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Google Appeals Ruling that Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong– Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as application programming interfaces (APIs). Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ariane Moss

Microsoft Tax Banned in Italy

California Responds to Data Breaches by Strengthening Privacy Laws

EU Court Rules Embedding Is Not Copyright Infringement

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Google Appeals Ruling That Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as APIs. Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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UN Report Finds Government Mass Surveillance Violates Privacy

By Olga Slobodyanyuk – Edited by Jesse Goodwin

The UN Report from the Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights found that government Internet mass surveillance violates Article 17 of the ICCPR by impinging individuals’ privacy.

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Functional Claim Elements Must Be Backed by Sufficient Structural Guidance

By Asher Lowenstein – Edited by Mengyi Wang

The Federal Circuit found that patent claim terms that offer no guidance to structure and are solely functional are means-plus-function terms and indefinite under § 112(f).

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By Emily Hootkins

Federal Judge Overturns $625.5 Million Judgment against Apple

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis reversed an October 2010 decision requiring Apple to pay over $625.5 million in patent infringement damages, CNET news and PC Magazine report. This reversal is the latest decision in a three-year battle between Mirror Worlds and Apple. Last October, a jury handed found Apple liable for infringing Mirror Worlds’ patents with its Cover Flow, Spotlight, and Time Machine software. Judge Davis reversed this decision, holding that there was insufficient evidence to support the patent infringement claims.

Federal Appellate Court Hears Oral Arguments in Music Piracy Case

Computer World and Boston.com report that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit heard oral arguments on Monday challenging a damage award for music piracy. This is the first case of its kind to make it to a federal appellate court. In 2009, a jury verdict of $675,000 was entered against Joel Tenenbaum for illegally downloading 30 copyrighted songs. A district judge later reduced that award to $67,500; both the defendant and the plaintiff, the Recording Industry of America, appealed. During Monday’s oral argument, the parties revisited the appropriateness of this damage award. The court should issue a judgment sometime later this year.

Calls for Changes to Electronic Communications Privacy Act

PC World reports that several Democratic members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee have called for changes to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). These senators contend that the 25-year-old law is outdated in light of current privacy and national security concerns. According to CNET, ECPA is “notoriously convoluted and difficult even for judges to follow.” Among other provisions, ECPA gives internet users who store data locally more privacy rights than users of cloud-based services.  However, the Justice Department has expressed opposition to the proposed changes in the law.

 

Posted On Apr - 9 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Court Upholds Subpoenas Compelling ISP to Identify Over 1000 Alleged File-Sharers
By Paul Cathcart – Edited by Jad Mills

Call of the Wild Movie, LLC v. Does 1-1,062, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29153 (D.D.C. March 22, 2011)
Memorandum Opinion
hosted by Scribd.com

In two copyright cases, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied Time Warner Cable’s (“TWC’s”) motions to quash subpoenas compelling the identification of subscribers associated with allegedly infringing IP addresses. In a third case, the court granted TWC’s motion on procedural grounds but permitted the plaintiff ten days to re-issue the subpoena.

The court rejected TWC’s claim of “undue burden,” finding that TWC failed to demonstrate hardship sufficient to outweigh the information’s “critical” value to the plaintiffs’ cases. The court additionally rejected three arguments submitted in amicus briefs. Considering judicial efficiency, the potential for prejudice, and the alleged relationship among defendants, the court ruled that defendants were not improperly joined as of this “nascent” stage in the case. The court also rejected amici’s challenge to personal jurisdiction, pending additional discovery. Finally, the court ruled that defendants’ First Amendment rights to anonymity did not outweigh plaintiffs’ need for the information sought, applying a five-part test laid out in Sony Music Entm’t v. Does 1-40, 326 F. Supp. 2d 556, 564-65 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).

Internet Cases provides an overview. The Electronic Frontier Foundation commented prior to the decision. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 8 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Judge Rules Instant Message Modified Contract
By Andrew Crocker – Edited by Jad Mills

CX Digital Media, Inc. v. Smoking Everywhere, Inc., No. 09-62020-Civ (S.D. Fla. Mar 23, 2011)
Slip opinion
hosted by Scribd.com

Last month, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled in favor of plaintiff CX Digital Media, Inc. in a contract dispute with Smoking Everywhere, Inc.

The district court found that an instant message conversation between an employee of CX Digital, an online advertising referral provider, and the Vice President of Marketing at Smoking Everywhere, an electronic cigarette manufacturer, constituted a modification of the companies’ contract for CX Digital to provide online advertising referrals for Smoking Everywhere’s promotional sales offer.  The verdict resulted in an award of over $1.2 million in damages plus accrued interest and attorney’s fees for CX Digital.

The Technology and Marketing Law Blog provides an overview of the case. Techdirt notes that while it may be surprising that instant messaging can constitute contract negotiation, courts regularly find that informal discussions are binding in this way. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 6 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Lauren Henry

Music Industry Disputes the Legality of Amazon’s Media Storage Locker

Last week, Amazon debuted a new music storage storing and streaming service, which enables users to store their music in the cloud and view their content on other devices using an Android app. Ars Technica reports that the music content industry disputes Amazon’s right to offer this service without securing additional licenses. While Amazon has declares its right to provide the service without further licensing, Engadget reports that Amazon might be negotiating licensing agreements behind closed doors. The Guardian suggests that this innovation could change and liberate the way consumers interact with media, and positions Amazon to remain an industry leader in cloud computing. Musicweek notes that since Amazon’s user experience is technically imperfect, other companies with similar models — including Apple and Google — threaten to encroach upon the new ground Amazon broke.

Google to Implement Privacy Program under Google Buzz Settlement

On Wednesday, the FTC announced that it reached a settlement with Google regarding the company’s privacy practices during its rollout of Google Buzz, a social network and microblogging web application. FindLaw discusses the major elements of the settlement agreement, including the implementation of a privacy program dedicated to consumer privacy risk identification and fixes, which will be subject to third-party audits every two years for the next two decades. In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times suggested that this settlement “defines for the industry what the FTC expects of all companies,” and should be heeded by other companies engaged in social networking. Google’s director of privacy issued an apology and promised to improve the company’s privacy practices via the official Google blog.

Facebook Hit with $1 Billion lawsuit over “Third Intifada” Page

TechCrunch reports that Mark Zuckerburg and Facebook have been sued for $1 billion under allegations of assault and negligence, after Facebook removed a page calling for a third Palestinian intifada too long after the page was created. Facebook commented that its policy of permitting free speech led it to permit the page to remain until it became dominated by calls for violence; the page had initially been a forum for peaceful protest. The complaint accuses the defendants of acting tortiously to “further their revenues and the net worth” of the company. TechCrunch and Slate note that the lawyer behind the lawsuit, Larry Klayman, is no stranger to high profile, controversial litigation, having sued Hilary Clinton, the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and his own mother.

 

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

Appropriation artist found to have infringed copyrights after failing to show transformative use
By Matthew Becker – Edited by Chinh Vo

Cariou v. Prince, No. 08 Civ. 11327 (DAB) (S.D.N.Y. March 18, 2011)
Slip Opinion
hosted by Scribd

In a closely watched copyright case, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment for the plaintiff, Patrick Cariou, ruling that the appropriation artist Richard Prince, in conjunction with the Gagosian Gallery, infringed Cariou’s copyrighted works.

The Southern District held that Prince’s works, paintings and collages that incorporated significant portions of Cariou’s published photographs, were not entitled to defense under the doctrine of fair use. Most relevant in this analysis was a consideration of the purpose and character of the use, with a focus on whether Prince’s works were “transformative,” requiring that they “in some way comment on, relate to the historical context of, or critically refer back to the original works.” The court concluded from Prince’s testimony that he did not have an interest in the original meaning of Cariou’s photographs, but simply wanted to reproduce them to send his own message, and therefore the transformative content of his works was “minimal at best.”

The NYT Arts Beat provides an overview of the case. The Art Law Blog criticizes the decision for its narrow interpretation of transformative use, noting that other cases, such as Blanch v. Koons, 467 F.3d 244 (2d Cir. 2006), have found works to be transformative even when they did not comment directly on the original copyrighted work. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 3 - 2011 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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