Q3 2014 Quick Links, Part 1 (RTBF, Reviews, IP & More)

Right to Be Forgotten

* U.S. Attitudes Toward the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’:

1. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe some version of the right to be forgotten is necessary.
2. Thirty-nine percent want a European-style blanket right to be forgotten, without restrictions.
3. Nearly half of respondents were concerned that “irrelevant” search results can harm a person’s reputation.

* Search Engine Land:

The second most common reason Google is rejecting RTBF requests is “you are the author of the content.” That accounts for 22 percent of all the rejections. In other words, almost a thousand times, someone has asked Google to remove his/her own authored content from the search results (and been rejected). Another head-scratcher: 13 percent of the rejections were for social network profiles, which you’d think should be easy enough to just delete directly.

* Netherlands court rules that a conviction for attempted assassination is a permanent part of that person’s record and doesn’t need to be erased.

* Artist asks Google to ‘forget’ old artwork he no longer likes

* New York Times Articles Removed From Google Results in Europe. Publishers, all your traffic are belong to us.

* ‘The Right to be Forgotten’: The future EU legislation takes shape. The better approach would be to realize that the “Right to be Forgotten” is a game that creates more losers than winners, but sadly the EU appears to be doubling down on the concept.

* Ars Technica: Do you really need to pay $20 to delete your Ashley Madison profile? See also my 2013 Internet Law exam and sample answer.

* Model law allowing fiduciaries to access the digital accounts of decedents. Delaware is the first adopterGigaOm: Tech firms bristle at new digital death laws, but will have to get used to them

Consumer Reviews

* Westlake Legal Group v. Schumacher, 2014 WL 4097643 (E.D. Va. Aug. 19, 2014). Section 230 protects Yelp from liability for user review.

* Larue v. Brown, No. 1 CA-CV 13-0138 (Az, Ct. App. Aug. 19, 2014). Providing substantive updates to a Ripoff Report entry reset the defamation statute of limitations.

* Broadspring, Inc. v. Congoo, LLC, 2014 WL 4100615 (SDNY Aug. 20, 2014). Defendant allegedly created a fake Squidoo lens about its competitive rival.

* Brahms v. Carver, 2014 WL 3569347 (E.D.N.Y. July 11, 2014). Unsuccessful attempt by a business to erase unflattering message board comments.

* Judge v. Randell, 2014 WL 3051849 (Cal. App. Ct. July 7, 2014).

Public Web sites, such as the sites on which the reviews about Judge were posted, are public forums for purposes of the anti-SLAPP statute… the consumer reviews about Judge stated that he had “lied about his license credentials,” “damaged [over] $1000.00 of flagstone material,” was “inethical [sic ],” and was reported to the state licensing board for abuse. This information transcends a parochial dispute between the parties and warns other potential consumers against using Judge’s services, thereby falling within the ambit of consumer protection information.

However, the defendant’s anti-SLAPP motion failed because the plaintiff met its pleading burden.

* Dan Jurafsky, The Language of Reviews:

In a recent study we used computational linguistics to examine a million reviews on the web and found that when people write a 1-star review, they use the language of trauma: precisely the same words used by people writing about tragedies like the deaths of loved ones, for instance the pronoun “we” to emphasize a collective sense of grief and solidarity….Positive reviews of expensive restaurants use metaphors of sex and sensual pleasure, such as “orgasmic pastry” or “seductively seared foie gras”, demonstrating our sensuous, hedonistic nature. But positive reviews of cheap restaurants and foods instead employed metaphors of drugs or addiction: “these cupcakes are like crack,” and “the wings are addicting”.

Copyright/Intellectual Property

* Fox News Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc., 2014 WL 4444043 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 9, 2014). Video data mining service qualifies for fair use.

* Routt v. Amazon.com, Inc., 2014 WL 4252287 (9th Cir. August 29, 2014):

Routt provides no basis for us to distinguish her case from the Perfect 10 cases. Accepting the allegations in her complaint as true, Routt has pleaded that Amazon has a right to monitor its Associates’ websites and that it may terminate the account of any Associate who has infringed on another’s copyright. Routt, however, has not alleged that termination would put an immediate end to the Associates’ infringement. As it was in the Perfect 10 cases, the infringing conduct in this case occurs on third-party websites. Routt has alleged nothing to suggest that an infringing Associate could not “continue to reproduce, display, and distribute its infringing copies of [Routt’s] images after its participation in the [Amazon Associates] program has ended.” Amazon.com, 508 F.3d at 1174. Thus, while Amazon may have had the right and ability to terminate the accounts of the infringing Associates, Routt has not adequately alleged that Amazon exercises any direct control over those Associates’ activities. In the absence of such allegations, Amazon cannot be held vicariously liable for its Associates’ conduct

* Techdirt: Copyright Office Rejected My Attempt To Copyright A Tweet. See my 2010 Internet Law exam and sample answer.

* Annemarie Bridy, Internet Payment Blockades

* Mercatus Center, How Many Jobs Does Intellectual Property Create?

* LA Times: YouTube’s biggest stars are cashing in offline


* Does the White House CyberSec Coordinator Need Tech Expertise? 

* Wired: Your Anonymous Posts to Secret Aren’t Anonymous After All

* How the FBI purportedly found Ross Ulbricht shows just how hard it is to remain anonymous against a determined adversary. Prior blog post.

* Delaware HB 295: “A commercial entity shall take all reasonable steps to destroy or arrange for the destruction of a consumer’s personal identifying information within its custody and control that is no longer to be retained by the commercial entity by shredding, erasing, or otherwise destroying or modifying the personal identifying information in those records to make it entirely unreadable or indecipherable through any means”


* The Atlantic: Could Silicon Valley Become the Next Camden? I wish the article had addressed the virtues of standards and standardization, and how that creates ongoing opportunities for developers building on technology platforms.

* NY Times: Google Is Target of European Backlash on U.S. Tech Dominance

* The Verge: This is Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft

* Forbes: Are These Fake Facebook Personas Trolling For Real Law-Firm Clients?

* Recorder: Bar Suspends Lawyer for Photoshopping Herself Into Celebrity Shots

* Quartz: The next era of the public payphone is about to begin