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Category Archives: Litigation

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In a Rough Year for CDA Section 230, Manchanda v. Google Provides Comfort to Website Operators

Posted in Litigation, Online Reviews, Section 230 Safe Harbor

As we noted in our recent post on the Ninth Circuit case Kimzey v. Yelp! Inc., in the right circumstances, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) still provides robust protection against liability for website operators despite the unusually large number of decisions this year seemingly narrowing the scope of the statute. Defendants notched another… Continue Reading

Social Links: IMDb sues over right to post actors’ ages; Facebook tests jobs feature; Pinterest adopts “tried it” button

Posted in Cyberbullying, E-Commerce, First Amendment, Free Speech, Litigation, UK, Wearable Computers

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has filed suit to overturn a law that requires the popular entertainment website to remove the ages or birth dates of people in the entertainment industry upon request. Vine might not be history after all. Twitter users posted more than one billion election-related tweets between the first presidential debate and Election… Continue Reading

Social Links: LinkedIn’s new feature estimates salaries; states grapple with digital-asset-inheritance laws; insurance company wants to base rates on applicants’ Facebook posts

Posted in Big Data, Ethics, Litigation, Terms of Use, UK

Because it bases its assesments on job title, location and industry, LinkedIn’s new Salary feature might be more accurate than are other online compensation estimation tools. States are trying to pass laws that balance bereaved people’s desire to access their deceased loved ones’ social media accounts with the privacy interests of the account holders and the people… Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Email Stored Outside the U.S. Might Be Beyond Government’s Reach

Posted in Litigation, Privacy, Stored Communications Act

As a result of the Second Circuit’s recent opinion in Microsoft v. United States, the U.S. government likely can no longer use warrants issued pursuant to the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) to compel U.S.-based companies to produce communications, such as emails, that are stored in a physical location outside of the United States—at least for… Continue Reading

Social Links: Yelp’s Communications Decency Act claim; Twitter loosens its character limit; building a Snapchat audience

Posted in Cyberbullying, Data Security, Internet of Things, Litigation, Marketing, Online Reviews, Privacy

The California Supreme Court agreed to hear Yelp’s case arguing that requiring the company to remove a one-star review of a law firm “creates a gaping hole” in the immunity that shields internet service providers from suits related to user-generated content. Images, videos and quoted tweets no longer count toward Twitter’s 140-charter limit. Google is… Continue Reading

Cybercrime and Victim Shaming

Posted in Data Security, Hacking, Litigation, Privacy

Our Morrison & Foerster colleague and Socially Aware contributor Miriam Wugmeister has published a thought provoking and insightful op-ed piece in The Hill on how companies that are the targets of cyberattacks are too often treated as suspects, rather than victims, by regulators. In her op-ed, titled Stop Victim Shaming in Cyberattacks, Miriam points out that defending… Continue Reading

Social Links: Instagram’s “offensive comment” filter; Twitter’s TV app; YouTube’s “Community” feature

Posted in Advertising, Cyberbullying, European Union, First Amendment, Litigation, Livestreaming, Marketing, Privacy

Instagram now allows users to hide offensive comments posted to their feeds. Take that trolls! Soon you’ll be able to watch Twitter content like NFL Thursday Night Football on a Twitter app on Apple TV, Xbox One and Amazon Fire TV. “Ballot selfie” laws—laws that prohibit posting online photos of completed election ballots—are being challenged… Continue Reading

App Developer Not Liable Under TCPA For User-Initiated Texts

Posted in Litigation, Mobile

A recent decision out of the Northern District of California brings good news for developers of mobile apps that incorporate text messaging functions. Those functions may create the risk of claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which generally prohibits the delivery of a text message without the recipient’s express consent. But in Cour v. Life360,… Continue Reading

Social Links: Google penalizes sites with pop-up ads; proposed Federal legislation to criminalize revenge porn; ad industry group questions Kardashians’ social media posts

Posted in Advertising, Employment Law, Endorsement Guides, Free Speech, FTC, Labor Law, Litigation, Marketing, Mobile, Privacy

Google is cracking down on mobile pop-up ads by knocking down the search-result position of websites that use them. The National Labor Relations Board decided a social media policy that Chipotle had in place for its employees violates federal labor law. A group of lawmakers plans to introduce legislation that would criminalize revenge porn—explicit images… Continue Reading

Social Links: Twitter offers anti-harassment tools; Pinterest takes on video ads; P&G changes its social strategy

Posted in Advertising, Cyberbullying, Disappearing Content, First Amendment, Litigation, Marketing

Twitter took steps to remedy its harassment problem. In addition, over the last six months, Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts that promoted terrorism. The Washington Post is using language-generation technology to automatically produce stories on the Olympics and the election. Video ads are going to start popping up on Pinterest. Does it make sense for big… Continue Reading

Social Links: Facebook’s anti-ad-blocking software; LinkedIn’s “scraper” lawsuit; FTC’s upcoming crackdown on social influencers

Posted in Advertising, Compliance, Cyberbullying, Data Security, Endorsement Guides, Free Speech, Litigation, Marketing, Mobile, Online Endorsements

Facebook introduced technology that disables ad blockers used by people who visit the platform via desktop computers, but Adblock Plus has already foiled the platform’s efforts, at least for now. A look at Twitter’s 10-year failure to stop harassment. Are mobile apps killing the web? LinkedIn sues to shut down “scrapers.” The FTC is planning… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Case Demonstrates That the Social Media Platform, Not the User, Is in Control

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

We have written before about website operators’ use of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to combat data scraping. We have also noted a number of recent cases in which courts held that social media platforms, rather than the users of those platforms, have the right to control content on and access to… Continue Reading

First Circuit Issues Potentially Significant Ruling on Federal Video Privacy Statute’s Application to Mobile Apps

Posted in Litigation, Mobile, Privacy

The First Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Yershov v. Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. may carry important implications for mobile app providers seeking to navigate federal privacy laws—in particular, the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (“VPPA”). Although Yershov is not the first case to consider how the VPPA applies to mobile apps, the opinion contains… Continue Reading

Social Links: Twitter’s troll problem; Snapchat fat-shamer risks prosecution; a federal anti-revenge-porn law?

Posted in Cyberbullying, Disappearing Content, First Amendment, Free Speech, Litigation, Livestreaming, Mobile, Privacy, Protected Speech

Facebook Messenger joins the elite “one billion monthly users” club just four years after its release as a standalone app. A Canadian judge ordered a couple convicted of child neglect to post to all their social media accounts his decision describing their crime. Leslie Jones of Ghostbusters highlights Twitter’s trolling problem. One tech columnist says… Continue Reading

Augmenting Reality: A Pokémon Go Business and Legal Primer

Posted in Litigation, Mobile, Privacy

We have become inured to the sight of people staring at their phones rather than engaging with one another or enjoying their real-life surroundings. But, over the past two weeks, enslavement to mobile devices rose to new levels, with smartphones and tablets actually propelling users’ movements in the real world as opposed to merely distracting… Continue Reading

Controversial New Jersey Consumer Protection Law Creates a Potential “Gotcha” for E-Commerce Companies

Posted in Class Actions, E-Commerce, Litigation, Terms of Use

If your company is involved in selling products or services to consumers in New Jersey over the web or through mobile apps, you’ll want to read this blog post. In what amounts to a feeding frenzy, plaintiffs’ lawyers are working overtime bringing class action suits against e-commerce companies, alleging that their online terms and conditions… Continue Reading

Social Links: Appeals court opinions show reach of anti-hacking law; a virtual reality sickness cure; intrigue at Vine

Posted in IP, Litigation, Livestreaming, Patent, Privacy, UK

The UK wants to use the blockchain to track the spending of welfare recipients. Some believe that a recent Ninth Circuit holding could turn sharing passwords into a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. And another Ninth Circuit opinion sided with Facebook in a closely-watched case interpreting the same federal law, this… Continue Reading

Social Links: Kids roll eyes as parents embrace Snapchat; teen sues Snapchat over sexual content; Snapchat to become less ephemeral with new “Memories” feature (plus some other news not involving Snapchat)

Posted in Asia, Disappearing Content, E-Commerce, Litigation, Livestreaming, Marketing, Privacy

Snapchat has caught on with “oldies” (that’s people 35 and older, FYI). Facebook Messenger is testing “Secret” mode, a feature that allows some messages to be read only by the recipient. A South Korean copy of Snapchat has taken off in Asia. Using social media to help promote your brand? Here’s a list of top… Continue Reading

App Developer Prevails in Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Shift to New Business Model

Posted in Litigation, Mobile

If you make available a service through a free app, and you subsequently decide to migrate users of that app to a paid subscription model, that shouldn’t create any problems, right? Well, app developer LogMeIn did just that, and became the target of a class action lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of California. Although… Continue Reading

Social Links: Implications of Facebook’s algorithm change; branded emoji; free travel apps

Posted in Cyberbullying, Data Security, Employment Law, Litigation, Marketing

The Internet is abuzz over the Facebook algorithm change. Here are the implications for marketers and publishers and for regular users. U.S. Customs wants to start collecting the social media accounts for foreign travelers. Court: Woman fired for posting to her Facebook page that she would quit her job before doing “something stupid like bash… Continue Reading

The Kirtsaeng Opinion: Supreme Court Guidance on Attorneys’ Fees Awards in Copyright Cases

Posted in Copyright, Litigation

Recently, in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court provided substantial guidance in an unsettled area of law by holding that, when deciding whether to award attorneys’ fees under 17 U.S.C. §505, the Copyright Act’s fee-shifting provision, a court should give substantial weight to the objective reasonableness of the losing party’s… Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Rules That State Attorney General’s Privacy Suit Over Fly Delta Mobile App Is Preempted

Posted in Compliance, Litigation, Privacy

In the recently decided People ex rel. Harris v. Delta Air Lines, California’s Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the dismissal of the State of California’s complaint against Delta Air Lines, Inc., which alleged that the company’s Fly Delta mobile application violated California’s privacy laws. The Court of Appeal held that the lawsuit was expressly preempted… Continue Reading

Terms and Conditions Buried in Easily Ignored Scroll Box Don’t Cut It, the Seventh Circuit Holds

Posted in E-Commerce, Litigation, Terms of Use

As we have noted before, if you want to increase the likelihood that your website terms of use are enforceable against users, you need to do two things. First, you need to display the terms to users in a conspicuous way, and second, you need to require users to affirmatively accept the terms. Sgouros v…. Continue Reading

Big Data Can Lead to Big Legal Problems For Companies

Posted in Big Data, Compliance, Employment Law, FTC, Litigation

Deluged with an unprecedented amount of information available for analysis, companies in just about every industry are discovering increasingly sophisticated ways to make market observations, predictions and evaluations. Big Data can help companies make decisions ranging from which candidates to hire to which consumers should receive a special promotional offer. As a powerful tool for… Continue Reading