Twitter Sues U.S. Government Over Surveillance Disclosures

Social network Twitter filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on Tuesday, seeking to bring more transparency to government surveillance. Twitter wants the government to ease restrictions on what tech companies can publicly disclose about the government’s national security-related requests for user data. The company alleges that these restrictions violate the company’s First Amendment rights. This is the latest in a series of battles over online national surveillance. Continue reading Twitter Sues U.S. Government Over Surveillance Disclosures

California Law Protects the Right to Post Bad Reviews on Yelp

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new measure that bans businesses from preventing their customers from leaving negative reviews, especially online. Yelp and other sites have pushed anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) laws around the country to stop defamation lawsuits against their users who post negative reviews. California businesses can no longer force customers to waive their right to comment on their service, or they can face fines of up to $10,000. Continue reading California Law Protects the Right to Post Bad Reviews on Yelp

NAB Files Lawsuit Over FCC’s Auction Rules for TV Airwaves

The National Association of Broadcasters filed a lawsuit yesterday in response to the FCC’s plan to auction airwaves next year. NAB argues that the spectrum reverse auction, the first of its kind, would negatively impact TV stations financially and reduce coverage areas. The auction would allow stations in large cities to accept bids so their spectrum can be resold to wireless carriers for mobile broadband. Participating stations can close shop or move to another channel with fewer airwaves. Continue reading NAB Files Lawsuit Over FCC’s Auction Rules for TV Airwaves

Ford and GM are Sued for Devices that Enable Music Copying

The Alliance of Artists & Recording Companies has filed a lawsuit against Ford, General Motors and two tech companies that made devices for digitally copying music from CDs to hard drives. The lawsuit is based on the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act, which provides royalties to record companies from the sale of music copying devices. The Alliance contends that Ford and GM installed these devices without paying any royalties, and is now seeking unpaid royalties and damages. Continue reading Ford and GM are Sued for Devices that Enable Music Copying

Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Over the weekend news broke that Apple has acquired BookLamp to expand its ebook offerings and better compete with Amazon. The Boise, Idaho-based startup is best known for developing big data-style book analytics services, which could be used by Apple for new iBooks features. BookLamp’s e-reading recommendation service is sometimes referred to as the “Pandora for books.” According to one source, Apple is paying more than $10 million for the startup’s tech and employees. Continue reading Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Amazon Faces FTC Lawsuit Over Children’s In-App Purchases

The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Amazon, accusing the online retailer of allowing children to make unauthorized purchases in its app store. The lawsuit comes after the company refused a proposed settlement that would have refunded customers and made changes to the app store. The FTC believes Amazon needs to require passwords for consumers to buy products, make purchase notices more prominent, and make refunds easier and simpler. Continue reading Amazon Faces FTC Lawsuit Over Children’s In-App Purchases

Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Google has been sued for violating federal wiretapping laws by collecting personal data as part of its Street View project. The Supreme Court rejected to hear Google’s appeal regarding the class action lawsuit for secretly collecting email, passwords, and other personal info for the mapping project. The case will go forward in the lower court as Google maintains its innocence. The case highlights a rising public push for protection of privacy over data usage for commercial gain. Continue reading Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo in Favor of Broadcasters

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of broadcasters in a decision that could have far-reaching implications for the media industry. The court found that online video startup Aereo violated copyright law by allowing its subscribers to watch and record over-the-air broadcasts from electronic devices via a system of miniature antennas. Broadcasters including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC have been battling Aereo, arguing that the startup was accessing their programming without authorization. Continue reading Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo in Favor of Broadcasters

Apple’s Settlement in E-Book Case Will Likely Pay Consumers

Apple has ended its civil class-action lawsuit over the price of e-books with a settlement that is worth an estimated $100-$300 million. Last year, a federal judge ruled that Apple broke antitrust laws by driving up the prices of e-books in cooperation with five major U.S. publishers. If Apple’s appeal of last year’s case is unsuccessful, the tech giant may be paying out millions to e-book customers. The terms of the settlement also cancel a damages trial set for July. Continue reading Apple’s Settlement in E-Book Case Will Likely Pay Consumers

Streaming Delay Messages: Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix

Last week it was reported that Netflix had begun posting on-screen messages blaming Verizon for congestion that was slowing video streams. While Netflix claims the message was simply one step in notifying customers about how an ISP can impact the viewing experience, Verizon described the move as “a PR stunt” and suggested the message “is not only inaccurate, it is deliberately misleading.” Later in the week, Verizon sent a cease and desist letter to Netflix. Continue reading Streaming Delay Messages: Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix

Apple Requests Order to Block Sale of Some Samsung Phones

In the wake of a recent jury verdict that Samsung had infringed upon three of its patents, Apple is now seeking a sales ban in the U.S. on some older models of Samsung’s smartphones. The move also follows an agreement between Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility unit to dismiss patent litigation against each other. However, according to papers filed in a California court, Apple is not looking for such a resolution with Samsung, but has requested a retrial to increase the amount awarded earlier this month and impose a sales ban. Continue reading Apple Requests Order to Block Sale of Some Samsung Phones

Kaleidescape Settles 10-Year Legal Battle with the DVD CCA

DVD server manufacturer Kaleidescape has ended its lengthy legal battle with the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA), the not-for-profit organization that governs copyright protection of DVDs. The organization sued Kaleidescape in 2004 for creating DVD servers that encourage users to illegally rip copyrighted movies. Shortly after a joint notice of settlement was filed, the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara, noted a “voluntary dismissal” of the case, and determined on Monday, “Case complete.” Continue reading Kaleidescape Settles 10-Year Legal Battle with the DVD CCA

Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Apple and Google have agreed to drop all lawsuits between the two tech giants. According to a joint statement, there is no cross-licensing agreement as part of the truce, but the companies would work in “some areas of patent reform.” The announcement effectively ends about 20 lawsuits and covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit, which started four years ago and Google later inherited when it purchased Motorola Mobility. However, the deal does not affect Apple’s patent litigation against Samsung. Continue reading Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Aereo Supreme Court Case Could Upend Cloud Computing

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Aereo case that could cause legal implications for cloud computing businesses such as Dropbox and Google, especially if remote storage and data transmission are classified as “public performance.” Broadcasters accuse the Internet startup Aereo of violating copyright laws by using antennas to stream over-the-air broadcasts to paid subscribers. Justices will determine if Aereo’s service is “public performance” that requires permission. Continue reading Aereo Supreme Court Case Could Upend Cloud Computing

Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

Major record labels Sony, Universal and Warner Music, along with indie label ABKCO, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan last week, claiming that streaming music service Pandora is violating New York’s common-law copyright protections by using songs recorded prior to 1972 without licenses. The suit acknowledges that older songs are not protected under federal copyright, but contends that Pandora needs permission to use them under state law. Continue reading Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

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