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The Winter 2018 edition of the quarterly IT & Data Protection Newsletter by Reed Smith Germany has just been released. We cover new case law on marketing consent, cookie consent, the liability of platform providers, employee data protection, sales of address data and the right to be forgotten. The newsletter also includes multiple recommended reads … Continue Reading

German court issues important judgment on consent and transparency in Facebook case

The Regional Court of Berlin held in a judgment of 16 January 2018 (docket no. 16 O 341/15, German language version of the judgment available here) that Facebook’s default privacy settings and parts of their terms and conditions were invalid. This judgment provides important guidance on consent and transparency. Background The Federation of German Consumer … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit calls common carrier exception “activity-based”

On February 26, 2018, an en banc federal appeals court held that the common carrier exception in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act that preempts FTC jurisdiction is “activity-based” rather than “status-based” and therefore applies only to the extent an entity engages in common-carrier services. See FTC v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. 15-16585, D.C. No. … Continue Reading

Are OTT services telecommunications services? German court asks European Court of Justice for preliminary ruling | Gmail Case

According to a press release dated 26 February 2018, the Administrative Court of Appeal Munster (Oberverwaltungsgericht Münster) asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling on the question whether Over-the-Top (OTT) services shall be caught by the European regulatory framework on telecommunications services. Background By way of administrative orders, the German Federal Network … Continue Reading

District judge in the SDNY: Embedding links to third-party web content is copyright infringement

Copyright holders have an exclusive right to display images and other works. For the last 10 years, news organizations and other website operators have relied on the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Inc., which established a bright-line server test for determining whether a website displayed a copy of an image, and … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit finds dissemination, but not mere existence, of inaccurate information in government database satisfies Article III standing requirement post-Spokeo

“[I]f inaccurate information falls into a government database, does it make a sound?” Partly affirming summary judgment for the defendant in Owner-Operator Indep. Drivers Ass’n, v. DOT, No. 16-5355 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 12, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit answered its own question in the negative and held that a handful … Continue Reading

Nation on Hold for Supreme Court Carpenter v. United States Decision

On November 29, many interested audience members packed into the Supreme Court to witness oral argument on the issue of whether the Fourth Amendment demands that the government obtain a warrant in order to acquire long-term, cell-site location information (CSLI) from wireless service providers, in what could be one of the most influential privacy decisions … Continue Reading

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