CLIP-ings: September 15, 2017

Internet Governance

Atypical Ads: Following Facebook’s disclosures about Russian-purchased political advertisements, Senator Warner of the Senate Intelligence Committee wants Congress to enact laws to regulate political digital advertising consistent with the laws for political television ads.

Rocky Tweets: A California court has refused to find the existence of a contract for the development of a Rocky franchise spinoff movie based on a series of tweets that the complaining party sent to actors from the original films, with the court concluding that broad disclosure of an abstract idea does not imply a promise to pay for that idea.


Evasive Exchanges: Kaspersky Lab opened a pop-up shop in London where customers purchased exclusive items by street artist Ben Eine by providing certain amounts of personal data; the stunt was a thought experiment designed to make people more concerned about the information they give away every day.

Agency Access: Despite increasing congressional and state legislative protections on access to personal medical records, federal law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) can override existing state law to access and act on patient and prescription information without a warrant.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Diseased Devices: Google, Apple, and Microsoft are taking Armis Labs’ warnings seriously by creating updates to protect their devices, as at least 5.3 billion of the 8.2 billion Bluetooth-enabled devices worldwide are vulnerable to an attack called BlueBorne that requires no user involvement to spread between devices.

Better Bureaus? After a breach of credit bureau Equifax exposed the personal information of more than 143 million U.S. citizens, a group of Senators has reintroduced legislation that would require credit reporting agencies to provide more transparent credit reporting and injunctive relief if they mishandle credit information.

Intellectual Property

Outlawing Oldies: Last week, the civil rights classic “We Shall Overcome” lost its copyright protection as a New York federal judge determined that the song’s lyrics are not sufficiently different from that of the 1948 version, which is already in the public domain.

Win for Skin? A New York federal judge is expected to decide whether tattoos drawn on human skin is an “expressive medium” that can receive copyright protection, after a group of tattoo artists sued a video game creator for portraying in-game characters with tattoos mimicking the artists’ copyrighted designs.

Free Expression and Censorship

Enraged Emailer: A federal judge dismissed a libel suit from the self-proclaimed inventor of email against a Techdirt writer who regarded the inventor as a fraud because “the claim is incapable of being proven true or false[,]” the inventor of email depends on the definition of email, and there are many individuals that could be credited with this invention.

Practice Note

Board or Bench? Parties interested in resolving disputes through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) should consider the impact of recent decisions when bringing disputes before the Board, which now allow foreign trademark protection in the U.S., registration of disparaging marks, issue preclusion, and fee shifting for some TTAB decisions on appeal.

On The Lighter Side

Name Game: WiFi network names that often default to complicated alphanumeric chains are increasingly being personalized by users, with names like DropItLikeItsHotspot believed to add creativity and personality to homes and businesses.

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