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Supreme Court Set To Hear Landmark Online Sales Tax Case

Supreme Court Set To Hear Landmark Online Sales Tax Case

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could at least somewhat clarify Donald Trump’s complaints about Amazon “not paying internet taxes.” It will also decide if those cheap deals on NewEgg are going to be less of a steal. The case concerns the state of South Dakota versus online retailers Wayfront, NewEgg, and Overstock.com in a battle over whether or not state sales tax should apply to all online transactions in the U.S., regardless of where the customer or retailer is located. It promises to have an impact on the internet’s competition with brick-and-mortar retailers, as well as continue to address the ongoing legal questions surrounding real-world borders in the borderless world of online.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
The Supreme Court Fight Over Microsoft's Foreign Servers Is Over

The Supreme Court Fight Over Microsoft's Foreign Servers Is Over

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The much-anticipated Supreme Court case U.S. v. Microsoft — which could have decided the extent of American jurisdiction over foreign servers — is now, for all intents and purposes, dead. On March 30th, the Department of Justice moved to drop the lawsuit as moot, and today, Microsoft filed to agree with the motion. While the Supreme Court has yet to officially drop the case, it’s a foregone conclusion that they will. Both the government and Microsoft agree that the newly passed CLOUD Act renders the lawsuit meaningless. In U.S. v. Microsoft, federal law enforcement clashed with Microsoft over the validity of a Stored Communications Act warrant for data stored on a server in Dublin. The CLOUD Act creates clear new procedures for procuring legal orders for data in these kinds of cross-border situations. In last week’s motion to vacate, DOJ disclosed that it had procured a new warrant under the CLOUD Act.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
CenturyLink Fights Billing-Fraud Lawsuit By Claiming That It Has No Customers

CenturyLink Fights Billing-Fraud Lawsuit By Claiming That It Has No Customers

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: CenturyLink is trying to force customers into arbitration in order to avoid a class-action lawsuit from subscribers who say they’ve been charged for services they didn’t order. To do so, CenturyLink has come up with a surprising argument — the company says it doesn’t have any customers. While the customers sued CenturyLink itself, the company says the customers weren’t actually customers of CenturyLink. Instead, CenturyLink says they were customers of 10 subsidiaries spread through the country. CenturyLink basically doesn’t exist as a service provider — according to a brief CenturyLink filed Monday.

“That sole defendant, CenturyLink, Inc., is a parent holding company that has no customers, provides no services, and engaged in none of the acts or transactions about which Plaintiffs complain,” CenturyLink wrote. “There is no valid basis for Defendant to be a party in this Proceeding: Plaintiffs contracted with the Operating Companies to purchase, use, and pay for the services at issue, not with CenturyLink, Inc.” CenturyLink says those operating companies should be able to intervene in the case and “enforce class-action waivers,” which would force the customers to pursue their claims via arbitration instead of in a class-action lawsuit. By suing CenturyLink instead of the subsidiaries, “it may be that Plaintiffs are hoping to avoid the arbitration and class-action waiver provisions,” CenturyLink wrote.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
'GTA V' Character Doesn't Resemble Lindsay Lohan, Court Rules

'GTA V' Character Doesn't Resemble Lindsay Lohan, Court Rules

Actress Lindsay Lohan has failed in her latest attempt to sue the maker of the video game Grand Theft Auto V. From a report: While the court said in an opinion a computer generated image may be considered a “portrait” under current state civil rights law, “the artistic renderings are indistinct, satirical representations of the style, look, and persona of a modern, beach-going young woman that are not reasonably identifiable as the plaintiff.” Lohan sued GTA V publisher Take-Two Interactive in 2014 over a NPC in the game called Lacey Jonas. Players encounter her while she’s hiding in an alley from the paparazzi. She describes herself as an “actress slash singer” and the “voice of a generation.” Artwork during the game’s loading screens depict similar blonde women. One is wearing a red bikini and flashing a peace sign as she takes a selfie. Another wears a fedora and large sunglasses while being frisked by a female police officer. Lohan claimed developer Rockstar Games modelled the character and screens after her, using her “image, likeness, clothing, outfits, clothing line products, and ensemble in the form of hats, hairstyle, and sunglasses” without her permission.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Coffee Requires Cancer Warning, California Judge Rules

Coffee Requires Cancer Warning, California Judge Rules

Scientists haven’t rendered a verdict on whether coffee is good or bad for you but a California judge has. He says coffee sellers in the state should have to post cancer warnings. From a report: The culprit is a chemical produced in the bean roasting process that is a known carcinogen and has been at the heart of an eight-year legal struggle between a tiny nonprofit group and Big Coffee. The Council for Education and Research on Toxics wanted the coffee industry to remove acrylamide from its processing — like potato chip makers did when it sued them years ago — or disclose the danger in ominous warning signs or labels. The industry, led by Starbucks, said the level of the chemical in coffee isn’t harmful and any risks are outweighed by benefits. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said Wednesday that the coffee makers hadn’t presented the proper grounds at trial to prevail.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Uber Settles With Family of Woman Killed By Self-Driving Car, Avoids Lawsuit

Uber Settles With Family of Woman Killed By Self-Driving Car, Avoids Lawsuit

It appears that Uber won’t go to court to settle a lawsuit after one of its self-driving cars killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona earlier this month. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares a report from Ars Technica: Uber has reached a settlement with the family of the woman killed by an Uber self-driving car. Uber reached the settlement with the daughter and husband of Elaine Herzberg, who died at age 49 after being hit by the Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. The settlement presumably includes a cash payment, but no details were provided by either Uber or the family’s attorney. “The matter has been resolved,” said Christina Perez Hesano, an attorney for Herzberg’s family, according to reports by Reuters and NPR.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Confirmation of a US Government Probe Pushes Facebook's Market Loss To $90 Billion

Confirmation of a US Government Probe Pushes Facebook's Market Loss To $90 Billion

The US Federal Trade Commission has confirmed that it is investigating Facebook over its privacy practices, following recent revelations that data firm Cambridge Analytica harvested and exploited tens of millions of users’ data without their permission. From a report: Facebook’s stock renewed its downward slide, bringing the company’s total loss of market value to around $90 billion since the scandal broke 10 days ago. “The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices,” said Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Pirate Music Site's Owner Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

Pirate Music Site's Owner Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

An anonymous reader shares an update on Artur Sargsyan, who owned the music-pirating site Sharebeast as well as Newjams and Albumjams. TorrentFreak reports:

Thursday a U.S. District Judge sentenced the 30-year-old to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and more than $642,000 in restitution and forfeiture…
The RIAA claimed that ShareBeast was the largest illegal file-sharing site operating in the United States… “Millions of users accessed songs from ShareBeast each month without one penny of compensation going to countless artists, songwriters, labels and others who created the music,” RIAA Chairman & CEO Cary Sherman commented at the time…
If Sargsyan had responded to takedown notices more positively, it’s possible that things may have progressed in a different direction. The RIAA sent the site more than 100 copyright-infringement emails over a three-year period but to no effect. This led the music industry group to get out its calculator and inform the Deparmtment of Justice that the total monetary loss to its member companies was “a conservative” $6.3 billion “gut-punch” to music creators who were paid nothing by the service…
“His reproduction of copyrighted musical works were made available only to generate undeserved profits for himself,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “The incredible work done by our law enforcement partners and prosecutors in light of the complexity of Sargsyan’s operation demonstrates that we will employ all of our resources to stop this kind of theft.”
David J. LaValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said “His sentence sends a message that no matter how complex the operation, the FBI, its federal partners and law enforcement partners around the globe will go to every length to protect the property of hard working artists and the companies that produce their art.”
Today if you visit ShareBeast.com or AlbumJams.com, they display an “FBI anti-piracy warning” image notifying visitors the domain has been seized, adding “Willful copyright infringement is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution.” The image is surrounded by a red border with the word “seized” written over and over again.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Entire Broadband Industry Will Help FCC Defend Net Neutrality Repeal

Entire Broadband Industry Will Help FCC Defend Net Neutrality Repeal

The biggest lobby groups representing broadband providers will help the FCC defend the repeal of net neutrality rules in court. Ars Technica reports: Yesterday, three trade groups that collectively represent every major home Internet and mobile broadband provider in the U.S. filed motions to intervene in the case on behalf of the FCC. The motions for leave to intervene were filed by NCTA–The Internet & Television Association, CTIA–The Wireless Association, and USTelecom–The Broadband Association. NCTA represents cable companies such as Comcast, Charter, Cox, and Altice. CTIA represents the biggest mobile carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and Sprint. USTelecom represents wireline telcos with copper and fiber networks, such as AT&T and Verizon. All three groups also represent a range of smaller ISPs. As intervenors in the case, the groups will file briefs in support of the net neutrality repeal order and may play a role in oral arguments. NCTA’s motion noted that its members would once again be subject to “common-carriage regulation under Title II of the Communications Act” if the FCC were to lose the case. CTIA said that its members “would be adversely affected if the [net neutrality] Order were set aside and the prior Title II Order classification and rules were reinstated.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court
Man Fined For Implanting NFC Train Ticket In Hand

Man Fined For Implanting NFC Train Ticket In Hand

Unhappy Windows User writes: An Australian man, when checked by a ticket inspector, claimed his smart travel card was implanted in his hand. He took the case to court and lost; the fine and legal fees add up to AU$1220 (USD $950). The man, who self-identifies as a biohacker and is a member of the Science Party, accepts the ruling but states that it won’t discourage him from further biohacking. He claimed he was ahead of the law. The prosecution argued that, by cutting the chip out of the card, the ticket was invalidated. It is not clear from the article whether the NFC chip was working correctly and could be read by the inspector, or not. Further reading: BuzzFeed News

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court