A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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European Court of Justice Invalidates Data Retention Directive
By Paul Klein – Edited by Alex Shank

In a preliminary ruling requested by courts in Ireland and Austria, the European Court of Justice found that Directive 2006/24/EC was invalid. The Grand Chamber recognized the legitimacy of retaining telecommunications data as a means to combat serious crime and terrorism, but it ultimately held that the far-reaching scope of the Directive disproportionately affected individual privacy under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

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Google to Supreme Court: Snagging Data from Unsecured Wi-Fi is Perfectly Legal
By Michael Shammas – Edited by Mary Schnoor

Google has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to label its Street View cars’ collection of unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic legal, appealing the Ninth Circuit’s decision that Google may have violated the federal Wiretap Act. Google believes unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic should be classed as “radio communications” accessible to the public.

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Mozilla Announces Resignation of Recently Appointed CEO Brendan Eich Following Controversy over Gay Marriage Opposition
By Sheri Pan – Edited by Corey Omer

On April 3, Mozilla Corporation (“Mozilla”), a subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation most widely known for producing the Firefox browser, announced that its CEO of less than two weeks, Brendan Eich, has resigned, after pressure from Mozilla employees, bloggers, and developers who opposed his appointment in light of a $1000 donation that he made in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that sought to ban gay marriage in California.

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Flash Digest: News In Brief
By Emma Winer

Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue

French Unions and Employers Agree to Curb After-Hours Work Email

Limited Sale of Google Glass Slated For April 15

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Supreme Court Weighs Patent Eligibility of Software
By Mary Schnoor — Edited by Elise Young

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, a case with the potential to determine whether, or when, computer-implemented inventions (i.e., software) are patent-eligible subject matter. Many commentators hope the Court will use this case as an opportunity to clarify what makes an invention an “abstract idea” that is ineligible for patenting.

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By Ron Gonski

Flash DigestHouse Passes CISPA

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, reports Ars Technica. The proposed bill aims to facilitate the sharing of data between Internet companies and the government for cybersecurity purposes. The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, as a previous version of the bill died there last year, notes NBC News. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, under fears that the bill does not do enough for user privacy, according to the New York Times.


Federal Circuit Renews K-Tech Communications Lawsuit Against DirecTV

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit renewed a lawsuit filed by K-Tech Communications against DirecTV for alleged patent infringement, Bloomberg reports. The court ruled that a complaint for patent infringement does not have to identify the infringing device to satisfy the requirements of Form 18 (the sample complaint for patent infringement in the Appendix of Forms to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). K-Tech Telecommunications Inc. v. Time Warner Cable Inc., No. 12-1425, slip op. at 17 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 18, 2013). Interestingly, the court also stated that, should there be a conflict between Form 18 and the plausibility standard for pleading requirements set forth in Iqbal and Twombly, Form 18 would control. Id. at 11.

Government Squashes Dozens of Patents a Year for National Security Reasons

Government “secrecy orders” have prevented more than 5,000 inventions from being patented, reports Wired. If the Department of Defense believes that an invention could be a national security threat, it can issue a secrecy order to prevent the inventor from discussing the technology with anyone. Patent applicants can appeal a secrecy order, but that process can often take years. The applicable law is based on a vague standard of “detrimental to national security,” according to Wired.

Posted On Apr - 22 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc.
By Charlie Stiernberg – Edited by Andrew Crocker

Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., No. 12 Civ. 95 (RJS) (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2013)
Slip Opinion

Internet startup ReDigi—“the world’s first and only online marketplace for digital used music”—recently suffered a setback in the rollout of its digital music resale platform. Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., No. 12 Civ. 95 (RJS), slip op. at 1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2013). Judge Sullivan for the District Court for the Southern District of New York granted plaintiff Capitol Records’ motion for partial summary judgment on its claims for defendant ReDigi’s direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement of its exclusive distribution and reproduction rights under the 1976 Copyright Act. The court held, in a case of first impression, that the first sale doctrine,17 U.S.C. § 109(a), does not permit the resale of a digital music file, and that uploading to and downloading from the cloud “incident to a sale” falls outside the scope of the fair use defense, 17 U.S.C. § 107.

The New York Times provides a summary of the case and places it in the context of a broader debate over digital secondary markets, including books and movies. The Electronic Frontier Foundation expresses frustration over the court’s decision not to “bring the first sale doctrine into the 21st century.” Billboard notes that unlike iTunes sales, record labels do not get any proceeds from ReDigi sales of “perfect digital copies of ‘pre-owned’ music.” (more…)

Posted On Apr - 19 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Timelines, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc.
By Ashish Bakshi – Edited by Dorothy Du

Timelines, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 11-cv-6867 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 1, 2013)
Memorandum Opinion and Order (hosted by Justia.com)

Photo By: Robert ScobleCC BY 2.0

Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”) lost its bid for a quick end to a trademark infringement suit filed by Timelines, Inc. (“Timelines”) over the social networking giant’s use of the term “timeline.” The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Facebook’s motion for summary judgment on each of Timelines’ claims and its own counterclaims. The court held that Facebook failed to show as a matter of law that Timelines’ trademark for “timeline” was generic or merely descriptive or , if the trademark were valid, that Facebook’s use of the term constituted fair use. A jury trial will commence on April 22.

PCWorld and Bloomberg provide overviews of the case. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 16 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Jessica Vosgerchian

Flash DigestPhishing Attack Used to Steal Bitcoins

Ars Technica reported April 11 that at least one Bitcoin trader was robbed of Bitcoins by a phishing attack in a Bitcoin-trading forum hosted by Bitcoin exchange MT.Gox. The attacker posted an announcement that MT.Gox would start handling exchanges of another online currency, Litecoins, and included a link to a supposed live chat on the topic. People who clicked through were prompted to download a forged Adobe updater that contained a remote administration tool and keylogger, allowing the attacker to collect victims’ MT.Gox credentials and access their Bitcoin accounts.

Court Documents Reveal FBI Cellphone Surveillance Tool and Verizon’s Involvement

The FBI prompted Verizon to reprogram a tax fraud suspect’s air card so that the FBI could track him, according to documents released in the case against Daniel David Rigmaiden, who is accused of leading a $4 million tax fraud operation. Wired reported April 9 that Rigmaiden accused Verizon of remotely reconfiguring his air card so the FBI could silently call it and receive pings of his location to a fake cell site, or stingray, that it was using. Air cards, which are plugged into computers to connect them to wireless internet provided by cellular providers, cannot normally receive calls. Rigmaiden also asserts that Verizon altered the air card so that it would accept the FBI’s stingray and prioritize it over other cell sites. In the past, the government has argued that it does not need probable cause warrants to use stingrays because they don’t collect phone or text communications.

Google Introduced New Tool for Managing Digital Afterlife

Google announced on April 12 a new tool that will allow users to specify what they want to happen to the contents of their Google accounts after they die. Users can either order their accounts deleted or grant access to a beneficiary. The tool will activate once accounts are inactive for a designated amount of time and the user fails to respond to a text and email. The New York Times Bits blog notes that Google introduced the “digital will” feature at a time when states have begun to pass laws on the fate of online accounts belonging to the dead.

Lithuania Monitors Suspected Tax Fraud with Google Maps Street View

Lithuanian tax authorities have started to use Google Maps Street View to investigate possible tax fraud, the AP reported April 11. The free Internet service only premiered in Lithuania earlier this year, but tax inspectors seized the opportunity to inexpensively tour the streets of major cities like Vilnius in search of signs of tax dodging. Through this method, the Lithuanian government identified one hundred homeowners and thirty companies that it suspects of cheating on taxes, based on suspicious activity like construction that has not been reported. After inspectors found signs of tax fraud through Google Maps, they would follow up with an actual visit to inspect the premises.

Posted On Apr - 15 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

G.C. v. Owensboro Public Schools
By Michelle Sohn– Edited by Sarah Jeong

G.C. v. Owensboro Public Schools, No. 11-6476, (6th Cir. Mar. 28, 2013)
Slip Opinion

In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The lower court had granted summary judgment for Owensboro, holding that the school’s search of a student’s cell phone did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

The Sixth Circuit held that the school’s search of G.C.’s cell phone was an unreasonable search and seizure. In so holding, the court stated that despite the school’s knowledge of G.C.’s prior behavioral problems, school officials had no specific reason at the time of the search to believe that he was engaging in an unlawful activity. Although using a cell phone in class contravened the school’s policy, “using a cell phone on school grounds [did] not automatically trigger an essentially unlimited right enabling a school official to search any content stored on the phone.” G.C.,slip op. at 13.

EducationWeek provides a thorough analysis of the Fourth Amendment issue. The New York Times editorial board lauded the decision, writing that the Sixth Circuit “correctly ruled” and “wisely interpreted” the scope of a reasonable search as applied to students. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 13 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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European Court of Ju

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Google to Supreme Co

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Mozilla Announces Re

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Flash Digest: News I

By Emma Winer Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue The ...

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Supreme Court Weighs

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