Privacy & Social Media:

  • California creates a minor’s right to be forgotten online. (In contrast, the EU Court of Justice found in June that EU law contains no general right to be forgotten.) [H/T Privacy, E-Commerce & Data Security‘s Summer 2013 Newsletter (PDF)]
  • Google may be getting ready to use your name and profile picture in ads shown to your friends, similar to Facebook’s Sponsored Stories program. While Sponsored Stories got Facebook into trouble for failing to get consent and (initially) refusing to provide a way to opt out, Google has been more careful: it began made changes to its terms of service on Oct. 11 that clearly describe how information will be used, and it allows users to opt out. But newly-minted Senator Ed Markey wants to know whether the search-and-advertising giant’s new terms of use run afoul of its 2011 FTC settlement over the now-defunct Google Buzz? (We previously wrote about that settlement here.)
  • Meanwhile, Facebook will soon make everyone searchable by name. Previously, the social networking company had allowed users to keep their profile out of search results, but it has already removed the feature and will soon turn it off even for those who had previously opted out. [H/T @CyberExaminer]


  • With a hat tip to Futility Closet, I present the crazy patent of the day: US patent 3090581: a flying car. (filed in 1959). Also notable: both the US Patent and Trademark Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization have categories for flying vehicles (USPTO; WIPO). While this particular patent is quite old, and it expired long ago, I have to wonder if it would have passed the test for utility if challenged–that is, did this thing really work? Here’s a picture (there is generally no copyright in patent drawings):

  • The Supreme Court asked the Solicitor General to weigh in on the question presented by Maersk Drilling USA, Inc. v. Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc., on whether entering into a contract while outside the United States providing for the sale within the United States, is a “sale” or “offer for sale” “within the United States” under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). [H/T Patently-O]


  • Bow Tie Blog comments on an e-discovery case in which a court found that a company had a duty to preserve personal emails of its former officers, and (necessarily) that they were within its “control” because the former officers had used their personal email accounts to conduct company business for as long as seven years. For what it’s worth, I agree with Mr. Gilliland: companies that allow BYOD need to have policy and agreements in place allowing them to image and inspect personal devices, the organizational ability to issue legal holds for the data stored on them, and the technical capability to follow through on both.


  • The Federal Circuit upheld the TTAB’s ruling that municipalities may not trademark their official city seals. Federal trademark law prohibits registration of any mark that “[c]onsists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms or other insignia of the United States, or of any State or municipality, or of any foreign nation, or any simulation thereof.”  Trademark Act § 2(b), 15 U.S.C. § 1052(b). [H/T Ron Coleman]
  • Angry Birds® maker Rovio Entertainment Ltd. sued [PDF] golf club manufacturer Angry Clubs LLC over its use of the word “angry,” and the angry eyebrows with which the ‘A’ was adorned. [H/T Martin Schwimmer]


  • Apple asserts a copyright claim over its iTunes Radio contract for independent labels. [H/T The Verge; Reddit]
  • The TV networks and content creators that filed suit against Aereo have filed a petition for writ of certiorari to have their case heard by the Supreme Court. Aereo operates thousands of tiny digital antennas, one for each customer, and transmits the TV broadcast for the channel the customer chooses to their browser over the internet. The networks lost below when the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s refusal to grant a preliminary injunction. The case hinges on whether Aereo’s transmission to its customers is a “public performance” under the Copyright Act, 17 USC § 106. We previously wrote about Aereo’s fight here, here, and here. What do you think? Has Aereo immunized itself from exclusive-public-performance claims by assigning each individual user their own antenna, storage space, and retransmission stream?

–Brad Edmondson

Image Source 1 (coffee)

Image Source 2 (flying car)

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