Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of record label Capitol Records LLC in its dispute against Redigi Inc., a facilitator of online music resale. The Court held that Redigi violated the Copyright Act when it facilitated the sale of used digital music files, even though Redigi’s program ensured that seller’s copies are deleted upon sale.
Posts from the ‘Courts and Cases’ Category
How Your Cell Phone Became a Perching Felony: About the Recent DMCA Transition to Making Cell Phone Unlocking Illegal
Before you read any further, go read and take note of this petition. You may want to sign it (I did), but context will help in reading this blog post. In case you’ve been studying really, really hard for the Bar Exam, or were suffering from a surprise case of “dead” over the last week, you inevitably heard that the process of “unlocking” cell phones, previously legal, is now illegal because of government fiat. For those who may not have understood or thought to ask, “unlocking” is not the same as “jailbreaking.” In a nutshell, jailbreaking involves making it possible for a device to run code either from sources the manufacturer did not intend the device to be able to use or to run code the manufacturer did not intend it to be able to run (though most people talk about Apple IOS devices, Sony, for example, will note that other devices can also be “jailbroken”). Unlocking, however, involves making it possible for a device intended for use on one wireless network to be used on a different network – wireless devices sold by a particular wireless company are generally, but not always, sold programmed so that they can only use that company’s network.
Regular readers of Internetbizlaw and the Centre Knowledge blog know that I am pro technology consumer, and very cynical about the “graying” of property rights. I am not going to spend a lot of time in this post discussing the “right and wrong” of legalizing unlocking, or not, but everyone should understand a few facts:
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a powerful weapon in a prosecutor’s arsenal. Though imperfect in some ways, it provides a way for citizens and the Government to seek redress for wrongs that previously had no crime attached to them. Much has been made of the Department of Justice’s prosecution of Mr. Swartz in the wake of his death.
For those of you not familiar with COPPA, the FTC passed the act in 1998 and it is designed to help protect the personally identifiable information of Internet users under the age of 13 and gives parents control over the information companies collect online from their children. COPPA specifically applies to websites targeting children, but essentially applies to any site that a child could use that collects personally identifiable information. The FTC is concerned with children’s privacy now more than ever with the increased use of social media and smartphone apps that use features such as geolocation.
Just prior to the deadly school massacre in Newtown, CT last week, the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois against Armslist, LLC, the owner of Armslist.com, on December 12, 2012. Attorneys for The Brady Center assert that Armslist.com played a large part in the death of Jitka Vesel, as the gun used to kill her was purchased through the website by her stalker. According to the Brady Center, the sale of the gun was illegal and the seller pleaded guilty to felony sale of a firearm to an out of state customer. The Brady Center also mentioned that the website did nothing to stop the sale of firearms to consumers in different states, because it allowed users to view classified listings in all fifty states.
There was a time, long ago, when we bought something and it was ours. We could use it, give it away, light it on fire… whatever, but it was ours. Recently it came to be that something that was ours was also sort of somebody else’s (the recent Supreme Court Kelo case) – or something that was somebody else’s was kind of ours (the more venerable Supreme Court Sony Betamax case) (confused yet?). Today, things that are ours, aren’t really ours at all.
We have previously blogged about the Megaupload saga which has affected all its 50 million users with possible data loss and some with prosecution. And who could forget its larger than life founder Kim Dotcom? Now comes word that before MegaUpload was being prosecuted by the US Government, it helped the Government prosecute a smaller file sharing service that used MegaUpload’s servers.