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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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

G.C. v. Owensboro Public Schools
By Michelle Sohn– Edited by Sarah Jeong

G.C. v. Owensboro Public Schools, No. 11-6476, (6th Cir. Mar. 28, 2013)
Slip Opinion

In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The lower court had granted summary judgment for Owensboro, holding that the school’s search of a student’s cell phone did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

The Sixth Circuit held that the school’s search of G.C.’s cell phone was an unreasonable search and seizure. In so holding, the court stated that despite the school’s knowledge of G.C.’s prior behavioral problems, school officials had no specific reason at the time of the search to believe that he was engaging in an unlawful activity. Although using a cell phone in class contravened the school’s policy, “using a cell phone on school grounds [did] not automatically trigger an essentially unlimited right enabling a school official to search any content stored on the phone.” G.C.,slip op. at 13.

EducationWeek provides a thorough analysis of the Fourth Amendment issue. The New York Times editorial board lauded the decision, writing that the Sixth Circuit “correctly ruled” and “wisely interpreted” the scope of a reasonable search as applied to students. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 13 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

WNET, Thirteen v. Aereo, Inc.
By Natalie Kim – Edited by Samantha Rothberg

WNET, Thirteen v. Aereo, Inc. 12-2786-cv, 12-2807-cv (2d Cir. Apr. 1, 2013)
Slip opinion

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the Southern District of New York’s July 2012 denial of a preliminary injunction motion filed against Aereo by several broadcast TV networks. Aereo is an Internet-based streaming service that allows users to watch broadcast TV shows live or record them for future viewing. A group of broadcast networks, including Fox and Univision, sued Aereo for allegedly violating their public performance rights under § 106(4) of the Copyright Act and demanded a preliminary injunction to prevent Aereo from continued operation. Aereo, slip op. at 5

In a 2–1 decision, the Second Circuit applied its own precedent, Cartoon Network LP, LLLP v. CSC Holdings, Inc., 536 F.3d 121 (2d Cir. 2008) (“Cablevision”), to find that Aereo did not infringe plaintiffs’ copyright and therefore no preliminary injunction was warranted. Aereo, slip op. at 32–35.

The New York Times summarizes the holding, giving a pessimistic outlook on the broadcasters’ prospects of rooting out Aereo and other like services. TVNewsCheck takes a spirited position against the district court’s July 2012 ruling, warning of the “havoc this travesty will wreak.” Aereo released a statement regarding the decision. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 10 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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