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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 Nathan Lovejoy
Edited by Harry Zhou
Editorial Policy

The September 30th issue of Rolling Stone featured an article provocatively titled “How to Save the Music Business” by U2 manager Paul McGuinness. In it, McGuinness shifts a hefty portion of responsibility for online copyright infringement to Internet service providers: “Let’s get real: Do people want more bandwidth to speed up their e-mails or to download music and films as rapidly as possible?”[i] He goes on to argue that service providers should take affirmative steps on behalf of rights holders to prevent illegal file sharing by their customers. This is not a new line of attack, especially in the two years since the Recording Industry Association of America’s (“RIAA”) efforts at suing individual file-sharers have come to an end. McGuinness might have, however, underestimated some of the pitfalls in implementing such a proposal. As rights holders, service providers, and governments in France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and elsewhere begin to embark on various forms of this “graduated response” — an enforcement regime predicated on suspension of accused infringers’ Internet access — we are only now beginning to understand the full range of its complications.

This comment will address procedural due process concerns within a hypothetical legislative-backed graduated response regime in the United States. Although no such system is currently in place, this comment will look to the recently implemented French scheme as a model. Commonly referred to by the acronym of its governing authority — Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet (“HADOPI”) — France’s HADOPI overcame constitutional challenges and began enforcement action earlier this year. If we were to import this type of scheme to the US with the exact same set of procedures, it would run against some of our core procedural values.

This comment begins with a description of what graduated response is in the abstract and addresses some of the motivations for rights holders in pursuing this strategy. Next, the HADOPI model as laid out in France’s “Creation on the Internet” legislation[ii] is examined step-by-step, as a series of distinct enforcement procedures. Finally, this comment will argue that should the US adopt a legislatively-created, French-style graduated response regime, its procedures may be subject to criticism on due process grounds. These issues could be — and likely will be — sidestepped, however, through eschewing legislation in favor of private enforcement agreements. (more…)

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

Written by Greg Tang
Edited by Ian Wildgoose Brown
Editorial Policy

Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, owes its global leadership position to its x86 microprocessors. Intel and its main competitor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), command 80.4% and 11.5% of the microprocessor market, respectively. In other words, over 90% of the world’s computers have brains that only understand the x86 instruction set for translating software instructions into computer functioning. Consequently, most computer programs support, if not exclusively, x86 microprocessors. The fact that AMD is their sole surviving competitor in the x86 microprocessor industry is testament to the success of Intel’s aggressive business and legal tactics: the market for almost any other computer hardware component is certain to have a multitude of competitors from around the globe.

Throughout its history, Intel constantly has explored the outer frontiers of the high-tech industry’s legal landscape as it asserted its market dominance, particularly when threatened by competition, and repeatedly has been forced to adjust its strategy when the courts found that it pushed too far. By zealously pursuing this strategy against AMD, Intel has kept AMD at a distant second place in the microprocessor market, despite AMD often offering superior products at lower prices. But Intel occasionally gets in trouble for its liberal use of business and legal force towards AMD. In the last two years, Intel saw the end to several high-profile antitrust cases that it had been tangled up in for years. In May 2009, the European Commission fined Intel a record 1.06 billion Euros for abusing its dominant market position. On November 12, 2009, Intel settled all outstanding antitrust and patent cross-licensing disputes with rival AMD for $1.25 billion. And more recently in August 2010, Intel settled its antitrust case with the FTC by agreeing to several broad restrictions on its relationship with computer manufacturers and its competitors. But Intel’s legal strategy of “trial and error” stems from the company’s formative years, which coincided with the advent of the personal computer. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 4 - 2011 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Matthew Becker
Edited by Matt Gelfand
Editorial Policy

The application of copyright in the space of virtual worlds has been a subject of increasing consideration in the legal community over the past few years.[i] Literature on this subject has often centered on two focal points: the existing laws and approaches that are likely to produce successful litigation in this evolving arena; and the idea that the best approach to settling copyright disputes might be to try to find recourse through the entity that owns and operates the virtual world, rather than through litigation. Less common, however, is a substantive analysis of why the existing copyright regime generally fails to provide a suitable venue for addressing grievances, and how it could be reformed to better suit the virtual context. The purpose of this article is to foster such a discussion by exploring the disconnect between the copyright regime in the United States, which has evolved in a physical environment, and the distinct problems and requirements that arise in a virtual environment. In the process, this article will explore three options for ameliorating the situation – two that are legal in nature, and one that is extra-legal. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 26 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Alea Mitchell
Edited by Cary Mayberger
Editorial Policy

Innovative hosting of user-generated content on the Internet, and a subsequent increase in unauthorized copyrighted material among this content, means reimagining copyright jurisprudence. The issue of how we protect an owner’s “exclusive” right to reproduce, distribute, and publicly perform his or her work, while not stifling advances in global communication and technology, underlies the concern in recent infringement suits brought against online hosts like YouTube, eBay, Hi5, and Veoh. See 17 U.S.C. § 106(1), (3), (4) (1976). But while the legal system has risen to the challenge with reinterpreted rules and legislation, Facebook continues to defy categorization.

This comment attempts to demonstrate the difficulty in categorizing certain service providers by looking at Facebook in the wake of the Viacom International v. YouTube, Inc. decision, No. 07 CIV. 2103, 2010 WL 2532404, at *8-9 (S.D.N.Y. June 23, 2010), of which Facebook filed a joint amicus brief in support of the defendants. Part I of the comment presents a brief overview of the Viacom court’s interpretation of “safe harbors” provided under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) and Facebook’s amicus brief. Part II explores whether certain activities on Facebook constitute copyright infringement. Finally, Part III pools these two together and examines why the DMCA “notice-and-takedown” process, as articulated in Viacom, may not be a workable copyright protection scheme for Facebook. Ultimately, I suggest that Facebook’s blurred private/public structure makes it unlikely that the DMCA notice-and-takedown scheme can adequately protect copyrights infringed by Facebook users. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 17 - 2010 1 Comment READ FULL POST

The Digest will be taking a short break from our regular coverage over the coming weeks as our Staff Writers finish fall examinations and 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 mid-January, we will publish one Comment every week. 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 - 17 - 2010 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, ...

nsa-tracking-phone-records-325x337

Congress Fails to Pa

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