CLIP-ings: October 27th, 2017

Internet Governance

ADmendment: Senators are writing an amendment to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2012, named the Honest Ad Act, that would require online platforms to make reasonable efforts to prevent foreigners from purchasing political ads to influence American elections and impose the same disclosure requirements of political ads on TV and radio to paid digital and internet ads.

Stopping the Search: A new bill called the USA Rights Act introduced in the Senate would modify U.S. government surveillance techniques by closing the “backdoor search loophole” that currently allows warrantless searches of domestic communications collected by the National Security Agency and by improving judicial oversight, among other reforms.

Sharing is Caring: Officials from the United States and the United Kingdom are reportedly developing a data sharing agreement, which would allow law enforcement from either country to access data stored or controlled by companies domiciled in either country.


Common Concerns: A recent study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that teens, as well as parents, hold the same concerns regarding digital privacy, online safety, identity theft, and fake news.

Delivery Doubts: Amazon has launched a new service called Amazon Key that combines a smart door lock, a security camera, and a mobile app to allow couriers to drop off deliveries inside the house, raising concerns as to the trustworthiness of the service and Amazon’s new access to video feeds of customers’ homes.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Insurance Encouragement: Merck’s insurers are estimated to pay $275 million for the pharmaceutical giant’s global production losses resulting from the June 27th “NotPetya” worldwide cyberattack, serving as a reminder that companies should strongly consider acquiring cyber insurance.

Failure Bureau? The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has said that the agency failed to gain access to some 7,000 encrypted mobile devices, acknowledging the importance of encryption but lamenting that it hinders the agency’s investigative efforts.

Intellectual Property

Auto Against Amazon: Amazon has been sued for trademark infringement by Mercedes-Benz’s parent Daimler AG for allegedly selling counterfeit wheel center caps bearing the Mercedes-Benz logo, with Daimler claiming that Amazon has refused to take reasonable steps to monitor intellectual property infringement.

Doctrinal Distress: A recent Federal Circuit decision highlights the difficulties of winning an infringement claim based on the doctrine of equivalents, an alternative method of bringing a patent infringement claim, as there are many limitations to the application of the doctrine, including the use of the public dedication rule, prosecution history estoppel, the all-limitations rule and specific exclusion rule, and the ensnarement rule..

Free Expression and Censorship

Commission Concessions: The Federal Trade Commission has stated that it will not take enforcement action against companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple that allow children under 13 to give voice commands to their smart assistants and smart speakers, so long as these companies address how they plan to collect, use, and delete the audio data in their privacy policies.

Practice Note

Fair Use With Seuss: Past cases alleging copyright infringement of the works of Dr. Seuss provide guidance on how the fair use doctrine applies to parodies: rights holders should consider licensing a variety of uses of their original content, new content creators can avoid infringement by providing commentary or criticism of the original work, and copyright practitioners should development arguments around the purpose and character of the challenged use as well as the effect of the use on the potential market.

On The Lighter Side

PHONEy: The nonprofit Common Sense Media provides a trio of thought-provoking PSAs calling out our obsession with phones, especially at the dinner table.

Information Law News From CLIP-ings International Correspondents Around the Globe

This academic year, former CLIP-ings Editorial Fellows studying abroad are reporting from time-to-time on current local news and developments in the field of information law!

From Victoria Loeb – Paris, France:

EU Clash Over Tech Tax: President Macron’s plan to increase taxes on large technology firms in Europe was opposed at an EU summit last week by Ireland, Luxembourg and other small countries that believe the tax would hinder investment; Macron is adamant that higher taxes would not cause US tech giants to exit the EU market, but France needs the unanimity of all twenty-eight EU Member States for the tax to happen.

Quick Response: Two French hackers watched an interview where entrepreneur Roger Ver offered Bitcoin cash coins worth $1000 to whichever viewer was first to scan an on-screen QR code; the France 2 channel blurred out the code, but the hackers caught several small portions and were able to decode the private key in about twelve to sixteen hours—they describe the process in detail in this blog post.

Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

Fighting the Dietrologia Diet: In advance of the upcoming Italian elections next year, the Italian government is including lessons on detecting fake news and conspiracy theories in Italian school curriculums, especially as a general sentiment of distrust in authorities—known as dietrologia—has increasingly pervaded the Italian landscape.

Buying Art With Bitcoin: Sant’Agostino, an Italian auction house, will begin to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment, starting with an auction this week on furnishings and design objects; as awareness of the cryptocurrency in Italy is gaining momentum, the auction house hopes to attract younger international buyers through accepting Bitcoin.

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
Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP