Anyone who has been on the internet since 2012 likely recognizes the ubiquitous frowning face of “Grumpy Cat,” real name Tardar Sauce, emblazoned upon memes, videos, and products. Her fame and market power is far from restricted to the internet though; since her internet debut, she has appeared on television shows, starred in advertisements for

Judge Edward J. Davila of the Northern District of California recently administered the coup de grâce to an expansive multidistrict litigation over Facebook’s data use policy filed in 2012. The plaintiffs alleged that Facebook’s data use and privacy policy violated the federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Communications Act, California’s Invasion of Privacy Act, California consumer

California’s proposed Automatic-Renewal Law (ARL) passed the state Legislature earlier this month, tightening the requirements on companies that sell subscription services with automatically renewing payments to consumers. The new law comes on the heels of a flurry of class actions suits filed under California’s previous ARL enacted in 2010.  The 2010 ARL required auto-renewing consumer

Earlier this year, coffee chain Peet’s Coffee & Tea LLC was sued by a putative class comprised of all California customers who purchased subscriptions of coffee and tea from the company after February 2013. The class alleged that Peet’s Coffee violates California’s Automatic Renewal Law (“ARL”) and Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) by automatically charging customers’

The FDA issued two draft guidance documents on social media last week. The first guidance pertains to product claims and risk information on platforms such as Twitter and Google’s sponsored links, while the second guidance covers correcting misinformation that originates from independent third parties on the Internet and social media sites. The FDA has opened up a comment period and will be accepting comments until September 16, 2014.
Continue Reading FDA Writes Prescription for Social Media for Drug and Device Companies

If you want to avoid being sucker-punched as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launches new top level domains to compete with .com, .net, .org and others now in use, Reed Smith’s client alert, Clashes, Collisions, Delays and Decisions: ICANN, NTIA, Verisign and ANA Weigh In on ‘Name Collisions’ and the Readiness of the New gTLD Program is a must read. At stake is not just a brand’s intellectual property rights, but also the integrity and security of every company’s network. Be prepared, or be sucker-punched.
Continue Reading The Time to Prepare for ICANN’s gTLD Rollout is Now

In response to the mounting data privacy concerns attributed to the proliferation of smart devices, the FTC will be holding a public workshop on November 21, 2013, addressing questions over the “Internet of Things.” Two public interest groups, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), have already submitted comments expressing their concerns over the privacy implications related to this topic, which include the tracking of daily behaviors and personal habits.
Continue Reading Privacy Concerns to be Addressed at FTC Workshop in November

On Monday, the French Internet service provider, Free, reneged on its original decision to place a default ad-blocking filter on its customers’ routers after receiving pressure from advertisers and the French government. To learn more about this story, read the latest post on our Advertising Compliance blog, ReACTS.
Continue Reading French ISP Restores a “Free” Internet for Advertisers

On Aug. 27, 2008, in the case Io Group, Inc. v. Veoh Networks [1] (Veoh), U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd granted Veoh’s motion for summary judgment, that it qualified for “safe harbor” protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 512. The Veoh decision has been hailed by some as a major victory for Internet service providers and proponents of the sufficiency of the DMCA in addressing copyright infringement issues over the Internet. Does this decision supplant Grokster as the current precedent of U.S. courts with respect to an analysis of the legality of websites featuring user-generated content (UGC)? The Supreme Court’s decision in Grokster established that a service provider that has provided a platform and has promoted its use to infringe copyright or foster infringement could be found liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties. [2] In other words, if the service provider’s website has been used, to a significant degree, as a hub of infringing content, then such service provider may not be able to raise the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA as a defense to secondary copyright infringement.[3] Precedential considerations aside, a closer look at the facts of Veoh reveals that the court’s holding is actually quite limited in scope. 

The plaintiff in Veoh, Io Group, Inc. (Io), a publisher of adult video content, claimed in the lawsuit that it discovered clips from 10 of its copyrighted films had been uploaded and viewed on without its authorization. Considering that the DMCA was created, in part, to provide a process for copyright owners to police and limit infringing activity, it would be paramount for any copyright owner seeking recourse for a claim of infringement to have complied with the procedures in place under the DMCA[4] prior to filing a lawsuit. Assuming that the website provided a copyright-infringement-claim designated agent to contact regarding infringement claims, a copyright owner would be required to have submitted DMCA-compliant notices of infringement to such designated agent, and have such agent fail to remove the allegedly infringing content, to have an actionable claim. In this case, Veoh had a designated agent assigned to review takedown notices, and maintained terms of use that set forth procedures that were compliant with the DMCA. Plaintiff Io, on the other hand, seemingly ignoring the DMCA procedures entirely, did not send a takedown notice to, or otherwise inform, Veoh that it had determined that its film content had been uploaded to the Veoh website without authorization. Actually, receipt of the complaint was the first notice Veoh received regarding Io’s infringement issues. Strike one.Continue Reading DMCA Alive and Well? An Analysis of the Veoh Decision