A New Co-Author to Anne Frank’s Diary

Anne FrankBy Binh Vong

One of the most widely-read books of the 20th century, Anne Frank’s diary gives us a glimpse of World War II through the details of the years when the Frank family hid from the Nazis in the attic of a factory in Amsterdam. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, compiled the diary and gave the copyright of the book to Anne Frank Fonds (“the Foundation”), a Swiss foundation. Because Anne Frank died in 1945, under the copyright law of the European Union, the copyright to the book in Europe was originally set to end this upcoming January 1st, 70 years after her death.

In a move to extend the copyright of the book, the Foundation recently announced that Otto Frank co-authored the book, which would extend the copyright of the book to 70 years after Otto Frank’s death in 1980. This gives the Foundation exclusive rights over the book until 2050 in Europe. The copyright to Anne Frank’s diary in the United States does not end until 2047, 95 years after the book was first published in the United States in 1952. Continue reading “A New Co-Author to Anne Frank’s Diary”

Is Google the New Cookie Monster? Third Circuit Google Case Gives Californians Something to Complain About

cookie monsterBy Samuel Daheim

On Tuesday, November 10th, the Third Circuit vacated a district court’s dismissal of freestanding privacy claims against Google Inc. (Google) under California law. Plaintiffs alleged that Google’s actions constituted a breach of privacy, under both California Tort law and the California State constitution, when it deceitfully bypassed internet privacy settings in order to track internet usage. The Third Circuit rejected the district court’s ruling that the alleged intrusive practices of the company did not amount to an “egregious breach of social norms” – the standard under the California constitution. Continue reading “Is Google the New Cookie Monster? Third Circuit Google Case Gives Californians Something to Complain About”

The Continuing Fight Over Paying Student-Athletes

Untitled2By Joe Davison

College athletics, like professional sports, have become a multi-billion dollar business. As the NCAA and its conferences sign lucrative media contracts, many have started to question the lack of compensation for college student-athletes. This has resulted in an outbreak of antitrust action against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, plaintiffs challenged the restrictions on student-athletes receiving compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. Plaintiffs are a group of twenty current and former college student-athletes who played either Division I men’s basketball or football between 1956 and the present. They represent a certified class of all current and former student-athletes who “compete on, or competed on, an NCAA Division I . . . men’s basketball [or] . . . football team and whose images, likenesses and/or names may be, or have been, included . . . in game footage or in videogames licensed or sold by Defendants, their co-conspirators, or their licensees.” Named Plaintiff, Edward O’Bannon, was a student-athlete who played on the 1995 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), national championship team. Continue reading “The Continuing Fight Over Paying Student-Athletes”

Internet Pirates Need Not Fear the ITC—For Now

Untitled1By Mackenzie Olson

Imagine that you are the CEO of an entertainment company such as TimeWarner or Disney, and illegal downloading costs your company millions in lost revenue each year. How do you solve this problem? Do you change your business model? HBO is the creator of Game of Thrones, the most pirated TV show in the world. Some viewers who download the show illegally have explained that they pirate the program because they do not want to pay for a full cable subscription to watch one show. This year, HBO debuted a stand-alone streaming service that does not require a cable subscription. Currently, this may be HBO’s best option for reducing the rate of piracy of its programs in the United States; the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) does not have the authority to prosecute foreign websites that contain pirated content in ClearCorrect Operating, LLC v. ITC. Continue reading “Internet Pirates Need Not Fear the ITC—For Now”

SCOTUS Dodges Privacy Issue … For Now

imrs (1)By Andrew H. Fuller

Last Monday (Nov. 9), the Supreme Court of the United States declined cert to petition Davis, Quartavius v. United States. The case focused on whether the police must obtain a warrant in order to access and review cellphone location data held by carriers. In brief, Davis was convicted of several counts of robbery based on evidence that was largely constructed from cellphone location data the state obtained from Davis’s mobile carrier, MetroPCS, without a warrant. Of particular concern to both Davis and privacy advocates was the data regarding the cell tower locations that Davis’s phone connected to at certain dates and times. The Eleventh Circuit held that Davis did not have a privacy interest in the historical cell site location data and therefore no warrant was necessary. Continue reading “SCOTUS Dodges Privacy Issue … For Now”

“Consumer Data Breach Class Action Suits May Soon Be Standing Tall”

silver-hands-typing-blue-keyboard-digital-data-01_573x300By Beth St. Clair

A consumer uses her credit card to make a purchase at a major retailer. Six months later she’s notified that, due to a recent hack on the retailer’s computer systems, her credit card number has been stolen. She quickly checks her accounts but there’s no activity. All is quiet over the next few weeks. Nonetheless, she’s nervous. She cancels the credit card and enrolls in a $4.99/month credit monitoring service.

Based on these facts, should this consumer be able to join a class action suit against the retailer for the data breach? Continue reading ““Consumer Data Breach Class Action Suits May Soon Be Standing Tall””

Harvard Law School and Ravel Law Collaborate to Improve Access to the Common Law

printerBy Carlie Bacon

The technological age has transformed the once-useful volumes lining the walls of law firms and libraries into decorative dust-collectors. Just like this blog post, the information in those books can be accessed from anywhere that you can check your email. Law is widely regarded as a conservative profession, but even so, modern attorneys and law students conduct legal research online. Why turn page after page at a desk somewhere, when you can scroll through seamless documents from the comfort of, well, anywhere?

Companies like Westlaw and LexisNexis offer access to enormous electronic databases and handy research tools, but at a cost. Subscription fees can total millions of dollars annually for large firms. Like those shelves full of books, commercial databases’ days may be numbered too. Continue reading “Harvard Law School and Ravel Law Collaborate to Improve Access to the Common Law”

Five Stars for the Recent Crackdown on Fake Reviews

fakeBy Alex Bullock

Think of the last time you were in the market for a product or to find a restaurant for dinner – did you search online for reviews of the product or the business? If you’re like me and many other modern consumers, the answer is likely, “Yes.” And again, if you’re like me, you may take for granted that those online reviews are objective and real. That is why it is encouraging to hear that a company like Amazon, as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), are taking steps to ensure that consumers can trust those reviews.

In October, Amazon filed suit against more than 1,000 people who allegedly offered to write reviews of products they had not used in exchange for a fee. According to the company’s complaint in King County Superior Court, each of the individuals sued in this case used the website Fiverr, a global online marketplace for individuals offering tasks and services in order to offer to create fake reviews for a fee. The complaint outlines a typical encounter between an Amazon seller and a prospective fake reviewer. Continue reading “Five Stars for the Recent Crackdown on Fake Reviews”

High Court Decides Whether to Change Standard for Treble Damages

Supreme.Court_.G-640x426By Vijay Kumar

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari for two patent cases, Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc. and Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, to decide whether to relax the standard that determines if a district court can award treble damages to a patentee after a finding of infringement.

The legal authority for whether treble damages should be awarded is set forth in 35 § USC 284, which gives the district courts broad discretion to “increase the damages up to three times the amount found or assessed.” To clarify the rule, the Federal Circuit’s In re Seagate decision in 2007 set forth a two-part test, requiring the patentee to show that the infringer: (1) acted despite an objectively high risk of infringement, and (2) knew, or should have known, the risk of infringement. By granting cert, the Supreme Court will review this objective/subjective two-part test to determine its appropriateness. Continue reading “High Court Decides Whether to Change Standard for Treble Damages”

Happy Birthday to Everyone

happybdayBy Danielle Olero

Cake, ice cream, presents, and a chorus of “Happy Birthday to You” has been a longstanding tradition for many to mark the passage of time in a person’s life. Although trivial to those who sing the song within their household, this eight note song has been the source of millions of dollars of revenue for the companies who have collected royalties from the song over the past eighty years.

In 2013 Jennifer Nelson, an independent filmmaker, intended to use the song in her documentary. She filed a putative class action against Warner/Chappell, who have claimed to hold the rights to the song since 1988. During the last two years, artists have been watching this case with great anticipation. Rights to the song could range from $1,500 to $5,000 or more for the use in films. Continue reading “Happy Birthday to Everyone”