IP/Internet Transactions

Copyright In the Data Age: Nancy E. Wolff to Lead Discussion

CDAS Partner Nancy E. Wolff is one of the attorneys leading the session New Cases in Copyright Law – Internet and Beyond at the Fundamentals of Copyright Law in the Data Era event in Chicago and New York. The discussion will cover all the major recent copyright decisions. See below for a full event description: Continue reading

WNET v. Aereo: Split Appellate Panel Rules That “Remote-Storage DVR” Decision Insulates Provider of Internet Streaming from Liability

On April 1, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit handed down a 2-1 decision affirming a lower court’s ruling that a broadcast television retransmission system was unlikely to be liable for copyright infringement due to the Second Circuit’s holding in Cartoon Network LP, LLLP v. CSC Holdings, Inc., 536 F.3d 121 (2d Cir. 2008) (commonly referred to as the Cablevision decision). WNET v. Aereo, Inc., Nos. 12-2786-cv & 12-2807-cv (2d Cir. Apr. 1, 2013). The Aereo ruling deals a blow to the standard cable licensing model and may have impacts beyond television distribution alone. While a similar case pending in the Ninth Circuit will provide a better understanding of how the legal landscape surrounding retransmission of television content may change, and while the case involved a preliminary injunction rather than findings on a full record, it is important to understand the underpinnings and messages from the Aereo decision. As the Aereo court itself noted, technology companies are paying attention to these cases – and developing accordingly. Continue reading

Columbia Pictures Industries v. Fung: IsoHunt Found Liable for Contributory Infringement

Ninth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Movie Studios in Torrenting Case

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit substantially affirmed a district court judgment in favor of several film studios in Columbia Pictures Industries v. Fung, holding on March 21st, 2013 that the defendant was liable for contributory copyright infringement because its bittorrent hosting service, known as isoHunt, induced third parties to download infringing copies of the studios’ copyrighted works. The Ninth Circuit also held that the defendant was not entitled to protection from liability under any of the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Continue reading

Apple Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles ex rel Krescent: California Struggles with the Digital Transition

Case Examines Applicability of Credit Card Act to Digital Transactions

In Apple v. Superior Court of Los Angeles ex rel Krescent, the Supreme Court of California examined whether online transactions fall within the scope of a 1971 credit card act that prevents retailers in California from requesting personal identification information. An important milestone in what is likely to be an extended wave of decisions in this area, the case explores the tension between consumer privacy concerns against measures to combat online transaction fraud within the framework of outdated legislation.
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Facebook Introduces Graph Search, Privacy Challenges Possible

Facebook recently unveiled “Graph Search,” an innovation designed to help users find and connect their friends by their interests, shared history, and past activity on the social networking platform. The new feature, which will begin beta testing soon, greatly expands the search capabilities of the Facebook platform in a move some commentators speculate may help it compete with Google in the search business area. The Wall Street Journal has a rundown of Graph Search’s functionality here. Continue reading

Small Screen, Bigger Picture

California Federal Judge Issues Circuit-Wide Injunction Against Broadcast Television Retransmitter; Rejects Aereokiller’s Reliance on Second Circuit Cablevision and Aereo Cases

On December 27, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a preliminary injunction against Aereokiller (formerly known as BarryDriller.com), a service founded by Alki David, someone not unfamiliar with television transmission and the law. Previously, in conjunction with rulings involving a similar technology at issue in WPIX v. ivi in New York, David’s prior television-over-the-Internet service known as FilmOn had been enjoined for making unauthorized public performances in violation of television networks’ copyright rights under Section 106(4) of the Copyright Act. This time around, David’s Aereokiller service was set up to create unique copies of broadcast television streams, one per user, so that the transmission of those streams would be a private – not public – performance to that particular user. Continue reading

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