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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Is It Unconstitutional for Congress to Take Foreign Works Out of the Public Domain?
By Julie Dorais – Edited by Matt Gelfand

Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545 (U.S. 2010)
Transcript of Oral Arguments

On October 5, 2011, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Golan v. Holder. The case involves the challenged constitutionality of Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (codified as 17 U.S.C. §§ 104A109), which extends copyright protection to certain foreign works that have already been in the public domain in the United States. Petitioners claim that Section 514 violates both the First Amendment and Progress Clause of the Constitution. The government in turn contends that Congress acted constitutionally and in accordance with a significant interest in complying with international obligations.

The case comes up after the Tenth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of Section 514 in two separate decisions, with the first decision rejecting the Progress Clause challenge and the second decision rejecting the First Amendment challenge. The Digest covered the Tenth Circuit’s first decisionthe district court’s decision on remandthe Tenth Circuit’s second decision, and the plaintiffs’ petition to the Supreme Court. For commentaries on the oral arguments, see Copyright and Trademark Blog and The Denver Post.

(more…)

Posted On Oct - 12 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Ninth Circuit Holds that Apple did not Engage in Copyright Misuse
By Laura Fishwick – Edited by Michael Hoven

Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corp., No. 10-15113 (9th Cir. Sept. 28, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the Northern District of California’s holding that Psystar infringed Apple’s federal copyrights, and vacated and remanded the district court’s grant of Apple’s motion to seal summary judgment papers. The district court had rejected Psystar’s defense of copyright misuse, in which Psystar had argued that Apple’s Software Licensing Agreement (“SLA”) requiring users to run Mac OS X only on Apple computers “impermissibly extend[ed] the reach of Apple’s copyright.”

The Ninth Circuit held that Apple did not engage in copyright misuse by restricting the use of its software to Apple computers because this restriction did not prevent other companies from developing competing products. The court upheld the district court’s grant of an injunction on the grounds that it did not abuse discretion, even though Psystar did not contest the ruling that the enjoined use of Apple’s software did in fact constitute infringement. Finally, the court vacated and remanded the district court’s sealing orders, finding that the district court did not adequately provide reasons underlying its decision given that there is a presumption in favor of access.

The Wall Street Journal provides an overview of the case and notes that Psystar has shut down its operations. Internet Cases criticizes the decision for reaffirming Apple’s long-standing policies of distributing software and hardware as a “closed ecosystem,” which limits third parties from creating valuable technologies in this space.  (more…)

Posted On Oct - 5 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Ultramercial Patent Infringement Claim
By Amy Rossignol – Edited by Michael Hoven

Ultramercial , LLC v. Hulu, LLC, No. 2010-1544 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 15, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s dismissal of Ultramercial’s patent infringement claim against Hulu, LLC and Wildtangent, Inc.. The District Court had found that U.S. Patent No. 7,346,545 did not claim patent-eligible subject matter.

The Federal Circuit held that the ‘545 patent claims a “process” that is patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The ‘545 patent consists of a method of distributing copyrighted material, such as movies, television shows, music, or books, through a website to consumers who view or interact with advertisements in exchange for free access. The revenue generated from the advertisers would then pay for the copyrighted material. The court did not consider this process abstract, finding that it went beyond mere “mental steps.” Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S.Ct. 3218 (2010), the court rejected the machine-or-transformation test, noting its waning application to the “inventions of the Information Age.”

Patently-O provides an overview of the case. JOLT Digest previously reported on the District Court’s 2010 decision. JOLT Digest also reported on the Bilski decision.  (more…)

Posted On Oct - 2 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Adam Lewin

Damages Reinstated by First Circuit in Tenenbaum / RIAA Suit

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reinstated a $675,000 jury verdict entered against Joel Tenenbaum for copyright infringement of 30 sound recordings accomplished using file-sharing software. At trial, the jury determined that Tenenbaum was guilty of willful infringement and awarded the plaintiff record companies statutory damages of $22,500 for each song as permitted under 17 U.S.C. § 104(c). Judge Nancy Gertner of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts reduced that amount by a factor of ten to $67,500, holding that anything more would be unconstitutionally excessive. The First Circuit reinstated the original jury verdict because Judge Gertner had failed to consider a motion for remittitur prior to reaching the constitutional issues. The case has been remanded to the District of Massachusetts for reconsideration of the motion for remittitur.

FCC Publishes New Net Neutrality Rules

When the FCC attempted to enforce its net neutrality rules, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that it had not adequately established its regulatory authority to promulgate them in the first place. Ars Technica reports that the FCC has finalized new net neutrality rules in response to this ruling and published them in the Federal Register. Verizon and MetroPCS are expected to renew their challenges to this set of regulations, with the support of some Congressional Republicans, who have vowed to overrule the new rules by legislation.

Senate Antitrust Panel Holds Hearings on Google with Chairman Eric Schmidt

As the New York Times reports, a Senate antitrust panel heard testimony last week from Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt. Because of its size and dominance in online search, Google has come under antitrust scrutiny. Perhaps motivated by complaints from Google’s competitors, the Senate panel focused on whether Google was leveraging its power in search to promote its newer or less popular products by artificially ranking them higher. Schmidt, for his part, emphasized that Google is faced with intense competition in many of its products, including search, and that it maintains its market position by offering superior products rather than through anticompetitive behavior. Google has outlined its positions in its “Guide to the Senate Judiciary Hearing.”

Righthaven May Face Bankruptcy

So-called copyright troll Righthaven’s model of buying rights to sue from copyright holders is under siege. Earlier in the summer, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada dismissed a Righthaven suit, holding that one cannot acquire “a bare right to sue” without any ownership rights in a copyright. Citizen Media Law Project reports that in separate litigation, Righthaven was defeated and ordered to pay attorneys fees of approximately $34,000. But it is now asking for a stay of judgment pending appeal, lest it fall into bankruptcy. Ars Technica speculates that the copyright troll business model may have been doomed from the beginning.

Posted On Sep - 29 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Written by Raquel Acosta
Edited by Albert Wang and Vicki Blohm
Editorial Policy

I. Introduction

The current copyright framework is becoming obsolete as we try to make a digital world run on an analog legal system. The Copyright Act covers “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be visually perceived, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” 17 U.S.C. § 401. The ability of the digital medium to interact dynamically with a user or generate unique visualizations along predefined parameters has enabled many novel forms of art which could not have been foreseen by the drafters of the Copyright Act of 1976.[1] Terms of art such as “fixed” or “copy” have lost much of their meaning, and the law’s notion of a tangible medium is becoming less relevant.[2] The digital arts are a misfit medium within current copyright categories as the underlying software and possible Internet platform add dynamic and collaborative elements which were previously absent from intellectual property. This Comment will address the disconnect between traditional copyright law and the realities of the digital age, using emerging forms of digital art as archetypal examples.  (more…)

Posted On Sep - 22 - 2011 Comments Off 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

By Emma Winer Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue The ...

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Supreme Court Weighs

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