Welcome to "On the 50 Yard Line" The Blog of Stuart L. Pardau, Attorney, Professor and Observer of Political Economy; It’s not just about football.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

8th Circuit Reinstates $220,000 Statutory Damages Verdict

The 8th Circuit reinstated a $ 222,000 damages verdict assessed against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who after three different trials was found guilty of copyright infringement for having illegally shared songs on the now-defunct file-sharing service KaZaA.  When the Recording Industry originally alleged she had infringed upon its parties’ copyrights, Thomas became “infamous” when she, decided to not settle the claim but instead defend herself in court.   The only other person who opted to defend themselves in court against such copyright infringement claims was Joel Tenenbaum, whose own case was also characterized by courts attempting to lessen the jury-awarded damages.

http://www.ipbrief.net/2012/09/18/8th-circuit-reinstates-222000-verdict-against-thomas-says-public-policy-justifies-high-award-for-copyright-infringement/

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

FTC Publishes New Guidelines for Mobile Apps

Mostly a recapitulation of previous FTC guidelines on the issue, but important reinforcements nonetheless regarding the need to be truthful in advertising and to have core privacy protections that would be required, for example, of any dynamic website.

http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus81-marketing-your-mobile-app

Friday, August 24, 2012

DC Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packs

A Federal Appeals Court struck down today the FDA's proposed requirements to have cigarette manufacturers place graphic labels on all their packaging (think photos of charred lungs, emaciated people on respirators and so on). Lovely images no doubt that may scare off some, but the Court was not persuaded. They said in part:

“FDA failed to present any data—much less the substantial evidence…showing that enacting their proposed graphic warnings will accomplish the agency’s stated objective of reducing smoking rates” the majority on the three-judge panel wrote.”

This one almost certainly will go to the US Supremes for final deliberation.


http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/08/24/appeals-court-says-no-graphic-warnings-for-cigarette-packs/

Judicial Conference Committee Rolls Out New Model Rules Relating to Jurors Use of Social Media

The Judicial Conference Committee has rolled out new model rules concerning jurors' use of social media during trial. There have been numerous instances over the past few years of jurors posting comments on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. This is highly inappropriate conduct which several states have already addressed, including in Massachusetts and Arkansas (the latter wherein the Arkansas high court overturned a murder conviction due to inappropriate conduct by a juror who was tweeting about the case throughout the trial). These new model rules are long overdue.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/08/23/federal-courts-put-twitter-prone-jurors-on-notice/

Monday, August 20, 2012

Judge Rejects Facebook Settlement


Five Facebook users filed the lawsuit in April 2011, three months after Facebook introduced the ads that include users' names and faces. An earlier ruling in the case ordered Facebook to allow users to opt out of having their information used in the so-called Sponsored Stories.
Facebook and the suing parties struck a deal to resolve the case, but with Friday's ruling, the monetary settlement is back up in the air. The terms Judge Seeborg rejected would have included a $10 million "cy pres" payment to Internet privacy advocacy groups and up to $10 million in fees for the plaintiffs' attorneys.
Per Facebook's public filings, they earn $1 million per day in revenue for these sponsored stories.



http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/20/technology/facebook-sponsored-stories-settlement/index.html?source=cnn_bin

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Electronic Arts Sues Zynga for Copyright Infringement


Electronic Arts ("EA") on behalf of its Maxis label, is suing Zynga for “infringing EA’s copyrights to its Facebook game, The Sims Social.”
EA alleges that says Zynga’s The Ville “copied the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a clear violation of U.S. copyright laws.” The degree to which Zynga copied The Sims, says EA, “was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable.”
The test for copyright infringement is: 1) copying; and 2) substantial similarity. A casual review of both games does point to some issues of genuine material fact with enough to get past summary judgment.
Zynga’s response to this, which we just received from a company spokesperson, is that TheVille “builds on every major innovation from our existing invest-and-express games dating back to YoVille and continuing through CityVille and CastleVille, and introduces a number of new social features and game mechanics not seen in social games today.” The company’s General Counsel Reggie Davis also says that it’s “ironic that EA brings this suit shortly after launching SimCity Social which bears an uncanny resemblance to Zynga’s CityVille game."



http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/03/electronic-arts-sues-zynga-says-the-ville-is-an-unmistakable-copy-of-the-sims/

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FTC Proposed Modifications to Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rules


The proposed modifications to the definitions of "operator" and "website or online service directed to children" would allocate and clarify the responsibilities under COPPA when third parties such as advertising networks or downloadable software kits ("plug-ins") collect personal information from users through child-directed websites or services. The Commission proposes to state within the definition of "operator" that personal information is "collected or maintained on behalf of" an operator where it is collected in the interest of, as a representative of, or for the benefit of, the operator. This change would make clear that an operator of a child-directed site or service that chooses to integrate the services of others that collect personal information from its visitors should itself be considered a covered "operator" under the Rule.



http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/08/coppa.shtm

Monday, July 16, 2012

Idea Expression Dichotomy in Copyright In Apps


As one commentator noted, a court found the following in the recent matter of  Tetris Holding v. Xio Interactive
"...the court held that game concepts, mechanics, methods of operation, rules and other utilitarian features are not protectable. However, the visual expressions, sequence of images, shapes, sizes, colors, sounds, characters and other expressive elements are all protectable unless such elements are somehow inseparable from the relevant game idea or function under the doctrines of merger or scènes à faire.
"... Xio’s Tetris clone was determined to be infringing since it copied almost every discrete element of Tetris including the shapes, colors and movement of the playing pieces, dimensions of the playing field, display of the next piece to fall, etc. The doctrine of merger did not apply because there are almost an infinite number of ways Xio could have otherwise expressed the essential methods of operation, rules and other utilitarian features of Tetris without copying all of the foregoing elements. Similarly, the doctrine of scènes à faire did not apply since Tetris is a unique puzzle game that does not have any elements that are mandated by a genre.



http://www.forbes.com/sites/oliverherzfeld/2012/07/10/thinking-of-creating-an-angry-birds-clone-read-this-first/?goback=%2Egde_69260_member_133043990

Friday, July 13, 2012

What A Concept: Law School Classes with A Practical Application

Kudos to the University of Houston which is offering what appears to be some interesting course work in the area of compliance.

http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2012/07/13/the-law-school-class-that-may-just-get-you-a-job/

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Starting Salaries Down, Year over Year for New Law Grads


Salaries for new graduates from the class of 2011 fell 5% from those of 2010 and about 17% since 2009, according to a survey by the Association for Legal Career Professionals, formerly known as the National Association for Law Placement, or NALP.
Median private practice starting salaries fell more than 18% from 2010 and 35% from 2009, the survey found.
The national median salary for 2011 graduates was $60,000 for those working full-time for at least one year. That’s down from $63,000 in 2010 and $72,000 in 2009. At law firms, the national median salary was $85,000, down from $104,000 in 2010 and $130,000 in 2009.


http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/07/12/survey-median-starting-salaries-plunge-for-new-law-grads/

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cyber Attacks Hit Law Firms

How robust is the network security of most law firms? As I have long-suspected, not very.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/06/25/dont-click-on-that-link-client-secrets-at-risk-as-hackers-target-law-firms/

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Retired NFL Veterans Antitrust Lawsuit Dismissed by Federal Court

Named plaintiffs included crusty defensive tackle Diron Talbert and wide receiver Gene Washington (though not clear if it is the Gene Washington of former Viking fame or the Gene Washington from the 49ers). The basic claim is that the NFL is engaging in unreasonable restraints of trade (antitrust violations) by virtue of not allowing the former footballers to receive any royalties in connection with the use of their images and likeness on NFL film and other footage wherein NFL and team logos/marks appeared.  (Not surprisingly, there are few if any of images where this NFL property was absent.) The Court was not persuaded by the former players' argument and without much effort dismissed the case. It does seem to me that in terms of reaching the appropriate end result, this is an issue for the players association to take up in the next round of collective bargaining discussions. There are real dollars here and the formers players should receive some compensation.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/97015946/Washington-v-NFL-Opinion#fullscreen

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hulu, Net Flix and the Video Privacy Protection Act

Hulu users claimed that the subscription-based video streaming service disclosed their viewing history to third parties. Specifically, their complaint alleges that Hulu worked with KISSmetrics, a data analytics company, to track subscribers’ viewing histories and then share that information with third parties such as Facebook. Hulu asserts it is not subject to the VPPA because it is not a “video tape service provider,” which is defined in relevant part as “any person, engaged in the business, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of rental, sale, or delivery of prerecorded video cassette tapes or similar audio visual materials…” The case is headed to mediation.


As to Netflix, they recently settled a class action lawsuit in connection with maintaining viewing history records beyond the allowed time under the statute. 


http://www.huntonprivacyblog.com/2012/06/articles/recent-cases-focus-attention-on-the-video-privacy-protection-act/#more-3062

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Big Apple: Technology Giant Reveals 3-D Mapping Service That Photograph Activity Through A Window or a Skylight

Apple’s military-grade cameras are understood to be so powerful they could potentially see into homes through skylights and windows. The technology is similar to that used by intelligence agencies in identifying terrorist targets in Afghanistan.


Yet another instance of technology racing ahead of the legal and regulatory environment.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2157150/Apple-reveal-3D-mapping-service-week-campaigners-say-privacy-window-thanks-high-resolution-images-spy-home.html

Saturday, June 2, 2012

PCI SECURITY STANDARDS COUNCIL PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO MERCHANTS ON MOBILE PAYMENT ACCEPTANCE SECURITY


PCI SECURITY STANDARDS COUNCIL PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO MERCHANTS ON MOBILE PAYMENT ACCEPTANCE SECURITY


https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pdfs/pr_120515_PCI_Mobile_Merchant_Fact_Sheet.pdf

Friday, June 1, 2012

More on the High Cost of a Law Degree


The average debt of law graduates tops $100,000, and most new lawyers do not earn salaries sufficient to make the monthly payments on this debt. More than one-third of law graduates in recent years have failed to obtain lawyer jobs. Thousands of new law graduates will enter a government-sponsored debt relief program, and many will never fully pay off their law school debt.
– Washington University Law professor Brian Tamanaha, author of Failing Law Schools (affiliate link), painting a rosy picture of what life is like for recent law school graduates.



http://abovethelaw.com/2012/06/quote-of-the-day-the-broken-economics-of-legal-education/

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NFL Players Association Files Suit Against Owners Claiming Salary Suppression


From the Complaint:

1. This proceeding arises from a conspiracy. Pursuant to the SSA, the NFL and the Owners explicitly agreed that the 2010 season would not be subject to a salary cap and that they would not engage in any prohibited collusion or circumvention of the SSA. The NFL and the Owners, however, engaged in a secret, recently-revealed collusive andCASE 4:92-cv-00906-DSD-SPMS Document 703 Filed 05/23/12 Page 2 of 20
circumventing agreement, whereby each of the 32 Clubs agreed to suppress player salaries – including by imposing a secret $123 million per-Club salary cap for that uncapped 2010 season.
2. Information about this conspiracy did not come to light until on or about March 12, 2012, when it was revealed in the media that four of the 32 Clubs (Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and New Orleans Saints) did not fully abide by secret NFL rules to suppress player salaries in 2010. New York Giants Owner John Mara – who is Chair of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee (a.k.a., the CEC) – subsequently confirmed the existence of the conspiracy in his statements to the media regarding penalties imposed by the NFL on those four Clubs. The NFLPA and the players also later learned that, according to internal NFL calculations, those four Clubs did not adhere to the league-wide conspiracy, at least not fully, in exceeding the secret salary cap during the uncapped 2010 season by the following amounts: Redskins: $102,833,047; Cowboys: $52,938,774; Raiders: $41,914,060; Saints: $36,329,770.




https://images.nflplayers.com/mediaResources/files/pdf.pdf

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Don't Be Evil: Google Charged with Deliberately Illegally Harvesting Information from Millions of UK Home Computers


Google is facing an inquiry into claims that it deliberately harvested information from millions of UK home computers.
The Information Commissioner data protection watchdog is expected to examine the work of the internet giant’s Street View cars.
They downloaded emails, text messages, photographs and documents from wi-fi networks as they photographed virtually every British road.
It is two years since Google first admitted stealing fragments of personal data, but claimed it was a ‘mistake’.
Now the full scale of its activities has emerged amid accusations of a cover-up after US regulators found a senior manager was warned as early as 2007 that the information was being captured as its cars trawled the country but did nothing.
Around one in four home networks in the UK is thought to be unsecured – lacking password protection – allowing personal data to be collected. Technology websites and bloggers have suggested that Google harvested the information simply because it was able to do so and would later work out a way to use it to make money.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150606/Google-deliberately-stole-information-executives-covered-years.html#ixzz1w7Ty3YMI


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150606/Google-deliberately-stole-information-executives-covered-years.html

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Yahoo! CEO Thompson Ousted for Falsifying Resume

Not a pretty, but probably appropriate outcome.  Would a line manager have suffered the same fate if he or she claimed to have, say a degree in electrical engineering when instead they actually graduated with a degree in Art History. I don't care how talented an engineer they might be, they don't have the darn degree. I have represented management on several of those types of matters and every case it was not even a close decision. End of story. And so it is for Mr. Thompson.

All that said, the subtext of this entire scandal is a bitter proxy fight against an entrenched board and management. In that regard, Thompson is likely a casualty in that broader struggle.

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/13/technology/yahoo-ceo-out/index.htm?source=cnn_bin

AutoDialers and Prior Consents That May Apply to New Holders of Numbers

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act forbids advertisers, bill collectors and the like from calling your mobile phone, without your consent, using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice. The issue presented here is that if consent is provided a previous holder of the phone number does that "transfer" to any new holder of the number? If so, that surely leads to some silly results, as Judge Easterbrook pointed out his opinion.


http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/05/11/the-daily-writing-sample-predictive-dialers-and-enchanted-buckets/

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pepsi Formula Might Be Disclosed


Coca-Cola’s secret formula is famously locked inside a vault in the company’s museum in Atlanta. But a historic Pepsi recipe could see the light of day, depending on how a New York court rules.
Heirs of Richard John Ritchie, credited with reformulating Pepsi-Cola in 1931, filed suit Friday against PepsiCo Inc. in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York for the right to share Mr. Ritchie’s  “extraordinary life story’’ with “historians, collectors, journalists and television and film producers.’’



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/05/08/pepsis-recipe-heads-to-court/

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hastings Law School Dean Delivers Some Straight Talk About the State of Legal Education

Law schools need to "reboot" says Dean Frank Wu of Hastings. Looks like Wu is backing up his statements with some action -- Hastings will be accepting 20% fewer students than last year,

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/05/02/hastings-law-school-dean-wants-to-reboot-legal-education/

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bank of America Directors Fight Back

 B of A directors rejected allegations by unhappy shareholders that their proposed $20 million settlementof litigation over the purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co was made "on the cheap" and was the product of collusion.

http://news.yahoo.com/bank-america-directors-fight-back-over-20-million-153519620--sector.html

Monday, April 30, 2012

California Bar is Considering Whether to Impose Practical Training Requirement


The California bar is considering whether to impose a practical skills training requirement on lawyers applying for admission, which would mean applicants would have to attain a level of hands-on training before practicing, the National Law Journal reported.


How California resolves the issue could affect the legal profession and law schools around the country, since California’s is the largest bar in the U.S.
Ideas under review include internship requirements, a mentoring program, completion of a skills-training course, or a year-long class for third-year law students that covers lawyering skills.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/04/30/california-bar-considering-practical-skills-mandate-for-new-lawyers/

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Don't Be Evil: Google Employees Who Worked on Mapping Service Tell FCC They Were Unaware of Existence of Google Software that Gathered Personal Data


Google employees who worked on a mapping-service project told the FCC they didn’t initially know about software that would gather personal data, even though an engineer disclosed the program’s details, according to an agency report.
The unidentified engineer, who made the disclosure in an internal project document, also told at least two fellow workers about how the software program would access so-called payload data, which includes personal information such as e-mails, according to the FCC report, which was re-released yesterday by the company with fewer portions redacted.
Either the right hand did not know what the left was doing or Google violated its famous Code of Conduct that it not "be evil".


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-29/google-staff-said-they-were-unaware-of-data-gathering-fcc-says.html

Friday, April 27, 2012

ACLU Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Young Teenagers Expelled from School Who Made Threatening Comments on Facebook

In light of Columbine and other school shootings, how can we second-guess the decision of a school to take disciplinary action against the students who make the threatening comments? A first Amendment right to threaten a life? I'd like to actually see the Facebook postings so as to get a clearer picture of the context, but it strains credulity to think there might be a protectable First Amendment right in making comments that purport to threaten the life of another.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-talk-facebook-aclu-lawsuit-0426-20120426,0,116048.story

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ex-lawyer insider trader Pays 32 Million Dollars to Settle SEC Insider Case


A former corporate lawyer, an ex-trader and the man they used to shuttle secret tips have agreed to pay more than $32 million to settle an insider-trading case by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Matthew Kluger, an ex-lawyer, admitted last year in a separate criminal case that he had provided confidential information about clients from various law firms dating back to his time as a summer associate in 1994. The information was passed by a middleman, Kenneth T. Robinson, to Garrett Bauer, a former trader who also pleaded guilty to criminal charges last year.
Robinson pleaded guilty to criminal charges in April 2011 and cooperated in the case, recording calls by both men.


http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/04/25/ex-lawyer-trader-to-pay-32-million-to-settle-sec-insider-case/

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When Celebrity Tweeting Can Run Afoul of Morals Clauses With Sponsors


Rashard Mendenhall plays professional football as a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mendenhall entered into an endorsement contract with Hanesbrands, which owns the Champion brand. The agreement between Hanesbrands and Mendenhall had a “morals clause,” which originally said that Hanesbrands could terminate the agreement if Mendenhall was arrested, charged with, or indicted for a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude. This clause was later amended to provide that Hanesbrands could terminate the agreement if, in addition to being charged with or indicted for a crime, Mendenhall:
[Became] involved in any situation or occurrence . . . tending to bring Mendenhall into public disrepute, contempt, scandal, or ridicule, or tending to shock, insult, or offend the majority of the consuming public . . . . [Hanesbrands’] decision on all matters arising under [this section] shall be conclusive.


http://abovethelaw.com/2012/04/when-celebrity-tweeting-goes-wrong-and-the-resulting-lawsuit-goes-sort-of-right/#more-151807

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Non-Lawyer Ownership of Law Firms Is DOA, Says ABA


In a statement Monday, the co-heads of the ABA ethics committee considering the proposal pronounced it dead.
“Based on the commission’s extensive outreach, research, consultation, and the response of the profession, there does not appear to be a sufficient basis for recommending a change to ABA policy on nonlawyer ownership of law firms,” said Jamie Gorelick and Michael Traynor, who lead the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the proposal, noting that some in the profession were aghast at the idea, even as the U.K. and Australia have adopted much broader changes — including allowing outside investment through IPOs.

Prediction: If deregulation of the legal services in the U.K., Australia or elsewhere shows even a modicum of success, expect this issue to be appear again. And soon.


http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/04/17/aba-case-has-not-been-made-for-nonlawyer-ownership/

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Market For Legal Services Gets More Fragmented

The high-end firms offering "bespoke" services are charging more, commoditized services (routine leases,  employment matters, etc.) getting greater push back from clients to lower rates.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/04/16/the-law-professions-one-percent/

Friday, April 13, 2012

Google To Issue New Class of Non-Voting Shares

On Thursday, Google’s co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, announced that the Internet giant would be revamping its corporate structure. The company is creating a class of nonvoting shares that will be issued for employee stock incentive plans, acquisitions and other stock sales.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/new-share-class-gives-google-founders-tighter-control/

Best Buy CEO Forced to Quit After Use of Company Resources In Connection with Inappropriate Relationship


Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn abruptly quit his job after the board of directors allegedly began investigating him for having an inappropriate relationship with a 29-year-old female employee.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, citing unnamed sources, reported that Best Buy was examining whether Dunn used company resources to help carry out that relationship. 
The nation's largest electronics retailer wouldn't confirm the report, but would not deny it, either. The newspaper could not reach Dunn, 50, for comment.
Dunn, who is married with three sons, started at Best Buy in 1985 selling VCRs and worked his way up the management chain before being appointed CEO in 2009.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2128770/Best-Buy-CEO-Brian-Dunn-quit-investigation-inappropriate-relationship-female-employee.html#ixzz1rwRAa9on


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2128770/Best-Buy-CEO-Brian-Dunn-quit-investigation-inappropriate-relationship-female-employee.html

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

FTC Approves Final Order Settling Privacy Breaches Around U-Promise Rewards

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Upromise, Inc., a membership reward service aimed at consumers trying to save money for college used a web-browser toolbar to collect consumers' personal information without adequately disclosing the extent of the information it was collecting.

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/04/upromise.shtm

Actor Corbin Bernsen Sues Marketing Services Law Firm for Breach of Contract

Corbin Bernsen played divorce lawyer Arnie Becker in the 1980s show L.A. Law. A full 15 years after the show’s last episode, a Virginia-based company that provides marketing services for law firms hired him as a spokesman. According to Bernsen, he agreed to a five-year deal in 2009 with Innovative Legal Marketing and was promised $1 million.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/04/03/la-law-actor-subpoenas-new-york-personal-injury-firm/

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Law School Debt Continues to Explode, Cal Western leads the pack

The average indebtedness figures for 2011 law graduates are stunning. Last year, 4 law schools had graduates with average debt exceeding $135,000. This year 17 law schools are above $135,000. Last year the highest average debt among graduates was $145,621 (Cal. Western); this year the highest average debt is $165,178 (John Marshall). Below are the 20 schools with the highest average law school debt among graduates (these figures do not include undergraduate debt).

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2012/03/quickly-exploding-law-graduate-debt.html

FTC Issues Final Report on Privacy Best Practices for Businesses

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's chief privacy policy and enforcement agency, issued a final report setting forth best practices for businesses to protect the privacy of American consumers and give them greater control over the collection and use of their personal data. In the report, "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations For Businesses and Policymakers," the FTC also recommends that Congress consider enacting general privacy legislation, data security and breach notification legislation, and data broker legislation.

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/03/privacyframework.shtm

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apple Announces Plans to Initiate Dividend and Share Repurchase Program

Subject to declaration by the Board of Directors, the Company plans to initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share sometime in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1, 2012.

Additionally, the Company’s Board of Directors has authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program commencing in the Company’s fiscal 2013, which begins on September 30, 2012. The repurchase program is expected to be executed over three years, with the primary objective of neutralizing the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employee stock purchase programs.

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/03/19Apple-Announces-Plans-to-Initiate-Dividend-and-Share-Repurchase-Program.html

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chinese Authors Sue Apple for Copyright Infringement


A group of 22 Chinese authors have filed a claim against U.S. technology group Apple, alleging its App Store sells unlicensed copies of their books, Chinese state mediareported on Sunday.
The group, the Writers Rights Alliance, petitioned Apple last year to stop electronic distribution of the writers' books and had earlier persuaded BaiduChina's largest search engine, to stop publishing their material on its Baidu Library produc



http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chinese-writers-group-sues-apple-124128015.html

HHS Announces First Enforcement Action Under HITECH Act Breach Notification Rule

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) has agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $1,500,000 to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules, Leon Rodriguez, Director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced today.  BCBST has also agreed to a corrective action plan to address gaps in its HIPAA compliance program.  The enforcement action is the first resulting from a breach report required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act Breach Notification Rule.

http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/03/20120313a.html

Friday, March 9, 2012

Activist Shareholder, Daniel Loeb seeks to Gain Seats on Yahoo! Board


After spending years working behind the scenes to push for change, the hedge fund manager is once again openly admonishing management and battling a corporate board. The target: Yahoo.
His firm, Third Point, has amassed a 6 percent stake in the struggling Internet company, and he intends to propose a slate of four directors, including himself, at the company’s annual meeting. He has also sketched out a turnaround strategy for Yahoo that does not necessarily match management’s vision.



http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/activist-investor-charts-plan-to-revitalize-yahoo/

The New York Mets, Its A Wonderful Life and On the Road

Here is a wonderful excerpt:

"There’s a core American debate between “On the Road” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” “On the Road” suggests that happiness is to be found through freedom, wandering and autonomy. “It’s a Wonderful Life” suggests that happiness is found in the lifelong attachments that precede choice. It suggests that restraints can actually be blessings because they lead to connections that are deeper than temporary self-interest.

The happiness research suggests that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is correct and “On the Road” is an illusion. So I’ll die a Mets fan, exaggerating their potential, excusing their deficiencies. "


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/opinion/brooks-the-things-we-dont-choose.html?_r=1&ref=columnists

ABA Asks Courts to Consider Foreign Privacy Laws


The American Bar Association’s (“ABA’s”) House of Delegates adopted a non-binding resolution urging courts to consider foreign data protection and privacy laws when resolving discovery issues. The full text of the resolution is as follows:
“RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges that, where possible in the context of the proceedings before them, U.S. federal, state, territorial, tribal and local courts consider and respect, as appropriate, the data protection and privacy laws of any applicable foreign sovereign, and the interests of any person who is subject to or benefits from such laws, with regard to data sought in discovery in civil litigation.”


http://www.huntonprivacyblog.com/2012/02/articles/american-bar-association-asks-courts-to-consider-foreign-privacy-laws/

Copyright and Photography

A very good summary/primer courtesy of Business Insider...

http://www.businessinsider.com/photography-and-the-law-copyright-issues-2012-2

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Barry Diller Funded Company, Aereo, Sued for Copyright Infringement

Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, and several other television broadcasters filed two major copyright infringement lawsuits against Aereo, a service that's planning to launch in the New York area on March 14th to allow consumers the ability to watch broadcast television online through digital streaming.


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/aereo-barry-diller-stream-tv-online-296426

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Financial Valuations of Largest U.K. Law Firms

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Will Apple Do With Its $100 Billion Cash Stash?

Pressures mount to do something. Could a dividend be far away?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577241483831347356.html

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who Needs Divorce Lawyers?

Another commoditized area of legal services ripe for the taking. Not surprisingly the Texas Bar is digging in their heels. Perhaps the most droll (funny) line in all of this was the last sentence in the full article in today's WSJ (don't know if it appears on this blog link). In any case it read as follows:

"In Texas, divorce lawyers contend that the divorce forms likely will be used by many people of means, who can afford a lawyer and be better served by paying one."

Let me see. I have money. Let's say a lot of money. Instead of flying economy I should be compelled to fly business and first class. Because I will be better served? What if I don't want it or need it? Doesn't that count for something?

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/24/are-divorce-lawyers-necessary/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lawyers Sue Westlaw and Lexis for Copyright Infringement of Case briefs

It is an interesting theory, but not at all clear that a lawyer has a copyrightable interest in their briefs. Indeed, the better argument is that ethically and otherwise, it is the property of the client. A stronger case for asserting copyrightable interests is perhaps in the creation of legal forms.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/22/keep-your-hands-off-my-briefs-lawyers-sue-westlaw-lexis/

Michael Jordan Sues Chinese Sportswear Chain


Qiaodan Sports Company Ltd. has been profiting by illegally using “Qiaodan,” Mr. Jordan’s Chinese alias, on its marketing materials and products since the 1980s, Mr. Jordan said in a prepared statement Thursday.
Qiaodan Sports, based in China’s coastal province of Fujian, sells athlete-branded basketball shoes and jerseys in its 5,715 retail outlets in China and is preparing to raise nearly 1.1 billion yuan ($175 million) in a public listing in Shanghai.
The company said it has the exclusive right to the Qiaodan trademark and is operating “in accordance with Chinese laws.” A Qiaodan Sports spokesman declined to comment further.
“I feel the need to protect my name, my identity, and the Chinese consumers,” Mr. Jordan said in a video on a website devoted to his claims against Qiaodan Sports. “It’s not about the money. It’s about principle — protecting my identity and my name,” he said, adding that any awards would be invested in promoting basketball in China.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/23/michael-jordan-sues-chinese-sportswear-chain/

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Remarkable: Crowd Funding Website Raises $1 Million for Self-Published Web Comic Book

The author of a self-published webcomic about a band of heroes in a fantasy role-playing world has raised more than $1m (£600,000) from fans on "crowdfunding" website Kickstarter to bring his stories back into print, making The Order of the Stick the richest creative work in the crowdfunding site's history.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/22/author-raises-1m-self-publish-webcomic?newsfeed=true

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mobile Apps for Kids Often Lack Adequate Consents and Disclosures According to the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission today issued a staff report showing the results of a survey of mobile apps for children. The survey shows that neither the app stores nor the app developers provide the information parents need to determine what data is being collected from their children, how it is being shared, or who will have access to it.

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/02/mobileapps_kids.shtm

Social Networks Cannot Be Required to Monitor or Filter Users' Communications to Prevent Copyright Infringement, European High Court Says


The highest court in Europe ruled yesterday that social networks cannot be required to monitor and filter their users’ communications to prevent copyright infringement of music and movies.  The European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that imposing a broad filtering obligation on social networks would require active monitoring of users’ files in violation of EU law and could undermine citizens’ freedom of expression.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/eu-court-justice-social-networks

Friday, February 17, 2012

Meltwater News Has Parasitic Business Model, AP Says

The Associated Press claims an Internet-based news aggregator uses a "parasitic business model" based on "willful exploitation and copying of the AP's and other publishers' news articles for profit," in violation of copyright.
     Meltwater News "copies and delivers to paying customers substantial infringing excerpts from AP stories" without paying licensing fees, stealing AP's work and violating copyright, the AP says in its federal complaint against Meltwater News U.S. and Meltwater affiliates.


http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/02/15/43906.htm

Meltwa

The Associated Press claims an Internet-based news aggregator uses a "parasitic business model" based on "willful exploitation and copying of the AP's and other publishers' news articles for profit," in violation of copyright.
     Meltwater News "copies and delivers to paying customers substantial infringing excerpts from AP stories" without paying licensing fees, stealing AP's work and violating copyright, the AP says in its federal complaint against Meltwater News U.S. and Meltwater affiliates.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/02/15/43906.htm

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Owner of Tarzan Sues for Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition


A family-owned company that owns the copyright and trademark rights to author Edgar Rice Burroughs’s works has sued comic-book distributor Dynamic Forces and publisher Dynamite Entertainment over books based on Burroughs’s most-famous characters Tarzan and John Carter of Mars.
The lawsuit, filed by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., claims that Dynamite’s “Lord of the Jungle” and “Warlord of Mars” series constitute trademark infringement and unfair competition.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/16/owner-of-tarzan-sues-comics-companies-for-infringement/

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Right of Publicity Class Action Lawsuit Against Facebook


A class of Facebook users who take issue with one of the site’s advertising methods — the “Sponsored Story,” which is created when a Facebook user “likes” a product or service and is shown to that user’s friends. In essence, if a user “likes” a brand, she becomes a spokeswoman for it.
The lawsui was first filed in California state court and removed to federal court in San Jose in March 2011. The named plaintiff didn’t want Facebook using her image and name to advertise products to her Facebook connections without her permission, she said in court documents filed Monday.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/14/suing-facebook-kind-of-sucks-plaintiff-says/

Monday, February 13, 2012

Will Tort Lawsuits Be the Downfall of the National Football League?

An interesting posting from the Volokh Conspiracy.

http://volokh.com/2012/02/12/will-tort-lawsuits-be-the-downfall-of-the-nfl/

The Saga of Jammie Thomas-Rasset and Copyright Statutory Damages


When Jammie Thomas-Rasset illegally shared 24 songs she downloaded from the Internet more than five years ago, little did she know that the act would launch her on a roller coaster ride through the courts. In three trials and two appeals, she's been hit with damage awards of $222,000, $1.92 million, $54,000, $1.5 million, and $54,000 again.
That last award was too low, argues Capitol Records, which has appealed the case and is seeking restoration of the $1.5 million award against the Native American mother of four from Brainerd, Minnesota, who works as a natural resources coordinator for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians



http://www.pcworld.com/article/249821/eff_defends_54000_award_against_music_sharer.html

Demand for Legal Services Sagging, Citi Report says

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Litigation Financing and Conflicts of Interest: A New Report on the Experience from Land Down Under


Since Australia’s high court in 2006 gave litigation funding its stamp of approval, the industry has grown significantly.
In a new report sponsored by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, an Australian law professor takes a look at how the practice — where businesses invest in high-stakes legal disputes, sharing the risks and potential rewards — creates conflicts of interest.
The conflict argument has been made in the U.S., which is still feeling its way in the field, but Australia’s track record is longer. And the report concludes that the country’s experience should be a lesson to the legal community here.



http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/10/australia-a-cautionary-tale-of-litigation-financing/

Digital Espionage in China Requires Some Business Travelers to take Extraordinary Measures

As reported in the New York Times, when Kenneth Lieberthal of the Brookings Institute, travels to China he takes the following steps:


"He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, “the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/technology/electronic-security-a-worry-in-an-age-of-digital-espionage.html

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Federal Court Grants Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) Accelerated Briefing Schedule in case against FTC re Google

In response to EPIC's complaint and motion to compel the Federal Trade Commission to enforce a consent order against Google, a federal district court judge has ordered an accelerated briefing schedule. The FTC's Response to the EPIC briefs is due February 17, EPIC's reply is due February 21, 2012. The Court's deadlines reflect Google's imminent, substantial changes to the company's business practices. Google intends to consolidate the personal data of Google users across 60 services on March 1. EPIC contends that these changes constitute a violation of the consent order with the Federal Trade Commission. For more information, see EPIC v. FTC (Google Consent Order).


http://epic.org/2012/02/federal-court-grants-accelerat.html

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