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Posts from the ‘Business Torts’ Category

Piracy, ISPs, and six strikes: not two outs, or even one…

In a voluntary self-policing effort most likely intended to help safeguard their Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) Section 230 immunity from suit, several Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) have created a “Copyright Alert System” (“CAS”) to allow content owners the opportunity to report piracy, through which “strikes” can be issued to Internet service users as a warning for piracy.  This YouTube user who I can’t identify as an authority, has a few generally accurate, and fairly informative videos about the CAS regime.  It’s not clear whether this user is a representative of the ISPs or not.  Comcast also has a pretty good set of faqs on the CAS.

Essentially, the CAS allows content owners to identify infringing IP addresses after verifying that infringement is taking place by P2P (“peer to peer”) file sharing.  The ISP then sends a warning to the Internet service user who had that IP address at the relevant time.  After multiple warnings the Internet service user may be required to view a video about piracy, and after several warnings that user’s service may be “throttled,” or slowed down to make piracy more difficult or time-consuming.  The CAS includes an arbitration process for challenging warnings (Russell’s teapot: How do you prove you weren’t pirating?), but no circumstance under which an Internet service user’s account is to be terminated.

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If You Can Read This, You Might Just Have to Sue Someone…

How long did it take for this page to load?  Not fast enough for you?  Well you might just have a potential lawsuit on your hands.

While my cynical humor may seem funny to some and sad to others, it also has grains of truth.  In this age of digital consumer sophistication and the debate over net neutrality some consumers have taken to the Courts to enforce ISP speed and bandwidth claims.

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California Attorney General Sues Delta Airlines for Not Having a Privacy Policy for Mobile App

Not having a privacy policy could be a problem, especially if you collect personally identifiable information from users located in California.  Delta Airlines is learning this tip the hard way.  Kamala Harris, the California Attorney General, filed a complaint in state court last week against Delta Airlines for not adhering with California state law. The state law at issue is the California Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires a website that collects personally identifiable information about individual consumers residing in California to conspicuously display a privacy policy.

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House (Mis)fires First Shot in Battle over Employer Access to Facebook Passwords

While at least one Senator is drafting a bill to stop the “unreasonable invasion of privacy” resulting from employer access to your Facebook page, the House has rejected a similar proposal from Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter.  The measure would have prevented employers from collecting Facebook user names and passwords as a condition of employment.  The law was added as an amendment to the FCC Reform Act Bill, but was shot down 236-184. Republican opposition spelled disaster for the amendment, though it’s not clear whether House Republicans were genuinely opposed to the legislation or simply did not want to address the matter as part of the FCC Bill (which incidentally, they passed later that day).

As this blog has reported previously, Facebook is vehemently opposed to employers gaining access to employee pages. However, presumably because Facebook lacks the legal and technical capacity to stop the practice, Facebook (and its user base) has been ratcheting up the pressure on Congress to do something.

Given the attention on this issue, it’s practically certain that these measures will be reintroduced in future legislation. We’ll no doubt be blogging about these developments, so check back with us for updates as this saga unfolds.

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The Case of American Superconductor Corp. Highlights IP Theft Abroad

As I visited The Boston Globe’s website to read about the stumbling Red Sox (I will not say which baseball team I root for right now), I came across a far more interesting story that highlights a growing problem US companies are facing.

Now that we are a more intellectual property (IP) based economy (we manufacture less, but develop more technology and software), we will rely more and more on the strength of IP laws around the world.  Unfortunately, China has fallen short in that department (more so with enforcement than laws on the books) and the case of American Superconductor Corp. illustrates this issue perfectly.

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Breaking: Samsung Manager Leaked Existence of iPad

We have not addressed it too much on this blog yet, but trade secrets are always a litigious area in intellectual property.

Now comes word out of a trial involving insider trading that someone at Samsung (which was in Apple’s iPad supply chain) leaked the existence of the iPad before it was known.

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Stories From This Past Week You Don’t Want to Miss

For being the last week of summer, last week was pretty busy.  Let’s take a quick look:

We’ll have more in a bit.

Yelp’s High Wire Act

Who here has used Yelp?

I see every hand raised.  I know I use Yelp pretty frequently, but there is something about Yelp that is extremely troublesome to me.

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