. The Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment on appeal, invalidating Digitech’s patent claims because they were directed to intangible information and abstract ideas.

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Unlocking Cell Phones Made Legal through Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim

Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act allows consumers to unlock their cell phones when changing service providers, but the underlying issue of “circumvention” may have broader implications for other consumer devices and industries that increasingly rely on software.

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SDNY Magistrate Grants Government Search Warrant for Full Access to Suspect’s Gmail Account in Criminal Investigation

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West

In an opinion that conflicts with decisions from the DC District Court and the District of Kansas, a SDNY magistrate granted the government’s search warrant for full access to a criminal investigation suspect’s Gmail account.

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Creating full-text searchable database of copyrighted works is “fair use”
By Yixuan Long- Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Judge Parker, the Second Circuit held that under the fair use doctrine universities and research libraries are allowed to create full‐text searchable databases of copyrighted works and provide such works in formats accessible to those with disabilities. The court also decided that the evidence was insufficient to decide whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring a claim regarding storage of digital copies for preservation purposes.

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Harry Potter Lexicon Defendant Files Notice of Appeal
Notice of Appeal (hosted by Justia)

On November 7, 2008, defendant RDR Books filed a notice of appeal to the Second Circuit from the September 9, 2008 decision of the S.D.N.Y., which permanently enjoined its publication of the Harry Potter Lexicon book and awarded plaintiffs Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling statutory damages of $6,750.

Previously: Harry Potter Lexicon Found to Infringe J.K. Rowling’s Copyright

Posted On Nov - 11 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Court Declares “Grand Theft” Crime Free
By Briahna Gray – Edited by Miriam Weiler

E.S.S. Entertainment 2000, Inc., v. Rock Star Videos, Inc., November 5 2008, No. 06-56237
Slip Opinion

On November 5, 2008 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Central California District Court summary judgment ruling to dismiss the case brought by the operators of a Los Angeles strip club (“E.S.S.”) against Rock Star Videos (“Rockstar”), the manufacturer of the Grand Theft Auto video games, for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, California Business and Professions Code § 14320 and § 17200 and California common law.

E.E.S. had argued that Rockstar’s imitation of the strip club’s logo within the virtual world of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had no artistic relevance and would mislead consumers, confusing them as to whether EES had endorsed or associated itself with the digital rendition. In resolving this claim, the court applied a balancing test to weigh Trademark interests against First Amendment rights, stating that the Lanham Act applies to artistic works “only where the public interest in avoiding consumer confusion outweighs the public interest in free expression” Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994, 999 (2d Cir. 1989) (emphasis in the original).

The ruling affirming summary judgment in favor of the popular game has drawn attention from a number of commentators. The authors at Techdirt.com applaud the decision. Coverage is also offered by Gamastura.com, Techdirt.com and Filewrapper.com summarize the case. RealDealDocs.com lists other legal challenges Grand Theft Auto has faced in the past six years.

(more…)

Posted On Nov - 10 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Australia Poised to Begin Internet Filtering Program Unprecedented in Scope for Modern Democracy
By Debbie Rosenbaum
Editorial Policy 

If the presumption that democracy depends upon the widest possible access to uncensored ideas, data, and opinions is true, then there is cause for great alarm as one of our nation’s closest democratic allies moves to drastically curtail this foundational freedom within its boarders. The Australian government will likely enact legislation that will make sweeping, compulsory Internet censorship a startling reality for all Australian citizens. Spearheaded by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and backed by $44.2 million from the government’s $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety budget, the planned filter (part of the NetAlert program) will render Internet access in Australia similar to that in Iran or China.

Australia’s Federal Government announced its ambitious web censorship plan in December 2007. The goal of the program is seemingly well intentioned: to shield children from violent and pornographic sites. (See the Australian government’s “Children Are Sacred” report, which discusses instances of child sexual abuse in the Northern Territories). The Family First Party, a relatively minor party with only one Member of Parliament, originally championed the filter, also known as the “clean feed” policy. The Party’s proposal has earned wider support from both Senator Conroy and the Rudd-Labor Government. Senator Conroy is expected to call for bids from Australian software makers, and reportedly wants to begin live trials by the end of the year.

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Posted On Nov - 10 - 2008 4 Comments READ FULL POST

The JOLT Digest is proud to introduce Digest Comments! In addition to our regular updates on breaking law and technology news, the Digest will periodically publish longer opinion pieces on especially significant issues. These pieces are written entirely by members of our staff, on topics they believe warrant closer examination and study.

While the Digest provides hosting for Digest Comments, the opinions expressed in the comments are those of the Authors alone and do not reflect any position of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, the JOLT Digest, or the Harvard Law School.

– The Digest Staff Editors

 

Posted On Nov - 10 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST

FCC Approves Unlicensed White Space Use
By Dmitriy Tishyevich – Edited by Miriam Weiler

Action by the Federal Communications Commission, by Second Report and Order (FCC 08-260)

On November 4, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously approved the use of unlicensed wireless devices that operate in “white spaces,” the unused spectrum between licensed broadcast television channels that can be used to provide broadband connectivity and other services similar to Wi-fi. The Commission’s approval extends to all WSDs that include a geolocation capability and a spectrum-sensing technology that will allow the device to determine what spectrum may be accessed at the particular location.

The decision comes after four years of debate, pitting an alliance of technology companies against parts of the entertainment industry. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Motorola urged the Commission to open the channels for general usage. A coalition comprised of broadcasters, theaters, sports franchises and other cell phone operators opposed the decision, arguing that white space devices (WSDs) operating within the unlicensed spectrum will cause interference in the neighboring licensed channels.

The New York Times, the BBC and ars techinca provide a summary of the Commission’s order. Larry Page, co-founder of Google and proponent of opening up white spaces, comments on the Commission’s approval. Andrew Seybold of FierceWireless, the wireless industry’s daily monitor, warns that despite the precautions undertaken by the Commission, the new devices will likely cause interference with current services. TechCrunch suggests that Google’s push for open use of white spaces is part of its strategy to create more connection points for mobile devices, including those powered by Android, the Google mobile device platform. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 7 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Flash Digest: News i

By Olga Slobodyanyuk ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain ...

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Federal Circuit Appl

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang Digitech Image Technologies, ...

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Unlocking Cell Phone

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim On July 25, ...

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SDNY Magistrate Gran

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West In the Matter ...

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Creating full-text s

Creating full-text searchable database of copyrighted works is “fair use” By ...