A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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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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Federal Circuit Tightens Patent Standing Requirement in Azure Networks

By Kathleen McGuinness – Edited by Sabreena Khalid

In Azure Networks, LLC v. CSR PLC, the Federal Circuit ruled that patent owners who had licensed “all substantial rights” to a third party could not be joined as plaintiffs in a suit on that patent. The court also reaffirmed the high bar to proving that a patentee has redefined a well-understood technical term.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Viviana Ruiz

Russia’s Intellectual Property Court affirms denial of Ford’s trademark application

Contrary to its advertising efforts, Red Bull does not give you wings

Federal Court rules that food flavors are not trademarkable

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District Court Will Not Require Ebay to Make Greater Effort to Police Trademark Infringers
By Jeff Gritton — Edited by Joshua Gruenspecht

Tiffany, Inc. v. eBay, Inc.
S.D.N.Y., July 14, 2008, No. 04 Civ. 4607
First Circuit, June 18th, 2008, Nos. 07-2078, 07-2246
Slip Opinion

On July 14, the Southern District of New York denied Tiffany’s claims of direct and contributory trademark infringement against eBay. The court agreed with eBay that, as a legitimate seller of Tiffany goods, the online auctioneer had the right to use the Tiffany marks under the nominative fair use doctrine. It also rejected Tiffany’s demand that eBay be held jointly and severally liable for sales made on eBay.com by third parties.

Tiffany instigated this suit against eBay after its research showed that the majority of claimed Tiffany products for sale on eBay were counterfeit. While eBay provided reporting services for both users and trademark holders to notify its fraud division of counterfeit items, Tiffany had requested a more proactive solution: removal of all sellers placing five or more Tiffany items up for sale and suspension of the use of the Tiffany mark on the eBay site and in eBay advertising.

Brad Stone at the New York Times notes that courts in two prior international cases brought by luxury brands (Rolex in Germany and Louis Vuitton in France) had ruled against eBay. The divergent opinions may pose a challenge to eBay’s operation of a single global marketplace.

Professor Eric Goldman also provides a detailed analysis of the case. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 19 - 2008 1 Comment READ FULL POST

New Law Expands Government Surveillance Powers
By Daniel Ray — Edited by Sarah Sorscher

H.R. 6304 — FISA Amendments Act of 2008
Full Text of Enrolled Bill
Senate Vote Summary
GovTrack.us Summary

On July 9, the Senate passed H.R. 6034, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, and President George W. Bush signed it into law the following day. The new law modifies the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (“FISA”) to expand (subject to certain new checks) the federal government’s surveillance powers and retroactively immunize telecommunication companies that cooperated with the warrantless wiretapping program brought to light in 2005.

The New York Times summarizes the politics surrounding the FISA issue, in which presumptive Democratic nominee for president Barack Obama’s “yea” vote attracted scorn from some Democrats.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (PDF), a longtime opponent of President’s surveillance program, calls Section 202 an immunity “compromise” in name only.

Orin Kerr, writing at The Volokh Conspiracy, criticizes as “misleading” media coverage that ignores the law’s new procedural safeguards (as compared to last years less restrictive Protect America Act (“PAA”)).

On the issue of immunity, Charlie Reina (writing at the Huffington Post), regrets that the public will never know who was monitored or which companies cooperated with the original warrantless wiretapping requests.

(more…)

Posted On Jul - 12 - 2008 2 Comments READ FULL POST

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.
(more…)

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.

(more…)

Posted On Jul - 2 - 2008 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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Silk Road 2.0 Takedo

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Federal Circuit Flas

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Spain Passes a “Go

By Michael Shammas — Edited by Yixuan Long Amendments to the ...

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Federal Circuit Tigh

By Kathleen McGuinness – Edited by Sabreena Khalid Azure Networks, LLC ...

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Flash Digest: News i

By Viviana Ruiz Russia’s Intellectual Property Court affirms denial of Ford's ...