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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Twitter Must Produce Occupy Wall Street Protestor’s Data
By Sarah Jeong – Edited by Michael Hoven

People of the State of New York v. Malcolm Harris, Docket No. 2011NY080152 (N.Y. Crim. Ct. June 30, 2012)
Decision and Order
(hosted by the ACLU)

The Criminal Court of the City of New York denied Twitter’s motion to quash a subpoena, thereby allowing discovery of defendant Malcolm Harris’s tweets and other non-content information collected by Twitter.

On January 26, 2012, the New York County District Attorney subpoenaed Twitter to produce user information and tweets posted from September 15, 2011 to December 31, 2011 from the Twitter account @destructuremal, belonging to Occupy Wall Street protestor Malcolm Harris. Harris filed a motion to quash the subpoena, which was denied by the court on April 20, 2012. Twitter then filed its own motion to quash the April 20 order. After the court’s most recent reply on June 30, Twitter must surrender the data in question. The court described its decision as granting the motion in part and denying it in part, but it only modified its April 20 order to the extent that a search warrant was required for data less than 180 days old—that is, only for anything posted on December 31, a single day out of the three-and-a-half month period specified by the District Attorney.

Ars Technica provides an overview of the case. Digital Journal provides additional background information. Electronic Discovery Law discusses the court order with in-depth commentary.

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Posted On Jul - 11 - 2012 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Verizon Challenges FCC’s Open Internet Order
By Andrew Crocker — Edited by Heather Whitney

Brief for Appellants, Verizon v. FCC, No. 11-1355 (D.C. Cir. July 2, 2012)
Brief hosted by GigaOm

On July 2, Verizon, joined in part by MetroPCS, filed a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in an appeal of the FCC’s final order adopting its 2010 Open Internet Order, also known as the network neutrality rules. In the brief, the telecommunications providers argue that the FCC rules are in excess of the Commission’s statutory authority, that they violate the First and Fifth Amendments, and that they are arbitrary and capricious under the standards of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 706.

Both PC World and journalist Jeff Jarvis, writing in the Huffington Post, criticize Verizon, taking particular issue with its constitutional arguments and cautioning that an ISP’s free speech rights should not trump those of its users.

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Posted On Jul - 10 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Upholds the Individual Mandate of the Affordable Care Act
By Jie Zhang – Edited by Michael Hoven

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, Nos. 11–393, 11–398 and 11–400 (U.S. June 28, 2012)
Slip opinion

The Supreme Court partially reversed the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which had held that the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) was unconstitutional but severable from other provisions of the act, and that the Medicaid expansion of the ACA was constitutional.

A five-justice majority held that the individual mandate was a valid exercise of Congress’s taxing power, although four justices would have upheld the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause. On the other hand, seven justices found that the Medicaid expansion was unconstitutional because it exceeded Congress’s spending power by coercing the states to accept the expanded Medicaid coverage. The majority, however, held that the unconstitutional application of the Medicaid expansion could be severed from the remainder of the ACA, and thus left the ACA largely intact.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the case and commented on its impact on all aspects of  health care. The Economist noted that states have been slow to implement the health exchanges that the ACA requires, partly because of political opposition to the ACA. The New York Times reported that the decision place limits on the power of the federal government and that, without the Medicaid expansion, many Americans may still be left without health care.

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Posted On Jul - 7 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Judge Posner Dismisses Apple v. Motorola Patent Suit in its Entirety
By Charlie Stiernberg – Edited by Jeff Habenicht

Apple, Inc. v. Motorola, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-08540, 2012 WL 2376664 (N.D. Ill. June 22, 2012).
Slip Opinion
(Hosted by Electronic Frontier Foundation)

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed with prejudice the suit between Apple, Inc. and Motorola, Inc. in its entirety.  The court had previously excluded testimony from the parties’ damages experts and cancelled the jury trials on liability.  Before deciding whether to dismiss the case, however, the court requested briefs and heard oral arguments from the parties regarding each other’s damages claims, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and reasonable royalties.

Following the hearing, Circuit Judge Posner, sitting by designation, held that: (1) neither party had presented sufficient evidence to withstand summary judgment on damages, (2) neither party was entitled to injunctive relief, (3) neither party could establish a reasonable royalty rate for a compulsory license, and (4) declaratory judgment in favor of either party would confer no tangible benefit on the victor.  Judge Posner concluded by dismissing the case with prejudice, reasoning that, “It would be ridiculous to dismiss a suit for failure to prove damages and allow the plaintiff to refile the suit so that he could have a second chance to prove damages.”  Apple v. Motorola, No. 1:11-cv-08540, slip op. at 38.

Forbes provides a high-level overview of the outcome.  Ars Technica places the case in the context of related litigation between Apple and Motorola.   FOSS Patents provides an in-depth analysis of Judge Posner’s reasoning and its potential precedential effect.

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Posted On Jul - 6 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Rules Against the FCC, but Avoids First Amendment Issues
By Sarah Jeong – Edited by Jennifer Wong

Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., No. 10-1293 (U.S. June 21, 2012)
Slip Opinion

The Supreme Court ruled last week that the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC”) rules on “fleeting expletives” did not give fair notice to networks like Fox and ABC, and were therefore unconstitutionally vague. While all eight justices (Justice Sotomayor recused herself) were unanimous in a judgment against the FCC, Justice Ginsburg split away from the majority opinion, arguing in a separate concurrence that the Supreme Court should overturn its 1978 decision in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation.

The Los Angeles Times reports on the ruling. Forbes and Ars Technica chided the Supreme Court for avoiding the pivotal First Amendment question.

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Posted On Jul - 2 - 2012 1 Comment 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

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Supreme Court Weighs

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