Ninth Circuit Rejects Plaintiffs’ Bad Misreadings of eBay’s User Agreement–Block v. eBay

3 04 2014

The plaintiffs attacked eBay’s “Automatic Bidding System” (sometimes called “proxy bidding”). Bidders list their maximum bid but only bid an increment above the current bid. As new buyers show up, eBay’s software keeps automatically bidding in specified increments until the bidder’s maximum bid is reached. It’s a pretty intuitive process, and I grasped it fully with my first eBay purchase 15 years ago.

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Court Blesses Instagram’s Right to Unilaterally Amend Its User Agreement–Rodriguez v. Instagram

24 03 2014

Instagram revised its terms of service in December 2012. The revisions (1) stated that Instagram was disclaiming “ownership of content” posted by users, as opposed to disclaiming “any ownership rights in content” posted by users; (2) broadened the scope of the license granted by users to allow Instagram to sublicense user content and do so without restrictions; (3) added a liability waiver; and (4) added an arbitration provision. Instagram provided users with advance notice of the changes, letting users know on December 18, 2012 that the new terms would go into effect in a month (on January 19, 2013).

Rodriguez (the plaintiff), continued to use Instagram following January 2013, although she opted out of the arbitration provision. Her predecessor plaintiff (for whom she later substituted in) filed a lawsuit in federal court, but Judge Alsup dismissed that lawsuit for lack of federal jurisdiction. Judge Alsup’s dismissal was without prejudice to plaintiff’s attempt to file in state court, and Ms. Rodriguez pursued that avenue. She asserted claims for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and violations of California’s unfair competition law. Her claims failed.

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Feds arrest “most hated man on the Internet” in revenge porn hacking case

11 02 2014

As the founder of one of the first highly profitable sites to post nude photos of people against their will, 27-year-old Hunter Moore had already been branded the most hated man on the Internet. On Thursday, he was arrested on federal charges claiming that he paid a man to break into the e-mail accounts of hundreds of victims and steal sexually explicit images that later showed up on Moore’s notorious isanyoneup.com site.

According to an indictment filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Moore paid $200 or more per week for images that he knew were obtained by illegally accessing the e-mail accounts. To cover his tracks, he used PayPal accounts that weren’t linked to his identity and at one point created new e-mail addresses and deleted data tied to past hack attacks. Moore’s arrangement with Charles “Gary” Evens, who is now 25, began at an unknown date and lasted until about May 2, 2012, prosecutors alleged in the 15-count charging document.

According to the indictment:

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The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/01/feds-arrest-most-hated-man-on-the-internet-in-revenge-porn-hacking-case/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



No Claim Based on Perez Hilton’s Publication of Unsolicited but Inflammatory Reader Email – Wargo v. Lavandeira

24 11 2013

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Wargo v. Lavandeira, JAMS Arbitration No. 1220041183 (Mar. 24, 2013)

Lavandeira runs the popular Perez Hilton website, which has been involved in its fair share of legal disputes.

In response to an item (presumably about Angelina Jolie—the dispute stems from an event in 2007!) posted by Perez, Wargo sent him the following email:

Perez you are a FAT GAY PIG! Angelina is a ugly whore! You love her because she is a Fag lover! Your brother is a gay little jerk just like your fat ugly ass! MANGELINA is a disgusting gross skank.

The subject line of the email read: “I Hate Skankelina the Homewrecker.” The opinion does not disclose any facts indicating that Wargo and Lavendeira had a business or other relationship. [What would prompt a stranger to send such an animated email to Perez left me scratching my head, but to each her own, I guess.]

Perez promptly published the email, along with Ms. Wargo’s email address. Unfortunately for Ms. Wargo, she had sent the above email using her work email address. As a result, executives at the company she worked at “received a flood of angry emails protesting [Ms. Wargo’s] comments.” Wargo’s employer turned around and fired her.

The dispute raised the question of whether Lavandeira’s publication of the email violated the terms of PerezHiton.com website.

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Yahoo’s User Agreement Fails in Battle Over Dead User’s Email Account–Ajemian v. Yahoo

24 11 2013

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Ajemian v. Yahoo!, 12-P-178 (Mass. Ct. App. May 7, 2013)

This is a very interesting dispute that raises the question of ownership over digital assets after a person’s death.

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