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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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GoldieBlox, Inc. v. Island Def Jam Music Group
By Elise Young – Edited by Alex Shank

Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief, GoldieBlox, Inc. v. Island Def Jam Music Group, A Div. of UMG Recordings, Inc., No. 3:13-cv-05428 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2013)
Complaint hosted by Scribd

Photo By: ricaroseCC BY 2.0

Over the last few weeks, hip-hop group the Beastie Boys and GoldieBlox, a start-up company in the business of developing engineering toys for girls, started down the path towards copyright litigation over use of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls” in a GoldieBlox advertisement. On November 21, after the Beastie Boys’ legal counsel threatened suit, GoldieBlox filed for declaratory judgment that its use of the song was fair use. Complaint, at 2–3. The Beastie Boys responded with an open letter emphasizing the group’s consistent refusal to allow use of their songs in advertising. On November 27, GoldieBlox removed the advertisement and promised to drop the suit if the Beastie Boys’ legal team similarly backed down. GigaOM provides an overview of the fight and some legal analysis on the fair use issue. Forbes examines GoldieBlox’s change in strategy. Mashable discusses how the disagreement benefits GoldieBlox’s PR. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 5 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Elise Young – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

European Proposal on Protection of Trade Secrets

European Commission, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Protection of Undisclosed Know-How and Business Information (Trade Secrets) Against their Unlawful Acquisition, Use and Disclosure  (Nov. 28, 2013)
Proposed Directive

Photo By: Thomas QuineCC BY 2.0

On November 28th, the European Commission issued a proposed directive for greater and more uniform protection of trade secrets throughout the European Union. The goal of the proposal is to increase innovation by providing better protection for EU businesses’ trade secrets. Proposed Directive at 2. The Commission identified the currently irregular protection and enforcement of trade secrets within the EU as a significant factor inhibiting cross-border research and development and general innovation. Id. at 3. The proposal is one part of the EU’s “Innovation Union” and IP strategies, adopted in May 2011. Id.

The proposal and other documents related to the directive can be found here. The Commission additionally released a memorandum summarizing trade secret law, the directive, and the reason for its proposal. The New York Times and Bloomberg provide further commentary on the proposed directive. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 4 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Christopher A. Crawford – Edited by Abhilasha Nautiyal

AT&T shareholder proposal, hosted by Osc.state.ny.us
Verizon shareholder proposal, hosted by Aclunc.org
American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California Announcement

Photo By: Razor512CC BY 2.0

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (“ACLU”), in collaboration with other shareholders, filed shareholder proposals with Verizon and AT&T to persuade the telecommunications companies to issue transparency reports disclosing data about customer information that was passed on to the National Security Agency. This new tactic in the privacy fight is designed to highlight what activists say are serious costs associated with the telecom companies’ lack of transparency.

The Wall Street Journal and Ars Technica, among others, have reported the filing of these shareholder proposals. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 3 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Mark Verstraete – Edited by Thuy Nguyen

Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York (Nov. 15, 2013)

On Friday, November 15, 2013, Anonymous and Lulzsec-affiliated hacktivist Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to ten years in prison and three years of supervised release. During his supervised release period, Hammond is proscribed from using computer anonymity devices, such as Tor. See Ars Technica. Hammond was sentenced in a federal courtroom for the Southern District of New York with roughly one hundred supporters and friends in attendance. See RollingStone Politics.

Ars Technica and RollingStone Politics review the background of the case and the context of the sentencing. CNET provides additional background and commentary from supporters and others. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 26 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Mengyi Wang

Icon-newsHaitian Photographer Awarded $1.2M in Copyright Infringement Case

Last Friday, a federal jury awarded Daniel Morel $1.2 million, the maximum statutory damages allowed by law, after finding that Agence France-Presse (“AFP”) and Getty Images willfully violated the Copyright Act, Reuters reports. The story began in 2010 when AFP and Getty Images distributed the photos that Morel took in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake without his permission. They subsequently filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against Morel for noninfringement. In January, a New York District Court judge ruled that AFP was liable for copyright infringement. Agence France Presse v. Morel, No. 10-02730 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2013). The jury trial was to determine whether AFP’s infringement was willful and the amount of damages. Further coverage can be found at ABC News.

UN Privacy Resolution Stays Strong Despite Orchestrated Challenges

The United Nations draft resolution calling for protection of digital privacy remains largely intact despite the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia’s concerted efforts to dilute the language, The Guardian reports. The resolution was spearheaded by Germany and Brazil in the wake of recent revelations that the United States had tapped the phones of 35 world leaders. As ABC News explains, UN General Assembly resolutions, though not legally binding, hold moral and political sway. Last week, five international human rights and privacy rights organizations – Access
Now, Amnesty International,
 Electronic Frontier Foundation,
 Human Rights Watch, and
 Privacy International – signed an open letter urging that all states meeting at the UN General Assembly back the resolution. The Guardian and Reuters discuss the disagreements among states in greater detail.

China to Launch Crude Oil Futures Market

China, surpassing the United States as the world’s largest oil importer, is expected to introduce crude oil futures in the Shanghai free-trade zone shortly, Bloomberg reports. According to Reuters, the Shanghai Futures Exchange is proposing a yuan-denominated contract and would permit foreign investors without local subsidiaries to trade. The bourse has already established an international energy trading platform and is awaiting Beijing’s nod to launch the contract. Business Insider and South China Morning Post provide overviews of the development.

Posted On Nov - 25 - 2013 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 ...