Top Internet Law Developments of 2019

Top Internet Law Developments of 2019

It’s increasingly hard to find good news in Internet law, so I organized this year’s Internet Law roundup by categories of doom. Trigger warning: you should grab some tissues before proceeding. Doomed (in a Bad Way) Doomed: User-Generated Content. It…

Huuuge Mistake in Contract Formation

Huuuge Mistake in Contract Formation

This is a lawsuit alleging that Huuuge’s gaming app violates Washington’s gambling statute. The particular ruling focuses on whether the app can force users to arbitrate their claims. The district court (Judge Leighton, who is hearing a slew of these…

CreateSpace Isn’t Liable for Publishing Allegedly Infringing Uploaded Book–King v. Amazon

King wrote a book, From Brooklyn to the Grave. King asked his ex-girlfriend, Thomas, to help edit and publish the book. Thomas published the book via Amazon’s CreateSpace. King claims that Thomas expropriated the manuscript and thus Amazon never had…

Review Services Aren’t Liable for Removing Business Profiles (and Associated Reviews)–PCS v. HomeAdvisor

This case is an interesting, but equally unmeritorious, variation of the many lawsuits seeking to impose “must-carry” obligations on UGC sites. The defendants are consumer review sites Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. The lead plaintiff is a home contractor. It had…

More Evidence That Print-on-Demand Vendors May Be Doomed–Greg Young Publishing v. Zazzle

I’ve repeatedly expressed concern for the viability of print-on-demand vendors due to potentially unmanageable IP liability. Unlike other Internet services, print-on-demand vendors do not get the full benefit of 512(c) because of their offline printing and shipping activities. Without 512(c),…

Section 230 Helps Salesforce Defeat Sex Trafficking Lawsuit--Doe v. Salesforce

Section 230 Helps Salesforce Defeat Sex Trafficking Lawsuit–Doe v. Salesforce

Salesforce provided SaaS services to Backpage. On that basis, the plaintiffs sought to hold Salesforce liable for any Backpage-caused sex trafficking victimization. This represents an attempt (possibly unprecedented) to impose tertiary liability for sex trafficking. The advertisers, such as pimps,…

Amazon Can’t Force Arbitration of Minors' Privacy Claims Based on Alexa Recordings--BF v. Amazon

Amazon Can’t Force Arbitration of Minors’ Privacy Claims Based on Alexa Recordings–BF v. Amazon

This lawsuit alleges that Alexa improperly stores the voiceprints of minor users. The trial court declines to order arbitration. (It’s the recommendation of a magistrate, so it will go to the district judge for adoption or modification of the order.)…

Rounding Up Two Online Contract Formation Cases

Two more samples of what I’m seeing in the online contract formation caselaw. Reminder: if you’re using some variation of the “wrap” terminology, UR DOIN IT WRONG. Phillips v. Neutron Holdings, Inc., 2019 WL 4861435 (N.D. Tex. Oct. 2, 2019)….

The PLAN Act Proposes to Amend Section 230 to "Protect"...Landlords and Hotel Chains?

The PLAN Act Proposes to Amend Section 230 to “Protect”…Landlords and Hotel Chains?

This is my third time in 2019 blogging proposed Section 230 amendments. The other two bills, from Sen. Hawley and Rep. Gosar, propose structural reforms to Section 230–to mandate political neutrality and ban any content moderation not required by law,…

Competitor Gets Pyrrhic Victory in False Advertising Suit Over Search Ads--Harbor Breeze v. Newport Fishing

Competitor Gets Pyrrhic Victory in False Advertising Suit Over Search Ads–Harbor Breeze v. Newport Fishing

The litigants compete in the whale watching industry in LA/Orange Counties. The plaintiffs operate out of Long Beach/San Pedro, the defendants out of Newport Beach. If you’re not familiar with the geography, Long Beach and Newport Beach are about 20…