Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Internet Law
Force v. Facebook, Inc.
Plaintiffs, U.S. citizens of Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, appealed the district court's dismissal of their federal civil antiterrorism and Israeli law claims against Facebook, alleging that Facebook unlawfully assisted Hamas in the attacks. Plaintiff argued that Hamas used Facebook to post content that encouraged terrorist attacks in Israel during the time period of the attacks. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment as to the federal claims, holding that 42 U.S.C. 230(c)(1) bars civil liability claims that treat a provider or user of an interactive computer service as a publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. In this case, plaintiffs' claims fell within Facebook's status as the publisher of information within the meaning of the statute, and Facebook did not develop the content of the postings at issue. Therefore, section 230(c)(1) applied to Facebook's alleged conduct in this case. The court also held that applying section 230(c)(1) to plaintiffs' claims would not impair the enforcement of a federal criminal statute; the Anti-Terrorism Act's civil remedies provision, 18 U.S.C. 2333, did not implicitly narrow or repeal section 230(c)(1); and applying section 230(c)(1) to plaintiffs' claims would not be impermissibly extraterritorial. Finally, in regard to the foreign law claims, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction sua sponte to cure jurisdictional defects and therefore dismissed these claims. View "Force v. Facebook, Inc." on Justia Law
BWP Media USA Inc. v. Polyvore, Inc.
BWP appealed the district court's memorandum and order granting summary judgment to Polyvore on BWP's copyright claims for direct and secondary infringement and denial of BWP's cross-motion for summary judgment on direct infringement. BWP's claims arose from Polyvore's posting of BWP's photos on its website. The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to Polyvore on the direct infringement claim because there was a dispute of material fact regarding whether Polyvore created multiple copies of BWP's photos that were not requested by Polyvore users; questions of material fact precluded the court from holding at this stage that Polyvore satisfied the requirements for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) section 512(c) safe harbor, even though BWP has not shown that Polyvore's stripping of metadata disqualifies it from safe harbor protection; but Polyvore was entitled to summary judgment on BWP's secondary infringement claims of contributory, vicarious, and inducement of infringement because BWP abandoned those claims. Finally, the court held that the district court did not err by declining to sanction BWP. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "BWP Media USA Inc. v. Polyvore, Inc." on Justia Law
Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc.
Defendants appealed the district court's judgment for plaintiffs, finding copyright infringement. Defendants created an Internet platform designed to enable the lawful resale, under the first sale doctrine, of lawfully purchased digital music files, and had hosted resales of such files on the platform. The Second Circuit held that defendants infringed plaintiffs' exclusive rights under 17 U.S.C. 106(1) to reproduce their copyrighted works. In this case, the operation of ReDigi version 1.0 in effectuating a resale resulted in the making of at least one unauthorized reproduction. Such unauthorized reproduction violated the right holder's exclusive reproduction rights under section 106(1) and was not excused as fair use. The court declined to make a decision as to whether ReDigi also infringed plaintiffs' exclusive rights under 17 U.S.C. 106(3) to distribute their works. View "Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc." on Justia Law
Williams v. Affinion Group, LLC
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in an action filed by seven former participants in online discount membership programs, alleging that Trilegiant conspired with e‐merchant retailers such as Buy.com, Orbitz, and Priceline to enroll the retailers' customers in the membership programs via deceptive post‐transaction marketing and datapass techniques. The court held that prohibitions on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act did not apply in this case because plaintiffs failed to raise a material issue of fact as to whether they consented to enrollment in the membership programs. Therefore, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment as to that claim. The court affirmed the dismissal of the racketeering claim, holding that plaintiffs could not proceed on a theory of racketeering because they did not identify an actionable fraud. Finally, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and unjust enrichment claims, holding that plaintiffs have not shown that they were entitled to a refund of membership fees and Trilegiant was not unjustly enriched by not issuing the refunds. View "Williams v. Affinion Group, LLC" on Justia Law
VIZIO, Inc. v. Klee
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss an action challenging a Connecticut law imposing recycling fees on electronics manufacturers. VIZIO alleged that Connecticut's E-Waste Law effectively regulated interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause. The court analyzed the claim through a "well-worn path," N.Y. Pet Welfare Ass'n, Inc. v. City of New York, 850 F.3d 79, 89 (2d Cir. 2017), and held that VIZIO failed to articulate entitlement to relief under this familiar rubric. The court declined to extend the extraterritoriality doctrine in such a way as to prohibit laws that merely consider out‐of‐state activity, did not apply the user fee analysis to VIZIO's case, and found no burden on interstate commerce that was clearly excessive to the considerable public benefits conferred by Connecticut's E‐Waste Law. View "VIZIO, Inc. v. Klee" on Justia Law
EMI Christian Music Group, Inc. v. MP3tunes, LLC
Plaintiffs filed a copyright infringement suit against MP3tunes and its founder and CEO, alleging that two internet music services created by MP3tunes infringed their copyrights in thousands of sound recordings and musical compositions. The district court granted partial summary judgment to defendants, holding that MP3tunes had a reasonably implemented repeat infringer policy under section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. 512. A jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiffs, but the district court partially overturned the verdict. The court vacated the district court's grant of partial summary judgment to defendants based on its conclusion that MP3tunes qualified for safe harbor protection under the DMCA because the district court applied too narrow a definition of “repeat infringer”; reversed the district court's grant of judgment as a matter of law to defendants on claims that MP3tunes permitted infringement of plaintiffs’ copyrights in pre‐2007 MP3s and Beatles songs because there was sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable jury to conclude that MP3tunes had red‐flag knowledge of, or was willfully blind to, infringing activity involving those categories of protected material; remanded for further proceedings related to claims arising out of the district court's grant of partial summary judgment; and affirmed the judgment in all other respects. View "EMI Christian Music Group, Inc. v. MP3tunes, LLC" on Justia Law
Nicosia v. Amazon.com, Inc.
After plaintiff purchased a "1 Day Diet" weight loss product containing sibutramine, a controlled substance that had been removed from the market in October 2010, on Amazon.com, he filed suit alleging claims under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), 15 U.S.C. 2051 et seq., and state law. The district court dismissed the complaint based on the ground that the parties are bound by the mandatory arbitration provision in Amazon's Conditions of Use. The court concluded that the district court erred in concluding that plaintiff failed to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) and held that Amazon failed to show that plaintiff was on notice and agreed to mandatory arbitration as a matter of law. The court agreed with the district court that plaintiff did not establish a likelihood of future or continuing harm where, even assuming his past purchase of the product resulted in injury and that he may continue to suffer consequences as a result, he failed to show that he is likely subjected to further sales by Amazon of products containing sibutramine. Finally, the court concluded that plaintiff's remaining arguments are meritless. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district courtʹs denial of plaintiffʹs motion for a preliminary injunction, but vacated the dismissal for failure to state a claim and remanded for further proceedings. View "Nicosia v. Amazon.com, Inc." on Justia Law
Microsoft v. United States
Microsoft appealed from the district court's order denying its motion to quash a warrant issued under section 2703 of the Stored Communications Act (SCA), 18 U.S.C. 2701 et seq., and holding Microsoft in contempt of court for refusing to execute the warrant on the government’s behalf. The warrant directed Microsoft to seize and produce the contents of an e‐mail account - an account believed to be used in furtherance of narcotics trafficking - that it maintains for a customer who uses the company’s electronic communications services. Microsoft produced its customer’s non‐content information to the government, as directed. That data was stored in the United States. But Microsoft ascertained that, to comply fully with the warrant, it would need to access customer content that it stores and maintains in Ireland and to import that data into the United States for delivery to federal authorities. The court concluded that Congress did not intend the SCA’s warrant provisions to apply extraterritorially. The focus of those provisions is protection of a user’s privacy interests. Accordingly, the SCA does not authorize a United States court to issue and enforce an SCA warrant against a United States‐based service provider for the contents of a customer’s electronic communications stored on servers located outside the United States. Therefore, the court concluded that the district court lacked authority to enforce the warrant against Microsoft. The court reversed the denial of the motion to quash because Microsoft has complied with the warrant’s domestic directives and resisted only its extraterritorial aspect; vacated the finding of civil contempt; and remanded with instructions to the district court to quash the warrant insofar as it directs Microsoft to collect, import, and produce to the government customer content stored outside the United States. View "Microsoft v. United States" on Justia Law
Authors Guild v. Google, Inc.
Plaintiffs, authors of published books under copyright, filed suit against Google for copyright infringement. Google, acting without permission of rights holders, has made digital copies of tens of millions of books, including plaintiffs', through its Library Project and its Google books project. The district court concluded that Google's actions constituted fair use under 17 U.S.C. 107. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Google. The court concluded that: (1) Google’s unauthorized digitizing of copyright-protected works, creation of a search functionality, and display of snippets from those works are non-infringing fair uses. The purpose of the copying is highly transformative, the public display of text is limited, and the revelations do not provide a significant market substitute for the protected aspects of the originals. Google’s commercial nature and profit motivation do not justify denial of fair use. (2) Google’s provision of digitized copies to the libraries that supplied the books, on the understanding that the libraries will use the copies in a manner consistent with the copyright law, also does not constitute infringement. Nor, on this record, is Google a contributory infringer. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Authors Guild v. Google, Inc." on Justia Law
Starkey v. G Adventures, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit against defendant, a travel company with which she booked a vacation tour, alleging negligence after one of defendant's employees sexually assaulted her during the trip. At issue was whether a hyperlink to a document containing a forum selection clause may be used to reasonably communicate that clause to a consumer. The court concluded that the forum selection clause in this case was enforceable. Therefore, the court agreed with the district court's holding that the United States was an improper forum because defendant had reasonably communicated the terms and conditions applicable to the tour, which included an enforceable forum selection clause that required plaintiff to litigate her claim in Canada. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Starkey v. G Adventures, Inc." on Justia Law