2H 2016 Quick Links, Part 5 (Patents, Other IP, Employment, CFAA)

Patents * Tim Holbrook on how slow FDA procedures contribute to de facto monopolies for off-patent drugs/devices * Washington Post: Patent lawsuits swell and watchdog says the government is to blame * Washington Post: Patent office workers bilked the government…

Backpage Executives Defeat Pimping Charges Per Section 230–People v. Ferrer

When Kamala Harris’ office filed pimping charges against three Backpage executives, I wondered: why now? why pimping? After all, in 2013, California AG Kamala Harris signed a letter to Congress saying that Section 230 “prevents State and local law enforcement…

Adding Derogatory Caption to Photo Meme Can Be False Light--S.E. v. Chmerkovskiy

Adding Derogatory Caption to Photo Meme Can Be False Light–S.E. v. Chmerkovskiy

S.E. has Down Syndrome. The complaint alleges that in 2008, S.E. attended a baseball game (at the age of 8) in Nashville and was photographed standing outside the stadium near a concession stand. The photographer posted the photo to his…

Avvo's Attorney Profile Pages Don't Violate Publicity Rights--Vrdolyak v. Avvo

Avvo’s Attorney Profile Pages Don’t Violate Publicity Rights–Vrdolyak v. Avvo

Publicity right laws often prohibit the use of third parties’ names (or other aspects of their personalities) “for commercial purposes.” So what’s a “commercial purpose”? Fuck if I know. We might make the term coextensive with the Constitutional law definition…

"Kurt The CyberGuy" Loses Publicity Rights Claims Against TV Station--CyberGuy v. KTLA

“Kurt The CyberGuy” Loses Publicity Rights Claims Against TV Station–CyberGuy v. KTLA

Knutsson was a technology reporter and creator of the “CyberGuy” persona. He worked for TV station KTLA between 1996 and 2011. In 2005, he entered into an agreement with KTLA to be paid an annual salary of $325,000 a year…

Texas Ethics Opinion Approves Competitive Keyword Ads By Lawyers

The Texas State Bar’s Professional Ethics Committee has issued Ethics Opinion #661 approving lawyers’ use of competitive keyword advertising. The opinion concludes: A lawyer does not violate the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct by simply using the name of…

Web Host Defeats Copyright Liability Despite Mishandled Takedown Notice–Hydrenta v. Luchian

The plaintiff produces pornography and distributes it through paid membership sites. The defendants run ad-supported websites that allow users to upload videos, a total of 475,000 user-submitted videos. Moderators screen user submissions to confirm they do not contain “child pornography,…

State Sup. Ct. Affirms Harassment and Breach of Peace Conviction for Posting Pages from Diary to Facebook

State Sup. Ct. Affirms Harassment and Breach of Peace Conviction for Posting Pages from Diary to Facebook

I blogged about this case a few years ago at the appeals court stage. (“Conviction for Posting Pages From Teenager’s Diary Via Mail and Facebook Partially Reversed“.) In a nutshell, the defendant was accused of taking, without permission, pages from…

WTF Is Going On With Section 230?–Cross v. Facebook

It’s been a tough year for Section 230. In one case after another, I’ve had to “explain away” Section 230 losses: * Doe #14 v. ModelMayhem. The 9th Circuit embraced a dubious “failure to warn” exception to Section 230. *…