CLIP-ings: December 8, 2017

Internet Governance

Crypto Quandary: The SEC’s Cyber Unit arm filed its first-ever charges against PlexCorps alleging the company’s ICO, which raised over $15 million dollars, failed to adhere to U.S. securities law by making unrealistic return rates promises and was “a fraud aimed at enriching” the company’s executives; Canada had previously prohibited PlexCorps from “engaging in unregistered offering of PlexCoin Tokens.”

Fighting News Misinformation: In an effort to protect its national press and advertising quality, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced plans to examine Facebook and Google to understand the companies’ influence on the content produced by Australian journalists.


“Creepy Cayla”: In anticipation of gift-giving season, the CNIL, the French data protection agency, issued a formal notice to Genesis Industries Ltd., a toymaker, targeting the company’s lack of security in two Bluetooth-enabled toys with the agency claiming that the lack of a PIN and the ability to easily communicate with the child through the toys violate Article 1 of the French Data Protection Act; the toys in question have been outlawed in Germany and consumers in the U.S. have filed complaints against the toymaker with the FTC.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

NiceHack: NiceNash, a cryptocurrency company, announced via its Facebook page that the contents of its digital wallet were stolen in a major security breach; the company has yet to release whether any customers’ bitcoins were part of the breach but speculators say that the hackers misappropriated value over $63 million dollars.

Intellectual Property

Our Brand, Our Rules: The European Court of Justice ruled in favor of Coty, Inc., the parent company of brands such as Calvin Klein and Chloe, allowing it to enforce a selective distribution system banning Parfümerie Akzente, a German distributor, from selling Coty’s products on third-party platforms such as Amazon, thus preserving Coty’s control of its brands’ images and its high-end pricing strategy; in its ruling the Court stated that if selective distribution systems are “mainly intended to preserve the ‘luxury image’ of those [goods],” and are applied uniformly and non-discriminatorily, the systems do not breach EU competition law.

iMine: The European General Court upheld the EU Intellectual Property Office’s decision to not allow Xiaomi, Inc., a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, from registering the trademark “Mi Pad” for its tablet computers due to a likelihood of consumer confusion between Xiaomi’s tablet and Apple’s iPad.

Free Expression and Censorship

Facebook Ban: Following the recent wave of social media posts about sexual harassment, many women comedians are accusing Facebook of banning them from the social media site for posting comments about men that Facebook views as threats and hate speech towards a protected group.

Practice Note

CDA Section 230: In Dyroff v. The Ultimate Software Group, Inc., the Northern District of California ruled that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunized the Experience Project’s website from liability arising from an overdose death one of its users suffered from drugs purchased through connections made on the website; the Court held that Section 230 protected the company from all claims except the failure-to-warn claim, with the Court ultimately deciding that the website did not have a duty to warn the user due to a lack of a “special relationship.”

On The Lighter Side

DroneUI: If you’re planning on flying a drone while drinking, avoid doing so in New Jersey.

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:

Pioneer Blockchain Project Incorporates in France: ARK Ecosystem, one of the first blockchain projects to incorporate in the EU, chose France’s unique General Interest Cooperative (SCIC) process as the most compatible legal framework for its decentralized, global cryptocurrency adoption project; as an SCIC, ARK can have an executive and community shareholder management structure without having to redistribute its cryptocurrency funds as earnings.

French Agency Provides Free Privacy Accountability Software: The French data protection authority (CNIL) released the beta version of a user-friendly data protection tool in development since 2015; the software is freely licensed and gives data controllers contextual knowledge based directly on the GDPR and the CNIL’s Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) process, and will improve through community development of new features and feedback so that organizations can achieve compliance when the GDPR comes into effect in 2018.

Meghna Prasad – Rome, Italy:

“Web Tax” Will Pass: As part of an amendment to Italy’s 2018 budget law, the Senate budget committee in Italy has approved a proposal for a “web tax” which is aimed at taxing multinational companies like Google and Facebook for digital services, like advertising, which are otherwise untaxed; the proposal will be further delineated in April of next year, after parliament’s expected approval by the end of this year.

This is Uber Bad:  After the recent revelation of a massive hack of Uber, in which 57 million users had their personal data stolen and Uber paid the hackers $100,000 to keep the breach a secret, the data protection authorities of each EU Member State came together last week to form a task force which will determine how to penalize the company.


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

Idalys Núñez
Dean’s Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Rilana Wenske
Editorial Fellow, Fordham CLIP