Articles Posted in Internet Law

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
Plaintiff filed suit under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030, and the Stored Communications Act (SCA), 18 U.S.C. 2701 et seq., alleging that defendant, her former boyfriend, had gained access to her e-mail and Facebook accounts without her permission and therefore in violation of the CFAA and the SCA. Plaintiff discovered that she could not log on to her AOL e-mail account on or about August 1, 2011 and plaintiff discovered that she could not log into her Facebook account on February 24, 2012. The district court granted defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint as untimely. While the CFAA and the SCA provided a civil cause of action, the statute of limitations to file under each statute is two years. The court concluded that plaintiff's claims relating to defendant's alleged unlawful access to her e-mail account are time-barred because she filed suit on January 2, 2014, after the two year statute of limitations had expired. However, the court concluded that plaintiff's claims relating to the alleged unlawful access of her Facebook account were timely filed, less than two years from the date they accrued. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Sewell v. Bernardin" on Justia Law

by
The district court found Apple in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, because Apple facilitated and executed a conspiracy where five of the six largest e-book publishers in the country entered into a horizontal conspiracy to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices. The district court issued an external compliance monitor through a permanent injunction. At issue on appeal is the district court’s denial of the motion to disqualify the appointed monitor, and modifications of the injunction. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to disqualify the monitor based on the record before the district court. The court also concluded that, in light of the court's intervening interpretation of the injunction, the terms of the injunction are not currently affected by modifications (if any) made by the district court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the decisions of the district court without prejudice. The court ordered the letter at issue disclosing the fee schedule unsealed and directed the Clerk of the Court to make that letter publicly available on the docket. View "United States v. Apple Inc." on Justia Law

by
Peter Ricci, a Teamsters member since 1983, refused to endorse Union President Doyle in 2002. For the next 10 years, Ricci claims, he suffered retaliation. He was fired from jobs he should have kept; he was not placed in jobs he should have gotten; and generally disfavored, even as compared with members with less seniority. In 2012, members of the Union distributed newsletters containing statements about the Riccis. Those newsletters were also published on a website hosted on GoDaddy’s web servers. The Riccis claim that GoDaddy refused to investigate Ricci’s complaints. In the Ricci’s pro se defamation and retaliation suit, the district court dismissed all claims against GoDaddy and federal claims against the Union. The Second Circuit affirmed. GoDaddy is immune from the defamation claims under the Communications Decency Act of 1996: “[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” 47 U.S.C. 230(c)(1), and “No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.” The labor claims were barred by the NLRA’s six‐ month statute of limitations, 29 U.S.C. 160(b). View "Ricci v. Teamsters Union Local 456" on Justia Law

by
This case arose when plaintiff filed a defamation action against defendants based on statements that they made in an online petition and press release. The district court dismissed the action. The court reserved decision and certified the following questions to the Nevada Supreme Court: (1) Does a hyperlink to source material about judicial proceedings in an online petition suffice for purposes of applying the common law fair report privilege? and (2) Did Nevada’s anti-strategic litigation against public participation (“anti-SLAPP”) statute, Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 41.653-41.670, as that statute was in effect prior to the most recent amendments in 2013, cover speech that seeks to influence an election but that is not addressed to a government agency? View "Adelson v. Harris" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, an association of authors and several individual authors, filed suit against Google alleging that it committed copyright infringement through the Library Project of its "Google Books" search tool by scanning and indexing more than 20 million books and making available for public display "snippets" of most books upon a user's search. On appeal, Google challenged the district court's grant of class certification. The court believed that the resolution of Google's fair use defense in the first instance would necessarily inform and perhaps moot the court's analysis of many class certification issues and that holding the issue of certification in abeyance until Google's fair use defense has been resolved would not prejudice the interests of either party. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for the district court to consider the fair use issues. View "The Authors Guild Inc., et al. v. Google, Inc." on Justia Law