CLIP-ings: August 11, 2017

Internet Governance

Tweaking Telecoms: The Senate passed a series of laws last week centering on the FCC: one requires that phone systems allow individuals to directly dial 911, the next created a working group of various government agency personnel tasked with reporting on the security of internet of things devices, the last requires the FCC to frequently report on the state of competition within telecom’s video and service delivery markets.

Unhinged UK: The UK announced it will pass a more extensive Data Protection Act including provisions requiring social media companies to comply with a teenager’s request to delete information posted as a child via the “right to be forgotten,” outlawing pre-ticked “consent” boxes on sites, and expanding the definition of “personal data” to include internet cookies, DNA, and IP addresses.

Privacy

Warrant Woes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has argued that federal agents should obtain warrants before searching digital devices carried by international travelers, citing the immense amount of personal information stored on these devices and the recent increase in digital searches at the U.S. border; meanwhile, the Supreme Court is considering whether law enforcement must get a warrant before tracking suspects using their cell phone location history.

Relaxed Rules? A report alleges that teenage-targeted social messaging app Kik enables child exploitation as the app’s moderators have failed to take down profiles of accused or convicted pedophiles; although the moderators of the app comply with law enforcement investigations, they admitted that they “will do a better job of removing profiles of convicted pedophiles.”

Chat Combat: A new chatbot developed by Microsoft pretends to be a live person offering sex online and then delivers a warning to users that the conversation could be reviewed by law enforcement as part an initiative among non-profit groups seeking to thwart online human sex trafficking.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Radio Waves: In the wake of cyberattacks and weather-based disruptions that illustrated the vulnerability of satellite-based GPS systems used by the majority of cargo ships for navigation purposes, several countries are developing back-up terrestrial systems using radio frequencies that are more difficult for hackers to jam but sometimes less accurate than GPS.

Intellectual Property

Salacious Sequel? A case under consideration by the Southern District of New York focuses on a play that is an alleged infringing sequel that takes place 43 years after the original Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas;” while Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP alleges IP infringement, the playwright asserts a fair use defense emphasizing that his dark adult comedy is a parody and/or is highly transformative of the original because its components from the plot to the tone are materially different.

Positive Piracy: The 80s rock band Def Leppard credits the “multiplier effect” of music piracy for the band’s continued relevance and success after observing that over the past 15 years its audience has increasingly consisted of younger fans.

Free Expression and Censorship

Fake News Fights & Findings: Facebook is fighting back against a technique called “cloaking” that allows spammers to create a consumer-facing landing page of fake news while fooling moderators with an innocent-looking site; meanwhile a study found that fake news spreads primarily through social bots, which are automated bots that control recently published fake news postings on social media accounts, targeting influential figures to induce the spread of false content.

All Eyes: A German-Israeli artist unhappy with how Twitter responded to more than 300 tweets he reported as abusive recorded a video in which he spray-painted 30 of those tweets outside of the social network’s German office.

Practice Note

Privacy International: While much attention has been given to data protection regulation in the EU and cybersecurity policy in China, legal experts have advised multinational companies to review developments in consumer privacy law elsewhere in the world, such as pending mandatory data breach reporting requirements in Canada, Singapore and Australia, and the establishment of a Personal Information Protection Commission in Japan.

On The Lighter Side

Falling for AI? To prepare his players for imminent battles with robots, the head coach of Baylor University’s football team raced and beat the robot dummy just before the dummy sought revenge and tackled the coach after his victory.


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

CLIP-ings: August 4, 2017

Internet Governance

Blocker Ban: A federal court in Virginia has ruled that the chairwoman of a county board violated the First Amendment rights of a constituent she blocked on Facebook, concluding that the official suppressed “critical commentary regarding elected officials” and raising questions as to the constitutional limitations of social media accounts maintained by public officials.

Exchange Enforcement: A Bitcoin exchange called BTC-e was shut down by law enforcement after its operator was charged not only with stealing the equivalent of $400 million in Bitcoin that lead to the bankruptcy of another exchange but also with using BTC-e to launder the proceeds from criminals engaged in drug trafficking and ransomware attacks.

Privacy

Sneaky Stingray: Reports of surveillance technologies designed for spying and wartime purposes being used on the American public, such as “stingray” devices that can intercept cell phone data from unknowing users, has lead to calls for greater transparency in Congress as to their use and legality.

Going Private: While Twitter lost two million U.S. users last month, WhatsApp now boasts over a billion users per day in the latest example of a user preference for “privateness” that favors encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger over less secure public platforms such as Twitter.

Family-Fony Fun: A recent study found that over half of the 5,000 most popular games designated as family-friendly on the Google Play store violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) because they tracked or collected the personal data of its users who are primarily children under the age of 13.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Bill for Basics: In response to the tendency for Internet of Things (IoT) devices to ship without security features, such as hardcoded passwords that cannot be changed by a user, two senators proposed a new bill that would require IoT device manufacturers to include basic security protections in the devices and certify that the devices are free of vulnerabilities at the time they are sold.

Public Data Doubts: LinkedIn and small tech company HiQ are engaged in a battle over HiQ’s alleged violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA); while LinkedIn argues that website owners have the authority to rescind another’s access to their site on a case-by-case basis, HiQ believes that its behaviors were legal because it was accessing public data from a publicly accessible website.

Intellectual Property

Patent Exchange: A patent advisory and transaction firm is looking to create a new marketplace in which venture-backed startups in need of funding provide equity to big technology companies in exchange for patents that the larger firms no longer need, as a way to encourage startups to think about patent strategy and larger firms to put dormant patents to better use.

Trademark Troublemakers: The Trademark Trial Appeal Board (TTAB) must reconsider a case of Dale Earnhardt’s widow challenging her stepson’s attempt to register the name “Earnhardt Collection” because the TTAB did not determine whether the trademark was descriptive, the first step in deciding if a surname is unregistrable; meanwhile, NYC based-makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis (KW) is suing Kim Kardashian-West (KKW) over the name of her cosmetics line because KW believes that KKW is engaging in unfair competition, infringing on KW’s four initial-bearing logo trademarks, and causing consumer confusion regarding KW’s high-end organic beauty line.

Free Expression and Censorship

National Censorship Athletic Association? A student with a successful athletics-related and monetized YouTube account has lost his full-ride scholarship to play football at the University of Central Florida because he did not answer a negotiation ultimatum from the NCAA that attempted to mitigate his imminent violation of the NCAA rule that prohibits a student athlete from profiting from his or her status.

Free Internet Fail: A study found that Facebook’s free internet service, Free Basics, provides internet access to 63 countries in Asia, Africa and South America but prevents access to Facebook’s competitor’s sites and local sites, and limits access to about a thousand sites of U.S. and U.K. companies.

Practice Note

Barricading the Bench: As cybercriminals look for new targets to launch their attacks, the need for robust cybersecurity infrastructure must extend into the courtroom, where confidential proceedings take place and secure data management frameworks are now essential to ensure the proper administration of justice.

On The Lighter Side

Enhanced Exposure: A new specially developed VR technology improves the effects of exposure therapy, according to a study conducted by therapists on their patients which shows that the tech allows patients to truly address phobias and similar conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder.


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

CLIP-ings: July 28, 2017

Internet Governance

Firearm Fears & Fumbles: A study conducted by think tank Rand Europe and the University of Manchester revealed that 47% of the products sold on the dark web are firearms and 60% of those firearms listings have product association origins from the United States; a report by the Government Accountability Office found that the Defense Logistics Agency lacks adequate due diligence in the administration of its 1033 Program, which transfers excess military grade weaponry to local law enforcement, but can be compromised by anyone who can make a fake law enforcement site.

Connecting Cuba: Although their state-sponsored internet is limited to public hotspots and plagued by censored sites, government spying and slow browsing speeds, a group of forward-thinking Cubans have devised workarounds such as packaging and distributing content on external hard drives and even creating a makeshift intranet service with Cuban versions of Instagram and Reddit.

Privacy

Roomba Runs Risks: iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum, is contemplating selling the home configuration data the vacuum collects to Google, Amazon or Apple; while the data could be useful for law enforcement and insurance companies, many privacy experts are concerned that this data would reveal intimate consumer information and raise many legal questions.

A Chip in Hand: A Wisconsin company is offering its employees the chance to get a rice-grain-sized RFID chip implanted in their hands that would allow them to unlock doors and log in to office computers with a wave of their hands, but opens up the possibility for constant employee tracking.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cyber Security Shuffle: The State Department plans to reorganize including moving its Cyber Security arm to the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, leaving national security experts concerned that the move will signal that the current administration views cyberthreats as only a business matter and threatens the diplomatic cyberpolicy function of that arm.

Hacking U: New legislation aims to allocate $15 million from the U.S. defense budget to support curriculum development and best practices for a university course called “Hacking for Defense,” which places university scientists and engineers alongside defense personnel to find solutions to national security issues.

Intellectual Property

SoundCloud SoundOff:  SoundCloud prevented digital preservationists from attempting to archive the digital platform’s entire catalog, consisting of 900-terabytes of information totaling about 123.6 million tracks, stating that the download would violate its Terms of Use by infringing on the copyright of their users’ protected content.

Bad Apple? A U.S. judge doubled the amount Apple must pay to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to $506 million after Apple continued to infringe on a design for processor chips used in the iPhone and iPad, despite Apple’s claim that it developed proprietary technology for those processors.

Myriad Marks: In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that a bar on “disparaging” trademarks is a violation of the First Amendment, a wave of previously prohibitable marks are becoming registered as the guidelines for examining attorneys require an update to align with the ruling.

Free Expression and Censorship

Suspect or Over-Sensitivity? A Washington state law criminalizing repeated or anonymous cyberbullying is being challenged because it can be applied to criticizing politicians online; the plaintiff hopes that challenging the law on First Amendment grounds will render it unenforceable, as this approach has been successful in other states.

Let the Games Begin: An augmented reality (AR) game maker was granted an injunction against Milwaukee County in response to a new law requiring AR game makers to obtain a permit before their games could be played in county parks, ahead of an upcoming trial that will consider the extent of the game makers’ First Amendment rights.

Practice Note

Protecting Your Prints: A new Washington state law requires businesses that collect “biometric identifier” data like fingerprints and retina scans to disclose how the data would be used and obtain consent from the owner before using it, as states looking to pass similar legislation weigh protecting consumer biometric information against exposing businesses to heightened legal liability.

On The Lighter Side

O.G. Owner Obligations: Darden Corporation, the parent company of Olive Garden, had its knowledge handed to it after it threatened trademark infringement and requested for the owner of the Olive Garden critique blog, “allofgarden.com,” to remove the metatags referencing the restaurant; the snarky blogger reminded Darden that the use of the restaurant’s name was legal under the doctrine of fair use. 


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

CLIP-ings: July 21, 2017

Internet Governance

Internet Fast Lane? Comcast is advocating for paid prioritization instead of net neutrality by highlighting the necessity of paid prioritization with the imminence of self-driving cars; although the telecomms do not currently own the unlicensed bandwidth that autonomous cars will likely use to communicate with other cars, infrastructure, and devices, the safety-critical messages sent via vehicle-to-anything bandwidth would need to be prioritized over regular internet usage.

F.B.sly: A ruling by a federal judge now prohibits Internet Service Providers from notifying users of national security investigation by the FBI, giving the bureau the freedom to investigate without interference including accessing a complete list of the online purchases and all IP addresses with which the suspect was in communication.

Privacy

Face Finder: A deep learning software startup is developing technology that can be embedded into police body cameras to identify persons of interest in crowded areas, but the technology raises privacy concerns as it can be enlisted by multiple body cameras at the same time to continuously monitor a public space.

Customs vs. Cloud: While U.S. Customs officials have the authority to search an individual’s electronic device without probable cause, officials may not search information not stored on the device itself, such as data stored in the cloud.

Ploys & Toys? The FBI and FTC are warning parents to ward off potential child identity fraud by doing their due diligence before purchasing smart toys for their kids, as many of these toys require providing sensitive information during account registration, have recording capabilities for voice recognition software, and often send back to the developer or cloud a wealth of information for various purposes such as GPS location, internet history, and IP address.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Information Indifference: Reliance Jio, an Indian telecom upstart, was hacked last Monday leaving the information of 100 million users vulnerable, yet the company’s denial of the hack has shed light upon an issue with India’s cybersecurity law: it barely exists, notwithstanding homing many international businesses within its borders, and its domestic corporations do not prioritize information security or feel incentivized to prevent and address the issue properly.

Shrinking the Satellites: A Silicon Valley startup has disrupted satellite technology by offering an alternative with size and affordability that will allow the Department of Defense (DOD) to have enough satellites to properly surveil the entire world and make up for natural limitations in surveillance that occur during the the nighttime and viewing through clouds.

Intellectual Property

BRAwl: Lululemon sued Under Armour for allegedly infringing on a patent for its cross-strap sports bra design, a rare move in the fashion industry that will ask a federal court to consider whether the design is truly novel.

Taming the Trolls: A Massachusetts state senator is proposing new legislation aimed at ridding the state of patent trolls as part of an effort started by an internet security company to prevent a practice that threatens younger entrepreneurs and hinders innovation and economic development in the state.

Free Expression and Censorship

We The Social? Social media networks are becoming increasingly similar to governments in terms of controlling participation in expressive speech and shaping public opinion, such as through the rise of political propaganda bots; the platforms should not be mistaken for governing bodies because they operate using a different set of rules for monitoring and policing speech.

Lost in Transmission: China is continuing to flex its censorship muscle with new technology that can delete messages in private chats before the messages are received, as when the friend of a celebrated Chinese dissident was recently unable to send photos of the man to the intended recipients through the messaging app WeChat.

Practice Note

Guidelines for Games: Legal battles abound over alleged similarities between video game “clones,” where courts have held that current U.S. copyright law protects the most obvious creative aspects of a game, such as its visual appearance the uniqueness of its characters, and does not protect mechanics such as in-game rules or functional elements such as point systems.

On the Lighter Side

Service for Service: In yet another instance of users failing to read the terms and conditions to access an internet service, more than 22,000 people agreed to a “Community Service Clause” requiring them to perform 1,000 of service on tasks like cleaning public toilets and scraping gum off the streets in exchange for access to a WiFi hotspot.


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

CLIP-ings: July 14, 2017

We dedicate this edition in memory of Kyung Joon (KJ) Shin,  
CLIP-ings Editorial Fellow, Spring 2015.

Internet Governance

Talk That Talk to FTC: Proponents of net neutrality supported the “Day of Action” online protest on Wednesday by presenting their stance on the issue and educating users; participants included various companies such as Google, OkCupid, College Humor and Etsy, organizations such as the ACLU, and even AT&T.

Dollars for Scholars: Researchers at MIT and Harvard studying autonomous information systems and driverless vehicles will be the largest recipients of a $7.6 million research grant from a fund that encourages exploration of the intersection between artificial intelligence and public policy.

Privacy

Buffering Big Brother: The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual report evaluating tech companies’ protection of user privacy from the government was released this week; Adobe, Credo, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr and WordPress all tied for providing the best protection, while major telecommunications companies AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon provided the worst protection of all 26 ranked companies.

Susceptible Satellite Cells: A recently published study found that the phone call encryption system used by service providers for satellite phones has serious vulnerabilities and can be decrypted, suggesting the need for an upgrade to these systems since many in war zones and rural areas depend on this technology for communication.

We Have Your Heartbeat: After pacemaker data for a defendant accused of arson was found to be inconsistent with his testimony, an Ohio judge ruled that the data was admissible in court and rejected the argument that allowing the government to access personal medical information poses a privacy threat.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Policing the Plants: After reports surfaced that hackers attempted to breach security systems at U.S. nuclear power plants, senators called on agencies like the Department of Energy to release information about the attacks and introduced legislation to develop a cybersecurity strategy to protect U.S. energy infrastructure.

Compulsory Cybersecurity Coverage: In the UK, with only a few financial industry insurers providing cyber insurance, the country’s regulatory body Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) has proposed expectations of insurers, such as providing policies specifically for cyber risks, assessing their exposure to these risks, and conducting stress tests to make sure their systems can handle sudden influxes of client claims in the event of a major global cyberthreat.

Intellectual Property

Downloading DramaStream-ripping, the act of downloading and storing permanent files from sites such as Spotify and YouTube, is the new trend in music piracy in the UK popularized by a misbelief that the sites had the requisite permission to allow them to download the content and a lack of knowledge that their act was illegal; remedying this piracy trend will require cooperation between UK authorities and digital service providers.

Monkey See, Monkey Sue: A federal appeals court will decide whether an Indonesian monkey can claim ownership of a selfie that the monkey took, weighing the district judge’s conclusion that animals cannot own intellectual property against the argument that the originality of the work is more important than its author.

Free Expression and Censorship

Cops on Camera: The Third Circuit recognized a First Amendment right to record on-duty police officers, citing widespread cell phone ownership and the benefits of using cell phone video to combat subjective testimony and finding additional support in the First Amendment right of access to information about officials’ public activities.

Practice Note

Indispensable IP: Despite many reasons offered against startups focusing on intellectual property issues, new businesses are wise to invest resources in intellectual property protection to maintain profitability, compete in global markets, and create long-term brand equity.

On the Lighter Side

Crowdsourcing Comfort: To do right by his graduates and continue a tradition, the dean of Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law in North Carolina turned to a crowdsourcing campaign to provide stipends for his graduates during their bar exam preparation and has raised over $15,000 thus far.


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

CLIP-ings: July 7, 2017

Internet Governance

Digital David & Goliath: The EU’s recent $2.7 billion antitrust fine against Google is a big win for the information antitrust war led by Yelp; the small search engine rival of Google that led the intercontinental fight for 6 years utilized various approaches along the way from hackathons to meetings with regulatory agencies to provide evidence of Google’s monopoly on online searching. .

Tempting the Twenty: Ongoing debates about data security, the trustworthiness of the digital economy, and internet access have led members of the G20 to devise a set of guiding regulatory principles in an effort to encourage each member nation to adopt the proposed digital agenda ahead of the G20 Summit in Germany this week.

Privacy

Terrorism Justifies Privy to Private Messaging? Privacy red flags have been raised as ongoing pressure from various international regulators has resulted in some of Facebook’s human content moderators receiving additional clearance to investigate user profiles with suspected ties to terrorist groups, including their private messages.

Armed and Autonomous: The Dubai police force has unveiled first-of-their-kind driverless police cars equipped with built-in surveillance drones, license plate readers, and facial recognition technology that human officers can use to remotely monitor crowded areas and identify suspects.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

DOJ Dodging Diplomacy? Seemingly in an effort to circumvent international authorities and gain access to data centers worldwide, the DOJ has proposed legislation to Congress and petitioned the Supreme Court to allow the issuing of warrants for digital information stored outside the United States by asking for an expansion of the Stored Communications Act.

Testing the Truth: As AI technology advances, some startups are developing capabilities which within the coming years will create realistic audio and video forgeries eventually undetectable to even forensic analysis, and as these developments evolve so too will various industries that depend on evidence of the truth such as journalism, national security, and the criminal justice system.

Proving Grounds: Weaker defense systems, the rush to enter the digital economy, and the likelihood of anonymity have made developing countries in Southwest Asia and Africa prime targets for hackers looking to test and modify new malware before wielding it against well-fortified entities such as international banks or government networks in more developed countries.

Intellectual Property

Snapchat’s Shopping Spree: The release of Snapchat’s new Snap Map seems to be the beginning of the company’s venture into augmented reality, as its recent purchases of hundreds of location-dependent technology patents will eventually allow users to tether photos and messages to particular locations on the map that will send to other users when they are nearby.

Free Expression and Censorship

Secure or Censored? A new study has found that websites that switch from HTTP to secure HTTPs connections prevent government censors from blocking specific web pages, forcing censoring governments to decide whether to allow all content on a particular site or block the site entirely.

Content Control: A new wave of government regulations aimed at the Chinese media industry will subject online audiovisual content to an audit to ensure it comports with “core socialist values,” drawing backlash from critics who say the rules will hamper creativity and force popular blogs and social media platforms to limit their content or shut down.

Practice Note

Conversations on “Connected Cars”: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) held a workshop on the “connected car” to address the NHTSA’s proposed rule, consumer safety benefits, the multitude of privacy and information security concerns surrounding this technology, and the need for the private sector to take a vested interest in the regulation of this interdisciplinary intersection of the auto and tech industries.

On the Lighter Side

A Phone for That: While the iPhone celebrated its 10th anniversary this past week, one reporter and smartphone holdout remarked that using the iPhone has dispensed with our need for previously commonplace physical objects like handwritten calendars, noisy alarm clocks, and even our once-beloved iPods.


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

CLIP-ings: June 30, 2017

Internet Governance

Tech Titans Tackle Terrorism: Tech giants Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Google via YouTube will further their joint counter-terrorism efforts by forming the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, centering its focus on working with other players in the fight against terrorism, commissioning research and sharing technological solutions to curtail the content’s prevalence.

Give Kids the World Wide Web: Facebook is backing a new bill proposed by the California legislature that would give internet access to youth in juvenile detention facilities and foster care homes and allow them to develop computer literacy and communication skills

Privacy

Search Warrant Stress: The fight between Facebook and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as the BCA sought access to the Facebook accounts and metadata of Philando Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, in the days following the deadly shooting shed light on the difficult position of social media companies when faced with search warrants for user data and the differences in compliance between tech and telecommunications companies with such requests.

Now You See Me: Snapchat’s new location-sharing Snap Map feature has raised concerns that users can unwittingly broadcast their exact real-world position in the app, though the company states that precise location data is deleted after a short period of time.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Public Health Policy Meets Privacy: In its 17 point framework, the World Health Organization outlines the costs and benefits, such as potential patient privacy risks and tracking spread of diseases respectively, for countries’ adoption of the guidelines but emphasizes the importance and necessity for global ethical and responsible public health information collection and analysis.

Cyber Ceasefire: In a suspected effort to be harder on China, Canada signed an agreement with China agreeing not to conduct economic cyber espionage against the other, including hacking corporate secrets and proprietary technology, but the agreement does not address intelligence gathering via state-sponsored hacks.

Muddled Motivations: After another global cyberattack caused computer systems to fail around the world but yielded a small payout for the attackers, security experts are questioning whether the prospect of financial gain takes a backseat to other goals such as spreading an attack more quickly or sending a political message.

Intellectual Property

Copying Coachella? Urban Outfitters says it did not infringe on the music festival  Coachella’s trademark, arguing that its use of the mark in advertising is not confusing to consumers and that other infringement allegations should be directed at its legally distinct subsidiary, Free People.

Tweet Takedown: Twitter suspended several popular music blogs after they tweeted footage from awards shows and another blog that tweeted the track list for a forthcoming hip-hop album, leading to both speculation that Twitter will suspend individual accounts for alleged copyright violations and calls for more transparent account suspension guidelines.

Free Expression and Censorship

Net Neutrality Noisemaker No More: In the ongoing fight for net neutrality, a voice that was once a vocal proponent is now notably silent; Tumblr and its CEO David Karp have barely engaged in the current discussion for net neutrality, and some suspect this change is due to Tumblr’s new parent company, Verizon Wireless, an opponent of net neutrality.

Halting Hate Speech: German police raided homes and interrogated 36 citizens accused of using hate speech on Facebook and Twitter, including incendiary political comments and harassment based on sexual orientation, in the midst of a pending German law that would impose a fine of up $53 million on social media platforms that do not remove prohibited speech.

Practice Note

Patent Predicament: While proponents of the proposed STRONGER Patent Act believe that the legislation will better protect patent owners’ rights, critics argue that the Act would remove a mechanism for challenging bad patents and actually discourage inventors from conducting research and development in the United States.

On the Lighter Side

Robo Reporting Gone Awry: A robot reporter used by the Los Angeles Times called Quakebot reported that a 6.8 earthquake hit Los Angeles last Wednesday, which it did but in 1925; the robot reports on earthquakes via the U.S. Geological Survey’s website but due to a USGS staffer’s mistaken alert during an update of historical data, the robot in turn messed up.


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

Elizabeth Martin
Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: June 23, 2017

Internet Governance

Content With a Conscience: Google offered new “Community Guidelines” for its YouTube service that places additional restrictions on content deemed offensive but not flat-out removable, such as providing a warning to users, removing user recommendations and comments, and restricting the ability to monetize the content with advertising. 

All Access: The Supreme Court ruled that it is a violation of the First Amendment to ban people from the internet, recognizing a constitutional right even for individuals convicted of serious crimes to access what the Court believes is an essential forum for free speech activities.

Privacy

Dangerous Diagnoses: A data mining company has been soliciting people to take part in drug trials based in part on information it collects from data brokers about their potential health conditions, raising concerns that big data is exploiting sensitive and sometimes inaccurate medical information to turn a profit.

Internet ID? Technology companies and humanitarian groups are calling for a global digital identification system they say would make it easier to travel, sign documents, and even seek asylum, backed by encryption technology supposedly robust enough to store fingerprints, medical records, and banking information in a single mobile app.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Data Disruption Drives $1M Deposit: A South Korean web hosting company, primarily serving thousands of small businesses, paid a $1 million ransom after an eight-day data outage cyber attack.

Meet Your Moderator: Due to a bug in the company’s system, the personal accounts of over 1000 Facebook content-moderators were posted in the groups that these administrators had removed from the site.

Intellectual Property

Moody Movie: Disney-Pixar is being sued over the idea for the 2015 film Inside Out by the co-founder of the National Childhood Grief Institute for her program designed to help children manage and understand their emotions, a program that she had pitched to Disney-Pixar annually from 2005-09.

Livestream LoserA U.S. District Judge ordered an unsuccessful plaintiff to pay the defendants’ attorneys fees as a punishment for the bogus copyright claim arising over the media outlets’ use of the plaintiff’s accidental live-stream of his child’s birth, an act protected by the fair use doctrine.

Show(room) Stopper: Fresh off the heels of its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market, Amazon has received a patent for technology that prevents “showrooming” while customers are connected to the Wi-Fi in Amazon stores by restricting access to competitors’ websites, sending targeted offers, and even alerting Amazon employees that a customer is conducting online research while in the store.

Free Expression and Censorship

Mistakenly Mature Materials: As a Pride Month Initiative, with the help of many volunteered LGBTQ employees and content creators YouTube corrected its filtration system and updated its policies for its Restricted Mode, a system designed for public institutions to prevent mature content on their computers.

Maduro Gets Mad: Twitter allegedly blocked 180 accounts linked to the Venezuelan government, pointing not to a specific violation but instead to its usual policy of blocking accounts for abuse, spam or security issues and leading Venezuelan President Maduro to say that the government will retaliate by creating “10,000 or more” accounts.

Practice Note

Government Speech No-Go: The Supreme Court ruled that the anti-disparagement clause, which prohibits trademark registration if the trademark brings disparagement or produces contempt to “persons living or dead,” is unconstitutional as it violated the First Amendment, and thereby curtailing the scope of the government-speech doctrine by clarifying that the approval of a government, such as the USPTO, does not categorize the private speech as government speech capable of being silenced if it is viewed as disfavored by the government.

On the Lighter Side

To Push Puss Press… Netflix has announced it’s developing interactive-storytelling childhood shows, using Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile and  Buddy Thunderstruck, providing viewers many opportunities to navigate the story and choose their own ending.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Elizabeth Martin
Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: June 16, 2017

Internet Governance

Paid Postgramming: Instagram unveiled a new “branded content tool” that will help users tell the difference between sponsor-free posts and paid posts that signal partnerships with influencers, and it will help influencers and sponsors collect data on how the sponsored posts perform with users.

Classified Covfefe: As the White House states that social media posts should be considered as official presidential communications, lawmakers hope to amend the Presidential Record Act via the passing of the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act.

Privacy

Capable Crusader? With the identity of the perpetrator unknown, a lawyer unsuccessfully sued Facebook after his account was hacked and compromised with revenge porn postings; the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Facebook as a third party to the hack was not liable for such conduct.

Privacy for the Pro: While professional athletes’ status as public figures substantially affects the scope of their privacy rights, at least one federal district court has articulated additional privacy protections that loosen the otherwise higher standard for athletes to show that a public disclosure of private information amounts to an invasion of privacy.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Cyberwar, cont. More than a year after launching a cyber offensive against the Islamic State that has yielded inconsistent results, U.S. counterterrorism officials are retooling their cyber warfare techniques with the goal of permanently dismantling ISIS cyber-infrastructure through more robust attacks.

Tweets from Thieves: A security research group has uncovered an international hacking scheme called the “Doubleswitch” in which hackers compromise the Twitter accounts of activists and journalists, locking the victims out of their accounts and allowing the hackers to use seemingly legitimate handles to disseminate fake news.

There Goes the Grid: U.S. intelligence officials are worried that the malware believed to have shut down part of the electric grid in Ukraine last year can be leveraged against other countries at a much larger scale, but the risk could provide the impetus for countries to better secure their power grids.

Intellectual Property

Tough Time for Trolling: Louis Vuitton is pushing back against being regarded as a “troll” as it is being sued for attorneys fees in its failed trademark infringement and trademark dilution litigation against the creator of “My Other Bag”; meanwhile, the 7th Circuit has squandered the hopes of housing copyright “trolls” who bring cases under the obscure Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act of 1990.

Free Expression and Censorship

Free Speech Frenzy? University of Wisconsin faculty and administrators are concerned about the passing of a vague state bill allegedly focused on public forums with invited speakers; while it would require the state’s institutions to remain “neutral” towards contemporaneously contested public policy issues, the unease arose due to uncertainty about the regulation of free speech on campuses, especially regarding scientific claims, if passed.

Sensitive Censorship: Pakistan’s government is taking a strong stance against negative social media, such as sentencing a citizen to death for a seemingly sacrilegious comment about the prophet Muhammad; Thailand is continuing to extend its censorship of negative commentary about the royal family by sentencing a man to 35 years in prison; China attempts to instill “socialist values” as it closed 60 gossip social media platform accounts for posting allegedly tasteless content.

Practical Note

Patent: Private or Public Property? The impending hearing of a case by the U.S. Supreme Court questions the America Invents Act’s constitutionality; the answer is dependent on the classification of patents as a public or private property right, and thus questions the constitutionality of the PTAB’s decisions; it appears that any answer suggesting private property rights or invalidating the PTAB will have reverberating effects on the world of patents.

Rushing a Right? The New York State Legislature proposed a bill that would significantly expand and make transferable the right to publicity, though First Amendment advocates see the bill as detrimental to the freedom of expression and call for more careful consideration of the scope and nature of the right.

On the Lighter Side

Communication-Free Courting: An interest-based dating app prohibits communication between potential suitors and utilizes common ideal date activities to match people, removing one of the uniquely human obstacles to setting up a date.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Elizabeth Martin
Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP

CLIP-ings: June 9, 2017

Internet Governance

Airbnb Addresses A.D.A.? A new study reported that mentioning a disability renders you far less likely to be preapproved for a rental, even though Airbnb has introduced new rental options to accommodate its diverse customer base, such as “instant bookings.”

SanFran Sidewalk Ban: As the prevalence of delivery services increases, San Francisco considers a bill that would ban autonomous delivery robots from roaming the city’s sidewalks because they pose a physical safety risk to pedestrians.

Privacy

Modern Monopoly? Antitrust regulators expressed concern that existing frameworks lack protections against tech giants’ monopoly over valuable user data, citing an ongoing investigation into whether Facebook abused its dominance as a social network through unfair terms of use and calling for increased scrutiny over use of that data.

BodyCam Conversation Concerns: An intensive study of body camera footage from Oakland, California reveals that police officers use less respectful language during interactions with black people; although the behavior’s cause is unknown it is an important first step towards community driven policing.

Caller I.See: A new FCC proposal would allow law enforcement officials to uncover details about anonymous threatening callers, but the FCC must strike a balance between the privacy interest of legitimate callers and penalizing threatening callers, who the Commission says lack a legitimate privacy interest.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Revenge or Resilience: With no safeguards to ensure that victims only engage with their stolen data and issues in determining chain-of-custody and how to handle international threats, hacking back, the inspiration for the bipartisan Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act bill could do more damage than good; an alternative could be to use the power of human resilience to train cybersecurity staff and the public by using simulated phishing emails and social engineering.

Google Games to Do Good: Be Internet Awesome is the fun educational curriculum developed by Google to teach children about the dangers of the internet, such as cyber-bullying, information security, phishing attacks, and other bad internet behavior.

Intellectual Property

The Stolen Oldies? iHeartMedia Inc. will not need to pay royalties for “pre-1972s” – sound recordings generally excluded from the federal copyright system – after a federal judge in Illinois ruled that any remaining common law protection of the copyright is lost when the recordings are sold or broadcasted.

Sampling Snafu: In an unusual victory for music sampling, hip-hop artist Drake was found not to have infringed on an earlier composition by jazz artist Jimmy Smith based on the doctrine of fair use, though the case highlights the complexity of current copyright licensing law.

Free Expression and Censorship

Ruined Revenue: To appease advertisers and high-profile content creators, YouTube has disabled advertisements from running on hateful, demeaning, or incendiary videos.

Social Media Stumps Scholars: First Amendment academics are divided as to whether President Trump caused a free speech violation by blocking some of his followers on Twitter, causing a debate over whether a President’s Twitter account is analogous to a public forum or to a one-way communication channel.

Practical Note

Government Geeks: A digital civil rights organization filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI after it reportedly paid Best Buy’s ‘Geek Squad’ employees to perform warrantless searches on defective devices, causing debate over whether such searches violate the Fourth Amendment.

On the Lighter Side

APPocalypse? Apple kicked off WWDC 2017 with a short video depicting the supposed inevitable apocalypse that would occur in a modern-day app-less reality.


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

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Elizabeth Martin
Fellow, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP