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 Michael Hoven

Flash DigestApple v. Samsung Damages Award Cut by $450 Million

Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California, who oversaw last summer’s Apple v. Samsung trial, lowered the jury’s $1.05 billion damages award to apple by $450 million, reports Reuters. According to Koh, the jury used an “impermissible legal theory” to calculate damages. To fix the error, Koh ordered a new damages trial on fourteen of Samsung’s twenty-eight infringing products, to be postponed while the case is in appeal in the Federal Circuit. The decision is the latest of several post-trial victories for Samsung, notes Ars Technica, but the award still stands at $599 million and a new damages trial could add to that figure.

Yelp Review Can Help Show Consumer Confusion

The Middle District of Florida entered a preliminary injunction against the health club Fit U in a trademark infringement suit brought by the gym You Fit, according to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. In considering You Fit’s claim, the court considered an anonymous Yelp review claiming the reviewer’s own confusion regarding the distinction between You Fit and Fit U. As Internet Cases reports, the court noted that, for a preliminary injunction, it could consider material not admissible for a permanent injunction, but the Yelp review did not constitute hearsay in any case.

ISPs Announce “Copyright Alert System” to Combat Infringement

Several Internet service providers (ISP)—including AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon—stated that they would initiate a new monitoring and notification program designed to curb copyright infringement, Wired reports. The “Copyright Alert System” will monitor peer-to-peer file-sharing services and, as NBC News reports, implement a six-strike scheme of alerts culminating in service slowdowns or redirects. Record labels and movie studios have lobbied for the plan, which also has the support of the Obama administration.

Drug Testing of Welfare Recipients Likely Violates Fourth Amendment, Says 11th Circuit

The 11th Circuit upheld an injunction against the enforcement of a Florida law requiring drug testing of beneficiaries of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), reported Fox News and Courthouse News Service. Such drug testing was likely to be an unconstitutional search and Florida showed no “substantial special need” for the testing, according to the court, making an injunction appropriate. Despite this, bills that would require random drug testing of TANF beneficiaries were recently introduced in Maine and the United States House of Representatives.

Posted On Mar - 5 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Maryland v. King
By Kathleen McGuinness – Edited by Pio Szamel

Maryland v. King, No. 12-207 (U.S. Feb. 26, 2013)
Transcript of Oral Argument

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Maryland v. King, a challenge to the constitutionality of warrantless DNA sampling of persons arrested for serious crimes. Throughout the hour-long argument, the justices repeatedly jumped in with probing questions over the government’s motivations, the expectations of privacy in DNA, and the future of DNA analysis in law enforcement. If the policy is found to be unconstitutional, twenty-eight other states and the federal government face potential invalidation of similar laws.

SCOTUSBlog, Bloomberg, and ABC News have further coverage. SCOTUSblog also has information about the case’s background and pre-argument predictions. A more detailed analysis of the case is available from the Legal Information Institute. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 4 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Settlement between Zynga and Electronic Arts
By Casey Holzapfel – Edited by Andrew Crocker

Hacked By Over-XThe Chicago Tribune reports that Electronic Arts (EA) and Zynga have reached a settlement agreement regarding competing lawsuits in the Northern District of California. While the details of the settlement were not made public, both parties agreed to drop their respective lawsuits and pay their own legal fees. According to red Orbit, the settlement does not involve compensation from either company.

EA initially filed a complaint against Zynga in August 2012, alleging that Zynga’s game “The Ville” copied EA’s game “The Sims Social” after hiring EA executives who had worked on “The Sims Social.” Six weeks later, Zynga filed its own lawsuit claiming EA had violated a 2011 agreement between the two companies regarding employee solicitation. Zynga accused EA of violating the agreement by attempting to block employees from switching companies. Two of the executives mentioned in EA’s suit for moving to Zynga have left Zynga in the past year.

The Chicago Tribune provides an overview of the events leading to the settlement. The San Francisco Chronicle looks into the details of copyright protection for video games. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 27 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

In re Innovatio IP Ventures
By David LeRay – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

In re Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC, Case No. 11 C 9308 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 4, 2013)
Slip opinion

The Northern District of Illinois granted in part and denied in part Innovatio IP Ventures’s motion to dismiss seven claims in a complaint brought by manufacturers of wireless Internet technology. The court dismissed the manufacturers’ claims based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, the California Business & Professional Code, a theory of civil conspiracy, a theory of interference with prospective economic advantage, and a theory of unclean hands. The court did not dismiss claims based on breach of contract and promissory estoppel.

The court held that the Noerr-Pennington doctrine protecting petitioners of the government from liability extends to patent law cases in the Seventh Circuit, and specifically applies to pre-suit demand letters under Federal Circuit law unless the defendant is engaging in sham litigation. The court reasoned that the doctrine is “today understood [in the Seventh Circuit] as an application of the first amendment . . . ,” and applies readily beyond its origins in antitrust and labor cases. Innovatio at 9. The court held that the doctrine protected pre-suit communications under the logic of the Federal Circuit’s holding in Globetrotter Software. Id. at 13 (discussing Globetrotter Software, Inc. v. Elan Computer Grp., Inc., 362 F.3d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2004)).

Ars Technica provides an overview of the case. Wall Street Journal Law Blog and The Patent Examiner discuss its history. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 26 - 2013 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Dorothy Du

Song Wins Contest to Circumvent “Happy Birthday to You” Copyright

For those unaware, the song “Happy Birthday to You” remains under copyright until 2030. The copyright, as Bloomberg Law and Gizmodo report, has been owned by Time Warner since 1998, and the corporation has made more than $2 million per year from licensing the song. Professor Robert Brauneis of George Washington University Law School says the copyright over the song is weak, as Slate explains, “due to lack of evidence about who wrote the words; defective copyright notice; and failure to file a proper renewal.” WFMU, an independent radio station in New Jersey, through its podsafe online music library Free Music Archive, decided to do something about it. Rather than challenge the copyright through a lawsuit, WFMU held a contest to replace the song with “a melody that children can sing without fear of being served.” The winner, “It’s Your Birthday!” by Monk Turner and Fascinoma, was selected by such judges as Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig and Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan. Not everyone, including Above The Law, is confident the song will accomplish its goal of replacing the original, however.

Privacy Concerns to Temper Excitement over Google Glass

Since April 2012, tech aficionados have been eagerly awaiting the latest news about Project Glass, Google’s project to create an “augmented reality” system. Google Glass comprises glasses-like headgear on which audio and visual information can be transmitted to and from a wearer, as Wired explains. A Google patent filed in April 2011 reveals that different embodiments of the device can utilize display lens or even a laser to display images directly on the user’s retina. According to First Post, Google Glass is supposed to perform much of the same functions as a smartphone, but without the hassle of a handheld device. Google has just opened up the project, giving U.S.-based developers until February 27 to apply to be a “Glass Explorer,” explains iProgrammer. However, with Google Glass comes some serious legal issues that have not yet received much attention. If it proliferates, Google Glass could run amok of distracted driver laws and creates privacy concerns over hidden cameras in places from locker rooms to board meetings, says Investors.com. CounterPunch has also expressed concern that the government and corporations may abuse the technology to get ahold of a “veritable gold mine of information.”

3-D Printing Gets Shout-Out in State of Union, but Copyright Concerns Growing

3-D printing is still in its infancy, but it is no longer merely an innovator’s dream. President Obama mentioned 3-D printing in the State of the Union less than two weeks ago as a potential way to bring manufacturing back to the United States. As NPR explains, however, the emerging technology may be significantly hindered by intellectual property disputes. A Note by Davis Doherty, a Harvard Journal of Law and Technology alumnus, has highlighted the potential for 3-D printing to run afoul of patent law by making it easy for the public to replicate designs that may infringe an existing patent on an unprecedented scale. NPR’s story focuses on copyright, stating that the problem arises from the fact that people are sharing their designs on websites like Makerbot’s Thingiverse, designs that are frequently protected by copyright. Moulinsart, the owner of the “Tintin” franchise, recently served Thingiverse with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice, with which it complied. This follows Thingiverse’s first takedown notice back in 2011, reported on by Ars Technica, which prompted Thingiverse to add copyright language to its Terms of Use.

 

Posted On Feb - 25 - 2013 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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Aereo Struggles as S

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