0

The EU’s Move Toward Stronger Digital Data Privacy

By Emily Poole

The European Union (“EU”) is in the process of strengthening its online data privacy laws, the far-reaching effects of which will be felt by any U.S. company or organization operating in the EU. The latest move toward implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (“Regulation”) occurred in late October 2013, when the European Parliament approved certain amendments to the current draft of the legislation.

Right now, the 1995 Data Privacy Directive (“Directive”) regulates data privacy in the EU. It directs each of the twenty-eight member countries to create its own set of privacy laws that comply with the Directive’s seven principles: notice, purpose, consent, security, disclosure, access and accountability. Since the Directive only provides a framework by which countries are expected to abide, rather than imposing concrete regulations, privacy law in the EU is a patchwork of country-specific rules, with some countries implementing and enforcing robust privacy regulations and others creating laws that simply meet the minimum requirements of the Directive. Continue Reading

GoldieBlox Seeks Declaratory Judgment for Beastie Boys Parody

By Brandon Wiebe

GoldieBlox, a toy company that generated buzz this week when its recent online ad went viral, has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking a declaratory judgment that its parody of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls” constitutes fair use. The viral commercial shows three girls, bored of watching princess cartoons, build and unleash a Rube Goldberg machine in their house. The commercial is set to a parody of “Girls,” with the original lyrics replaced by more empowering lyrics in line with the company’s mission to get girls involved in science, technology and engineering.

The complaint in GoldieBlox, Inc. v. Island Def Jam Music Grp., 4:13-cv-05428-DMR (N.D. Cal. 2013) alleges that “the Beastie Boys and their label have lashed out and accused GoldieBlox of copyright infringement.” It is settled law that even commercial parody can constitute fair use. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569 (1994). While money generated from a parody can weigh against a finding of fair use, it is only one of four factors weighted in fair use analysis. The defendants will likely seek to distinguish a parodic recording created as a single or part of an album versus one made as a background accompaniment to an advertisement.

Read more: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/beastie-boys-threaten-creator-viral-659308

 

Secure Email: No Such Thing?

By Emily Poole

Encrypted email provider Lavabit, founded by Ladar Levison, closed shop last August after being ordered to give the U.S. government the SSL keys to the entire Lavabit website. With the keys, the government—appearing to only be after information regarding whistleblower Edward Snowden, one of Lavabit’s users—simultaneously obtained access to the content of 400,000 other Lavabit email users.

On October 10, 2013, Lavabit filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, arguing that the government’s demand for the SSL keys was unconstitutional and in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Department of Justice is meant to file a response brief later this month. Continue Reading

0

Aereo Versus the Nation’s Broadcasters

By Emily Poole

Aereo, a start-up that offers subscribers access to live or time-shifted broadcast television on Internet-connected devices for a monthly fee, is in the middle of legal battle that spans the nation. Rather than paying the broadcasters for the retransmission of their programs, Aereo simply re-transmits the signals to subscribers cost-free. The major broadcasting stations, seeking compensation for Aereo’s use of their signals, have filed multiple complaints alleging copyright infringement. The most recent complaint was filed by Nexstar, a company operating two stations in Salt Lake City, in a Utah federal court.

Read more at: http://www.deadline.com/2013/10/nexstar-slaps-aereo-with-second-utah-lawsuit-seeks-injunction/

0

IBM Claims Infringement as Twitter Prepares for IPO

By Emily Poole

At the same time Twitter announced that it will raise its IPO price range to $20-25 per share, it revealed the contents of a letter received from IBM. In the letter, IBM claims that Twitter is infringing on at least three of IBM’s patents. The wording of the letter, however, suggests that IBM is after a settlement agreement rather than a trial. Twitter, a company that owns just nine of its own patents—an anomaly in a field where most tech giants hold the upward of thousands of patents—appears ready to defend itself from the claim.

Read more at: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/04/ibm-claims-twitter-infringes-on-at-least-3-of-its-patents-according-to-twitters-latest-s-1-update/

0

Patent Trolling on a Corporate Scale

By Emily Poole

A group of tech giants—Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericcson and Sony—have teamed up to file suit against Google over alleged smart phone patent infringements. The group, operating as Rockstar Consortium, spend $4.5 billion buying thousands of patents from the now bankrupt Nortel to use in the suit against Google. The complaint, filed in the Eastern District of Texas, alleges that Google has infringed seven of such patents.

Read more at:  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/patent-war-goes-nuclear-microsoft-apple-owned-rockstar-sues-google/

0

Net Neutrality: A Thing of the Past?

By Emily Poole

The D.C. Circuit is poised to strike down the law upholding net neutrality—which could mean a major shift in the way the Internet operates. Net Neutrality centers around the belief that the Internet is for the public, that it is a free and open space accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers cannot play favorites—they can’t discriminate between different types of online content, such as charging differently depending on the website or user, or offering different connection speeds based on how much a user is willing to pay. Without Net Neutrality, we run the risk of losing the freedom of the Internet—service providers will be able to charge for Internet access, granting better service to those with bigger pockets.

Read more at: http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/11/so-the-internets-about-to-lose-its-net-neutrality/