The Internet Rallies Against A Terrible Section 230 Ruling–Hassell v. Bird

23 08 2016

2016 has been a tough year for Section 230 jurisprudence, and the nadir (so far) was the appellate court ruling in Hassell v. Bird. As you recall, the case involves some negative Yelp reviews about an attorney, Hassell. Hassell sued the putative author and got a default judgment, including an order requiring Yelp to remove the reviews. Yelp refused to honor the court order. The appellate court held that Yelp could not challenge the legitimacy of the trial court’s defamation “finding” but still had to remove the review despite the First Amendment and Section 230. Among other problems, the ruling provides a roadmap for plaintiffs to scrub unwanted negative reviews, and it trampled on Yelp’s rights to manage its database’s integrity.

Yelp has appealed the case to the California Supreme Court, which has the discretion to hear the case. In support of Yelp’s request, amici submitted 14 letters representing over 40 organizations and over a dozen law professors. Basically, the entire Internet community has rallied around Yelp on this matter–including key players such Google, Facebook, Wikimedia, Twitter (and many others and numerous public interest groups. The volume and gravitas of the letters, plus the obvious and stupid mistakes in the appellate court opinion, should give Yelp’s request a good chance of being granted. The California Supreme Court will announce its decision in the next week or two.
___

Case library:

*Yelp’s Petition for Review, Hassell’s Response, and Yelp’s Reply. Amicus letters from ACLU/EFF/Public Participation Project, Automattic/Pinterest/Reddit, Avvo, Computer & Communications Industry Association, Facebook/Microsoft/Twitter, GitHub, Glassdoor, Google, Internet Law Scholars, Public Citizen, R Street, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (and 30 other organizations), Wikimedia, and Xcentric Ventures (Ripoff Report).
* Appellate Court Opinion. My blog post about it.
* Yelp’s Appeals Court Brief. Hassell’s Response Brief. Yelp’s Reply.

more

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/08/hassell-v-bird.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Internet tracking software maker to face wiretapping trial, court rules

20 08 2016
A US federal appeals court says the maker of an online spying tool can be sued on accusations of wiretapping. The federal lawsuit was brought by a man whose e-mail and instant messages to a woman were captured by the husband of the woman. That husband used that data as a “battering ram” as part of his 2010 divorce proceedings.

It’s the second time in a week that a federal court has ruled in a wiretapping case—in favor of a person whose online communications were intercepted without consent. The other ruling was against Google. A judge ruled that a person not using Gmail who sent e-mail to another person using Gmail had not consented to Gmail’s automatic scanning of the e-mail for marketing purposes. Hence, Google could be sued (PDF) for alleged wiretapping violations.

For the moment, the two outcomes are a major victory for privacy. But the reasoning in the lawsuit against the makers of the WebWatcher spy program could have ramifications far beyond the privacy context—and it places liability on the producers of spyware tools.

more

The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/08/internet-tracking-software-maker-to-face-wiretapping-trial-court-rules/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



De Minimis Music Sampling Isn’t Infringement–Salsoul v. Madonna

13 08 2016

There are several alternative tests for gauging “substantial similarity” in copyright cases. The flagship test is the “ordinary observer” test, but variations include the (baffling) extrinsic/intrinsic test and the abstraction-filtration-comparison test. With respect to sampling sound recordings, the Sixth Circuit’s ruling in Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films created another variant: any sound recording sampling, no matter how minor, was per se infringement, period. Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit rejected Bridgeport’s per se rule, holding that the “de minimis” defense (most prominently associated with Ringgold v. Black Entertainment Television) applied to music sampling.

more

Case citation: VMG Salsoul v. Madonna Louise Ciccone, Nos. 13-57104 and 14-55837 (9th Cir. June 2, 2016)

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/06/de-minimis-music-sampling-isnt-infringement-salsoul-v-madonna.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



FTC sues 1-800 Contacts for attacking competitors’ search ads

13 08 2016
The Federal Trade Commission has sued online retailer 1-800 Contacts, saying the company illegally restrained competitors from buying search advertisements. It’s a dramatic move that could mold the shape of online trademark law for years to come.

 

more

The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/08/ftc-sues-1-800-contacts-for-attacking-competitors-search-ads/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



EA punts, gives $600k to former football star in Madden NFL rights flap

12 07 2016
Jim Brown, an NFL legend who played for the Cleveland Browns, scored big Monday despite his retirement from the gridiron in 1965. That’s because Electronic Arts, the maker of one of the world’s most popular video game series—Madden NFL—has given up its lengthy court battle with the former eight-time Pro Bowl player. The publisher is giving Brown $600,000 to settle a lawsuit that accuses EA of misappropriating his likeness.

more

The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/06/ea-punts-gives-600k-to-former-football-star-in-madden-nfl-rights-flap/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.