A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Aereo Struggles as Supreme Court Finds It Violated Copyright Law
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

On June 25, 2014, in its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Aereo, Inc.  The U.S. Supreme Court held that Aereo violated the Copyright Act of 1976 for streaming TV shows shortly after they were broadcast without paying for the copyrighted works.  As a result, Aereo suspended its service and has struggled to find a way to re-operate its business. This decision has not come without criticism, however, as some warn this ad hoc decision could lead to uncertainty in the courts.

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DRIP Bill Expands UK’s Data Surveillance Power

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Insue Kim

House of Lords passed the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (“DRIP”) on July 17, 2014. DRIP empowers the UK government to require all companies providing internet-based services to UK customers to retain customer metadata for 12 months. It also expands the government’s ability to directly intercept phone calls and digital communications from any remote storage. Critics claim the bill goes far beyond what is necessary and its fast-track timeframe prevents meaningful discussion.

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Federal Circuit Grants Stay of Patent Infringement Litigation Until PTAB Can Complete a Post-Grant Review

By Kyle Pietari – Edited by Insue Kim

Reversing the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit granted a stay of patent infringement litigation proceedings until the PTAB can complete a post-grant patent validity review. This was the court’s first ruling on a stay when the suit and review process were happening concurrently.

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Ninth Circuit Rejects Fox’s Request to Shut Down Dish Services, Despite Aereo Decision

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Insue Kim

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Fox’s motion for a preliminary injunction.  Fox argued that the technologies would irreparably harm Fox because they violate copyright laws, but the Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court did not err in finding that the harm alleged by Fox was speculative, noting that Fox had failed to present evidence documenting such harm.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gutierrez

Senate passes bill to make cell phone unlocking legal

ABA urges lawyers to stop pursuing file sharing lawsuits

FBI cautions that driverless cars may be used to assist criminal behavior

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By Dorothy Du

Alien Dalvik allows Android Apps to Run on Apple and Other Products

Myriad Group, a software company specializing in mobile technology, announced the release of Alien Dalvik 2.0 on October 6, CNET reports. Alien Dalvik is the company’s port of the Dalvik process virtual machine found in Google’s Android operating system. Alien Dalvik, which launched earlier this year, enabled Android apps to be run on non-Android phones. Version 2.0 expands on the software’s versatility by allowing Android apps to run on still other types of devices, such as TVs, e-book readers, and tablets like Apple’s iPad, TechCrunch explains. According to Liliputing, the technology broadens possibilities for developers, who can now write Android apps and then use Alien Dalvik 2.0 to package the Android “APK” files and transfer them to other platforms with little need for tweaking.

Steve Jobs’ Successor Tim Cook Has Big Shoes to Fill

Steve Jobs, the drop-out genius and co-founder of Apple who brought us iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Wednesday, October 5 at age 56, the New York Times announced. Tim Cook, Jobs’ hand-picked protégé and the CEO of Apple since Jobs’ resignation in August, certainly has some big shoes to fill. In reaction to Jobs’ passing, Cook stated that “Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built,” as reported by The Wall Street Journal Blogs. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jobs’ passing has raised questions about Apple’s outlook in the face of rival products, such as Android smartphones and the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. Moreover, Cook’s unveiling of the new iPhone 4S on Tuesday received lackluster reviews, AFP reports. Tech bloggers at BBC News and elsewhere have since rescinded their harsh critique of the iPhone 4S, recognizing in hindsight Cook’s probable emotional state. In addition, many express high hopes for Tim Cook’s leadership. The Wall Street Journal reports that Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co, has said that “Tim Cook’s move to CEO has been flawless, not surprising given Jobs groomed him for five years to take the role.”

America Invents Act Only Pseudo “First-to-File”?

The America Invents Act, signed into law on September 16, has been hailed by many as the most monumental piece of legislation in patent law in decades. As reported by ipeg, the act changes the patent system from “first to invent” to “first to file”, thus putting the United Statesin line with most other patent systems around the world.. However, the switch to “first to file” may not be as straightforward as it first appears, Slashdot reports. Patent attorney Carlos Fisher of Stout, Uxa, Buyan & Mullins told Redmondmag for example, that “it is not clear whether  a prior use or offer for sale of an invention by an inventor…within a year of the date of filing would be render the invention unpatentable” by reason of prior art. According to Patently-O, the Act includes an exception to “first to file” in 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) that says that disclosures made by an inventor within 1 year of the filing date will not be considered prior art for the inventor, but would be considered prior art for later inventors. This glaring exception gives the first to invent and disclose precedence, thus rendering the new system merely pseudo “first to file.”

 

Posted On Oct - 13 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

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
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