Archives: In the Courts

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Sixth Circuit Suggests Liability for Copyright Infringement May Justify Reduced First Amendment Protection for Anonymous Speech, But Recommends Consideration of Context and ‘Practical Need’ for Unmasking

Ruling on what it characterized as an issue of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit suggested that a judgment of liability in a copyright infringement case may be a tipping point justifying the unmasking of anonymous internet users. The Sixth Circuit remanded Signature Mgmt. Team v. Doe, No. 16-2188 (6th … Continue Reading

Get your update on IT & Privacy Law

The Fall 2017 Edition of the quarterly IT & Privacy Newsletter by Reed Smith Germany has just been released. We cover the regulation on cross-border portability of online content services and new case law on employee monitoring, marketing consent, influencer advertising, choice of law and venue clauses in T&Cs, and platform provider liability. You can … Continue Reading

Court Deals Blow to FTC’s Position on Unfair Data Security Practices

Over the last several years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has regularly used its authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to bring cases against companies due to their allegedly unreasonable data security measures. The FTC has paid particular attention to the safeguards that manufacturers have implemented in electronic devices sold to consumers.  Recently, … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Alleged FCRA Violation Satisfies Article III Standing

The Ninth Circuit added another chapter to the storied tale of Article III standing jurisprudence on August 15 when, on remand from the Supreme Court, the appellate court unanimously revived a plaintiff’s Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) suit in Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 3480695 (9th Cir. Aug. 15, 2017). The … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of FCRA Class Claims Based on Job Application Credit Reports Due to Lack of Standing

In yet another appellate court decision signaling the strength of the United States Supreme Court’s 2016 Spokeo decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a pair of putative class actions against Time Warner Cable, Inc. (“TWC”) and Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation (“Great Lakes”) alleging Fair Credit Reporting … Continue Reading

German Federal Supreme Court: ‘Sofortüberweisung’ must not be the only free-of-charge payment method in B2C contracts

According to a press release of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband; ‘vzbv’) dated 19 July 2017, the German Federal Supreme Court (‘FSC’) issued a judgment that held it is unreasonable for consumers if the only payment method offered free of charge is ‘Sofortüberweisung’ (FSC, judgment of 18 July 2017, case no. KZR 39/16; not yet published). This means … Continue Reading

Get your update on IT & Privacy Law (Germany)

The Summer 2017 Edition of the quarterly IT & Privacy Newsletter by Reed Smith Germany has just been released. We cover the German GDPR Implementation Act, new case law on processing on the basis of legitimate interests, marketing consent, and provider liability, as well as the paper on Google Analytics by the Hamburg data protection … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Provides Businesses with a Powerful Defense to TCPA Revocation Claims

In a watershed ruling for businesses facing the recent onslaught of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that consumers cannot revoke their consent to receive automated or prerecorded cell phone calls if they previously consented to receive those calls as part of a binding contract. See Reyes v. Lincoln … Continue Reading

CJEU: Operation of peer-to-peer sharing platform may qualify as copyright infringement

In a preliminary judgment of 14 June 2017, Case C-610/15, the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) held that the making available and management of a peer-to-peer sharing platform may constitute a copyright infringement. Facts of the case In the underlying main proceedings before the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Stichting Brein, a Dutch … Continue Reading

J. Crew Credit Card Digit Class Action Dismissed Again Because of Overly Speculative Identity Theft, Fraud Risks

As courts continue to grapple with close calls on standing following the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Spokeo v. Robins, another court has given defendants a win for intangible injuries and risk of future harm.  On June 6, the District of New Jersey dismissed – for the second time – a putative class action … Continue Reading

German Federal Supreme Court confirms: Dynamic IP addresses may constitute personal data

According to a press release dated 16 May 2017, and following the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) preliminary ruling in Case C-582/14 dated 19 October 2016 (see our previous blog), the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof – FSC) confirmed in a judgment of 15 May 2017, case no. VI ZR 135/13 that dynamic IP addresses constitute personal data within … Continue Reading

Defamation and Data Protection: a twin-barrelled approach to claims against publishers

In the recent case of Prince Moulay Hicham v Elaph Publishing Limited, the Court of Appeal held in a unanimous decision that a claimant could include an action under the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (‘DPA’) as an alternative means of redress. To read our full client alert in relation to this judgment, please click … Continue Reading

Recent Open Meeting Foreshadows FCC Commissioners’ Views if ACA Decision Is Remanded

As the cherry blossoms prepare to bloom in Washington, D.C., our thoughts turn toward wondering when the D.C. Circuit will hand down its ruling in ACA International, et al v. FCC (Case No. 15-1211). This case, you will recall, is the consolidation of a number of appeals challenging the July 10, 2015, Order in which … Continue Reading

Bare Statutory Violation of FCRA Fails to Satisfy Standing Requirements Post-Spokeo, Says District of New Jersey in Suit Over Michaels Employment Disclosures

Michaels escaped a potential class action alleging Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) violations late last month when a federal judge found the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robbins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016) foreclosed the plaintiffs’ claim for a bare statutory violation not resulting in concrete damages.  The recent ruling … Continue Reading

Superior Court of Pennsylvania Affirms Rejection of Proposed Data Breach Class of UPMC Workers, Finding Hospital Owed No Duty to Protect Information

Affirming a lower court decision this blog discussed here, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held January 12 that dismissal of a proposed data breach class action was proper, because the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center lacked a legal duty to protect employee information stolen by a third party. The 2-1 majority’s finding that UPMC had … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Clarifies Descriptiveness Standard in Overturning ‘Dotblog’ Trademark Refusal

It’s not uncommon for internet-based services to utilize names referencing their online presence, much like it is not uncommon for the monikers of app-based services to refer to their mobile format. But at what point does a suggestive term become merely descriptive to the point that it can be denied trademark registration? The United States … Continue Reading

Weak Social Media Presence Sinks Trademark Claims, Says Sixth Circuit

A DJ asserting trademark infringement and dilution claims against a similarly named rapper failed partly due to a lack of apparent popularity on social media, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on December 13. In Kibler v. Hall, et al., No. 15-2516 (6th Cir. Dec. 13, 2016), the appellate court affirmed … Continue Reading

Officers and Directors Spared Home Depot Data Breach Derivative Lawsuit

Officers and directors may breathe a temporary sigh of relief following the recent dismissal of the Home Depot data breach derivative case. Others will look to the facts for guidance. The complaint alleging the board had breached its fiduciary duties by “knowingly and in conscious disregard” failing to ensure that Home Depot took reasonable measures … Continue Reading

Even in Social Media Age, Web Presence Without Specific Showing of Customer Interaction is Not Enough for Personal Jurisdiction

Ask any 1L – personal jurisdiction has always been a tricky issue. But in the internet era, even courts have grappled with how to determine whether an online presence is sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction over a party.   Recently, the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that an internet presence consisting of a website as well … Continue Reading

EU-US Privacy Shield challenged in the European Court of Justice

Just four months after its adoption by the European Commission, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is facing its first formal legal challenge. The challenge comes from the Irish advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland, who is joined by French privacy advocacy group La Quadrature du Net and non-profit internet service provider French Data Network.… Continue Reading

Michigan AG Steps In to Defend State Privacy Law

The Michigan attorney general intervened November 22 in a suit brought under a Michigan privacy law, making it one of the first times a state attorney general has weighed in on a case involving data use. Michigan AG Bill Schuette defended the constitutionality of the Michigan Preservation of Personal Privacy Act, otherwise known as the … Continue Reading

TLT v SoS: How do you quantify damages for data breaches?

A recent High Court decision, TLT and others v Secretary of State for the Home Office [2016] EWHC 2217 (QB) (“TLT v SoS”), paves the way for the greater recognition of distress in cases of data breaches and the misuse of private information. The victims of a data breach, in this case asylum seekers, successfully … Continue Reading

CJEU says dynamic IP addresses can constitute personal data

The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) has ruled that dynamic IP addresses can constitute personal data. Dynamic IP addresses, registered by a website provider when an individual accesses its website, shall constitute personal data where the operator has the legal means to combine the data with additional data (held by the internet … Continue Reading

Lyft Faces Second Wave of TCPA Litigation for Sending Autodialed Texts

Lyft, Inc. – the popular ride hailing service featuring the iconic pink moustache – is facing a second class action lawsuit in California alleging violations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). This alleges that Lyft sent unwanted and unsolicited text messages to cellphones using an automated dialing system without first obtaining express written consent … Continue Reading
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