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Weekly Links: May 8-14th, 2011

Yikes!  This was a busy week!  These are the stories that have been on our radar.


iOS indie developer getting sued by patent trolls? [via Cult Of Mac]

TwitPic making power grab a exclusive distribution right? [via Technology and Marketing Law Blog]

Boston asks FCC for right to regulate cable distribution rights. [via Ars Technica]

Facebook supposedly hires PR firm to trash Google for not respecting user privacy. [via Engadget]

Google launches digital music locker, and says it doesn’t need licenses. Amazon redux?. [via CNET]

Related: EFF post on “digital lockering services.” [via EFF]

Related: BMI says digital locker services might violate copyright. [via TechDirt]

Could Sony be liable to game developers for PSN outage resulting from data breach? [via Ars Technica]

New “IP protectionist” bill floating around legislators. Doesn’t look good. [via CNET]

Google to pay large fines to allowing advertising from non-pharma companies.  [via CNET]

Microsoft agrees to buy Skype for $8B.  [via Wall Street Journal]

Senate grills Apple and Google over location-based tracking. [via Ars Technica]

Revolving Door?  FCC commissioner leaves FCC for Comcast lobbyist position, after voting in favo of Comcast/NBC merger.  [via CNET]

ANOTHER IP-related bill, with “blacklisting.”  Is this the new norm? [via Ars Technica]

Did Comcast really help The Pirate Bay this week? [via Slashdot]

“iFixit” website dismantles FBI tracking device. [via iFixit]

U.K. lawyer fined for not protecting client data. [via Ars Technica]

Da, da-da-da, daat, da, what? “Charge” rally music, used at sports arenas, being challenged in court. [via Palm Beach Post]

Belgian Court says Google infringes when it links out to newspaper websites. [via]

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act fails on claims against former employee who visited personal websites while at work.  [via Technology and Marketing law blog]

Teen gets arrested for “disorderly conduct” for actions on Facebook.  [via TechDirt]

ITC decision issued in favor of Kodak, in Apple patent dispute. [via CNET]

Posted in: Weekly Links by David O'Brien.
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Weekly Links: May 1-7th, 2011

This was a pretty busy week for technology, law, and policy news!  Looking back at our e-mail thread, I’m counting at least 20 stories that circulated over the last several days.

The ITC ruled that Apple does not infringe patent claiming multitouch technology. [via Engadget]

Righthaven may not be able to satisfy standing requirements based on copyright interest assignments with its clients. [via Technically Legal]

Sony: Hacked again! Loses another 24 million user accounts. [via Ars Technica]

Apple’s “Airdrop” dispute, thinking about trademark in context.  [via CNN]

Politician suggests that White House employees can circumvent federal record keeping laws by using iPads and web-based services.  [via Washington Examiner]

DOJ asks for more information for proposed AT&T and T-Mobile deal. [via CNET]

Lawsuit over “Flash Cookies,” La Court v. Specific Media 8:10-cv-01256-GW-JCG (CD Cal.), dismissed by court for lack of harm / standing.  [via Technology & Marketing Law Blog] [opinion]

CBS/CNET sued for distributing LimeWire. [via Ars Technica] [complaint]

Violating an employer’s internet use policy can be a felony, according to the 9th Circuit in U.S. v. Nosal. [via Technology Law and Marketing] [opinion]

U.S. Dept. of Commerce releases report on Trademark Litigation tactics, draws significant criticism from legal commentators.  [via Tech Dirt] [the Report]  see commentary from [Eric Goldman] and [David Pardue]

New class action lawsuit, Hariharan v. Abobe, Apple, et al., Case no. 11574066 (Alameda County Superior Court, filed against Adobe, Intui, Google, Apple, and several others accuses companies of employment practice collusion.  [via CNET] [the complaint]

FCC Chairman tells Congress to leave net neutrality alone.  [via CNET]

Computer rental service sued for “spying on customers” with webcam software installed on rented machines. [via TechDirt]

RIAA/LimeWire trial begins (only concerning damages) in New York — Judge estimates about as long as 4 weeks.  [via CNET]

Dept. of Homeland Security sends demand to Mozilla to remove Firefox extension (a/k/a MafiaaFire) that routes users around URLs seized by DHSMozilla responds and questions the authority of DHS’ request.  [via Wired and hja's blog] [Mozilla's questions]

Motion to Dismiss filed by defendant in Righthaven copyright litigation case.  [via EFF]

WordPerfect’s antitrust claims against Microsoft after are back, after Novell (previous owner of WordPerfect ’90s) successfully argued in the 4th Circuit. [via Ars Technica]

CNET source says hackers are planning a third attack against Sony over the (last) weekend.  [via CNET]

San Francisco is (apparently) backing away from proposed law that would require cell phone retails to label mobile handsets with information related to radiation emissions. Mmm, science!* [via San Francisco Chronicle]

Google and Facebook respond to proposed California legislation that would require companies to offer an “opt-out” privacy mechanism for consumers.  [via Ars Technica] [Senate Bill 761]

The FCC has been asked to investigate the “data caps” which have been implemented recently at some ISPs and enforced for longer at others. [via Ars Technica]


* WARNING: HTML in this post may contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

Posted in: Weekly Links by David O'Brien.
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Weekly Links: April 24th – May 1st, 2011

Last week was a bit of a slow week, as far as technology and the law goes.  However, there were a couple large stories that popped up — *cough* *cough* <I’m looking at you, Sony>.  Here are the stories that have been on our radar.

Windows 7 sends location data to MS. [via CNET]

FBI raids alleged King’s Speech uploader. [via Ars Technica]

Amazon files a counterclaim in AppStore, challenging Apple’s ability to protect the remark (i.e., genericide). [via ipodnn]

Official response on Apple iPhone location issues.  [via Ars Technica]

SCOTUS favors arbitration clauses over class actions.  [via]

Google sued for Android location tracking.  [via The Register (U.K.)]

Sony data breach — 77 million user accounts compromised.  [via Ars Technica]

danah boyd’s trademark dispute on Tumblr.  [via]

Posted in: Weekly Links by David O'Brien.
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Weekly Links: April 17-23, 2011

Another busy week has already passed us by!  Here’s what’s been on our radar in the last seven days.

Fodder for a “Social Network: PREQUEL”? [via New York Times]

Domain squatting 1-800 numbers. [via Boing Boing]

Phone searching at traffic stops. [via TechDirt]

Apple sues Samsung over several IP claims on Galaxy phones and tablets.  [via Engadget]

Weird Al’s Gaga-Saga and analysis.  [via Weird Al and Technically Legal] [original post from Al]

Apple tracking iPhones?! Gasp! [via Boing Boing]

Senators question Apple over iPhone tracking. [via Ars Technica]

Nielson says Mobile users are uneasy about mobile devices and privacy. [Ars Technica]

U.S. shuts down several poker websites in one fell swoop.  [via cnet]

America [tries] to invents a new patent statute. [via Patent Hawk]

FTC says that kids are denied purchasing “M-rated games” 87% of time. [via Ars Technica] and [original FTC release]

Grooveshark tells Apple, Google, and the RIAA that its services comply with the law. [Ars Technica]

Posted in: Weekly Links by David O'Brien.
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Episode 96: A new streaming model?

Zediva gets sued by several movie studios and France wants Google to save your personal information for a year (if you live in France).

Please download the podcast or subscribe to the feed.  Feel free to e-mail us with comments and suggestions.

Zediva Gets Sued by the Movie Studios

Zediva’s new movie rental model

Zediva gets sued by the studios

The complaint

Google Challenges New French Requirement to Store Personal Information For a Year, Including Passwords(?!)


Posted in: Podcast by David O'Brien. Tags: , , , ,
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Weekly Links: April 3rd – 9th, 2011

Another busy week has already passed us by!  Here’s what’s been on our radar in the last seven days.

Pirated Android Apps and Freeloaders. [via Slashdot]

Google to buy Nortel IP? [via Google Blog]

Judge in Chicago does not like the mass p2p lawsuits. [via Ars Technica]

Court denies request to subpoena information from Twitter and Facebook.  [via the Technology and Marketing Law Blog]

Tracking using data from a cell phone in Germany.  [via]

Verizon v. FCC Net Neutrality challenge thrown out of DC Circuit on procedural grounds. [via Ars Technica]

Some questionable Toyota advertising taken down after Apple complained. [via The Next Web]  and [via Daring Fireball]

Pandora says a grand jury is looking into Apple and Android Apps. [via Tuaw]

Zediva’s clever DVD-streaming business model to be challenged in court. [via Ars Technica]

Google sues France over data retention laws. [via Google]

Yahoo! found liable for searchable content in Italy. [via Slashdot]

9th Circuit (re)affirms ruling on laptop searches at the US borders. [via Tech Dirt]

Time Warner and Viacom go to court over iPad streaming issues. [via The Guardian (UK)]

The FTC and DOJ seem to be interested in Google search engine antitrust issues. [via Reuters]

The DOJ approves Google’s acquisition of ITA (the travel search company) with some conditions. [via TechCrunch]

Posted in: Links, Weekly Links by David O'Brien.
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Weekly Links: March 27th – April 2

Welcome to our new “Weekly Links” feature!  In this new feature, we share “what’s on our radar” in a blog post each Saturday or Sunday with links to the stories in our podcast e-mail thread.  If we missed any stories, please feel free to note them in the comments.

Righthaven sues, then dismisses case against Eriq Gardner over Ars Technica article. [via Ars Technica and Technically Legal]

Sprint officially opposes AT&T&T-Mobile merger. [via LA Times]

Groupion sues Groupon over trademark issues. [via Technology & Marketing Law]

Amazon launches cloud media player; do they need licenses? [via Ars Technica]

Parents sue Facebook over photos of deceased daughter. [via ZDNet blog]

Massachusetts fines company $110k under new data breach law. [via Slashdot]

Google settles its FTC inquiry over Buzz privacy mishap. [via FTC] [proposed settlement]

Massachusetts tries to close obscentiy loophole that implicates obscene electronic messages. [via The Boston Globe]

Google launches “+1″ service — social results ranking. [via TechCrunch]

Microsoft files antitrust complaint against Google in the European Commission. [via The Guardian]

Facebook sued for $1B over offensive page removal. [via TechCrunch]

Posted in: Links, Weekly Links by David O'Brien.
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Righthaven sues Eriq Gardner, an Ars Technica writer, then withdraws

This case is a real head scratcher. 

Eriq Gardner, who writes The Hollywood Reporter ESQ blog and occasionally contributes legal commentary to Ars Technica, recently found himself at the business end of a Righthaven copyright lawsuit.

The story begins last December, when Gardner wrote an article for Ars Technica that Described Righthaven’s copyright claims in a lawsuit against the DrudgeReport.  In that case, Righthaven alleged that the DrudgeReport had reposted a photograph of a TSA Agent giving an airport traveler a pat down without authorization.  In Gardner’s Ars Technica article about the DrudgeReport lawsuit, he reposted the photograph as it had appeared in the court filing:  as a black and white, grainy image that (probably) had been printed out and attached to the complaint as an exhibit and then rescanned for the Ars Technica article.

Last Friday, Righthaven filed a complaint against Gardner claiming that his use of the photograph from the court filing in the Ars Technica article was an infringement of copyright(!).  According to Ars Technica, which has a detailed post about the incident, Righthaven voluntarily dismissed the suit this morning, stating to Ars that the filing was the result of a “clerical error.”

It’s hard to imagine a set of facts that is a better candidate for a fair use defense.  Aside from the fact that the image in question wasn’t even the original photograph, Gardner’s Ars Technica piece is a news article, with commentary on the DrudgeReport lawsuit.  News reporting and commentary about ongoing cases has a long history of public policy support in the courts.  Moreover, those activities are among the few explicitly mentioned as examples of fair use in the Copyright Act (use of a work “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting … is not an infringement of copyright”).  This lawsuit looks bad for other reasons too, as one could seemingly perceive it as an attempt by Righthaven to quell commentary about its litigious activities.

Even more confounding, however, is that the majority of Righthaven’s lawsuits (that I am aware of, at least) come from its newspaper clientele.  If we take a momentary trip to upside down world, where this lawsuit wasn’t dismissed and the fair use argument failed in court, Righthaven would have obtained a ruling that is rather antithetical to the same principle that its client-newspapers rely on for commentary and reporting in their own publications.

Posted in: Commentary, Links by David O'Brien.
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Weekly Links: March 20-26th, 2011

Every week, Ben, Dominik, David Lu, and I share technology, law, and policy news stories in an e-mail thread.  Then, we select 2 or 3 stories for discussion on our weekly podcast and, time permitting, stories worthy of a blog post.  More often than not, there are more stories in our e-mail thread than we have time to cover on the podcast or in blog posts.  And, this was the busiest week we’ve seen in awhile!

This is the first post in a new weekly series where we will share “what’s on our radar” in a blog post each Saturday or Sunday with links to the stories in our e-mail thread.  If we missed any stories, please feel free to note them in the comments.


AT&T / T-Mobile agree on acquisition deal for $39B. [via New York Times]

Amazon shuts down “Lendle,” but now it’s back up. [via Daring Fireball and]

Apple sues Amazon over “AppStore” trademark. [via technically legal and Bloomberg]

Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble over Nook/Android. [via GrokLaw]

Appeals court Revives FISA lawsuit from 1983. [via Ars Technica]

Google was fined for collecting wifi data in France. [via Mac World]

Fair use wins the day in a Righthaven lawsuit. [via EFF]

Court orders Steve Jobs to answer questions in an antitrust case. [via The Loop]

Master Arts sues Google over instant results. [via TechCrunch] [Compliant @ Scrib'd]

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals rejects narrow interpretation of the “analogous arts” test. [via Patently-O]

The USPTO granted Google a patent (# 7,912,915) for doodling. [via Slashdot] [the patent]

NY Federal District Court rejects Google Book Settlement. [SDNY Opinion]

The new New York Times’ paywall uses javascript — could “NoScript” be a circumvention under DMCA § 1201? [via Tech Dirt]

The New York Times tells Twitter to shutdown a retweeting stream. [via Slashdot]

After hacker posts his crime to YouTube, goes to jail. [via Slashdot]

Senators ask Apple to remove DUI checkpoint mapping App. [via The Loop]

Record companies sue Limewire for trillions. [via]

Updates in the GeoHot/Sony case. [via Ars Technica]

HDD search and seizure: should there be more limits? [via Ars Technica]

A victory for plaintiffs (copyright) in class action P2P lawsuits? [via Ars Technica] [D.C. District Court Opinion]

Posted in: Links, Weekly Links by David O'Brien.
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Apple sues Amazon over usage of “App Store” mark

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple has filed a compliant against Amazon for using “App Store” in the context of the “Amazon Appstore Developer Program,” (as of 10:42 EDT, Amazon still hasn’t taken down the reference) which will apparently be some kind of Android app stor… err, online market for, well, “apps.”

You may recall that we discussed the issues associated with Apple’s application for the “appstore” trademark in some detail on Podcast 92. In sum, Microsoft thinks this mark is generic (and is separately challenging it before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board).  I think there is a better argument that this mark is merely descriptive, without a strong secondary meaning.  On the other hand, there are only so many ways to describe a online marketplace (a “store”) of software applications (“apps”) without implicating those two words together.  So, it’s quite possible that a judge may hold Apple’s claimed mark to fail both for genericide and descriptiveness.  Either way, it seems like a tough claim for Apple to defend.

Just about every major tech blog and news site is now carrying this story; but, I’ve yet to see the actual compliant.  Once I find that I will post it back here.

3/22 update: Apple v. Amazon compliant added.

Posted in: Links by David O'Brien. Tags: , , ,
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