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Web designer sues Brat City for assaulting hyperlink

Last year, Jennifer Reisinger, a Web developer from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, received a letter from the city. It demanded that she cease and desist the publication of a hyperlink on her web site pointing to the home page for the Sheboygan Police Department. Reisinger used the website in question - Brat City Web Design, so named in …
Kevin Fayle, 11 Sep 2008
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Sovereign immunity blocks DMCA suit against Air Force

Federal software contractors take note: A federal appeals court in the US recently ruled that a software owner couldn't sue the government for copyright infringement and anti-circumvention violations after the US Air Force refused to pay for a software license and cracked controls built into the software to control unauthorized …
Kevin Fayle, 30 Jul 2008
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Court cheers warrantless snooping of e-mail

Your e-mail is at risk again thanks to a recent ruling that backs no-notice, warrantless digs through e-mail accounts held by service providers. A US appeals court issued a ruling (PDF) on Friday that overturned a previous decision by one of its panels preventing government searches of private email accounts without prior notice …
Kevin Fayle, 15 Jul 2008
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Info on missing White House emails to remain missing

A federal district court judge in Washington D.C. just dealt a setback to an organization looking for answers about missing White House emails. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly dismissed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) after determining that the target of …
Kevin Fayle, 16 Jun 2008
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Interstate web host foils gonzo porn baron Max Hardcore

A federal jury in Tampa, Florida convicted a pioneer of gross-out "gonzo" porn last week on obscenity charges stemming from the delivery of his movies over the Internet, despite the fact that he lives and works entirely in California. Paul Little creates porn in Altadena under the names of "Max Hardcore" and "Max Steiner." …
Kevin Fayle, 11 Jun 2008
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US court waves through border laptop searches

Contrary to what some of you may believe, one cannot live in a laptop, according to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the US. In a recent ruling, a three-judge panel of that court determined that border agents could examine the contents of a laptop without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. As part of that decision …
Kevin Fayle, 22 Apr 2008
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US court protects Craigslist from housing suit

Chalk up another win for websites hosting user-generated content, but be sure to add an asterisk. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed with Craigslist.com last week that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protected it from a lawsuit over discriminatory housing postings appearing on the site, but in …
Kevin Fayle, 18 Mar 2008
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First GPL lawsuit in US settles out of court

After a false alarm last month, the first lawsuit to test the GPL in the US has actually settled. The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) announced yesterday that it has reached an agreement with Monsoon Multimedia to end the SFLC's copyright infringement suit against the company. The lawsuit accused Monsoon of violating GPL …
Kevin Fayle, 31 Oct 2007
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Appeals court rubber stamps FCC's DSL (de)regulation

Living in America? If you get your access to the internet through an independent ISP over DSL, your service might become more expensive soon. Or slow. Or disappear entirely. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling last week that approved the FCC's new order eliminating the requirement that large phone …
Kevin Fayle, 24 Oct 2007
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Ruling allows US tech firms to dodge an immigration bullet

Technology firms in the US just won a last-minute reprieve from a fusillade of new, and potentially devastating, immigration rules. But the government is almost certain to reload and try again in a higher court. Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California granted a preliminary injunction on Wednesday that put a …
Kevin Fayle, 12 Oct 2007
Gavel

Blueberry heir loses libel suit against drunken lothario

Let this be a lesson to you all: if you sell tickets to a New Year's Eve party boasting an open bar, make sure that the booze doesn't run out at 10:30. Fail in that, and people will trash you on the internet, and there won't be a damn thing you can do about it, even if you sue the operator of the offending website for …
Kevin Fayle, 27 Sep 2007
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Porn-star cop's job not saved by First Amendment

At least he's got a fun career as an internet porn star to fall back on. In a decision handed down last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that an Arizona police department did not violate one of its officer's civil rights when it fired him after discovering that he ran and participated in a porn …
Kevin Fayle, 12 Sep 2007
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Political blogs escape federal scrutiny

The US presidential race has, maddeningly, already been moving along at full throttle for months, and political bloggers look poised to play an important role in the selection of the new commander in chief. Now, thanks to two decisions handed down last week by the Federal Election Commission, spewing partisan nonsense in order …
Kevin Fayle, 12 Sep 2007
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SexSearch.com gets off on user's underage romp

Age is just a number, right? It is for hookup websites, according to a judge from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. SexSearch.com is a website that encourages its users to arrange sexual encounters using its services. Members create profiles that are populated by information provided in a …
Kevin Fayle, 29 Aug 2007
Gavel

Model train software spat threatens future of open source

A dispute over some open source software used for model railroads resulted in an important decision last week, involving the scope of open source licenses and the remedies available when they are violated. The decision has triggered alarm in the open source community, with a prominent open source licensing advocate charging …
Kevin Fayle, 24 Aug 2007
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AT&T's race car logo lawsuit crashes and burns

A federal appellate panel in the US brought AT&T's fight to display its logo on a race car to a screeching halt last week, ruling that the telecomm giant did not have standing to challenge a NASCAR decision refusing to allow the company to place the logo on the car. The dispute arose after NASCAR, the sanctioning body of US …
Kevin Fayle, 15 Aug 2007
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US law firm cleared of robots.txt DMCA hacking charge

Sometimes plaintiffs just don't know when to quit. After losing a trademark infringement suit against a competitor, Healthcare Advocates - a patient advocacy organization based out of Philadelphia - sued the intellectual property law firm that represented the defendant in the trademark action, alleging that the firm had "hacked …
Kevin Fayle, 26 Jul 2007
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US judge pushes infringing YouTube clip in decision

In a ruling on a trademark dispute, Judge Terence T. Evans of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals this week digressed from the normal pattern of appellate opinions to tell a story. It was a story about baseball. By the time it was over, Judge Evans had encouraged thousands of readers to infringe on Major League Baseball's broadcast …
Kevin Fayle, 13 Jul 2007
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Student's suspension for IM buddy icon upheld by US court

Student speech in the US continues to take a beating. The Supreme Court, in the infamous "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case decided last month, signaled to the federal judiciary that it was open season on student speech. Indeed, Justice Clarence Thomas, in a concurring opinion, argued that students should have no free speech rights …
Kevin Fayle, 12 Jul 2007
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US court spanks porn company over credit card copyright suit

Perfect10 is at it again. The litigious porn purveyors have drawn yet another copyright decision out of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, this time concerning the liability of payment processors who provide services to infringing websites. After two recent, high-profile decisions that had mixed results for the dedicated …
Kevin Fayle, 09 Jul 2007
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Proto- YouTube copyright suit lives on to darken another Google day

You win some, you lose some - and sometimes simultaneously. YouTube suffered a setback last week when a judge refused to grant it pre-trial judgment in the first copyright lawsuit directed against the video-sharing site, but it dodged a bullet when the judge also declined to grant the plaintiff's similar motion seeking to …
Kevin Fayle, 27 Jun 2007
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Defamation lawsuit seeks to unmask anonymous cowards

They should've known better than to flame law students. Two female law students at Yale University have filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in Connecticut against an operator and several anonymous users of AutoAdmit.com - "the most prestigious college discussion board in the world," according to its own billing. The …
Kevin Fayle, 24 Jun 2007
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YouTube - uTube showdown stays alive in federal court

What's in a name, right? For the Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation, operator of uTube.com, its domain name means cash - and with a federal court's recent refusal to dismiss the company's suit against YouTube, the possibility of even more cash in the future. The company has operated uTube.com as a means to sell …
Kevin Fayle, 12 Jun 2007
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US lawyer ranking site raises attorney's hackles

Avvo, the brand-new lawyer-ranking upstart run by some top US legal professionals and scholars, has only had its shingle hanging for a few days, and already faces a possible lawsuit over its core ranking practices. John Henry Browne, a Seattle-based criminal law attorney, has told Avvo in a letter that he has retained counsel …
Kevin Fayle, 12 Jun 2007
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US appeals court smacks down FCC obscenity rule

Fans of open-mic celebrity blunders rejoice! The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that the Federal Communication Commission's recent shift in its standards for obscenities uttered during a broadcast violated administrative rulemaking requirements. After declaring the new standards null and void, the court vacated an …
Kevin Fayle, 06 Jun 2007
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'Gay or straight?' ruling looks bad for all US social networking sites

The world just got a little scarier for social network providers. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just determined that Roommates.com - a networking site for people looking for, well, roommates - did not deserve immunity under Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act for information that users of the site provide on …
Kevin Fayle, 16 May 2007
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Feds to treat bloggers as journos?

Try not to get your hopes up too much, Blogosphere, but twin bills introduced in the US House and Senate recently could make all your wildest federal reporter shield dreams come true. If the bills pass. Which, as history shows us, ain't bloody likely. Right now, 32 states and the District of Columbia have reporter shield laws …
Kevin Fayle, 08 May 2007
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Court sez music downloads aren't performances

ASCAP isn't enjoying the tune that came out of a federal district court in New York yesterday. The court ruled that music downloads don't constitute performances of copyrighted works, and are merely mechanical reproductions of the copyrighted material. This denies ASCAP any entitlement to collect royalties for downloads as they …
Kevin Fayle, 26 Apr 2007
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Porn suit is reinvigorated by US appeals court

Perfect 10 makes porn. (We're sorry - "adult entertainment.") The company also sues like a jackrabbit in order to protect its copyrights in said pornography. These litigious purveyors of print and online smut, you may recall, recently won a landmark suit against Google in which they claimed that Google's thumbnail renditions …
Kevin Fayle, 10 Apr 2007
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Anarchist blog boy freed

After the longest stretch ever served in the joint for refusing to disclose a source, blogger/activist Josh Wolf is a free man. Wolf spent 226 days, nearly 7 1/2 months, in the Federal Penitentiary in Dublin, California after refusing to testify before a grand jury and withholding footage of a 2005 anarchist rally in San …
Kevin Fayle, 05 Apr 2007
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Will the RIAA kill net radio?

If this movie looks familiar - it's because it is. A royalty increase for songs played over Internet radio stations is declared, followed by doomsday predictions that the increase will bring about a cataclysmic collapse of the entire industry. It's like 2002 all over again. That was when Copyright Royalty Board first set …
Kevin Fayle, 30 Mar 2007
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Feds claim VoIP for their own

VoIP just got another leg up on traditional telecoms. A US appellate court ruled this week that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) acted correctly in pulling the rug out from under state regulators in their attempts to establish rules for VoIP providers in individual state markets. This decision is bound to help VoIP …
Kevin Fayle, 23 Mar 2007
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Website immunity spreads with impunity

February has been a banner month for website immunity in the US. MySpace.com, Google, Microsoft and Lycos have all benefited from decisions entered in the latter part of the month which confirmed or adopted the broad grant of immunity that many US courts have extended to operators of "interactive computer services" under …
Kevin Fayle, 28 Feb 2007
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Congress pushes (again) for ISP data retention

The US Congress is trying to land a one-two sucker punch on internet service providers (ISPs). A flurry of bills introduced in the House and Senate last week have resurrected data retention and data security proposals for ISPs that floundered in previous legislative sessions. The bills would create retention requirements for …
Kevin Fayle, 12 Feb 2007
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Court protects firms from employees' noxious emails

Some companies in California don't have to worry about their employees' online activity as much as they used to - at least for the time being. In a recent judgment, an appellate court in California ruled that Agilent Technologies, a high-tech spin-off of HP, couldn't be held accountable for the online shenanigans of one of its …
Kevin Fayle, 01 Feb 2007
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Bloggers unite to save astroturfing for Mankind

Apparently, the blogosphere buys into every press release they read. In an all-too-familiar scene, bloggers, Slashdot readers and several news outlets were taken in by the hype surrounding a provision in the Senate ethics reform bill that would have required grassroots lobbying firms to register with the US Congress. …
Kevin Fayle, 22 Jan 2007
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Dumpy Senate clears pretexting bill after show trial

The most lackadaisical US Congress in modern history actually got off its keister and passed some legislation before it waddled off last week. No, it didn't fulfill its most important constitutional duty by passing a national budget. And no, it didn't threaten lawsuits like EFF v. ATT by retroactively approving the government's …
Kevin Fayle, 14 Dec 2006
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Movie studios prep Fraud II for the holidays

The Motion Picture Association of America have been some busy pigopolists as of late. A recent report from Wired News revealed that MPAA lobbyists helped kill a bill working its way through the California legislature in August designed to prevent companies and individuals from obtaining customer or employee information through …
Kevin Fayle, 04 Dec 2006
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Craigslist ruling: Why the EFF is right to be pissed

Is this the dawning of the age of the defamation take-down notice? The Electronic Frontier Foundation seems to think so, based on its reaction to a decision last week absolving Craigslist.com from liability for discriminatory housing postings. Huh, you might ask? The EFF's side won (gasp!), and they're still bitching? Indeed …
Kevin Fayle, 20 Nov 2006
channel

Free software still legal - judge

Daniel Wallace certainly gets points for effort and determination. After suing the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in 2005 for price-fixing and finally losing earlier this year, Wallace filed an action against IBM, Novell and Red Hat alleging that the companies' distribution of Linux under the GNU General Public License (GPL) …
Kevin Fayle, 10 Nov 2006
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Fiorina: 'However bad it was for me, it was worse for you'

Change is good. Unless it means me getting fired. That was the theme of a talk delivered by former HP chief Carly Fiorina last week to a crowd of San Francisco lawyers. While on the road promoting her new memoir, Tough Choices, Carly stopped off to address the San Francisco Bar Association, to impart some wisdom, and sign some …
Kevin Fayle, 23 Oct 2006
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Google's ads could kill YouTube

Google's intention to drive advertising profits through the acquisition of this year's hottest web property may actually be the move that ends up killing the golden GooTube. YouTube recently answered a copyright infringement complaint brought against it in a federal court in California and presented an argument that, while not …
Kevin Fayle, 16 Oct 2006
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What the anarchist blogger case means to the rest of you globules

The good times just keep rolling for blogger Josh Wolf. A panel of the Ninth Circuit has upheld, in an unpublished ruling, a contempt order against him for refusing to comply with a grand jury subpoena calling for the production, among other things, of a video he shot during an anarchist rally in San Francisco last July. Wolf …
Kevin Fayle, 15 Sep 2006
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Telcos prepare for the worst as wiretap cases head West

AT&T and other telcos had better unlock the file cabinets and brace for the backlash because the mother lode of wiretapping cases has just landed in unfriendly territory. Both the Feds and the telcos earlier this month took a hit when the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the pretrial proceedings of 17 …
Kevin Fayle, 17 Aug 2006
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Is the US finally fixing its patent system?

You're going to need to read the next sentence twice: The US patent system looks to be improving. Two US Senators introduced a bill on August 3 designed to change some fundamental features of the US patent system and bring the regime into step with the rest of the world. With the introduction of the new bill, Senators Orrin …
Kevin Fayle, 10 Aug 2006
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Feds dip their snouts back in EFF vs. AT&T wiretap case

Surprise, surprise. The US government has asked a California court to take a second look at a recent decision that allowed the EFF’s wiretap case to proceed against AT&T. The government has already tried once before to meddle with the EFF's case against AT&T. It had an earlier attempt to dismiss the EFF case shut down after the …
Kevin Fayle, 02 Aug 2006
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The spy suit wars

Two United States District Court judges recently handed down decisions in high-profile cases involving wiretapping and alleged records aggregation on behalf of the National Security Agency (NSA). The suits were brought against AT&T by plaintiffs in the Northern District of California with the legal “expertise” of the Electronic …
Kevin Fayle, 28 Jul 2006
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Kazaa's P2P libel suit threatens to mute Canadians

A fresh lawsuit making its way through Canadian courts threatens to result in severe restrictions being placed on what internet users can post to message boards. It just might enhance corporate abilities to strong-arm ISPs and authors, too. In a strange new turn of events in the Kazaa saga, Sharman Networks and its CEO, Nikki …
Kevin Fayle, 23 May 2006