MPAA Wins Lawsuit Against Hotfile for Copyright Violations

In a major victory for the Motion Picture Association of America and its member studios, a Florida federal judge has ruled that Hotfile is liable for copyright infringement. According to the MPAA, the decision marks the first time a U.S. court has ruled against a cyberlocker regarding copyright infringement. Hotfile is one of the most popular cyberlockers and of the largest scale, but its claims of safe harbor from copyright liability and no indirect liability of its users failed. Continue reading MPAA Wins Lawsuit Against Hotfile for Copyright Violations

New FTC Chair Warns Companies About Consumer Data Privacy

The new chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Edith Ramirez, says that the agency will pursue a more active role in policing companies that gather large amounts of data, and that the FTC will not hesitate to sue for privacy and security violations. Ramirez wants more transparency from companies that collect consumer data, as well as to keep this data anonymous. Ramirez did not provide specifics regarding how the FTC will enforce data protection guidelines. Continue reading New FTC Chair Warns Companies About Consumer Data Privacy

ITC Rules in Favor of Apple, Orders Ban on Samsung Devices

We recently reported that the Obama administration had vetoed the International Trade Commission’s ban on the import of certain Apple iPhones and iPads, citing concerns of patent holders gaining “undue leverage.” The veto reversed an earlier legal victory for rival Samsung, which suffered another setback on Friday when the ITC ruled that the South Korean manufacturer had violated two of Apple’s patents — and issued an order banning the import of products using Apple’s multitouch features and headphone jack detection. Continue reading ITC Rules in Favor of Apple, Orders Ban on Samsung Devices

Obama Administration Vetoes ITC Ban on iPhones and iPads

In a rare move this weekend, the Obama administration vetoed the International Trade Commission’s ban on the import and sale of certain Apple iPhones and iPads. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman cited concerns regarding patent holders gaining “undue leverage.” He also noted the potential harm to consumers and competition in the economy. The veto reverses a legal victory for rival Samsung, although Froman said the company can continue to enforce its patents through the courts. Continue reading Obama Administration Vetoes ITC Ban on iPhones and iPads

Federal Government Faces Decision Whether to Veto ITC Order

In June, the International Trade Commission found that Apple infringed on a Samsung patent, and declared a ban on some older iPhone and iPad models. The trade agency oversees certain unfair trade practices and can block imports and sales of products. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have been concerned with companies using essential technology patent lawsuits to block rivals, and are troubled with the ITC ruling. The Obama administration is now faced with whether it should veto the order. Continue reading Federal Government Faces Decision Whether to Veto ITC Order

Code of Conduct to Disclose What Data Mobile Apps Collect

A group of app developers, consumer advocates and others are agreeing to test a voluntary code of conduct for data privacy for mobile apps. The code would set requirements for participating developers to release notices regarding whether their apps collect certain types of personal information or share user specific data with third party groups or data resellers. The Obama administration favors consumer privacy laws, but has yet to release additional details. Continue reading Code of Conduct to Disclose What Data Mobile Apps Collect

Federal Judge Rules that Apple Colluded on E-Book Pricing

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled yesterday that Apple colluded with five U.S. publishers in 2010 to drive up the prices of e-books. The decision threatens to limit Apple’s options when negotiating future content deals and potentially exposes the company to additional investigation of its other business practices. The decision to go to trial was considered a significant risk for Apple since the publishers, after denying any wrongdoing, had already settled similar charges. Continue reading Federal Judge Rules that Apple Colluded on E-Book Pricing

Government Report Outlines New Plans for IP Enforcement

According to U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, the administration has outlined a number of action items for the coming year that include improvements to transparency in IP policymaking, international negotiations, law enforcement communication with IP stakeholders, and education regarding fair use. The annual report also examines technology such as mobile apps, 3D printing and IP-compliant software. Continue reading Government Report Outlines New Plans for IP Enforcement

FTC Chair Proposes Inquiry into Impact of Patent Trolls

Edith Ramirez, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, presented her recommendation for an investigation into the practices of “patent trolls” yesterday during a patent and antitrust seminar in Washington. Ramirez is calling for the FTC to use its subpoena power to launch a sweeping inquiry into patent-assertion entities (PAE’s, or patent trolls), which are known for purchasing bundles of patents in order to threaten infringement lawsuits. Continue reading FTC Chair Proposes Inquiry into Impact of Patent Trolls

In a Struggling Economy, Americans Watch More Television

According to the American Time Use Survey released by the Labor Department yesterday, Americans spent less time at work in 2012 and spent more time involved with leisure activities such as watching television. The survey suggests that the country’s sluggish recovery continues to impact workers. While time devoted to volunteering dropped, time spent on leisure and sleeping increased. Americans watched TV for two hours and 50 minutes per day, a second consecutive annual increase. Continue reading In a Struggling Economy, Americans Watch More Television

Government Defends NSA Program that Collects Phone Data

According to a secret document obtained by The Washington Post, the National Security Agency and the FBI are accessing the central servers of nine U.S. Internet companies through a program code-named PRISM. The agencies are reportedly tracking chats, images, emails, documents and connection logs that assist analysts in identifying foreign threats. The federal government defends the program, while some civil liberties proponents are skeptical. Continue reading Government Defends NSA Program that Collects Phone Data

Tech Companies Support Federal Move Against Patent Trolls

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney described President Obama’s newly proposed patent policy yesterday during the daily press briefing. The administration introduced a package of executive orders and recommended legislation that takes aim at patent trolls. Technology companies have expressed early support for measures that they hope will help curb the growing onslaught of lawsuits negatively affecting innovation. Continue reading Tech Companies Support Federal Move Against Patent Trolls

ITC Ruling Favors Samsung, Could Impact Apple Products

Samsung won a largely unexpected legal victory against Apple yesterday that could potentially stop the sale of early model iPhones and iPads. The U.S. International Trade Commission, which has jurisdiction over certain trade practices, ruled that Apple violated a Samsung patent related to tech used to send data over wireless networks. Devices in question include the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G, iPad 2 3G and iPad 3 (the more current iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad were unaffected). Continue reading ITC Ruling Favors Samsung, Could Impact Apple Products

Aereo Rival Agrees to Name Change Following Court Ruling

Alki David, founder of online video streamer Aereokiller, agreed yesterday to change his company name in order to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by rival Aereo. Following a permanent injunction issued by U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins in California, David is prohibited from using the names Aero, Aero.tv, Aereokiller or “any other confusingly similar terms.” Aereo had successfully argued that the name was misleading. Continue reading Aereo Rival Agrees to Name Change Following Court Ruling

FTC Issues Warnings to Firms that Share Consumer Info

The Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters earlier this week to 10 data brokerage firms. The agency warned the firms that the gathering and selling of consumer information could be in violation of federal privacy laws. The new letters follow last month’s action by the FTC when it issued similar warnings to six companies who offered to share tenants’ rental histories with landlords. Continue reading FTC Issues Warnings to Firms that Share Consumer Info

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