Crowell & Moring has issued its Regulatory Forecast 2018: What Corporate Counsel Need to Know for the Coming Year.

The Forecast cover story, Digital Transformation: The Sky’s the Limit,” provides a look at how technology is helping companies soar to new heights and how regulation can help companies to succeed.

Last Thursday, the Fourth Circuit decided a closely followed case on one of the safe harbor defenses under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). See BMG Rights Management (US) LLC v. Cox Communications, Inc., No. 16-1972 (4th Cir. Feb. 1, 2018). The court also addressed the intent standard for contributory copyright infringement.

BMG, an owner of copyrights in digital music files, sued Cox, an internet service provider, for contributory copyright infringement by Cox subscribers engaging in “peer-to-peer” music file sharing. The district court held that Cox was not entitled to the safe harbor defense under Section 512(a) of the DMCA because Cox did not satisfy the conditions under Section 512(i)(1)(A) that it “adopted and reasonably implemented … a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers … who are repeat infringers.” At trial, a jury found Cox liable and awarded BMG $25 million.


Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Raises Bar for DMCA Safe Harbor Defense

Crowell & Moring has issued its Litigation Forecast 2018: What Corporate Counsel Need to Know for the Coming Year.”

 The Forecast cover story, “Data, Data Everywhere,” takes an in-depth look at the opportunities and challenges general counsel face in navigating the Big Data revolution.

 While data is a driver for innovation

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has joined the Third and Eleventh Circuits in ruling that any disclosure of an individual’s online viewing history along with their personally identifiable information confers standing to bring a suit for violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) in federal court.  The case, Eichenberger v. ESPN, Inc.,

On November 28, 2017, the Sixth Circuit, in a 2:1 decision, ruled on the anonymous copyright infringement case we discussed back in April. The central issue in the case involved whether an adjudicated copyright infringer can remain anonymous. A decision in favor of the infringer could encourage anonymous unlawful speech. A decision in favor of the judgment plaintiff could encourage suits designed only to “out” the name of an anonymous critic.

In a case of first impression, the Sixth Circuit didn’t make a final decision. See Signature Management Team, LLC v. Doe, No. 16-2188, 2017 WL 5710571 (6th Cir. Nov. 28, 2017).

The Court remanded the case back to the district court to balance the infringer’s anonymity interest against both the judgment plaintiff’s interest in unmasking the infringer and the public’s interest in open judicial proceedings, with a presumption in favor of disclosure of the infringer. In short, the Court held that the infringer’s anonymity was not automatically lost upon his defeat in the litigation … at least under these circumstances.
Continue Reading Can You Copyright Infringe Anonymously? Revisited.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has now weighed in on whether plaintiffs can bring a putative class action arising from an alleged data breach in lieu of allegations of actual misuse of compromised data.  Emphasizing the “low bar to establish [] standing at the pleading stage,” the D.C. Circuit reversed a

“There are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately,” including “microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera.  So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.”  Kellyanne Conway, March 12, 2017 Interview with New Jersey’s The Record.

Data from microwaves-turned-cameras has yet to appear in court, but data from other IoT

Earlier this week, a federal Illinois court dismissed a class action against book retailer Barnes & Noble that alleged breach of contract, invasion of privacy, and violations of state consumer fraud and breach reporting laws. The case, dismissed for failing to establish economic harm, marks another data point in demarcating actionable data breaches and highlights

… outside your main jurisdiction can have collateral consequences.

In Gunning v. Doe, 2017 WL 1739442 (Me. May 4, 2017), Maine’s highest court just dodged the issue of the applicable First Amendment test for the disclosure of an anonymous speaker accused of defamation.  Instead, it deferred to California’s test.  Why?  Collateral estoppel:  the defamation plaintiff lost her effort to subpoena a California website host for identifying information of the John Doe defendant, and that decision barred the plaintiff from relitigating the disclosure issue in Maine. 
Continue Reading Gunning For An Anonymous Internet Defamer or Infringer’s Identity …