A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules on Protecting and Promoting Open Internet

By Shuli Wang – Edited by Yaping Zhang

Two weeks after voting on regulating broadband Internet service as a public utility, on March 12, the Federal Communications Commission (”FCC”) released a document (the FCC Order and Rules) on net neutrality, which reclassifies high-speed Internet as a telecommunications service rather than an information service, thus subjecting Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carrier to regulations under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The purpose of the new rules is to ensure the free flow of bits through the web without paid-for priority lanes and blocking or throttling of any web content.

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White House releases administration discussion draft for Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On February 27, 2015, President Obama released an administration draft of a proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act. The proposed bill’s stated purpose is to “establish baseline protections for individual privacy in the commercial arena and to foster timely, flexible implementations of these protections through enforceable codes of conduct developed by diverse stakeholders.”

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gallagher

Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of AT&T Motion to Extend or Re-open Filing Period for Appeal in Patent Infringement Suit

In Patent Suit Against Apple, Federal Circuit Affirms in Part, Reverses in Part

Federal Circuit Reverses DNA Sequencing Technology Patent Construction

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Wikimedia Sues NSA for Upstream Surveillance

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Wikimedia Foundation filed a suit against the NSA challenging the constitutionality of upstream surveillance programs, which allow the NSA to communicate by Americans and persons abroad. The claim, which was joined by eight other human rights organizations, challenges NSA’s actions as violations of the First and Fourth Amendments of the US Constitution.

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Florida Considers a Bill Outlawing Anonymous Websites

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Anton Ziajka

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill, the “True Origin of Digital Goods Act,”  that would require owners and operators of websites that disseminate “commercial” recordings or audiovisual works to prominently disclose their true names, physical addresses, and telephone numbers or email addresses on the websites. The bill extends to all websites that deal “in substantial part” in disseminating such recordings or audiovisual works, “directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.

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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

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co.
By Amy Zhang – Edited by Elise Young

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Appeal No. 2013-1129 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 18, 2013)
Slip Opinion

Photo By: Kai HendryCC BY 2.0

On November 18th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a ruling on the Northern District Court of California’s decision denying Apple’s request for a permanent injunction against Samsung for patent infringement. The ruling is the most recent move in the Apple v. Samsung smartphone saga.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s findings that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s design patents and trade dress, and thus that Apple is not entitled to injunctive relief. However, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s denial of injunctive relief for Apple’s utility patents and remanded the case for further considerations. The circuit court’s decision turns on the requirements for showing causal nexus between ongoing infringement and irreparable harm necessary for obtaining injunctive relief.

Patently-O provides a brief overview of the case and Apple’s previous attempts to secure an injunction. Reuters also provides a summary of the case. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 24 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Rita Resende Soares

Federal Circuit Renews Apple’s Hope For Injunction Against Samsung

Icon-newsLast Monday, a unanimous United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated a denial of injunctive relief to Apple against Samsung for the infringement of Apple’s utility patents over rubber-banding, pinch-to-zoom API and tap-to-zoom-and-navigate. Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., No. 13-1129 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 18, 2013), slip op. at 2. The district court abused its discretion in determining whether a “causal nexus” existed between Samsung’s infringement and Apple’s alleged irreparable harm, a nexus that may be satisfied by some connection between the patented features and the demand for Samsung’s products and that may be found by viewing patents in the aggregate. Id. at 19-21. The court also erred in concluding that the “inadequacy of legal remedies” prong weighed in Samsung’s favor because of Apple’s past licensing behavior and Samsung’ ability to pay any monetary judgment. Id. at 29-30. Following the Federal Circuit’s guidance, the district court on remand will likely grant an injunction to Apple with respect to the infringement of its utility patents. The Federal Circuit, however, affirmed the district court’s denial of Apple’s request for a permanent injunction with respect to its design patents and trade dress. Patentlyo and the Wall Street Journal provide a helpful overview of the case.

Google And Microsoft Strengthen Their Commitment Against Child Abuse

Google announced the introduction of new algorithms to prevent online searches for child abuse imagery, with the help of Microsoft picture detection technology. Google had previously avoided censoring its search results directly, developing instead open databases to which abusive imagery could be added by law enforcement agencies. This week, however, in an op-ed in Britain’s Daily Mail, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt revealed that they had “fine tuned Google Search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material,” effectively cleaning up over 100,000 queries possibly related to the sexual abuse of children. To avoid false positives generated by the algorithm, Google employees review the images before blocking them, distinguishing between “innocent pictures of kids at bathtime and genuine abuse.” Google is also developing technology that facilitates the identification of children being abused in YouTube videos, taking into account the growing tendency of pedophiles to film their crimes. The impact of these changes is expected to extend beyond the UK very soon, with implementation in more than 150 languages. Further coverage can be found at Ars Technica and The Verge.

Supreme Court Rejects Petition To Halt NSA Surveillance Of Domestic Telephone Calls

The Supreme Court has refused a petition for a writ of mandamus by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”) to review the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) order requiring Verizon to hand over all local telephonic metadata to the National Security Agency (“NSA”). EPIC claimed that the FISC had exceeded its statutory jurisdiction, as the wholesale handover of such data “[could not] plausibly be relevant to an authorized investigation.” Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Prohibition, or a Writ of Certiorari, In re Electronic Privacy Information Center (filed July 8, 2013), at 3. EPIC further contended that no other court was open to hear a challenge to the FISC order. Scotusblog and Ars Technica offer an additional summary of EPIC’s contentions. Considering the Court’s refusal to consider the challenge without further comment, Wired estimates as highly unlikely the possibility of a judicial resolution to constitutional challenges of the NSA’s metadata collection programs in the near future.

Posted On Nov - 21 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

TufAmerica, Inc. v. WB Music Corp.
By Emma Winer – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

TufAmerica, Inc. v. WB Music Corp. et al, No. 13-07874 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 5, 2013)
Complaint hosted by Scribd.com.

TufAmerica filed a complaint accusing rap artist Jay Z of infringing the company’s copyright in the song “Hook & Sling Part 1.” According to the complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Jay Z allegedly used a portion, or “sample,” of “Hook and Sling Part 1” in his hit song “Run This Town” without proper authorization from TufAmerica. Complaint, TufAmerica, Inc. v. WB Music Corp., No. 13-07874 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 5, 2013), at 1. The lawsuit names Warner Bros. Music and Jay Z’s label, Roc-A-Fella Records, as co-defendants. TufAmerica has filed a number of similar lawsuits against artists such as the Beastie Boys and Kanye West for sampling songs from catalogs that the company had purchased, Rolling Stone reports.

“Hook & Sling Part 1” was originally released in 1969 by Eddie Bo, a now deceased American pianist. TufAmerica bought the song in 1996, including exclusive rights to “release, sublicense, advertise, assign, exploit and sell…” the master recordings, as well as “the performances and compositions embodied therein.” Id. at 3. TufAmerica recorded its copyright with the United States Copyright Office on May 25, 2000. Id. at 4. The company alleges that samples of “Hook & Sling” appear dozens of times in “Run This Town,” which was released in Jay Z’s albums “The Blue Print 3” and “The Hits Collection Volume One.” Id.

The Guardian and Rolling Stone provide an overview of the facts of the lawsuit. The New York Times and Slate have analyzed the rise of so-called “sample trolls,” which profit from buying copyrights to songs in music catalogs and then suing artists who sample the songs without proper licensing. Gigaom and The Atlantic suggest that the rise of such lawsuits could have detrimental creative consequences in the music industry. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 20 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Garmin International, Inc. et al. v. Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC

By James Grace – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness
Garmin Int’l, Inc. et al. v. Cuozzo Speed Techs. LLC, IPR2012-00001 (P.T.A.B. 2013)

Slip Opinion hosted by PatentlyO

Photo By: Kenny LouieCC BY 2.0

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”), in its first inter partes review under 35 U.S.C. 311, held in favor of the petitioner, a GPS technology developer, Garmin. Garmin Int’l, Inc. et al. v. Cuozzo Speed Techs. LLC, IPR2012-00001 (P.T.A.B. 2013) at 49 (“Decision”). PTAB cancelled three claims of Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC’s (“Cuozzo’s”) U.S. Patent No. 6,778,074 (“the ’074 patent”), “Speed limit indicator and method for displaying speed and the relevant speed limit,” finding them invalid on grounds of obviousness under 35 U.S.C. 103. Id. PTAB also denied Cuozzo’s Motion to Amend the ’074 patent to substitute the three impugned claims. Id.

PatentlyO provides an overview of the case and speculates how PTAB’s decision may threaten Cuozzo’s ongoing infringement action against Garmin and Chrysler in the District Court of New Jersey. Complaint, Cuozzo Speed Techs. LLC v. Garmin Int’l, Inc. et al., No. 2:12-cv-03623 (D.N.J. June 15, 2012). (more…)

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