Supreme Court: Google Engaged in Fair Use of Java Code

In a 6-2 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court took Google’s side in a copyright battle with Oracle over the former’s use of Java APIs in its Android operating system. Oracle, which had purchased Java in 2010 when it bought Sun Microsystems, sought billions of dollars in damages for what it claimed was copyright infringement. Google argued that free access to the Java software interfaces was important to innovation. Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said that Google made “fair use” of the Java code. Continue reading Supreme Court: Google Engaged in Fair Use of Java Code

Some States Say Amazon Is Liable for Third-Party Products

When Angela Bolger’s laptop caught fire due to a replacement battery she bought on Amazon, she suffered third-degree burns and filed a lawsuit against the popular e-commerce site. Amazon responded by providing a refund for the battery. Until recently, Amazon has successfully fought off such liability suits. The stakes are high since almost 60 percent of all physical goods on its site now come from third-party sellers. The courts have traditionally sided with Amazon, but recent cases from a few states are changing that trend. Continue reading Some States Say Amazon Is Liable for Third-Party Products

Court Finds Amazon Liable for Defective Third-Party Products

The California Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that Amazon can be held liable for the damages created by a defective replacement laptop battery purchased from a third-party seller on its marketplace. The buyer, Angela Bolger, reportedly got third degree burns when the battery, from Amazon third-party seller Lenoge Technology, caught fire. Amazon has defended itself against such liability lawsuits so the appeals court decision is a major blow to its e-commerce business. The company currently faces several other liability suits.

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With New Federal Law, Supreme Court Drops Digital Data Case

Following arguments in February, the case of United States v. Microsoft, No. 17-2, ended in a draw, or, as the court said, “no live dispute remains between the parties.” Federal prosecutors wanted to force Microsoft to turn over digital data stored outside the U.S., but a new federal law, agreed both sides, made the case — based on whether a 1986 law applied to digital data — moot. During arguments, some justices had suggested that Congress, and not the court, should define privacy in a new digital world. Continue reading With New Federal Law, Supreme Court Drops Digital Data Case

HPA 2018: Washington Update on the Future of Net Neutrality

In his annual HPA Tech Retreat address covering all the events in Washington, DC related to copyright law and other entertainment-related issues, Thompson Coburn attorney Jim Burger gave a tutorial on copyright basics he dubbed Copyright 101, and provided an overview on some of the issues related to the Library of Congress and the Music Modernization Act. But the majority of his focus was on the brouhaha over net neutrality and its recent repeal by the Republican-dominated (and chaired) FCC. Continue reading HPA 2018: Washington Update on the Future of Net Neutrality

Supreme Court Rules That Patent Laws Don’t Cover Resales

In a case involving Lexmark International, which makes ink cartridges for its printers, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the company could not avail itself of patent law to prevent others from refilling and selling the cartridges. In doing so, the court made a decision that will positively impact consumers who will no longer be forced to buy products only from the original source. With the ruling, vendors of refurbished, repaired or resold products, will be protected from copyright infringement charges. Continue reading Supreme Court Rules That Patent Laws Don’t Cover Resales

Bill Calls For More Drone Control, FAA Registry Struck Down

The Trump administration is upending the nascent drone industry, proposing legislation that would allow the federal government to track, commandeer, disable or destroy unmanned aerial vehicles. The legislation would include a new exception to surveillance, computer privacy and aircraft protection laws. The administration held a classified briefing for congressional staff members. At the same time, the D.C.-based U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the FAA requirement for non-commercial drone owners to register their aircraft. Continue reading Bill Calls For More Drone Control, FAA Registry Struck Down

Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court tightened rules on where patent lawsuits may be filed. The consequences, say the experts, will make it much more difficult for patent trolls to seek out friendly courts that are likely to rule in their favor. Patent trolls are companies that buy patents solely to demand royalties and sue for damages. Currently, more than 40 percent of all patent lawsuits are filed in a federal court in East Texas, with a single judge there overseeing 25 percent of all nationwide patent cases. Continue reading Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

Court Rules Former College Athletes Can Sue Electronic Arts

A federal appeals court is allowing a group of former college athletes to sue Electronic Arts over allegedly using their likenesses in video games without their permission. This is one of two legal actions this year against the company by former college players. EA has claimed First Amendment rights, but the appeals courts have disagreed. The issue also involves the NCAA and calls into question policies regarding profits generated from college sports and players. Continue reading Court Rules Former College Athletes Can Sue Electronic Arts