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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Fame Helps Sales Director Survive Bon Jovi’s Motion to Dismiss

By Jad Mills – Edited by Caitlyn Ross
AFL Philadelphia LLCl v. Krause, June 4, 2009, No. 09-614.
Slip Opinion hosted by Exclusive Rights.

On June 4, 2009, Judge Baylson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Philadelphia Soul’s motion to dismiss defendant Joe Krause’s counterclaims for trademark infringement and misappropriation of name in AFL Philadelphia LLC v. Krause. The judge allowed both counterclaims to go forward because Krause had sufficiently alleged that his name had acquired the necessary “secondary meaning” for trademark protection under the Lanham Act.

Ex©lusive Rights and Shannon Duffy provide summaries of the case, paying particular attention to Judge Baylson’s inclusion of Bon Jovi song references in the opinion. An earlier post by Ex©lusive Rights summarizes the ongoing Pennsylvania State Court litigation between the same parties.  (more…)

Posted On Jun - 14 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Finds No Federal Jurisdiction Over Patent Claim

By Debbie Rosenbaum – Edited by Caitlyn Ross 
Larson v. Correct Craft, June 5, 2009 No. 2008-1208
Opinion hosted by The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

On June 5, the Federal Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court in Larson v. Correct Craft and remanded with instructions to transfer the case back to state court based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a).  The court held that because plaintiff Larson assigned his rights to the invention at issue, he did not have standing to sue to correct inventorship under 35 U.S.C. § 256.  The appeal came from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, which granted summary judgment in favor of defendants Correct Craft, Inc., William Snook, and Robert Todd.

IP Watchdog provides an overview of the Federal Court’s decision and PATracer gives an overview of the district court’s ruling. (more…)

Posted On Jun - 14 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Tyler Lacey

Federal Prosecutors Launch New Attack Against Online Gamblers in the United States

On June 9, the New York Times reported that federal prosecutors asked four American banks to freeze accounts containing money believed to be used for distributing winnings to online poker players. Wells Fargo, one of the contacted banks, received a court order requiring that the funds be frozen. Professor I. Nelson Rose of Whittier Law School described the move as “surprising” and as a “gamble” by the prosecutors. Professor Rose also said that it is unclear what laws apply to the seizure of individuals’ money.

Canadian Government Decides Not to Regulate Internet Video and Audio Broadcasts

Canadian radio and television broadcasters are required by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to broadcast a minimum amount of Canadian content. On June 9, Ars Technica reported that the CRTC issued a report saying that although internet audio and video do count as “broadcasting” for the purposes of their regulatory schemes, they will retain a regulatory exemption from providing Canadian content. The CRTC’s decision, while currently supported by major providers of online audio and video such as Google, leaves open the possibility that the CRTC will impose future regulations.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Urges Court to Hold Email Protected Under the Fourth Amendment

On June 10, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief in the Sixth Circuit’s ongoing case Warshak v. United States. The brief argues that the Justice Department violated Warshak’s Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in his email. The EFF reports that “the government acquired over 27,000 emails spanning over six months from Warshak’s email provider, all without probable cause.” The basis of EFF’s position is that email should receive the same protection against unlawful search and seizure as is given to phone calls, postal mail, and private papers kept at home.

Court Abused Discretion by Failing to Apply eBay Factors

On June 9, Patently-O reported that the Federal Circuit remanded a patent dispute case back to the district court because it failed to consider the eBay factors in its refusal to grant a permanent injunction to the patent holder. In the eBay case, the Supreme Court required a patentee seeking injunctive relief to “demonstrate (1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.”

Posted On Jun - 13 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Indiana Supreme Court Considers Website Design Ownership

By Jad Mills – Edited by Ezra Pinsky
Conwell v. Gray Loon Outdoor Marketing Group Inc., May 19, 2009, No. 82S04-0806-CV-00309.
Slip Opinion

On May 19, 2009, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the Vanderburgh Superior Court and Indiana Court of Appeals decisions ordering Piece of America (POA) to pay Gray Loon Outdoor Marketing hosting fees and website redesign charges and denying POA’s conversion claim for the loss of its original website. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Shepard held that POA contracted for the redesign, and although Gray Loon’s project design proposal specifically and unambiguously represented that POA “owned the work product,” this did not vest ownership in POA. The proposal gave POA only a non-exclusive license because it was not properly signed and carried insufficient weight and certainty to transfer the copyright.

Ex©lusive Rights and Eric Goldman each provide an overview of the case. Juliet Moringiello summarizes the case, but also criticizes the court for restricting the analysis to copyright law simply because the asset in question is intangible, when they should focus instead on whether the asset “can be exclusively controlled.”
(more…)

Posted On Jun - 9 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sarah Sorscher

Supreme Court to Consider Business Method Patents

Patently-O reports that the Supreme Court granted certiorari on Bilski v. Doll. The Court will address whether a patentable “process” must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing. The Court will also consider whether this “machine-or-transformation” test, which effectively forecloses meaningful patent protection to many business methods, runs counter to the intent of Congress in enacting 35 U.S.C. § 273 establishing special rules for “method[s] of doing or conducting business. JOLT Digest covers the earlier en banc decision by the Federal Circuit here, and Patently-O offers a detailed summary of the earlier decision here.

Review of NASA Security Regulations Denied

The Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports that on Thursday the Ninth Circuit declined to review en banc a privacy case involving employees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a part of NASA. A three-judge panel of the appellate court had previously ruled that NASA’s mandatory background checks threatened workers’ constitutional right to privacy. The petition for rehearing generated a plethora of concurring and dissenting opinions, including an opinion by the appellate court concurring in the denial that referred to the background check as a “free-floating, wide-ranging inquiry with no standards, limits, or guarantee of non-disclosure to third parties.” Three opinions dissenting from the rehearing en banc are available here, here, and here. The JPL employees have also created a website voicing their opposition to the background checks.

Court Dismisses Eavesdropping Lawsuits

Wired reported on Wednesday’s decision by a judge for the Northern District of California to dismiss more than three dozen lawsuits aimed at telecommunication companies for assisting in a Bush administration eavesdropping program. The judge ruled that the companies were entitled to immunity based on legislation passed over the summer, which purports to immunize the telecommunications firms from liability. The Electronic Frontier Foundation plans to appeal the decision.

Posted On Jun - 6 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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