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Appeals Court Won't Take Up Copyright Decision That Raised Alarm About Embedding, Linking

Appeals Court Won't Take Up Copyright Decision That Raised Alarm About Embedding, Linking

The 2nd Circuit denies an immediate appeal in a case that challenges how news organizations used embedded photos of Tom Brady. The Hollywood Reporter: Back in February, a New York judge caused a bit of a freakout by issuing a copyright decision regarding the embedding of a copyrighted photo of NFL superstar Tom Brady. Now comes another surprise with potentially big ramifications to the future of embedding and in-line linking: The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an interlocutory appeal. Justin Goldman is the plaintiff in the lawsuit after finding the photo of the New England Patriots quarterback he shot and uploaded to Snapchat go viral. Many news organizations embedded social media posts that took Goldman’s photo in stories about whether the Boston Celtics would recruit NBA star Kevin Durant with Brady’s assistance. Breitbart, Heavy, Time, Yahoo, Vox Media, Gannett Company, Herald Media, Boston Globe Media Partners and New England Sports Network were defendants in the lawsuit, but many of these companies have since settled. Heavy has not, and in February, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest shocked many legal observers with a decision that refused to apply the “Server Test,” where the direct liability of a website publisher for copyright infringement turns on whether the image is hosted on the publisher’s own server or is embedded or linked from a third-party server. Although the Server Test has been adopted in other jurisdictions, Forrest wrote, “The plain language of the Copyright Act, the legislative history undergirding its enactment, and subsequent Supreme Court jurisprudence provide no basis for a rule that allows the physical location or possession of an image to determine who may or may not have ‘displayed’ a work within the meaning of the Copyright Act.” She added, “Nowhere does the Copyright Act suggest that possession of an image is necessary in order to display it. Indeed, the purpose and language of the Act support the opposite view.”

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Uber Faces Federal Investigation Over Alleged Gender Discrimination

Uber Faces Federal Investigation Over Alleged Gender Discrimination

According to The Wall Street Journal, Uber is being investigated by U.S. authorities over a complaint about gender discrimination (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is leading the investigation, which began last August but hasn’t been previously reported. From the report: EEOC investigators have been interviewing former and current Uber employees as well as seeking documents from Uber officials, these people said. The investigators have been seeking information related to hiring practices, pay disparity and other matters as they relate to gender, one person said. Uber, which hopes to debut on the public markets sometime in the second half of next year, is already is facing at least five other federal investigations by multiple agencies into its pricing practices, accusations of bribery by Uber executives abroad, and its use of software designed to evade local officials tracking its operations, among other matters.

The EEOC, tasked with enforcing federal laws against discrimination, generally responds to confidential complaints filed by workers against employers, and can file suit or seek private arbitration. Of roughly 90,000 complaints filed annually, a fraction result in a settlement or EEOC-led lawsuit. It is unclear whether the EEOC intends to take any action against Uber, which would be one of the agency’s most prominent recent cases.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
TSA Screeners Win Immunity From Abuse Claims, Court Rules

TSA Screeners Win Immunity From Abuse Claims, Court Rules

Mr.Intel writes from a report via Reuters: “Fliers may have a tough time recovering damages for invasive screenings at U.S. airport security checkpoints, after a federal appeals court on Wednesday said screeners are immune from claims under a federal law governing assaults, false arrests and other abuses,” reports Reuters. In a 2-1 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners are shielded from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) because they do not function as “investigative or law enforcement officers.” The decision, the first on the issue by a federal appeals court, was a defeat for Nadine Pellegrino, a business consultant from Boca Raton, Florida. “She and her husband had sued for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution over a July 2006 altercation at Philadelphia International Airport,” reports Reuters. According to court papers, Pellegrino had been randomly selected for additional screening at the Philadelphia airport before boarding a U.S. Airways flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pellegrino, then 57, objected to the invasiveness of the search, but conditions deteriorated and she was later jailed for about 18 hours, the papers show. Criminal charges were filed, and Pellegrino was acquitted at a March 2008 trial.

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Judge Rules Big Oil Can't Be Sued For Climate Change Costs

Judge Rules Big Oil Can't Be Sued For Climate Change Costs

An anonymous reader shares a report: A U.S. judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention ruled Monday that Congress and the president were best suited to address the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming. So he threw out lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the Earth’s changing environment. Noting that the world has also benefited significantly from oil and other fossil fuel, Judge William Alsup said questions about how to balance the “worldwide positives of the energy” against its role in global warming “demand the expertise of our environmental agencies, our diplomats, our Executive, and at least the Senate. The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case,” he said. Alsup’s ruling came in lawsuits brought by San Francisco and neighboring Oakland that accused Chevron (CVX), Exxon Mobil (XOM), ConocoPhillips (COP), BP (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) of long knowing that fossil fuels posed serious risks to the environment, but still promoting them as environmentally responsible.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Bethesda Sues Warner Bros, Calls Its Westworld Game 'Blatant Rip-Off' of Fallout Shelter

Bethesda Sues Warner Bros, Calls Its Westworld Game 'Blatant Rip-Off' of Fallout Shelter

Bethesda, the video game publisher behind Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, is suing Warner Bros. and Fallout Shelter co-developer Behavior Interactive over the recently released Westworld, alleging that the mobile game based on HBO’s TV series is a “blatant rip-off” of Fallout Shelter. Polygon reports: In a suit filed in a Maryland U.S. District Court, Bethesda alleges that Westworld — developed by Behaviour and released this week for Android and iOS — “has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements” as Fallout Shelter. Fallout Shelter was originally released in 2015 for mobile devices. The game was later ported to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

Bethesda said in its suit that Behaviour uses “the same copyrighted computer code created for Fallout Shelter in Westworld,” alleging that a bug evident in an early version of Fallout Shelter (which was later fixed) also appears in Westworld. Bethesda alleges the companies “copied Fallout Shelter’s features and then made cosmetic modifications for Westworld’s ‘western’ theme.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Supreme Court Backs Award of Overseas Patent Damages

Supreme Court Backs Award of Overseas Patent Damages

schwit1 quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger NV, the world’s largest oilfield services provider. The decision expands the ability of patent owners to recover foreign-based damages, increasing the threat posed by certain infringement lawsuits in the United States.

Internet-based companies and others had expressed concern that extending patent damages beyond national borders would expose U.S. high-technology firms to greater patent-related risks abroad. U.S. patent law generally applies only domestically, but Schlumberger said that since the law protects against infringement that occurs when components of a patented invention are supplied from the U.S. for assembly abroad, it should be fully compensated for the infringement, including any lost foreign sales. The high court agreed.

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Supreme Court: Warrant Generally Needed To Track Cell Phone Location Data

Supreme Court: Warrant Generally Needed To Track Cell Phone Location Data

daveschroeder writes: The Supreme Court on Friday said the government generally needs a warrant if it wants to track an individual’s location through cell phone records over an extended period of time. The ruling [PDF] is a major victory for advocates of increased privacy rights who argued more protections were needed when it comes to the government obtaining information from a third party such as a cell phone company. The 5-4 opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the four most liberal justices. It is a loss for the Justice Department, which had argued that an individual has diminished privacy rights when it comes to information that has been voluntarily shared with someone else.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Tesla Sues Employee Alleged To Have Stolen Gigabytes of Data

Tesla Sues Employee Alleged To Have Stolen Gigabytes of Data

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Wednesday, Tesla sued a former employee who worked in its Gigafactory in Nevada, accusing him of stealing trade secrets. The lawsuit appears to be what CEO Elon Musk was referring to recently when he said that production of the Model 3 had been sabotaged. Musk said that there are “more” alleged saboteurs.

According to the civil complaint that was filed in federal court in Nevada, Tesla accused Martin Tripp, who began working in Sparks as a “process technician” in October 2017, of exporting company data: “Tesla has only begun to understand the full scope of Tripp’s illegal activity, but he has thus far admitted to writing software that hacked Tesla’s manufacturing operating system (“MOS”) and to transferring several gigabytes of Tesla data to outside entities. This includes dozens of confidential photographs and a video of Tesla’s manufacturing systems.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
The Supreme Court Will Decide If Apple's App Store Is a Monopoly

The Supreme Court Will Decide If Apple's App Store Is a Monopoly

The Supreme Court will review a 2011 class-action lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of operating an illegal monopoly by not allowing iPhone users to download mobile apps outside of its own App Store, reducing consumer choice. The case, being referred to as Apple Inc. v. Pepper., could have wide-reaching implications for consumers as well as other companies like Amazon. Wired reports: The dispute is over whether Apple, by charging app developers a 30 percent commission fee and only allowing iOS apps to be sold through its own store, has inflated the price of iPhone apps. Apple, supported by the Trump administration, argues that the plaintiffs in the case — iPhone consumers — don’t have the right to sue under current antitrust laws in the U.S.

The case marks a rare instance in which the court has agreed not only to hear an antitrust case, but also one where no current disagreement exists in the circuit courts. The outcome could change decades of antitrust legal precedent — either strengthening or weakening consumer protections against monopolistic power. The case also represents a huge source of revenue for Apple; the company raked in an estimated $11 billion last year in App Store commissions alone. The lawsuit centers around another Supreme Court case from 1977, Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, “which established what is known as the Illinois Brick Doctrine,” reports Wired. “That rule says you can’t sue for antitrust damages if you’re not the direct purchaser of a good or service.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
The Silk Road's Alleged Right-Hand Man Will Finally Face a US Court

The Silk Road's Alleged Right-Hand Man Will Finally Face a US Court

It’s been nearly five years since the FBI surrounded Ross Ulbricht in the science fiction section of a San Francisco library, arrested him, and grabbed the laptop from which he had run the dark web drug bazaar known as the Silk Road. Ulbricht went on trial in a New York courtroom, and is currently serving a life sentence without parole. But even now, the Silk Road saga still hasn’t ended: Half a decade after Ulbricht’s arrest, his alleged advisor, mentor and right-hand man Roger Clark will finally face a US court, too. From a report: On Friday, the FBI, IRS, DHS, and prosecutors in the Southern District of New York announced the extradition of 56-year-old Canadian man Roger Clark from a Thai jail cell to New York to face newly unsealed charges for his role in Silk Road’s operation. The indictment accuses Clark, who allegedly went by the pseudonyms Variety Jones, Cimon, and Plural of Mongoose in his role as Silk Road’s consigliere, of crimes ranging from narcotics trafficking to money laundering. But even those charges don’t capture the outsize role Clark is believed to have played in building and managing the Silk Road, from security audits to marketing, and even reportedly encouraging Ulbricht to use violence to maintain his empire. “As Ulbricht’s right-hand man, Roger Clark allegedly advised him of methods to thwart law enforcement during the operation of this illegal ploy, pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process,” writes FBI assistant director William Sweeney in a press statement. “Today’s extradition of Roger Clark shows that despite alleged attempts to operate under the radar, he was never out of our reach.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court