Intellectual Property - Legal Technology - Technologist
Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Recently in Intellectual Property Category

DRM has reached the farm, according to an article published last month in Wired magazine. John Deere, long-time manufacturer of indispensable farm equipment, argued against a proposed exemption to copyright law made on behalf of John Deere equipment owners -- excuse me, licensees.

Farmers want the legal authority to circumvent software restrictions built into John Deere equipment. John Deere says that's not cool.

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Grooveshark, once home to 35 million users, has officially shut down under the pressure of $17 billion in lawsuits from music labels that claimed the eight-year-old company infringed on their music and allowed users to do the same.

If the Napster case defined the boundaries of the online music store for the 2000s, Grooveshark will define the streaming music player for the 2010s -- an era where even digital sales are giving way to online streaming.

People don't give the Library of Congress enough credit.

It's the largest library in the world, with more than 838 miles of bookshelves and 160 million items. It's got everything from the first known book published in the New World, to some of the only remaining copies of American silent films. And its collection grows by the day, gaining 15,000 new items each day -- primarily because it's the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.

The Library knows that none of its information is useful if it can't be ... used. To that end, the Copyright Office has put out a handy new tool for any one working in copyright law. Their new Fair Use Index search tool allows you to pull up relevant cases in a snap -- leaving you more time to spend reading something really interesting.

"Dear Piece of S---," began a response from Life360 CEO Chris Hulls to a demand letter from a company that wanted him to license their technology. (You can guess what three letters the dashes are subbing for.)

That letter was introduced by AGIS in a jury trial against Life360 for infringing on patents related to calling people who appeared on a map. It turned out, reported Ars Technica, that Hulls' testy language may have helped him secure a verdict of noninfringement.

You remember Kim Dotcom, right? The larger-than-life Internet entrepreneur from New Zealand, via Germany? The guy who changed his last name to "Dotcom" and made a mint operating the website Mega Upload? The U.S. government alleged Mega Upload wasn't the "digital locker" Dotcom claimed it was, but rather a website that encouraged -- and paid for -- the sharing of infringing content.

It was actually both of those, but the case has gone on because the United States wants to try him for violating U.S. law; New Zealand hasn't extradited him yet.

Here's a new idea: He's a "fugitive" because he refuses to extradite himself.

Apple suffered quite a setback Tuesday, when a federal jury handed down a $532.9 million verdict against it, in favor of patent licensing company Smartflash LLC. Smartflash claimed that Apple's iTunes software infringed on patents it held relating to downloading files from the Internet.

A look at the allegedly (or, I guess, not "allegedly" anymore) infringing patents, however, reveals that the only thing Smartflash patented is more of the same business method patents that the Supreme Court struck down in Alice v. CLS Bank.

After a drunken federal employee flew a drone over the White House lawn, the drone's manufacturer "announced that a new, mandatory firmware update would help users comply with" an FAA regulation that Washington, D.C., is a no-fly zone.

Of course, by "help users comply," the company -- DJI -- means that the new firmware will unilaterally disable drones' ability to fly within the no-fly zone.

Sony's Bullying Extends to a Copyright Battle With K-Pop Star

We've talked a lot about the Sony hack. And unless you've been living under a rock for the past month, you know that Sony (along with a number of theaters) decided to cancel the release of "The Interview" (the film that may have inspired the hack, which some have speculated was carried out by the North Korean government). Sony then decided to release the film on Christmas Day and online simultaneously.

In all of the hubbub over hacking, however, they forgot one small thing: to clear music samples for the film. According to Ars Technica, the studio is now negotating with Yoon Mi-rae over "Pay Day," a song that is used for approximately three minutes in "The Interview." The K-Pop star and the studio were negotiating before the film was released, but no deal was reached. And instead of waiting for a deal, Sony pushed forward, and released the film anyway.

But, despite the allegedly unauthorized use of the song, will the maneuver pay off for both parties?

Yesterday, a federal jury found that Apple's iTunes 7 updates, made between 2006 and 2009, weren't anticompetitive . The verdict caps 10 years of litigation alleging Apple locked other music providers out of its iPods.

There's been quite a bit of misreporting what's actually going on in this case, so we decided to clarify some of the facts and issues at play.

For a few weeks now, 11,000 gigabytes of information stolen from Sony by as-yet unknown hackers have been floating around the Internet. The eclectic data range from private, racially tinged jokes emailed between producer Scott Rudin and Sony exec Amy Pascal about President Obama's favorite movies, to ideas for ludicrous sequels (like a "21 Jump Street"/"Men in Black" crossover), to whole copies of finished, but unreleased, films.

Well, Sony's pretty sick of hearing about it. To that end, they've decided to hire attorney David Boies to make some legal threats via demand letters.