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European Union Court of Justice Holds that Individuals Browsing Websites are not in Violation of Copyright Law
By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Yixuan Long

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) agreed with the decision of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom that webpage viewers do not need license to view copyrighted materials online. With this holding, the CJEU issued a crucial decision for European Union law, balancing the rights of copyright holders and the rights of individuals to browse authorized content without being liable for infringement.

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Georgia Supreme Court Takes Chan v. Ellis Appeal to Redefine First Amendment Right on the Internet
By Yixuan Long – Edited by Emma Winer

The Georgia Court of Appeals ordered the appeal in Ellis v. Chan be transferred to the Georgia Supreme Court. Chan, an interactive website owner, appealed the trial court’s permanent protective order, which commanded him to take down more than 2000 posts on his website, and forbade him from coming within 1000 yards of Ellis. The Court of Appeals decided that the case raised significant and novel constitutional issues regarding the First Amendment right and the internet.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Kellen Wittkop

Appeal of a contempt order for violation of patent injunction agreement dismissed for lack of jurisdiction

Federal Circuit affirms summary judgment of Apple’s noninfringement on GBT’s CDMA patents

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ITC’s review of an ALJ’s order was not procedurally sound
By Mengyi Wang – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously vacated and remanded a decision of the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), finding that the ITC exceeded its authority in reviewing an administrative law judge’s (“ALJ”) order denying a motion for termination. In so holding, the Court rejected the ITC’s attempt to characterize the ALJ’s decision as an initial determination, which would be subject to review.

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Facebook’s experiment of emotional contagion raises concerns
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

On June 17, 2014, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences released a study in which Facebook reduced positive and negative posts on News Feeds to observe any changes in the participants’ posts to test whether emotional states are contagious through verbal expressions. Many have criticized Facebook for the experiment,  finding that Facebook has deceived its users, violated past Consent Orders, and stretched the users’ terms of service agreements too far.

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District Court Compels Disclosure of YouTube User Logging Records, Protects Source Code
By Jay Gill — Edited by Sarah Sorscher

Viacom International, Inc. v. YouTube, Inc.
S.D.N.Y., July 1, 2008, No. 07 Civ. 2103
Order (Provided by Justia)

The District Court for the Southern District of New York partially granted a discovery motion made by Viacom in its copyright suit against YouTube and YouTube’s parent company Google. The order compels Google to produce the contents of YouTube’s logging database, including the login IDs, IP addresses, and viewing information of YouTube users. The court denied Viacom’s motion to compel production of the protected source code for the Google search engine.

Viacom’s complaint alleges that YouTube is directly or vicariously liable for duplication of copyrighted material on youtube.com, and seeks damages of over $1 billion and injunctions against further infringing conduct.

Wendy Seltzer at the Citizen Media Law Project summarizes the bifurcated outcome of the case: “trade secret wins; privacy loses.” Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls this a “setback to privacy rights,” and argues that some of the login names and IP address information, which the court states are anonymous, can in fact be used to identify individual users.
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Posted On Jul - 12 - 2008 2 Comments READ FULL POST

Eleventh Circuit Applies Copyright Act’s Collective Works Provision to CD-ROM Collection
By Dmitriy Tishyevich — Edited by Andrew Ungberg

Greenberg v. National Geographic Society
11th Circuit, June 30, 2008, No. 05-16964
Slip Opinion

On June 30, the Eleventh Circuit issued a divided en banc opinion, affirming by a 7-5 vote the panel decision in Greenberg II, which had vacated Greenberg I.

Writing for the majority, Judge Barkett held that National Geographic was privileged to reproduce its print issues. Section 201(c) of the Copyright Act distinguishes between the copyright of each individual work within a collective work — here Greenberg’s photographs — and copyright of the collective work in its entirety, here National Geographic’s “Complete National Geographic” (“CNG”), a CD-ROM collection of all the back issues of the National Geographic magazine. Citing New York Times v. Tasini, Judge Barkett wrote that § 201(c) granted the publisher privilege to reproduce an article contributed by a freelancer when it was part of (1) the collective work to which the author originally contributed; (2) any revision of that work; or (3) any later collective work in the same series. Emphasizing the importance of the context in which the works were presented, Judge Barkett found that the CNG CD-ROM collection qualified as a “revision” under § 201(c) and Tasini‘s interpretation of the term.

William Patry comments favorably on the majority opinion on his blog, and notes that a grant of certiorari is unlikely as there is no split in the circuits, and the issues decided are close to Tasini. He previously criticized Judge Birch’s approach as at odds with copyright’s constitutional goal of promoting the progress of science. Law.com provides a summary of the decision and the procedural history of the case.

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Posted On Jul - 6 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST

ICANN Opens Up Available Top Level Domains
By Joshua Gruenspecht — Edited by Andrew Ungberg

June 26, 2008
ICANN press release

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”), the international organization in charge of allocating resources and establishing protocols on the Internet, last week removed the existing limits on internet generic top-level domains (“gTLD”s) and announced plans to accept applications from operators for new namespaces. Initially, the earliest domain names fell into a few select functionally classified categories, such as .com and .net; subsequent rounds of expansion added new categories such as .biz and .post. Now, however, ICANN will permit private operators to create and vend top-level domains of their own design.

According to ICANN’s Final Report on Introduction of New Top-Level Generic Domains, new gTLDs will continue to be approved by ICANN itself. It is as yet unclear whether registrars who are approved to distribute domain names using new gTLDs will not be required to follow the same Unified Domain Name Dispute Resolution Procedure (“UDRP”) that registrars who handle .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, and .name are currently required to follow. ICANN itself, however, will follow an entirely new set of procedures. Approval of a new gTLD will take into consideration the string’s similarities to existing gTLDs, how closely it resembles existing trademarks, and whether it fits within existing international standards of “morality and public order,” among several other tests.

Names @ Work is already touting this as the next big trademark challenge for corporations concerned about maintaining their brand online, while Cyber Law Online is dismissing it as a minor shift with few real-world implications. Pangloss predicts that this will ultimately result in legitimate users dispersing across the newly broadened namespace, making it easier to identify determined trademark-infringing cybersquatters, although others are less optimistic.

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Posted On Jul - 2 - 2008 1 Comment READ FULL POST

First Circuit Lifts Trademark Injunction to Make Way for Super Duck
By Miriam Weiler — Edited by Evie Breithaupt

Boston Duck Tours v. Super Duck Tours
First Circuit, June 18th, 2008, Nos. 07-2078, 07-2246
Slip Opinion

On June 18, the First Circuit lifted a preliminary injunction granted by the District Court of Massachusetts, which had enjoined Super Duck Tours, LLC (“Super Duck”) from using the phrase “duck tours” in its trade name and the cartoon of a duck in its logo. On July 2, 2007, Boston Duck Tours, LP (“Boston Duck”) filed a complaint in the district court alleging federal trademark infringement and unfair competition and seeking a preliminary injunction against Super Duck. The district court granted the injunction and Super Duck appealed.

The First Circuit held that the lower court clearly erred in concluding that Boston Duck was likely to succeed on the merits of its trademark infringement, by over-estimating the likelihood that use of the phrase and image would cause consumer confusion.

The court of appeals did not address the district court’s ruling regarding Super Duck’s purchase of the key word phrase “Boston duck tours” on Google. “Sponsored linking” or “keyword advertising” allows the purchaser of a keyword to link his or her website to the search engine’s results page with a highlighted link at the top of the page.

The district court found that Super Duck’s sponsored linking did not violate the injunction. It found that sponsored linking, however, does constitute “use” under the Lanham Act, which states that “a mark shall be deemed to be in use in commerce. . . (2) on services when it is used or displayed in the sale or advertising of services.” 15 U. S. C. §1127. The district court reasoned that the plain language of the statute and the majority of courts have considered sponsored linking “use.” (more…)

Posted On Jun - 30 - 2008 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Ninth Circuit Applies Fourth Amendment to Text Messages at Work
By Anna Volftsun — Edited by Evie Breithaupt

Quon v. Arch Wireless Operating Company, Inc.
Ninth Circuit, June 18, 2008, No. 07-55282
Slip Opinion

On June 18, 2008, the Ninth Circuit held that the City of Ontario, California violated the Fourth Amendment when Ontario Police Department officials viewed text messages sent by a department employee. The court also held that Arch Wireless, the city’s service provider, had violated the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2701-2711, when it disclosed messages to individuals who were not the addressees or intended recipients.

In late 2001, Sergeant Jeff Quon received a pager from his employer, the Ontario Police Department. The pagers’ wireless text-messaging service provider, Arch Wireless, had stipulated that the city was required to pay overage charges for text messages exceeding a set character limit. Quon paid the overage fee several times without further inquiry into the content of the messages until August 2002, when the Ontario police Chief Scharf moved to obtain transcripts of Quon’s text messages from a support specialist at Arch Wireless.

At least three department employees, including Quon’s immediate supervisor, reviewed the transcripts and read many of Quon’s personal messages, some of which were sexually explicit. Quon and several recipients of the messages brought suit in the District Court of Central California. They appealed the district court’s holding, arguing that Arch Wireless had violated the SCA. Quon also argued that the city violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, as well as his rights under the California Constitution.

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Posted On Jun - 28 - 2008 2 Comments READ FULL POST
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European Union Court

European Union Court of Justice Holds that Individuals Browsing Websites ...

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Georgia Supreme Cour

Georgia Supreme Court Takes Chan v. Ellis Appeal to Redefine ...

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Federal Circuit Flas

By Kellen Wittkop Appeal of a contempt order for violation of ...

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ITC’s review of an

ITC’s review of an ALJ’s order was not procedurally sound By ...

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Facebook’s experim

Facebook’s experiment of emotional contagion raises concerns By Jenny Choi – ...