A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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District Court Holds that Internet-Based Television Provider, FilmOn X is Entitled to a Compulsory License

By Anne Woodworth – Edited by Henry Thomas

The U.S. District court for the Central District of California ruled that an online streaming service that rebroadcasted network television fit the definition of a cable company, and was entitled to compulsory licensing under § 111 of the Copyright Act.  The order relied on the Supreme Court’s Aereo decision, which held that internet streaming was fundamentally the same as cable. The ruling conflicts with a Second Circuit case decided on similar facts, and is immediately appealable.

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Data Breach Victims, Rejoice: Seventh Circuit Finds that Threat of Injury is Sufficient for Article III Standing in Data Breach Class Actions

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ariane Moss

Last Monday, the Seventh Circuit Courto of Appeals ruled that victims of a data breach had standing to pursue a class action even when they had not suffered direct financial harm as a result of the breach or when they had already been compensated for financial harm resulting from the breach. The opinion reversed a contrary district court decision, which the Seventh Circuit said had incorrectly read the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.

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How Far Can Law Enforcement Go When Gathering Email Evidence? Former Gov. Scott Walker Employee Files Petition for Writ of Certiorari

By Kasey Wang – Edited by Ariane Moss

Kelly Rindfleisch is serving a six-month sentence for misconduct in public office while working for then-County Executive Scott Walker. Rindfleisch appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that the government violated her Fourth Amendment rights while searching her emails for evidence for a different case.

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Russia’s “Right To Be Forgotten” and China’s Right To Be Protected: New Privacy and Security Legislation

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

The legislatures in Russia and China took steps this month to tighten regulations over Internet companies with access to user data. In Russia, President Vladmir Putin signed a law ensuring a “right to be forgotten” reminiscent of the European Court of Justice’s right to be forgotten ruling of May 2014. And in China, the National People’s Congress released a draft cybersecurity bill that would formalize and strengthen the State’s long-standing regulation of websites and network operators.

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Washington Appeals Court Refuses to Compel Unmasking of Anonymous Avvo Critic Absent Evidence of Defamation

By Leonidas Angelakos – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Washington Court of Appeals held that—absent evidence of defamation—a third party website is not required to unmask an anonymous defendant. The court adopted an analysis similar to the widely cited Dendrite test for the showing a defamation plaintiff must make on a motion to compel disclosure of an anonymous defendant’s identity.

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District Court Permits Facebook’s Trademark Suit to Proceed Against Teachbook.com
By Albert Wang – Edited by Abby Lauer

Facebook, Inc. v. Teachbook.com LLC, No. 11-cv-3052 (N.D. Ill. September 26, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied defendant Teachbook’s motion to dismiss a trademark infringement suit brought by social networking site Facebook.

Judge Aspen, writing for the court, held that Facebook had pled sufficient facts to survive Teachbook’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion. The court declined to consider Teachbook’s extrinsic evidence and based its holding solely on the content of Facebook’s complaint and exhibits. The court also rejected Teachbook’s assertion that the word “book” was too generic to sustain a trademark claim, noting that Facebook’s trademark registration covers the compound word “Facebook” and that the specific use of “book” as a suffix was potentially protectable. In so holding, the court noted that consumer confusion could arise because Teachbook framed its service as an alternative for teachers barred by work policy from using Facebook.

The Trademark and Copyright Law Blog provides an overview of the case. John Del Vecchio contemplates the consequences of this holding for other sites with the word “book” in their name, while Eric Goldman criticizes the court’s findings on generic terms and on the likelihood of consumer confusion.

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Posted On Oct - 20 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
U.S. Signs the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
By Amara Osisioma and Matt Gelfand – Edited by Andrew Segna

Text of the Agreement

On October 1, the United States — as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea — signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (“ACTA”). Ars Technica provides commentary.

The press release by the signatories indicated that the Agreement was necessary because “the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods poses considerable challenges for legitimate trade and the sustainable development of the world economy. Trade in these goods causes significant financial losses for right holders and legitimate businesses.”

The ACTA provides for: “(1) enhanced international cooperation; (2) promotion of sound enforcement practices; and (3) a legal framework for [intellectual property rights] enforcement in the areas of criminal enforcement, enforcement at the border, civil and administrative actions, and distribution of . . . infringing material on the Internet.” (more…)

Posted On Oct - 20 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Heejin Choi

Report Suggests that NHS Pay for Organ Donors’ Funerals

A new report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, based in London, urges the National Health Service (NHS) to undertake a pilot study of paying for the funeral expenses of organ donors. This recommendation aims to increase the number of donors in Britain, which has half the organ donation rate of the U.S. and one of the lowest in Europe. According to CBSNews, co-author of the report Keith Rigg compares the proposal to the established practice of medical schools’ paying the cremation or burial costs of those who donate their bodies to science. The plan, if adopted, would be the first of its kind in the world. 

Mississippi to Vote on “Personhood” Amendment Next Month

As the Los Angeles Times reports, Mississippi residents will vote on November 8th on Proposition 26, the “Personhood” Amendment, which amends the State Constitution to define “person” to include “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.” If passed, the amendment will effectively outlaw abortion in any case, even rape and incest. Concerns have been raised regarding Proposition 26’s other potential ramifications, including a possible ban on some birth control methods, some fertility treatments, and in vitro fertilization. Other concerns address the possible legal consequences that women early in and unaware of their pregnancy might face for partaking in activities that might put their fetuses at risk. 

Facebook Faces Multiple Lawsuits Related to Cookies

An increasing number of Facebook users are suing Facebook, claiming that it violated federal wiretap laws by using tracking cookies that record users’ internet browsing history even when they are not logged in, ZDNet reports. Both federal and state lawsuits have been filed by Facebook users in multiple states, including California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. All of the lawsuits allege that Facebook violated a provision of the federal Wiretap Act that prohibits interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications. According to ABCNews, courts in the past have tossed out similar cases, finding that these cookies were not wiretaps.
Posted On Oct - 17 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

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.

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