A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Daniel Etcovitch – Edited by Emily Chan

Florida Judge Rules Bitcoin Is Not Equivalent to Money

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Restricting Use of Stingrays

DMCA DRM Circumvention Provision’s Constitutionality Being Challenged

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Yuan Cao – Edited by Frederick Ding

Mere Commercial Benefit Not Enough to Trigger The On-Sale Bar

Technology-Based Software Solution Can Be Patentable 

Patent Disputes about Siri, iTunes, Notification Push, and Location

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Sixth Circuit Finds Privacy Interest in Mugshots under FOIA

By Filippo Raso – Edited by Ariane Moss

A split en banc Sixth Circuit reversed the lower courts’ ruling, holding individuals have a privacy interest in their booking photos for the purposes of Exemption 7(C) of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552. In so doing, the Court overruled Circuit precedent established two decades ago. The case was remanded with instructions to balance the public interests against the individual’s privacy interest.

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The EFF Challenges the DMCA Anti-Circumvention Provision: A First Amendment Fight

By Priyanka Nawathe – Edited by Kayla Haran

On July 21, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the United States government to overturn DMCA Section 1201, commonly referred to as the anti-circumvention provision. The EFF argues that this provision, designed to prevent circumvention of “technological protection measures,” actually chills research and free speech, and thus is a violation of the First Amendment.

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By Jaehwan Park – Edited by Kayla Haran

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Bill Encouraging U.S. Government Agencies to Use the Cloud as a Secure Alternative to Legacy Systems

Snapchat Accused of Violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Announces New Policy Group to Promote Global Digital Trade

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TelevisionBy Anne Woodworth – Edited by Henry Thomas

Order: Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FilmOn X, LLC, No. CV-12-6921 (C.D. Cal. July 16, 2015) hosted by loeb.com

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled last week granted summary judgement for defendant FilmOn X, finding that the internet-based television provider is entitled to a compulsory license under § 111 of the Copyright Act to re-transmit broadcast television. The ruling is at odds with both a Second Circuit ruling and the position of the Copyright Office. Recognizing that the legal issues were close and of “significant commercial importance”, the judge authorized an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit and chose to maintain the existing preliminary injunction against FilmOn X.

FilmOn X gives subscribers access to remote antennae which pick up TV signals and broadcast the programs online where users can view in DVR format.  Though the service is currently free, FilmOn maintains that this is because the service is offering free trials.  Plaintiffs Fox Television Stations, Inc., NBCUniversal Media, LLC, and a host of other broadcasting companies moved for summary judgement, arguing that FilmOn X was not entitled to a compulsory license under § 111 of the Copyright Act. FilmOn X cross-moved that they were entitled to the license. § 111 allows cable broadcast companies to transmit copyrighted media, without negotiating with every copyright holder, as long as they follow specified rules and pay set royalties.

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Posted On Jul - 27 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Neiman MarcusBy Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ariane Moss

Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Grp., LLC, No. 14-3122, 2015 WL 4394814 (7th Cir. July 20, 2015)

The Seventh Circuit reversed the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, which had held that Neiman Marcus cardholders who fell victim to a data breach, but had either been compensated by their credit card companies for any fraudulent activities or had not suffered fraudulent activities on their accounts at all, did not have standing to bring a putative class action against the retailer.

The Seventh Circuit disagreed, finding that the cardholders did have standing: the allegation of impending future harm and the concrete injury they had suffered in taking steps to mitigate or prevent that harm is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Article III. In so holding, the court rejected the district court’s “overreading” of Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l USA, which has buttressed many 12(b)(1) dismissals in data breach class action suits. In Clapper, the Supreme Court found that a group of human rights organizations could not assert standing based on suspicions that the government had intercepted their communications with terrorists. The Seventh Circuit urged the lower courts to recognize an important distinction between mere suspicion of injury and a “substantial risk” of injury. Substantial risk of injury, the court held, was not “jettison[ed]” by the Supreme Court, since a substantial risk “may prompt plaintiffs to reasonably incur costs to mitigate or avoid that harm.” The court accordingly held that in the case of a data breach, where “the purpose . . . is, sooner or later, to make fraudulent charges or assume those consumers’ identities,” plaintiffs may properly assert Article III standing based on a substantial risk of injury.

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Posted On Jul - 27 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Magnifying GlassBy Kasey Wang – Edited by Ariane Moss

State v. Rindfleisch, 857 N.W.2d 456 (Wis. Ct. App. 2014)

Link to opinion (hosted by Leagle)

Kelly Rindfleisch is serving a six-month sentence for misconduct in public office while working for then-County Executive Scott Walker. Rindfleisch claimed that the government violated her Fourth Amendment rights while searching her emails for evidence for a different case. The government, she asserted, obtained warrants that “lacked sufficient particularity” and were general warrants. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed her sentence. After the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear her case, Rindfleisch filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

In early 2010, Rindfleisch was hired as a Milwaukee County employee working for then-County Executive Scott Walker.  On October 20, 2010, a Milwaukee County District Attorney submitted an affidavit for a warrant to search Rindfleisch’s emails for correspondence from Rindfleisch’s colleague, on suspicion that the colleague had committed a crime. The warrant authorized the seizure of all of Rindfleisch’s emails from Google and Yahoo! servers. The government used evidence obtained from this warrant to charge Rindfleisch with misconduct in public office. Rindfleisch pled guilty and appealed, citing a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that Rindfleisch’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated because the “warrants in question were based on probable cause established by affidavit, were authorized by a judge, and particularly described the place to be searched and items to be seized.” In discussing probable cause, the court cited a similar Ninth Circuit case, United States v. Adjani, in which a search through a defendant’s emails for evidence of a different suspect’s wrongdoing led to the defendant’s conviction. In discussing “sufficient particularity,” the court found that it was sufficient for the warrants to describe specific email addresses within Google’s and Yahoo’s servers.

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Posted On Jul - 20 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Russia & ChinaBy Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

The legislatures in Russia and China took steps this month to tighten regulations over Internet companies with access to user data. In Russia, President Vladmir Putin signed a law ensuring a “right to be forgotten” reminiscent of the European Court of Justice’s ruling in May 2014. And in China, the National People’s Congress released a draft cybersecurity bill that would formalize and strengthen the State’s long-standing regulation of websites and network operators.

On July 14th, 2015, Russian President Vladmir Putin signed into law a piece of legislation that guarantees Russian citizens a so-called “right to be forgotten,” allowing them to selectively edit the history that is unearthed when internet users search for their names. Beginning on January 1, 2016, Russian citizens can request that a search engine remove a link if it (1) reveals information that “violates their personal data, (2) contains ‘unverified information’, or (3) contains information that is ‘no longer relevant.’” Affected websites include any search engines that serve targeted advertisements to Russian citizens, such as Google, Yahoo! and Yandex. Search engines will have up to ten days to respond to takedown requests, and failure to respond to requests within the time frame, or an erroneous refusal to remove content, will result in litigation and potential fines.

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Posted On Jul - 20 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

JOLT - AvvoLogoBy Leonidas Angelakos – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Thomson v. Doe, No. 72321-9-1 (Washington Court of Appeals, July 6, 2015)

Link to opinion (hosted by Citizen.org)

The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the King County Superior Court’s denial of a motion to compel disclosure of an anonymous critic’s identity.

The Court of Appeals held that—absent evidence of defamation—a third party website is not required to unmask an anonymous defendant who posted a negative review on the plaintiff’s profile. In so holding, the court adopted an analysis similar to the widely cited Dendrite test for the showing a defamation plaintiff must make on a motion to compel disclosure of a Doe defendant’s identity. Dendrite Int’l, Inc. v. Doe No. 3, 775 A.2d 756 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2001). Commentators have called this a victory for anonymity: before the court will unmask an anonymous internet poster in a defamation suit, the plaintiff must provide evidence supporting her claim.

Lexology and the ABA Journal provide an overview of the case. The popular tech website GeekWire has celebrated the decision for the protection it offers to anonymous internet posters, calling it a “victory for anonymous commenters.”

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Posted On Jul - 20 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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