IP/Internet Transactions

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