Friday, December 16, 2016

United States Copyright Office Releases Report on Software-Enabled Consumer Products

Yesterday, the U.S. Copyright Office released a report titled "Software-Enabled Consumer Products."

The report follows a year-long process, during which the Office studied how copyright law interacts with software-enabled consumer products, from cars, to refrigerators, to mobile phones, to thermostats and the like. 

The report explores the various legal doctrines that apply to this subset of software, which is increasingly present in everyday life, including important copyright doctrines such as fair use, merger, scènes à faire, first sale, and the section 117 exemptions. The report focuses on specific issues raised in the public comments and hearings, including how copyright law affects licensing, resale, repair and tinkering, security research and interoperability.

The Copyright Office's report found that current legal doctrines support a wide range of legitimate uses of the embedded software in consumer products while also recognizing the importance of copyright protection to the creation and distribution of innovative products. The report does not recommend legislative changes at this time.

The full report and executive summary are available on the Copyright Office's website at http://copyright.gov/policy/software/.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Apple Store Privacy Issues

Do you trust Apple Store employees when they take away your phone to fix it?

Staff in a Brisbane Apple Store reportedly lifted photos from some Apple customers' iPhones and took more than 100 close-up and explicit photos of female customers and staff without their knowledge.

This raises both privacy and copyright issues.  It is also creepy.

See Brisbane Times

Monday, April 25, 2016

Swipes per minute

In one minute, there are 4,166,667 Facebook likes, 347,222 tweets, 590,279 Tinder swipes and 284,722 Snapchat snaps.  See BRG

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Revenge Porn

A story in the NY Times about a revenge porn civil case, and whether the decision by prosecutors to drop a corresponding criminal case will have any impact on the civil case.

"In recent years, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have earned a reputation for being particularly aggressive in pursuing cases against both former boyfriends and hackers selling unauthorized sexually explicit videos to websites. One notable case was the successful prosecution of Hunter Moore, who ran a now-defunct website that specialized in posting revenge porn videos that were stolen from people’s computers and posted without their permission.

The decision to drop the charges against Mr. Elam may illustrate the difficulties in pursuing such cases because they require a jury not to hold the victim partly responsible for creating the sexually explicit images in the first place and either sharing them with a former partner or storing them on a cellphone."

See NY Times

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Consequential Loss After Hacking Decision from the USA

An interesting decision from the United States (11th Circuit appeals court) in Silvertop Systems -- decision here.

There is an interesting discussion of consequential loss, that starts at the heading "LMT's Counterclaim for Breach of Contract"

Facts were these:

·         Supplier (Silverpop) provided an email marketing service.  Customers loaded up email addresses and Supplier would send out mass emails in a form specified by the customer to addresses on the list.
·         Hackers got into the Supplier’s system and got access to several customer’s marketing lists, including LMT’s list.
·         The contract between Silverpop and LMT had a confidentiality clause (obligation to protect the list against unauthorised disclosure to third parties) and an exclusion of consequential loss.
·         Amongst the claims and counterclaims, was a claim from LMT that Silverpop had breached the confidentiality obligation and that the damage suffered by LMT was the sale value of the marketing list, which they said was now worthless.

This is what the court decided – assuming it was correct that the value of the marketing list was now zero, that was a consequential loss.  The court discussed the difference between general damages and consequential damages (which is remarkably similar to the old English decision of Hadley v Baxendale).  The direct loss which would have been recoverable by LMT if there had been a breach of the confidentiality obligation was the loss of the value of the service (but that is not what LMT claimed).

Friday, March 11, 2016

Discount Accommodation and Affiliate Payments

Online travel agents make commissions of approximately 15% to 25% of the price of the accommodation booked.  Some share that commission with travellers through loyalty programs.  Others give discounts upfront, or share some of the commission with "affiliates" who refer other customers.  One such service is JetSetter, who has discount quality accommodation, and shares 5% with the guest and 5% with the referring affiliate.  See Jetsetter.  (I use this service by the way, and it is good.   I have stayed in luxury accommodation at great prices.)

Another good referral program is OFX (OzForex) which is an international wire money transfer business.  It is in competition with Western Union, and is much better value.  See OFX website.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Echo from Amazon

The relatively new Echo device from Amazon is getting great press.  It will be interesting to see what legal issues arise from a voice controlled device in your home that connects with other systems.

There is also the new Amazon Tap.

Any why is Amazon opening physical book stores?


 

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Apple v The Government

If you are following the Apple v US Government legal process over the FBI request to brute force break of the passcode on Syed Farook’s work phone, the link below has a good summary and also a link to the 65 page motion.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Copyright in Instagram Photos

See this article regarding a copyright claim in respect of Instagram photos.

Story here.

I have met a number of people who are earning good money promoting products on Instagram and on blogs.