A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Facebook Blocks British Insurance Company from Basing Premiums on Posts and Likes

By Javier Careaga– Edited by Mila Owen

Admiral Insurance has created an initiative called firstcarquote, which analyzes Facebook activity of first-time car owners. The firstcarquote algorithm determines risk based on personality traits and habits that are linked to safe driving. Firstcarquote was recalled two hours before its official launch and then was launched with reduced functionality after Facebook denied authorization, stating that the initiative breaches Facebook’s platform policy.

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Airbnb challenges New York law regulating short-term rentals

By Daisy Joo – Edited by Nehaa Chaudhari

Airbnb filed a complaint in the Federal District Court of the Southern District of New York seeking to “enjoin and declare unlawful the enforcement against Airbnb” of the recent law that prohibits  the advertising of short-term rentals on Airbnb and other similar websites.  Airbnb argued that the new law violated its rights to free speech and due process, and that it was inconsistent with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online intermediaries that host or republish speech from a range of liabilities.

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Medtronic v. Bosch post-Cuozzo: PTAB continues to have the final say on inter partes review

By Nehaa Chaudhari – Edited by Grace Truong

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Federal Circuit”) reaffirmed its earlier order, dismissing Medtronic’s appeal against a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). The PTAB had dismissed Medtronic’s petition for inter partes review of Bosch’s patents, since Medtronic had failed to disclose all real parties in interest, as required by 35 U.S.C. §312(a)(2).

 

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California DMV Discuss Rules on Autonomous Vehicles

DOJ Release Guidelines on CFAA Prosecutions

Illinois Supreme Court Rule in Favor of State Provisions Requiring Disclosure of Online Identities of Sex Offenders

Research Shows Concerns for Crucial Infrastructure Information Leaks

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Cristina Azcoitia – Edited by Kayla Haran

FTC Explores Crowdfunding Oversight

Comcast Sues Nashville to Stall Google Fiber

FCC Imposes New Consumer Privacy Rules on Internet Service Providers

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By: Olga Slobodyanyuk, Edited by: Saukshmya Trichi

American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., No. 15-cv-1543 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 23, 2014) Opinion and Order hosted by National Association of Broadcasters.

aereo_antenna_array1On October 23, the SDNY District Court granted a preliminary injunction restraining Aereo from retransmitting Live TV programs. In doing so, the Court rejected Aereo’s claim that it offers a cable TV service thus being entitled to a compulsory license for the copyrighted programs. By virtue of the injunction  Aereo is prohibited from “streaming, transmitting, retransmitting, or otherwise publicly performing any Copyrighted Program over the Internet (through websites such as aereo.com), or by means of any device or process throughout the United States of America, while the Copyrighted Programming is still being broadcast.”

Aereo is a tech start-up which offered  live and time-shifted streams of TV shows over the Internet through tiny remote antennas that captured TV signals upon the subscribers’ requests. In June, the Supreme Court held that Aereo’s service of streaming TV shows amounts to  a public performance under the ‘Transmit Clause’ of the Copyright Act. American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc. 134 S.Ct. 2498 (Supreme Court of the United States, June 25, 2014) Slip Opinion. Digest report of the case for further details. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 4 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Ariane Moss

Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Apple over MacBook Pro GPU Issues

Owners of 15-inch and 17-inch 2011 Series MacBook Pro might finally get compensated for their GPU-related malfunctions. The law firm of Whitfield, Bryson & Mason filed a complaint in a California federal court against Apple on behalf of California and Florida residents who purchased the 2011 MacBook Pro with AMD graphics, although they are considering extending this suit beyond the jurisdictions of California and Florida. The complaint describes the problem as “graphics becoming distorted, followed by software shutdowns, system freezes and, eventually, total system failure” and alleges that Apple has failed to reimburse customers who were forced to pay for repairs costing between $350 to $600 to fix. The complaint also accuses Apple of ignoring customers who have complained including those who attempted to directly contact CEO Tim Cook.

Spain Enacts “Google Tax” Anti-Piracy Law

Spain passed a new copyright law requiring Google to pay newspaper publishers for using their news content or face a fine of up to 600,000 euro. Spain will also require removal of all copyright infringing material from websites if the websites themselves don’t profit from the infringement. European publishers accuse search firms of using their copyrighted material to build news services without doing any original reporting, whereas Google defends itself by claiming that it directs billions of views to newspapers’ websites every month. Germany recently passed a similar law which resulted in Google’s completely removing affected newspapers from their site, but publishers eventually requested to be relisted after suffering from huge traffic drops. The law passed with heavy resistance from the opposing party who regard the legislation as a misguided effort.

Virginia Police Can Demand Fingerprint Passcodes

A Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled that requiring a suspect to unlock a phone with a fingerprint is not unconstitutional, although requiring a password to unlock is unconstitutional. This case involves a man charged with assaulting his girlfriend and prosecutors who believed his phone contained video of the conflict. Although the judge agreed with the defense counsel which argued that passcodes are protected by the Fifth Amendment, he decided fingerprints are more similar to providing DNA which the law permits and less like a password which requires the defendant to divulge knowledge. The court pointed out the legal difference between a person’s knowledgeprotected under the Fifth Amendmentand identity.

Posted On Nov - 4 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Henry Thomas

Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act, 12 Del. C. §§ 5001 – 5007 (2014).

Delaware Code

On August 12, 2014, the General Assembly of the State of Delaware adopted the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act sponsored by Rep. Darryl Scott (D-Dover). The Act takes effect on January 1, 2015 and aims to solve the problem of what happens to online accounts after the account holder passes away. The State of Delaware has become one of very few jurisdictions to adopt special rules for this matter.

The Act allows a fiduciary to “have the same access as the [deceased] account holder” within 30 days of making a written request to the account “custodian.”  In a departure from other statutes, the Act assumes that fiduciaries “have the lawful consent of the account holder” even when the account holder has not explicitly provided for this privilege. 12 Del. C. § 5005.

The Act was prepared by attorneys from the Delaware State Bar Association who were cooperating with colleagues from the Uniform Law Commission. The new Delaware Act is largely based on the principles of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (“UFADAA”) adopted by the Uniform Law Commission in its July 2014 session.

One of the notable features of the Delaware Act is that it adopts a relatively broad notion of fiduciaries covering personal representatives appointed by will, guardians, trustees, and agents. 12 Del. C. § 5002(9). Though the Act only applies to estates governed by Delaware law, its effects may be far-reaching; digital assets will be subject to the law even if the tech companies (or the deceased herself) are not residents of Delaware.

The proliferation of various digital communication media facilitated much discussion on whether third parties (such as spouses, children or estate managers) should be given access to the deceased person’s online accounts, and, if so, who should be authorized to get access and how should they be allowed to dispose the digital assets in those accounts. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 4 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Google Appeals Ruling that Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong– Edited by Ashish Bakshi

Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Google Inc. v. Oracle Am., Inc., No. 14–410 (U.S. October 6, 2014)

Petition hosted by The American Lawyer.

how-to-draw-an-android-android-phone_1_000000008746_5On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to a software “system or method of operation,” such as an application programming interface (API). Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Google Inc. v. Oracle Am., Inc., No. 14-410 (U.S. October 6, 2014).

Google and Oracle have been embroiled in a legal battle since 2010, when Oracle filed suit alleging that Google’s use of Java method headers and class names in the Android operating system infringed upon Oracle’s copyrights. Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc. 872 F.Supp.2d 974, 975 (N.D. Cal. 2012). Hosted by Casetext.com. Oracle claimed that Google “has replicated the structure, sequence and organization of the overall code” of 37 Java API packages. Id.

The trial court ruled in 2012 that Oracle’s Java API was “a system or method of operation under Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act” that therefore could not be copyrighted.  Id. at 977. The court’s rationale was that the duplicated Java method headers under contention could not be copyrighted because they needed to be duplicated to ensure interoperability. Id. at 976. Java’s class names were likewise ruled ineligible for copyright because “copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law.” Id. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 28 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Ariane Moss

Microsoft Tax Banned in Italy

In a case filed by Marco Pieraccioli against Hewlett Packard, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that Italian residents don’t have to pay for a pre-installed operating system if they don’t want it when purchasing a new computer. Until this decision, users in Italy had to pay for the Windows OS installed on their computer regardless of whether they wanted or intended to use the system. Now Italian residents are entitled to a refund in instances of unwanted pre-installed software. The court’s argument rests on the principle that there are two contracts: one for the purchase of the computer, and one for the use of pre-installed software. While the computer purchase contract is valid, the user licensing agreement for the unwanted software is void.

California Responds to Data Breaches by Strengthening Privacy Laws

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1710 into law which expands the requirements for businesses that have suffered data breaches. In light of high profile breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus, Home Depot, for example, the California legislature sought to strengthen privacy laws in efforts to protect consumers whose personally identifiable information was compromised by unintentional information disclosure.  The Bill further requires that any business engaged in maintaining personal information fulfill a reasonable security requirement even if the business does not own or license the data.

EU Court Rules Embedding Is Not Copyright Infringement

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that embedding copyrighted videos is not copyright infringement even if the source video was uploaded without permission. This verdict will shield from liability Internet users who embed copyrighted videos from other websites. The rule comes from the German case BestWater International GmbH v. Michael Mebes, Stefan Potsch, where BestWater International sued two employees for embedding one of its promotional videos on the employees’ personal websites without permission. Under European law, embedding a video does not violate the creator’s copyright claims as long as the file is not altered or communicated to a new public.

Posted On Oct - 28 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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