A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Aereo Struggles as Supreme Court Finds It Violated Copyright Law
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

On June 25, 2014, in its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Aereo, Inc.  The U.S. Supreme Court held that Aereo violated the Copyright Act of 1976 for streaming TV shows shortly after they were broadcast without paying for the copyrighted works.  As a result, Aereo suspended its service and has struggled to find a way to re-operate its business. This decision has not come without criticism, however, as some warn this ad hoc decision could lead to uncertainty in the courts.

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DRIP Bill Expands UK’s Data Surveillance Power

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Insue Kim

House of Lords passed the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (“DRIP”) on July 17, 2014. DRIP empowers the UK government to require all companies providing internet-based services to UK customers to retain customer metadata for 12 months. It also expands the government’s ability to directly intercept phone calls and digital communications from any remote storage. Critics claim the bill goes far beyond what is necessary and its fast-track timeframe prevents meaningful discussion.

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Federal Circuit Grants Stay of Patent Infringement Litigation Until PTAB Can Complete a Post-Grant Review

By Kyle Pietari – Edited by Insue Kim

Reversing the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit granted a stay of patent infringement litigation proceedings until the PTAB can complete a post-grant patent validity review. This was the court’s first ruling on a stay when the suit and review process were happening concurrently.

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Ninth Circuit Rejects Fox’s Request to Shut Down Dish Services, Despite Aereo Decision

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Insue Kim

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Fox’s motion for a preliminary injunction.  Fox argued that the technologies would irreparably harm Fox because they violate copyright laws, but the Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court did not err in finding that the harm alleged by Fox was speculative, noting that Fox had failed to present evidence documenting such harm.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gutierrez

Senate passes bill to make cell phone unlocking legal

ABA urges lawyers to stop pursuing file sharing lawsuits

FBI cautions that driverless cars may be used to assist criminal behavior

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By Charlie Stiernberg

Digital Public Library of America Goes Live, Sans Fanfare

The Digital Public Library of America (“DPLA”) website went live late last week; however, the celebration was postponed in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, reports the Harvard Crimson. After more than two years of planning, the DPLA became the first national digital library in the world—with about two million books, pictures, manuscripts, and other materials. The staff is working to overcome copyright obstacles to add more works. A ceremony was to take place on April 18 and 19 at the Boston Public Library, the first public library in the country. But given its proximity to the site of the bombings, organizers decided to reschedule the event for the fall.

ITC Rules Apple iPhone did not Violate Motorola Patents

The International Trade Commission (“ITC”) terminated its investigation into Apple’s alleged infringement of Motorola U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862 (“the ‘862 patent”), “Sensor controlled user interface for portable communication device,” finding no violation of section 337, reports Ars Technica. The ‘862 patent was the last patent remaining of the six included in the original complaint filed by Motorola in 2010. In a notice issued April 22, the ITC found that the ‘862 patent is obvious in view of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,052,464 and 5,894,298. The case is one piece of a larger patent battle between Apple and Motorola, being waged in courts worldwide.

Parties Race to Register “Boston Strong” Trademark with USPTO

Less than a week after the Boston Marathon bombing, two Massachusetts parties have applied to trademark the phrase “Boston Strong” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), reports the Huffington Post. The first application, filed by Born Into It, Inc., is a standard character mark for “clothing and accessories.” The second application, filed by an individual, is also a standard character mark for “[i]mprinting messages on T-shirts.” The hashtag #BostonStrong has garnered a strong following on Twitter over the last week. The Huffington Post notes that similar applications following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were denied by the USPTO.

Posted On Apr - 29 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

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
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Aereo Struggles as S

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