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Posts tagged legal

Aereo loses, cell phone privacy wins at Supreme Court today
June 25, 2014 | 11:22 am

A pair of important Supreme Court decisions came down today—one disappointing and one critically important to anyone who uses mobile devices. The disappointing one is a 6-3 decision killing Aereo. The service that used dedicated individual miniature antennas to stream broadcast TV service to people’s computers over the Internet has been ruled to appear too much like a cable company, even as it scrupulously followed the letter of existing case law (while nonetheless skirting its spirit). Aereo could try to license content from the networks going forward, but would have to pass the costs on to consumers—and as Gizmodo...

Another bad idea: Charging news aggregators for snippets
May 13, 2014 | 4:25 pm

news aggregatorsGoogle is the bad guy yet again. Well, not just Google but other news aggregators. Spain is attempting to pass a law to force aggregators to pay for the content they collect. The argument for the law is that most people don't click through headlines and snippets to get to the "real" site. So since the news site isn't getting their page views from the aggregators, they want to charge for the links. From the article: Under the new law, the original publisher will be compensated even for the reproduction of headlines and snippets of text. Written permission and a greater fee...

UK Inspector of Prisons condemns political interference in book ban policy
March 28, 2014 | 12:25 pm

inspector of prisonsThe storm of criticism that greeted the UK Government's new policy of stopping anyone sending books to prisoners has gone beyond writers and left-wing politicians to professionals in the prisons system. Now, in an interview with The Independent, the UK Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, has condemned the ban as "not sensible,” with individual prison governors best placed to decide what prisoners should and shouldn't receive. "The problem in this case… is trying to micro-manage this from the centre, with the centre describing very detailed lists of what prisoners can and can't have,” he said in The Independent. “I think...

Commercial drone use apparently legal in US after all…for now
March 7, 2014 | 6:09 am

Amazon Delivery Drones Remember that story I wrote the other day about the FAA’s restrictions against commercial use of drones? Motherboard reports that a federal judge has dismissed the FAA’s first (and only) case against someone making commercial use of a drone. 29-year-old Raphael Pirker, fined for filming a commercial at the University of Virginia, contended that the FAA has never actually issued any binding regulations restricting commercial use of drones, and the judge agreed. Though the FAA issued a policy notice in 2007 ostensibly making them illegal, the notice was only advisory and not actually legally...

Morning Roundup: Getting the Most Out Of New eReaders, Google Books Appeal Filed
December 30, 2013 | 9:00 am

Google Books appealHow to Get the Most Out of Your New eReader (GoodeReader) Today, we look at some of the great websites out there to aid you in your literary endeavors and look at some cool services that will get you the most out of your e-reader. *** Author's Guild Files Appeal in Google Books Lawsuit (The Digital Reader) Never one to give up on a fight, the Authors Guild filed a new appeal last week in the Google Books lawsuit. *** Konrath's Publishing Predictions 2014 (Joe Konrath) I've been looking to the future, wondering what is going to happen next, and I've got a few equally wild ideas. *** Facebook...

Bob Kohn files appeal of publisher anti-trust settlements
December 23, 2013 | 6:10 pm

Ah, the schadenfreude continues. Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that Bob Kohn has filed his appeal of the approval of the Macmillan and Penguin e-book settlements. In the hearing a couple of weeks ago, Judge Cote suggested it was unlikely he would be found to have standing to appeal the case, since he’s not a direct party to the case. However, Kohn is clearly going to keep filing appeals until the appeals courts turn him down. Kohn’s stance is that the price-fixing conspiracy entered into by the publishers and Apple was not actually illegal, since it served to...

Supreme Court rejects Amazon appeal; New York affiliate program sales tax law stands
December 2, 2013 | 4:14 pm

A few years ago, states started passing laws requiring Amazon to pay sales tax if it offered affiliate marketing programs in their state, rather than only being required to pay them if it had physical facilities there. This resulted in Amazon cutting off its affiliate programs in any state that passed such a law (such as my former home, Missouri). Amazon finally fought New York’s law to the Supreme Court—and the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, meaning that the appeals court decision affirming the law will stand. Amazon has been pushing for the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which...

Judge Dismisses Authors’ Case Against Google Books
November 14, 2013 | 4:09 pm

google booksWell, the lengthy legal battle over Google Books may be coming to a close. According to cNet, U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in New York rejected authors' arguments against digitizing books without copyright holder permission, and he granted Google's motion for summary judgment. I'm sure Chris Meadows will chime in on this since he's more up on copyright law and this sort of thing than I am, but I did find this quote interesting: In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other...

Renting Textbooks from Amazon? Better Not Cross State Lines…
August 18, 2013 | 3:39 pm

AmazonA poster at Mobile Read alerted me to this shocking story from Inside Higher Ed, about a new textbook rental program. The article warns of a clause in the textbook rental fine print that restricts users renting through Amazon's Warehouse Deals, Inc, from moving the textbook out of the state in which it was initially purchased. From the article: "At first glance, the restriction doesn’t seem to make much sense. But to those who have been following Amazon’s aggressive efforts to avoid charging state and local sales tax, the reasoning behind it becomes clearer. Kenneth C. (Casey) Green, founding director of the Campus Computing...

FBI Can Activate Android Microphones, Record Secretly
August 3, 2013 | 12:34 pm

FBIIt’s no big secret that the U.S. government can use some extreme methods in order to maintain justice and security for the nation by gathering information on suspects. Even before Snowden leaked all the NSA data, most of us had a pretty decent idea that the U.S. government has always been keeping a watchful eye over everyone. The shock from the leaks likely came from the scope and depth of all the information-gathering and spying. If you think the government couldn’t possibly dig even deeper, guess again. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI uses custom-designed hacker tools to spy...

Apple to Allow Rival E-Book Retailers to Provide Direct Links to Content
August 2, 2013 | 6:41 pm

I didn't see this coming, although in hindsight, I should have. The DOJ and 33 state attorney generals just published their proposed remedies in the Apple price fixing case. Most of it was expected: ending existing contracts with retailers and appointing an external monitor to ensure they don't slip again. But check out this one: "Apple will also be prohibited from entering into agreements with suppliers of e-books, music, movies, television shows or other content that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple’s competitor retailers may sell that content. To reset competition to the conditions that existed before the conspiracy, Apple...

Penguin Cries Uncle for the EU
July 27, 2013 | 1:10 pm

PenguinFresh from covering itself with ignominy through Author Solutions, Penguin has promised it will play nice in Europe over pricing, with an offer to the European Union to end the price-fixing practices highlighted by the recent Apple anti-trust case in the US, which the European Commission deemed acceptable last week. "After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple AAPL +0.57% and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for e-books," announced Joaquín Almunia, the European Commission vice president in charge of competition policy. All the other publishers under investigation, Hachette Livre...