CLIP-ings: August 25th, 2017

Internet Governance

Connected Court: China debuted a new division of its judicial system, the Hangzhou Internet Court, designed to handle internet-related disputes and equipped with video feeds to allow the judge to remotely handle cases with attorneys through video conferencing.

Streaming Cents: In response to the decline in sales tax previously generated from cable TV subscriptions and physical video rentals, state and local governments in at least three states have implemented a “Netflix tax” that can be tacked on to streaming subscription services as an alternative revenue source.


Rest in Private: In an effort to protect users’ information once they pass away, Facebook allows users to designate a “legacy contact” while alive who can later oversee their “memorialized profile” by pinning posts and responding to friend requests, though Facebook does not allow the legacy contact to access private messages or delete old posts.

Generic Genetics: Stanford researchers revealed that they have developed a “genome cloaking” encryption technique that hides significant amounts of the genetic information, reducing the biases associated with genetic discrimination and alleviating genetic privacy concerns.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Eagle Eye: Last week, President Trump announced that the U.S. Cyber Command, which assists with conducting cyber warfare and protecting the government cyber networks, will be elevated to a Unified Combatant Command to strengthen cyberspace operations and the fight against new cyber threats.

Vulnerable Voters: A voting machine supplier, UpGuard, accidentally marked back-up voter data as open to the public, endangering the sensitive information of 1.8 million Americans who participated in Chicago’s recent election.

Intellectual Property

Trademark Takes a Tumble? The Supreme Court has been asked to determine the validity of Google’s namesake trademark since the name has become synonymous with the action of conducting an online search.

Cheerios Woes: The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has said that General Mills cannot register the color yellow as it appears on boxes of Cheerios as a trademark, reasoning that the yellow box is not unique to the Cheerios brand and background color is only one of several distinguishing factors of the Cheerios trade dress.

Free Expression and Censorship

Enraged EFF: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is disappointed in the removal of many online white supremacist groups and websites online by the U.S. tech companies as a response to the Charlottesville protest because the EFF deems these decisions as dangerous to free speech and an overreach of power.

Practice Note

Dark and Stormy: The Vice President of Intelligence Operations from a leading cybersecurity advisory firm gave a talk this week about how the “dark net” affects cybersecurity, defining the dark net as online content requiring specialized knowledge or software to access and explaining that companies seeking to understand or protect their assets are wise to contract a specialized firm to monitor the dark web.

On The Lighter Side

Eclipse Excuse: As the U.S. prepared for this week’s eclipse, brands seized on the opportunity to create controversy-free online content connecting their brands to the historic event.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP