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Privacy Concerns in the Sharing Economy: The Case of Uber 

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim

Recent revelations about Uber’s disconcerting use of personal user information have exposed the numerous weaknesses in Uber’s Privacy Policy. The lack of regulation in the area, coupled with the sensitive nature of personal information gathered by Uber, makes the issue one requiring immediate attention of policy makers.

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San Francisco Court Considers Google’s Search and Ad Services Free Speech

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas

A San Francisco court dismissed a lawsuit against Google, treating Google’s search and advertisement services as constitutionally protected free speech. The lawsuit alleged an antitrust violation based on unfavorable treatment of a website in Google’s search results, and on the withdrawal of third-party advertisement from the website. In throwing out the lawsuit, the court applied California’s “anti-SLAPP” law, which allows quick dismissal of lawsuits against acts protected as free speech.

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EU Unitary Patent System Challenge Unsustainable: Advocate General

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered an opinion on Spain’s challenges to regulations implementing the European Unitary Patent System. The Advocate General opines that the challenges must be dismissed as the system is intended to provide genuine benefit in terms of uniformity and integration, and safeguard the principle of legal certainty, while the choice of languages reduces translation costs considerably.

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California Sex Offender Internet Identification Law Held Unenforceable

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling granting a preliminary injunction prohibiting of the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (“CASE”) Act. In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel held that requiring sex offenders provide written notice of “any and all Internet identifiers” within 24 hours to the police likely imposed an unconstitutional burden on protected speech.

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Congress Fails to Pass Act Limiting Collection of Phone Metadata

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

The Senate failed to reach closure and bring the USA FREEDOM Act to a vote. The Act would have extended provisions of the Patriot Act, but would have sharply curtailed the executive’s authority to collect phone conversation metadata. While the bill had broad popular support, the vote failed largely along party lines, passing the onus of drafting and approving a new bill onto the next congressional session.

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Written by Julia Mas-Guindal
Edited by Heather Whitney
Editorial Policy

I. Introduction

The doctrine of moral rights in copyright law has been a source of strain in domestic and comparative legal scholarship for decades. This strain is greater in the U.S. than in countries employing a continental legal system, where moral rights are widely recognized. This is because U.S. law and European law are built on different foundations: while for the U.S. Copyright Act the encouragement of economic investments is the top priority, continental countries prioritize protecting the artistic work and the creators. This fact has made it difficult for U.S. law to adequately account for moral rights, as I will argue in this comment. This issue is particularly acute in the realm of film. While the U.S. has made progress in establishing moral rights for paintings, drawings, sculptures and certain photographic images through the Visual Artist Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”), the U.S. system continues to exclude filmmakers.

In this comment, I will review what moral rights are and compare the moral rights landscapes of the U.S. to those of continental countries. This will shed light on why filmmakers’ moral rights have been excluded and how exclusion is not inevitable, as other countries with bustling film industries, like India, have moral rights for filmmakers.

Finally, I will address the arguments made by the likes of producers and studios for why directors should not have moral rights. In the end, I argue for a way to meet the needs of producers and studios while also making room in U.S. law for recognition of moral rights in the filmmaking field.

(more…)

Posted On Dec - 31 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

The Digest will be taking a short break from our regular coverage over the coming weeks as our Staff Writers go on holiday.

While we take our hiatus from regular coverage, we have the pleasure of re-introducing our Comments feature. Comments are longer opinion pieces on especially significant issues. These pieces are written entirely by members of our staff, on topics they believe warrant closer examination and study. From now until late January, we will publish one Comment every one to two weeks. We have great pieces this year and we hope you enjoy them!

We’ll be back sometime in January with our usual coverage.

We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed our work this year!

The Digest Staff

Posted On Dec - 22 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

New Information about Carrier IQ Software Sparks Concerns that Wireless Carriers Have Violated Federal Anti-Wiretapping Laws

By Abby Lauer – Edited by Michael Hoven

Last month, a security researcher from Connecticut published information about a software program installed on some mobile smartphones that may be surreptitiously collecting data about how the phones are used. The software, called Carrier IQ and manufactured by a company of the same name, has been described as hard to detect, hard to remove, and programmed to run by default without the user’s knowledge. The scandal escalated last week when Senator Al Franken sent a letter to Carrier IQ asking for details about the software and the company’s business practices. Privacy analysts are concerned that the software violates the Federal Wiretap Act, as amended by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which forbids the intercepting of “wire, oral or electronic communication” and authorizes penalties of $100 per day for each violation. 18 U.S.C. §§ 2511, 2520. Other commentators have suggested that Carrier IQ may also violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. 18 U.S.C. § 1030. So far, at least eight class action lawsuits have been filed against Carrier IQ and various device makers and wireless carriers.

Computerworld provides a general overview of the Carrier IQ software and the recent scandal. For a more detailed analysis of the legal issues, see Forbes, paidContent.org, and Talking Points Memo. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 14 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Patent-Eligibility of Medical Protocol Based on Correlations Between Blood Tests and Patient Health
By Laura Fishwick – Edited by Michael Hoven

Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., No. 10-1150 (U.S. Dec. 7, 2011)
Transcript of Oral Arguments

Mayo v. Prometheus returned to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit again held that Prometheus’s method patents covered a particular application of a natural phenomenon, not the natural phenomenon itself, and were therefore valid. JOLT Digest covered the Federal Circuit’s initial ruling and its reaffirmation.

The Supreme Court heard arguments concerning whether a treatment that indicates a drug dosage based on correlations between metabolite levels in the patient’s blood and drug efficiency or toxicity is eligible for patent protection. Mayo argued that Prometheus’s patent was invalid because it covered a natural phenomenon: the correlation between metabolite levels, as revealed by a blood test, and patient health. Additionally,  Mayo claimed that the patent preempted all competing tests that would use metabolite levels (above a certain concentration that Prometheus’s patent covers) to adjust drug dosages. Transcript of Oral Argument at 8. Prometheus argued that their patent would not preempt competing tests because another party could file an improvement patent specifying a different range. Id. at 42. Prometheus said that its claims were patentable because it applied the conventional step of measuring metabolites in patients to the discovery of the natural correlation, and analogized its patents to patented processes that detect earthquakes, also a natural phenomenon.

Patently-O provides an overview of the case. Ars Technica criticized the lack of attention that the Court gave to the issue of whether medical patents are legal in general, analogizing the issue to overly-broad software patents. IPWatchdog has predicted that the Court will interpret § 101 as a “coarse filter” and leave Mayo to challenge Prometheus under § 102 and § 103. Published before the Court heard oral arguments, the Wall Street Journal argued that the Court should continue its longstanding policy of providing strong patent protection to encourage investment by finding Prometheus’s diagnostic test to be patentable subject matter. The Washington Post features a discussion of the main arguments. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 13 - 2011 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Jennifer Wong

Government urges SCOTUS to rule in favor of generic drug maker

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments to determine whether generic drug manufacturer Caraco Pharmaceutical could sue Novo Nordisk to narrow its description for the patent on Prandin, a diabetes drug, in FDA filings. As Reuters reports, Caraco alleges that the description for the patent on Prandin is too broad and prevents any similar generic drug from entering the market. The government filed a brief opposing the Federal Circuit’s earlier ruling in favor of Novo Nordisk, noting that generic drugs can save consumers billions of dollars each year. According to FiercePharma, Novo Nordisk’s primary patent on the Prandin has expired, but the company retains a second patent for the use of the drug in combination with metformin. Novo Nordisk claims that its FDA submission was proper. A decision is expected in late June.

Facebook and FTC reach settlement over privacy practices

On November 29th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had reached a draft settlement with Facebook over its privacy practices, reports The Economist. The FTC alleged that it had found several cases where Facebook had engaged in deceptive practices that violated federal law. The privacy breaches included failing to make deleted images and videos inaccessible and passing on personal information to advertisers. According to The Washington Post, under the terms of the settlement, Facebook will not face any monetary fines. Facebook has agreed to seek its users’ permission before it makes any changes to its data sharing policy and to undergo an independent privacy audit every two years for the next 20 years. The settlement should be finalized at the end of December after a period for public comment.

Apple loses iPad trademark suit in China

Reuters reports that the Intermediate People’s Court in Shenzhen, China, has ruled against Apple in its trademark infringement suit against computer display manufacturer Proview Technology (Shenzhen). Apple had alleged that Proview Technology infringed on its “iPad” trademark. However, the court disagreed. According to the Financial Times, Proview Technology had registered trademarks for the “iPad” name in China and several other countries in 2000. Apple agreed to purchase the global trademark rights to the name from Proview Electronics (Taiwan), in 2009, but Proview Technology retained the Chinese rights. Proview Technology and Proview Electronics are both affiliates of Proview International, a Hong-Kong-listed holding group. Apple can still appeal the verdict. Proview Technology filed its own infringement lawsuit against Apple in October claiming 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in damages, reports ZDNet.

Posted On Dec - 12 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Privacy Concerns in

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim Following scandals earlier ...

free-speech

San Francisco Court

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas S. Louis Martin ...

European union concept, digital illustration.

EU Unitary Patent Sy

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi Advocate General’s Opinion ...

computer-typing1

California Sex Offen

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas Doe v. Harris, ...

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Congress Fails to Pa

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys USA FREEDOM Act ...