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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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

Federal Judge Rejects $125m Google Books Settlement
By Philip Yen – Edited by Chinh Vo

The Authors Guild, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 05 Civ. 8136 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 22, 2011)
Opinion
hosted by The Authors Guild

Circuit Judge Denny Chin, sitting for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, rejected the $125 million Google Books class action settlement agreement between the Internet giant and groups representing authors and publishers. The court said that the deal went “too far” and held that the settlement was not fair, adequate, and reasonable.

Under Rule 23(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a settlement of a class action requires approval of the court. This will only be given if the court determines that the settlement was “fair, adequate, and reasonable.” Joel A. v. Giuliani, 218 F.3d 132, 138 (2d Cir. 2000). Although recognizing the many benefits that the Google Book Project could yield, the district court identified a number of countervailing policy considerations that weighed against approving the agreement. In particular, the court was concerned that the proposed settlement would release claims well beyond the scope of the pleadings, overreach into copyright regulation (a realm better left to Congress), give Google a monopoly on certain types of books, and implicate international law. Additionally, the court found that the plaintiffs had not adequately represented the interests of certain class members.

The Copyright Litigation Blog provides an overview of the case. The Electronic Frontier Foundation praises the court’s acknowledgment of privacy concerns and class action analysis, but takes issue with some of the its treatment of copyright law. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 2 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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