There was a lot going on this week, so the Monday Morning JETLawg has been broken down into topics. Monday is cybercrime and cybersecurity; Tuesday is copyright, intellectual property (IP) policy generally, government technology, and government IP; Wednesday is surveillance and censorship; Thursday is sports, entertainment, and the arts; and Friday is e-currency, e-discovery, and the technology industry.


  • Bogus DMCA: Office Depot sends a Digital Milleneum Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notice to Reddit — for violations of its trademark rights and Reddit’s own terms of service. What does the C in DMCA stand for again? [H/T Reddit]
  • Lawyers behaving badly: Copyright troll Prenda Law, which has been accused of extorting money from copyright infringers of pornographic films by threatening to publicly release their names unless they paid a hefty settlement fee, receives [PDF] yet another scathing ruling, this time in the District of Minnesota. The federal judge there re-opened several cases its affiliate company AF Holdings, LLC had won, and found that the company had perpetrated a fraud upon the court, and ordered it to disgorge everything it had won — plus all defendants’ attorneys’ fees. He also referred the matter to not one, not two, not three, but four different entities for further investigation: the Minnesota Supreme Court (which oversees the practice of law in the state), the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, the state’s Attorney General, and the US Attorney for the District of Minnesota. We previously wrote about Prenda Law here, and we look more extensively at last week’s ruling here. [H/T Reddit]
  • Copyright in routing numbers: The American Bankers Association (by way of Covington & Burling LLP) sends a DMCA takedown request for bank routing numbers that an individual website operator downloads from the Federal Reserve’s website, parses for readability and searchability, and then re-posts on his own. After the operator took down that portion of his website, he got some pro bono assistance from Andrew Delaney of Charles S. Martin & Associates, P.C., who sent a snarky response citing the close facts of Feist (full text) and its principle that information is just not subject to copyright protection. After being advised that the copyright claim in the numbers themselves had no merit, the site is back up. When Delaney pressed the Covington attorney, Nigel Howard, for a response, Howard resorted [PDF] to a copyright “analysis” so ephemeral Ken White dubbed it “the Canadian Girlfriend school of legal argumentation.”

Government Technology & Intellectual Property:

  • A significant component of the problem-plagued website will be shut down nightly for maintenance, between the hours of 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM ET. The Obama administration has been trying to fix the insurance marketplace website since its underwhelming debut on October 1st, and the President ordered a “tech surge,” reportedly involving dozens of engineers from Google, Red Hat, and Oracle, to identify and resolve the issues that have been keeping the site from performing as expected.
  • Protecting ZIP CodesApparently the US Postal Service’s (USPS) mapping of ZIP codes to physical locations is proprietary information? That’s why USPS denied this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. (Yes, USPS is not technically a government entity, but still….) [H/T Reddit]

Intellectual Property Law & Policy:

  • The TPP Agreement: The New York Times endorses the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an international trade and intellectual property agreement the United States is negotiating with Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and others, despite the fact that its actual terms are being kept secret. Do you think the Times has seen the text of the TPP, but won’t publish it (presumably to protect its rapport with its sources), or is it endorsing the agreement without reading its terms? [H/T EFFReddit]

–Brad Edmondson

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