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.
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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.

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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.



DMCA wins big in record label lawsuit against Vimeo

21 06 2016
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that service providers such as video-sharing sites like Vimeo are protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for pre-1972 musical recordings uploaded by their users.

The record labels had sued the YouTube-like site and successfully convinced a district court judge that, because pre-1972 recordings fell under state laws and not federal copyright law, the DMCA didn’t apply. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision and also overturned the lower court that ruled the DMCA didn’t grant so-called safe-harbor passage to service providers whose employees saw infringements on their platforms uploaded by their users.

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/06/video-sharing-sites-win-big-in-dcma-legal-fight/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



WARNING: Copyright Office Resurrects Troubling Plan To Strip Websites Of 512 Safe Harbor

30 05 2016

The Copyright Office has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding a new electronic submission process for websites and online services to designate agents to receive 512(c)(3) copyright takedown notices. The agent designation process is crucial to the 17 USC 512 safe harbors because the formality of designating an agent is required to qualify for the 512(c) safe harbor. See, e.g., BWP v. Hollywood Fan Sites. As part of rolling out the electronic submission process, the NPRM proposes reducing the filing fee from $105 (or more) to $6, reflecting that an electronic filing system would reduce the Copyright Office’s operating costs.

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The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/05/warning-copyright-office-resurrects-troubling-plan-to-strip-websites-of-512-safe-harbor.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Downloaders Beware? Judge Rules Against Cox in Copyright Battle

16 05 2016

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady recently made the most far-reaching decision to date in the high-profile battle between Cox Communications Inc. and two music publishers over illegal downloads, ruling that federal copyright law doesn’t shield the cable giant from liability for illegal music downloading by its subscribers.

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The content in this post was found at http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2015/11/25/downloaders-beware-judge-rules-against-cox-in-copyright-battle/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Experts Weigh in on Impact of EU Data Ruling

18 11 2015

Wall Street Journal

October 6, 2015

Jacob Gershman

The European Union’s highest court knocked down a trans-Atlantic pact used by thousands of companies governing data flow from Europe to the United States since the early Internet years. Here’s what legal experts, scholars and other commentators are saying about the latest private ruling out of Europe.

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The content in this post was found at http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2015/10/06/experts-say-weigh-in-on-impact-of-eu-data-ruling/?mod=WSJBlog&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Flaw%2Ffeed+%28WSJ.com%3A+Law+Blog%29 and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.