Legal Briefs: DMCA Safeharbors Upheld for Veoh

copyright crosshairAs technology changes and the uses of media evolve into unforeseen territories, questions about legal feasibility and permissible behavior invariable arise.  It’s a battle that often pits content owners against content distributors.  It’s issues of fair usage, of reasonable protection and questions about levels of professional responsibility. 

What can be shown?
What can be copied?
How much effort does a company have to make to police customer behavior? 
What are “reasonable” standards?

It’s the courts’ unenviable job to interpret the often vague, and complex, nuance of law written before the very innovations in question were even contemplated.  It’s their job to figure it all out.

Slowly but surely, judges are working through the process. Click to Read More

No Reason to Question Insight

no questionSometimes scandal lingers just below the surface.  Dig a little, or a lot, and you can uncover a trove of sordid detail.  Other times, no matter how much you dig, there’s just no news.  No matter how hard you look, even behind the specter of impropriety, there’s nothing to report. 

Late Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal ran a story looking into tips about alleged fiduciary failures at venture firm Insight Venture Partners (IVP).  At first glance, it had all the makings of real trouble: an anonymous tipster, a substantial return on investment, and an apparent conflict of interest too.  On closer inspection, however, looks are deceiving.

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Legal Brief: Open Source Licenses Win Important Appeal

copyright puzzleThe merits of unconditional giving aside, if you build something and decide to give it away, decide to put it into the public domain, can you attach strings to the gift? Can you set rules that stick with your invention and continually govern how it will be used from owner to owner to owner?   And  if those rules aren’t’ followed is the violation copyright infringement?   In a ruling deciding a case addressing the enforceability of open-source software licenses, Wednesday the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said yes.  The decision reversed a San Francisco Federal Court ruling.

To many, the news may seem like an insignificant, or esoteric, legal discussion.  The Open-Source community, which was rallying for the result, would argue otherwise. Click to Read More

Courts Approve Remote Storage DVRs

copyright crosshairsCopyright law is a funny beast.  Even in its most recent incarnations, freshly stamped with Congressional approval, it rarely keeps pace with changing business models and new invention.  It’s evolutionary law subject to seemingly constant interpretation (and re-interpretation) to match legislative intent to new market paradigms.  A case in point: in March 2007, the U.S. District Court in New York ruled a digital video recorder (DVR) that used remote storage instead of a local hard drive violated copyright laws.  Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit) reversed the ruling and said Cablevision’s planned remote storage DVR (RS-DVR) is legal.

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Applevine: Justice Case Closed, iPhone Cracked Open

metue applevine whisperThe iPhone is here and Apple is making headlines around the world.  From the Applevine, there is more going on than just the debut of the anticipated phone. Thursday, it became apparent that the company is off the hook for any backdating of stock options.  Also, the iPhone 3G was cracked open and the App store went live.

Backdating Investigation Closed
While spokespeople for Apple and the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s office have not commented, after two years, it appears the Justice Department has ended its criminal investigation of stock options back dating at Apple. They decided no charges will be filed.  Sources close to the case told the Wall Street Journal the inquiry is over.

At issue were practices dating back to the period between 1997 and 2001.

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Judging DVRs: TiVo Beats Dish in Court Again

tivo dish courtDo the Justices of the Supreme Court use TiVo or record programs on a DVR? And if they do, what do they watch? Gossip columnists stand by. There could be a story coming, probably not, almost definitely not, but it’s possible. Today, the DC based U.S. Court of Appeals denied Dish Network’s appeal for a new hearing in the Satellite provider’s long running battle with TiVo over digital video recorder (DVR)  patents.  The next stop for the case could be the Supreme Court.

The dispute underlying the appeal began in 2004 when TiVo charged DVR’s offered by Dish Network (EchoStar) violated their patents. Click to Read More

Motorola and Icahn Settle: Mobile Business the Reward

agreementElectronic Arts took its offer to Take Two’s shareholders and Microsoft is on the verge of doing similar with Yahoo.  Monday, Motorola narrowly avoided adding another major proxy fight to the quarter’s tally.  Subject to an agreement announced today, dissident board member Carl Icahn and the rest of Motorola’s board of directors agreed to settle their ongoing battle over board seats and control (Press Release).

In exchange for dropping litigation (filed to gain access to corporate documents) and for his withdrawing a proxy fight for four board seats, Motorola agreed to endorse two of Icahn’s nominees to the board.  The Illinois based company also agreed to both refrain from adding anti takeover provisions like poison pills and a staggered board to the spin-off of the company’s mobile phone business; and to insure Icahn (or his board representatives) will have a significant voice in decisions regarding the spin-off (including the hiring of a CEO).  

These decisions regarding the future handset business are particularly noteworthy. Click to Read More

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