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Posts from the ‘Courts and Cases’ Category

DEA Sued for Creating Fake Facebook Account Using Woman’s Photos

How would you like to stumble upon a Facebook page that you did not create, and that also displayed your name and your personal photographs?  Better yet, how would you feel if that same page was created and being used by a government agency to catch criminals?

That is exactly what happened to a Sondra Arquiett in 2010 when an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) took it upon himself to create a fake Facebook account with the hopes of establishing contact with criminal drug dealers.  DEA agent Timothy Sinnigen admitted to creating the account and appropriating Arquiett’s likeness, according to the federal lawsuit that Arquiett filed against the DEA and agent Sinnigen in the Northern District of New York.  Arquiett had previously been arrested for drug charges in 2010, and during that time some of her personal items were seized.  One of those items was her cell phone, which contained personal and private photographs.  Sinnigen used the photographs on the fake Facebook page in order to create the impression that it had been created and was being managed by Arquiett.

The photographs, some of which contain images of Arquiett’s young son and niece, were taken and used without permission or authorization.  The complaint alleges that Arquiett was “deprived of her Constitutional rights, including her right of privacy afforded to her under the First Amendment”.  This clearly raises some concerns about privacy, and to what extent the government can use your personal information.  The Justice Department will investigate this practice and the issues it creates.

The case had been set for trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, however it appears now that it may head to mediation.
By Taylor Hume

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Federal Court Rules that First Sale Doctrine Does Not Apply to Digital Music Resale

Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of record label Capitol Records LLC in its dispute against Redigi Inc., a facilitator of online music resale.  The Court held that Redigi violated the Copyright Act when it facilitated the sale of used digital music files, even though Redigi’s program ensured that seller’s copies are deleted upon sale.

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How Your Cell Phone Became a Perching Felony: About the Recent DMCA Transition to Making Cell Phone Unlocking Illegal

Before you read any further, go read and take note of this petition.  You may want to sign it (I did), but context will help in reading this blog post.  In case you’ve been studying really, really hard for the Bar Exam, or were suffering from a surprise case of “dead” over the last week, you inevitably heard that the process of “unlocking” cell phones, previously legal, is now illegal because of government fiat.  For those who may not have understood or thought to ask, “unlocking” is not the same as “jailbreaking.”  In a nutshell, jailbreaking involves making it possible for a device to run code either from sources the manufacturer did not intend the device to be able to use or to run code the manufacturer did not intend it to be able to run (though most people talk about Apple IOS devices, Sony, for example, will note that other devices can also be “jailbroken”).  Unlocking, however, involves making it possible for a device intended for use on one wireless network to be used on a different network – wireless devices sold by a particular wireless company are generally, but not always, sold programmed so that they can only use that company’s network.

Regular readers of Internetbizlaw and the Centre Knowledge blog know that I am pro technology consumer, and very cynical about the “graying” of property rights.  I am not going to spend a lot of time in this post discussing the “right and wrong” of legalizing unlocking, or not, but everyone should understand a few facts:

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Aaron Swartz’ Case Highlights Imperfect Legal System

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a powerful weapon in a prosecutor’s arsenal.  Though imperfect in some ways, it provides a way for citizens and the Government to seek redress for wrongs that previously had no crime attached to them.  Much has been made of the Department of Justice’s prosecution of Mr. Swartz in the wake of his death.

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FTC Amends Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA)

For those of you not familiar with COPPA, the FTC passed the act in 1998 and it is designed to help protect the personally identifiable information of Internet users under the age of 13 and gives parents control over the information companies collect online from their children.  COPPA specifically applies to websites targeting children, but essentially applies to any site that a child could use that collects personally identifiable information.  The FTC is concerned with children’s privacy now more than ever with the increased use of social media and smartphone apps that use features such as geolocation.

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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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Gun Violence Takes Center Stage: Armslist.com Sued Regarding Wrongful Death of Jitka Vesel

Just prior to the deadly school massacre in Newtown, CT last week, the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois against Armslist, LLC, the owner of Armslist.com, on December 12, 2012.  Attorneys for The Brady Center assert that Armslist.com played a large part in the death of Jitka Vesel, as the gun used to kill her was purchased through the website by her stalker.  According to the Brady Center, the sale of the gun was illegal and the seller pleaded guilty to felony sale of a firearm to an out of state customer.  The Brady Center also mentioned that the website did nothing to stop the sale of firearms to consumers in different states, because it allowed users to view classified listings in all fifty states.

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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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FTC v. Epic Marketplace: It’s not paranoia if…

Remember that Rockwell song from the 80’s: “I always feel like somebody’s watching me…”?  Chances are, while you were online, Epic Marketplace was.  Earlier today the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with Epic Marketplace that required that company to stop “datasniffing” websurfers’ browsing and destroy records gained by doing so.  Find the Consent Order here.

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Digital Rights Management Issues Continue to Tangle Consumers

There was a time, long ago, when we bought something and it was ours.  We could use it, give it away, light it on fire… whatever, but it was ours.  Recently it came to be that something that was ours was also sort of somebody else’s (the recent Supreme Court Kelo case) – or something that was somebody else’s was kind of ours (the more venerable Supreme Court Sony Betamax case) (confused yet?).  Today, things that are ours, aren’t really ours at all.

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