A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news

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



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



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.



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.



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


UnknownBy Gia Velasquez – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

New Jersey Bill Seeks to Ban Texting While Walking

Though 46 states have banned texting while driving, New Jersey Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt introduced a bill that seeks to extend the texting ban to pedestrians.  Since a 2013 nationwide study at The Ohio State University reported 1,500 emergency room visits in 2010 for injuries sustained texting while walking, the problem has grown. Though a recent survey reported 78 percent of adults agree distracted walking is a serious problem, 49 percent believe they do “not at all” text, read emails/websites, play games, or take selfies. If passed, violators of the texting while walking statute could be fined up to $50 or imprisoned.

“Unreasonable” Behavior During Litigation Cost Video Website $30,000

In September 2015, Garfum.com, a small video website, claimed a Pennsylvania photographer infringed on their patent, entitled “Method of sharing multi-media content among users in a global computer network” by hosting photo contests on her website, Bytephoto. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took on Ruth Taylor’s case pro bono, and Garfum.com dropped the case. The EFF then sued Garfum.com for attorney’s fees, for which a New Jersey District Court has awarded Taylor $30,000. U.S. Chief District Judge Jerome Simandle found Garfum.com’s conduct during litigation was “unreasonable” and that the suit was brought in bad faith.

California Medical Device Company Fails to Meet Internal Standards

Theranos, Inc., a California-based medical testing company, is under scrutiny after a 121-page report issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) showed the company failed to meet their own internal standards regarding the accuracy of their Edison testing device. Valued at $9 billion in February 2014, Theranos promised only a few finger pricks could produce results for over 200 medical tests. CMS showed that 29% of the quality-control checks fell short of the expectations set forth by Theranos. Theranos responded to the report by “proactively suspending testing associated with any affected areas last year after learning of the issues” and planning to hire a new full-time lab director.

Posted On Apr - 11 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

YouTubeBy Sheri Pan – Edited by Henry Thomas

Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., Nos. 13-16106, 13-16107 (9th Cir. Mar. 17, 2016), slip opinion hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”)

The Ninth Circuit issued an amended opinion in Lenz v. Universal Music that broadened the scope of the holding requiring copyright holders to consider fair use before sending takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).  The dispute arose when Universal Music sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube directing YouTube to remove a video taken by Stephanie Lenz featuring her toddler dancing to a song by the artist Prince.  Lenz, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, subsequently sued Universal for sending an improper takedown notice.  JD Supra and Techdirt provide commentary.


Posted On Apr - 4 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Georgia CapitalBy Felicia (Feiran) Chen – Edited by Colette Ghazarian

House Bill 5 – A bill to be entitled an Act to amend Article 3 of Chapter 11 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A.

During the Georgia General Assembly 2015-2016 Regular Session, Representatives Geisinger, Kidd, McCall, Rice, and Bentley have proposed a bill to be entitled an act to amend Article 3 of Chapter 11 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.),which regulates invasions of privacy, including wiretapping, eavesdropping, and surveillance. On February 12, 2015, the bill entered the House’s second reading. This house bill is an amendment to provide a definition of invasions of privacy and clarify its current law on drones.

The bill defines the term “image” and clarifies the situations under which it would be lawful to capture an image using an unmanned aircraft (16-11-95.1), and the situations under which it prohibits the capturing of certain images by unmanned aircraft (16-11-95.2). For those who are found guilty for violating 16-11-95.3(a)(1), their violation will result in either a misdemeanor or a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. The amendment then provides for defenses to prosecution. The amendment restricts the use of such images in legal proceedings (16-11-95.4), and provides for civil actions against those who commit violations under the proposed bill (16-11-95.5). Furthermore, the amendment provides for rulemaking authority for the Department of Public Safety for law enforcement use of such unmanned aircraft.


Posted On Apr - 4 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

infringementBy Yaping Zhang – Edited by Danielle Kehl

On March 14, 2016, Judge Selya, writing for a unanimous bench on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, affirmed the District Court of Massachusetts’ decision dismissing the complaint filed by three victims of child sex trafficking against online forum Backpage.com. Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Souter serves as a judge by designation.

The First Circuit Court opinion can be found here, and the District Court of Massachusetts’ opinion can be found here.

The three anonymous plaintiffs, victims of child sex trafficking, alleged that they were molested and repeatedly raped after being advertised as sexual wares on Backpage.com. They sued Backpage.com, a website that hosts online classified adds, alleging that it had violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (“TVPRA”), 18 U.S.C. §1595, which applies to anyone that “knowingly benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value from participation in a venture which that person knew or should have known has engaged in an act in violation of this chapter.” The defendant invoked Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (“CDA”), which shields online service providers from liability for material posted by users of the site, and allows website operators to engage in blocking and screening of third-party content free from liability for such good-faith efforts. 47 U.S.C. §230. In addition, the CDA includes an immunity clause that exempts enforcement of a federal criminal statute, which plaintiffs argued applicable in a civil case such as this one.


Posted On Apr - 4 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Google FranceBy Kayla Haran – Edited by Ariane Moss

The French data-protection regulator, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) has fined Google 100,000 euros (about $112,000) for not conforming on a global scale with a May 2014 European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling over the right to be forgotten.

The ECJ ruling held that search engines are responsible for enforcing the right to be forgotten in the following manner:

the operator of a search engine is obliged to remove from the list of results displayed following a search made on the basis of a person’s name links to web pages, published by third parties and containing information relating to that person, also in a case where that name or information is not erased beforehand or simultaneously from those web pages, and even, as the case may be, when its publication in itself on those pages is lawful.

Google complied with this ruling by scrubbing the requested search results across its European domains, such as google.fr and google.de, but did not do so across google.com or other, non-European domains. Google defended this choice (as previously reported in JOLT Digest) as one that would prevent a chilling effect on the free flow of information. In implementing the order, Google vets individual requests by weighing that person’s privacy rights against the public interest in keeping that information linked to that person’s name.


Posted On Apr - 4 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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