CLIP-ings: September 8, 2017

Internet Governance

Droning Differences: China’s adoption of stricter laws on flying drones resulted in many citizens flocking to aviation schools in pursuit of official licenses; meanwhile the FAA’s looser drone restrictions have provided telecommunications companies like AT&T and insurance companies like Allstate and Farmers Insurance the opportunity to utilize commercial drones in conducting their inspections for repairs and damages from Hurricane Harvey.

Wheels Up? Representatives from both sides of the aisle of the U.S. House voted to pass the SELF DRIVE Act, a move that will eventually allow companies to perform safety tests on up to 100,000 autonomous vehicles on regular roads if the legislation receives Senate approval.


Win for Workers: The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of worker privacy rights forcing employers to inform their employees of the monitoring of their work email accounts, make employees aware of the consequences of utilizing work email for personal correspondence, and require legitimate justifications for monitoring their accounts such as IT risks or illegal activity.

Personnel Passcodes: The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has suggested that demanding a soldier provide a phone passcode is a violation of the Fifth Amendment, reasoning that providing or entering a passcode while in custody can be considered a self-incriminating act.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Unkind Uploads: A 20-year old college student informed the Federal Communications Commission of a potential vulnerability to their commenting system in which, when commenting, an individual can upload an accompanying file harboring malware.

Pay Phones: Consumers around the world are now quicker to adopt mobile payment systems that run on their smartphones, citing convenience and confidence in security features like biometric authentication and notification capabilities despite the fact that smartphones are easier to hack than credit and debit cards.

Intellectual Property

Ripped Off: A soon-to-be-finalized settlement between major record labels and the world’s largest audio-ripping website will end a copyright infringement suit brought by the labels last year to enjoin the site from illegally distributing and profiting from millions of copies of label-owned music.

Coffee Flop: Starbucks has settled a trademark suit brought by the parent company of a single coffee shop in Brooklyn for allegedly infringing on its “Unicorn Latte” and drowning out the small shop’s opportunity to obtain fame for creating the drink.

Free Expression and Censorship

Fond of the Filter: Recently-leaked documents from the Council of the European Union show that Estonia, the current holder of the EU Presidency, is pushing for indiscriminate internet surveillance and to censor the internet in a manner similar to China, including a proposal to filter all uploaded content.

Practice Note

Keeping Up with Copyright: Recent developments in copyright law have drawn attention to some of the key issues in the area, including an updated test for separability used in the Star Athletica case, new case law to clarify who counts as a “repeat infringer” of copyrighted materials, and the still-open question of when a copyrighted work meets the registration requirement so that the owner can sue for infringement.

On The Lighter Side

Move Over Amazon: The government of Tanzania and Zipline International Inc. await the start of their partnership resulting in the world’s largest drone delivery service, which will distribute up to 2,000 life-saving medical supplies daily to the country’s 5,640 public health facilities.

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