Software / Apps

Zappos’ Focus on Fashion, and Not on Terms of Use, Leads to Contractual Faux Pas

A recent case brought against the online retailer Zappos demonstrates the importance of thought-out drafting when constructing website policies. While it may be tempting to leave terms of use as an inconspicuous hyperlink rather than put them right up front, the consequences can be that those terms are not enforceable at all. Continue reading

Google Settles Book Scanning Lawsuit With Publisher Group

On October 4, 2012, Google reached a settlement in the Google Books case with the publisher plaintiffs, which include The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Pearson Education, Inc., Penguin Group (USA) Inc., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Simon & Schuster, Inc. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represented the publishers in the settlement, resolving its seven-year copyright dispute over Google’s controversial book digitization project in The McGraw-Hill Cos. Inc, et al. v. Google Inc., 05-cv-08881 (S.D.N.Y.). In 2004, Google launched the Google Books Project and commenced scanning thousands of books from major public and academic libraries pursuant to agreements with the libraries. Through its Google Books service, Google makes the scanned books searchable and publicly displays fragments of the books in response to search queries. In October 2005, five AAP member Publishers and the Authors Guild, on behalf of a class of authors, sued Google in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, claiming Google did not seek authorization from the owners of the works and accusing Google of massive copyright infringement. Google countered that its scanning and display of the books was fair use because it displayed only small “snippets” of each book, and the scanning was conducted for that purpose. Continue reading

White House Releases Framework for Consumer Data Privacy

On February 23, 2012, the White House released Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy (the “Framework”). The Framework is meant to improve consumers’ privacy protections without stifling the sort of innovation and economic growth that companies seek via the digital space. At its core, the Framework consists of four overarching elements: (i) the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights; (ii) multi-stakeholder processes to develop enforceable codes of conduct; (iii) post-development enforcement by the FTC; and (iv) promoting international interoperability. As the Framework cannot itself be used as a basis for holding those who violate its principles accountable — there is no law stating that companies are required to adopt these policies. The developments in the coming months of enforceable codes of conduct and the adoption of such codes by companies will be especially telling of the Framework’s effectiveness.

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Google Books Case Developments: Google Responds to ASMP and Authors Guild

In a new turn in the Google Books case we have been following, Google filed its responses on February 17, 2012 to the American Society of Media Photographers’ (ASMP) and the Authors Guild’s oppositions to Google’s motions to dismiss ASMP and the Authors Guild for lack of standing. Google took issue with the Plaintiffs’ assertions. Continue reading

Viacom v. YouTube/Google: How Red Must a Red Flag Be?

Update: In an update to the below, on Thursday, April 5, 2012, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals revived and remanded the case to a lower court, instructing the district judge to determine if YouTube had knowledge or awareness of specific infringing material and whether it willfully blinded itself to that specific knowledge. Please visit this site for an analysis of this news shortly.

In the ongoing Viacom v. YouTube lawsuit, the case is now on appeal before the Second Circuit. Continue reading

War for your “App Store”: Apple vs. Amazon: Federal Judge Unconvinced

Federal Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, denied Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction to bar Amazon.com from referring to its online software marketplace as an “Appstore” pending the outcome of Apple’s suit regarding the matter. Since 2008, Apple has used the term “App Store” to describe the online location where its shoppers can purchase software applications for their mobile devices (such as the iPhone and iPod). Since then, the online market has become saturated with similar downloadable software applications for mobile devices and online shops to purchase these products. Continue reading