A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Daniel Etcovitch – Edited by Emily Chan

Florida Judge Rules Bitcoin Is Not Equivalent to Money

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Restricting Use of Stingrays

DMCA DRM Circumvention Provision’s Constitutionality Being Challenged

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Yuan Cao – Edited by Frederick Ding

Mere Commercial Benefit Not Enough to Trigger The On-Sale Bar

Technology-Based Software Solution Can Be Patentable 

Patent Disputes about Siri, iTunes, Notification Push, and Location

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Sixth Circuit Finds Privacy Interest in Mugshots under FOIA

By Filippo Raso – Edited by Ariane Moss

A split en banc Sixth Circuit reversed the lower courts’ ruling, holding individuals have a privacy interest in their booking photos for the purposes of Exemption 7(C) of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552. In so doing, the Court overruled Circuit precedent established two decades ago. The case was remanded with instructions to balance the public interests against the individual’s privacy interest.

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The EFF Challenges the DMCA Anti-Circumvention Provision: A First Amendment Fight

By Priyanka Nawathe – Edited by Kayla Haran

On July 21, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the United States government to overturn DMCA Section 1201, commonly referred to as the anti-circumvention provision. The EFF argues that this provision, designed to prevent circumvention of “technological protection measures,” actually chills research and free speech, and thus is a violation of the First Amendment.

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By Jaehwan Park – Edited by Kayla Haran

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Bill Encouraging U.S. Government Agencies to Use the Cloud as a Secure Alternative to Legacy Systems

Snapchat Accused of Violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Announces New Policy Group to Promote Global Digital Trade

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Automattic Inc. & Hotham v. Steiner
Automattic Inc. & Retraction Watch, LLC v. Chatwal
By Travis West – Edited by Natalie Kim

Complaint, Automattic Inc. & Oliver Hotham v. Nick Steiner (N.D. Cal. filed Nov. 21, 2013)
Complaint, Automattic Inc. & Retraction Watch, LLC v. Narendra Chatwal (N.D. Cal. filed Nov. 21, 2013)
Hotham Complaint, Retraction Watch Complaint hosted by Automattic

Hacked By Over-XAutomattic, the owner of WordPress.com and a major developer of the WordPress software, has sued two parties for using the notice-and-takedown provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to stifle criticism. Automattic alleges that the two parties abused the provision and are seeking damages under 17 U.S.C. § 512(f) for misrepresentation. Automattic is one of the largest blog hosting companies, and its decision to go after parties that use fraudulent copyright takedown notices could mark a shift in how content hosts handle DMCA takedown requests.

Automattic explains why it chose to sue over these two incidents. Ars Technica provides additional coverage of the lawsuit, including some problems Automattic would face in collecting from the defendants if it succeeded. Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”), and TechCrunch praise Automattic for taking a stand against the use of the DMCA to censor critics. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 6 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

GoldieBlox, Inc. v. Island Def Jam Music Group
By Elise Young – Edited by Alex Shank

Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief, GoldieBlox, Inc. v. Island Def Jam Music Group, A Div. of UMG Recordings, Inc., No. 3:13-cv-05428 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2013)
Complaint hosted by Scribd

Photo By: ricaroseCC BY 2.0

Over the last few weeks, hip-hop group the Beastie Boys and GoldieBlox, a start-up company in the business of developing engineering toys for girls, started down the path towards copyright litigation over use of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls” in a GoldieBlox advertisement. On November 21, after the Beastie Boys’ legal counsel threatened suit, GoldieBlox filed for declaratory judgment that its use of the song was fair use. Complaint, at 2–3. The Beastie Boys responded with an open letter emphasizing the group’s consistent refusal to allow use of their songs in advertising. On November 27, GoldieBlox removed the advertisement and promised to drop the suit if the Beastie Boys’ legal team similarly backed down. GigaOM provides an overview of the fight and some legal analysis on the fair use issue. Forbes examines GoldieBlox’s change in strategy. Mashable discusses how the disagreement benefits GoldieBlox’s PR. (more…)

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

By Elise Young – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

European Proposal on Protection of Trade Secrets

European Commission, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Protection of Undisclosed Know-How and Business Information (Trade Secrets) Against their Unlawful Acquisition, Use and Disclosure  (Nov. 28, 2013)
Proposed Directive

Photo By: Thomas QuineCC BY 2.0

On November 28th, the European Commission issued a proposed directive for greater and more uniform protection of trade secrets throughout the European Union. The goal of the proposal is to increase innovation by providing better protection for EU businesses’ trade secrets. Proposed Directive at 2. The Commission identified the currently irregular protection and enforcement of trade secrets within the EU as a significant factor inhibiting cross-border research and development and general innovation. Id. at 3. The proposal is one part of the EU’s “Innovation Union” and IP strategies, adopted in May 2011. Id.

The proposal and other documents related to the directive can be found here. The Commission additionally released a memorandum summarizing trade secret law, the directive, and the reason for its proposal. The New York Times and Bloomberg provide further commentary on the proposed directive. (more…)

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

By Christopher A. Crawford – Edited by Abhilasha Nautiyal

AT&T shareholder proposal, hosted by Osc.state.ny.us
Verizon shareholder proposal, hosted by Aclunc.org
American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California Announcement

Photo By: Razor512CC BY 2.0

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (“ACLU”), in collaboration with other shareholders, filed shareholder proposals with Verizon and AT&T to persuade the telecommunications companies to issue transparency reports disclosing data about customer information that was passed on to the National Security Agency. This new tactic in the privacy fight is designed to highlight what activists say are serious costs associated with the telecom companies’ lack of transparency.

The Wall Street Journal and Ars Technica, among others, have reported the filing of these shareholder proposals. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 3 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Mark Verstraete – Edited by Thuy Nguyen

Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York (Nov. 15, 2013)

On Friday, November 15, 2013, Anonymous and Lulzsec-affiliated hacktivist Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to ten years in prison and three years of supervised release. During his supervised release period, Hammond is proscribed from using computer anonymity devices, such as Tor. See Ars Technica. Hammond was sentenced in a federal courtroom for the Southern District of New York with roughly one hundred supporters and friends in attendance. See RollingStone Politics.

Ars Technica and RollingStone Politics review the background of the case and the context of the sentencing. CNET provides additional background and commentary from supporters and others. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 26 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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