Thursday, March 08, 2012

AP Sues Meltwater for News Scraping

The Associated Press has sued news aggregator Meltwater in NY federal court for both copyright infringement and the tort of hot news misappropriation. The complaint may be viewed here: 

The hot news doctrine has not had much viability after an appeals court overturned the Fly-On-The-Wall decision ( and created complicated hurdles that a publisher must overcome before they can claim to own hot news. So far, no company has met these hurdles.

It will be interesting to see if AP can use it against Meltwater on these facts.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Ninth Circuit Discusses Software Sale v. License

On September 10, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a much awaited ruling in Vernor v. Autodesk ( addressing whether software purchasers are owners or licensees of the copies of the software in their possession. The court held that “a software user is a licensee rather than an owner of a copy of the software where the copyright owner (1) specifies that the user is granted a license; (2) significantly restricts the user’s ability to transfer the software; and (3) imposes notable use restrictions.”

The distinction between owner and licensee can be critical to both software publishers and software users because owners have certain rights not afforded to mere licensees under copyright law. If you are a software publisher, do your licenses have the necessary restrictive covenants? If you are a user, do your licenses restrict your ability to sell the software?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Convicted Rapist Misuses Copyright Law

You're kidding me, right? (

Guy has obviously never read Circular 34 . . . (

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

9th Circuit Clarifies Hacking Statute in Employment Context

An employee's use of a work computer “without authorization” for purposes of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act [18 U.S.C. Section 1030(a)] depends on the employer's policies and definitions of acceptable use, not the employee's state of mind, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held Sept. 15 (LVRC Holdings LLC v. Brekka, 9th Cir., No. 07-17116, 9/15/09) (opinion available at

The court held: "Because Brekka was authorized to use LVRC’s computers while he was employed at LVRC, he did not access a computer “without authorization” in violation of § 1030(a)(2) or § 1030(a)(4) when he emailed documents to himself and to his wife prior to leaving LVRC. Nor did emailing the documents “exceed authorized access,” because Brekka was entitled to obtain the documents. Further, LVRC failed to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Brekka accessed the LVRC website without authorization after he left the company."

Moral: Have good employee policies regarding email practices and authorizations!


Thursday, September 03, 2009

New Hyperwrap Case

Court holds that an online contract that uses a combination of three hyperlinks to reference an external contract and which is encountered pre-checkout is binding. See


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Judge Rules IP Addresses are Not PII

A federal court judge in Washington ruled in favor of Microsoft (surprise!) recently, holding that Microsoft had not breached a software license because IP addresses were not "personally identifiable information" ("PII"). Those of you familiar with most web privacy policies know that PII is a big deal and most of you know enough to be wary of what third parties are doing with your PII. But apparently, at least according to this case, when you visit a site and your IP is captured, that is not PII and thus is perhaps not covered by the site's privacy policy. Browsers beware! See the case here:


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fair Use Should be Considered Before Sending DMCA

The ND Cal recently held that a copyright owner should consider the alleged infringer's fair use defenses before sending a DMCA take-down notice. Case is Lenz v. Universal. I posted a copy of the decision here: