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Tag Archives: Litigation

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What’s not to like? The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that an employee’s Facebook “like” approving of another employee’s statements about their employer may constitute “concerted activity” under federal labor law. Two employees—a waitress and a cook—had been fired by a sports bar in Connecticut for complaining about the employer on Facebook, but the… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The August Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in DMCA, FDA Regulations, Litigation, Privacy, Statistics, Supreme Court, Wearable Computers

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we examine the use of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to combat web scraping; we explore the launch of Google Glass in the UK… Continue Reading

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Facebook reported strong results for ad revenue in the second quarter of 2014. Mobile advertising was particularly strong, up 30 percent from last year. Mobile ads now account for 62 percent of Facebook’s advertising revenue. A federal district judge in California declined to dismiss a case against Google that alleged that it did not adequately… Continue Reading

Data for the Taking: Using the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to Combat Web Scraping

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

“Web scraping” or “web harvesting”—the practice of extracting large amounts of data from publicly available websites using automated “bots” or “spiders”—accounted for 18% of site visitors and 23% of all Internet traffic in 2013. Websites targeted by scrapers may incur damages resulting from, among other things, increased bandwidth usage, network crashes, the need to employ… Continue Reading

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A St. Louis juror’s use of Google to learn something about punitive damages during a trial, while qualifying as “knucklehead misconduct,” was not a sufficient basis for overturning the jury’s verdict, a judge has held. A new report on the “sharing economy” indicates that peer-to-peer sites such as Airbnb that facilitate private accommodation rentals are… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The July Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in FTC, IP, Litigation, Privacy, Terms of Use, UK High Court

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. Welcome to a special privacy issue of Socially Aware, focusing on recent privacy law developments relating to social media and the Internet. In this issue, we analyze a controversial European ruling that strengthens the right to be forgotten; we examine a recent California… Continue Reading

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YouTube has started pointing out to users that service slowness or interruptions are occurring on its videos — a thinly veiled allusion to ISPs, whom YouTube blames for online slowness. Some refer to this as a form of “public shaming.” Although most Americans either don’t realize that their purchasing decisions are affected by social media marketing… Continue Reading

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The New York Court of Appeals has struck down that state’s “cyberbullying” law in a 5-2 decision, finding that it is overly broad and chills First Amendment-protected speech. The case arose when a 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty under the law to creating a Facebook page that included graphic sexual comments alongside photos of classmates at… Continue Reading

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Twitter is rolling out a new type of advertising that reportedly has been very successful for Facebook’s mobile business — mobile-app install ads, which link directly to games and other apps in popular mobile app stores. An Idaho state court affirmed the Idaho Industrial Commission’s denial of unemployment benefits to a nurse who was discharged after… Continue Reading

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Facebook’s deputy general counsel describes the company’s pushback since last summer against sweeping search warrants issued by a court in New York for private data from no fewer than 381 Facebook users. The company regards the warrants as overbroad and unconstitutional. The San Francisco city attorney has ordered the developer of a new mobile app… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Stifles Aereo, but Tries to Keep the Cloud Away

Posted in Copyright, IP, Litigation, Supreme Court

In a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a 6-3 decision that Aereo’s Internet streaming service engages in unauthorized public performances of broadcast television programs in violation of the Copyright Act, reversing the Second Circuit’s decision in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. (No. 13-461). In ruling against Aereo, the… Continue Reading

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In the top news story of the day, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Aereo in a closely watched copyright dispute with broadcasters; the Court found that Aereo engages in unauthorized public performances in violation of U.S. copyright law. Will cloud storage models survive this decision? What remains, if anything, of the Second Circuit’s landmark… Continue Reading

Court Holds That DMCA Safe Harbor Does Not Extend to Infringement Prior to Designation of Agent

Posted in Copyright, DMCA, Litigation

The safe harbor provisions in § 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provide a mechanism that insulates online service providers from monetary damages for infringing materials posted or stored by their users.  To receive this protection, service providers must designate an agent to receive notice of claims of infringement with the Copyright Office… Continue Reading

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Debt collectors are using social media more and more frequently to try to track down people who owe money, but they are bound by restrictions in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when they do so, just as if they used traditional means. The controversial “right to be forgotten” recently received another boost when a… Continue Reading

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Lately, when Facebook has wanted to increase its users’ engagement on its site, it has turned to taking out ads—on Facebook. The theme is “Where will your friends take you?” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer told audiences at the International Festival of Creativity in Cannes that Tumblr, which is owned by Yahoo, is the best place… Continue Reading

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Are threats made on social media protected free speech, or potentially criminal acts? The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to examine the constitutionality of a federal law making it a crime to transmit communications containing “any threat to injure the person of another.” In this case, the “threats” were in a series of Facebook postings…. Continue Reading

Websites Hit With Demand Letters on Accessibility Issues Despite Courts’ Rejection of Claim

Posted in Litigation

In recent weeks, numerous businesses have received letters asserting that their websites are not accessible to persons with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Unruh Act. These letters threaten litigation and warn of large penalty claims under the Unruh Act.  What these letters do not report is that California courts… Continue Reading

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The U.S. Secret Service is looking for software developers who can write programs that are capable of detecting sarcasm in postings on social media sites in order to distinguish real threats from facetious ones; some critics said that this is intrinsically a futile effort and that programs can’t effectively make the distinction. On May 30, a… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Finds Laches Does Not Bar Copyright Infringement Claim: Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

Posted in Copyright, IP, Litigation, Supreme Court

The doctrine of laches cannot be invoked as a bar to a plaintiff’s claim for damages brought within the Copyright Act’s three-year statute of limitations period, according to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. The Court, in a 6-3 decision, held that Congress prescribed a specified period in which a… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The May Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Copyright, FTC, Internet of Things, IP, Litigation, Privacy, SEC, Supreme Court, Terms of Use

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we analyze a groundbreaking FTC complaint alleging deceptive practices online that could turn website Terms of Use into federal law; we summarize a U.S. Supreme… Continue Reading

French Consumer Association Takes on Internet Giants

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

Earlier this year, the French consumer association UFC-Que Choisir initiated proceedings before the Paris District Court against Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., accusing these companies of using confusing and unlawful online privacy policies and terms of use agreements in the French versions of their social media platforms; in particular, the consumer association argued… Continue Reading

European Court of Justice Strengthens Right to Be Forgotten

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a quite surprising decision against Google which has significant implications for global companies. On May 13, 2014 the ECJ issued a ruling which did not follow the rationale or the conclusions of its Advocate General, but instead sided with the Spanish data protection authority (DPA) and found that:… Continue Reading

Snap Judgment: FTC Alleges Snapchat Did Not Keep Its Privacy and Security Promises, But Suggests Broad New Duty in the Process

Posted in FTC, Privacy

Snapchat’s recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) generally provides a comprehensive but not groundbreaking roadmap to the FTC’s privacy and data security expectations in the mobile environment under Section 5 of the FTC Act, with two very notable exceptions: It now appears that companies are required to follow researchers’ blogs and other writings… Continue Reading

If You Host Videos on Your Website, Read This Blog Post Regarding the Video Privacy Protection Act

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

In a much anticipated decision in the class action In re Hulu Privacy Litigation, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has shed new light on the meaning of “personally identifiable information” (PII) under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). This has important implications for companies… Continue Reading