SEATTLE — In a July 8 order, a Washington federal magistrate judge denied a plaintiff’s request for reconsideration of a June 2020 dismissal of allegations that Amazon.com Inc. and Amazon Digital Services LLC (Amazon, collectively) “make available” for sale unauthorized copies of copyrighted recordings in violation of the plaintiff’s exclusive distribution rights (SA Music LLC et al., v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., Nos. 20-105, -106, -107, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118616).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its last order list of the term, the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9 granted a petition for certiorari in which Facebook Inc. questioned the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) after the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals revived a putative class action against it under the statute for automated account notification text messages that the social network sent to people’s cellphones (Facebook Inc. v. Noah Duguid, et al., No. 19-511, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Noting the ubiquity of social media and the ease with which “anyone can simply take out their phones and engage in constitutionally protected debate and discourse,” a conservative political action group on July 6 urged the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to rehear en banc its appeal of the dismissal of its discrimination, monopolization and free speech claims against the leading social media platform operators, arguing that a panel erred in finding that the internet did not qualify as a place of public accommodation under a human rights law (Freedom Watch Inc., et al. v. Google LLC, et al., No. 19-7030, D.C. Cir.).
SAN DIEGO — Finding no evidence that an adult entertainment firm engaged in any misconduct or acted with unclean hands in its motion for discovery to identify a John Doe defendant accused of downloading its copyrighted works, a California federal magistrate judge on July 6 denied Doe’s motion to quash a subpoena served on his internet service provider (ISP) so that the company can pursue its copyright infringement claim against him (Strike 3 Holdings LLC v. John Doe, No. 3:20-cv-00067, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118058).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Illinois filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on July 6, opposing a petition for certiorari by a woman charged with violating the state’s revenge porn law, defending the law as narrowly tailored and asserting that it does not run afoul of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Bethany Austin v. Illinois, No. 19-1029, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a ruling that will likely affect the appeals in three lawsuits against Facebook Inc., a U.S. Supreme Court majority on July 6 upheld a ruling by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the government-debt exception to the prohibition on automated “robocalls” to cellphones under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a content-based exception that violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (William P. Barr, et al. v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc., et al., No. 19-631, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 3544).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Findings by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the addition of a generic top-level domain (TLD) to a generic term can transform that combination into a protectable, descriptive trademark were affirmed June 30 by a divided U.S. Supreme Court (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al. v. Booking.com B.V., No. 19-46, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. — The operator of two Russian-based “stream-ripping” websites, which a group of record labels accuse of engaging in piracy, has contacts with Virginia that “are quantitatively and qualitatively sufficient to demonstrate that he purposefully availed himself of the privilege of conducting business” in the state, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 26, reversing a trial court’s dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction (UMG Recordings Inc., et al. v. Tofig Kurbanov, et al., No. 19-1124, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 20037).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The collection of publicly available data from a website does not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a data analytics firm tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a June 25 brief opposing LinkedIn Corp.’s petition for certiorari over an injunction preventing the professional network operator from blocking such data collection (LinkedIn Corp. v. hiQ Labs Inc., No. 19-1116, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A group of creators of Black-themed content on YouTube LLC’s online video-sharing platform filed a punitive class complaint in California federal court on June 16, claiming that the company engages in “knowing and intentional” race discrimination by targeting and restricting videos on the basis of “race, identity or viewpoint” (Kimberly Celeste Newman, et al. v. Google LLC, No. 5:20-cv-04011, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Upholding a grant of summary judgment to the operator of “the Internet Movie Database,” a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 19 found that a California statute, which required the website operator to remove subjects’ age information upon request, to be a content-based restriction on speech that violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (IMDb.com Inc. v. Xavier Becerra, et al., Nos. 18-15463 and 18-15469, 9th Cir.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a June 16 request for inter partes review (IPR), a petitioner maintains that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board should cancel various claims of a patent that, among other things, discloses the display on a mobile device of contact icons in the form of “contact bubbles” that may be combined to form contact groups (Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless v. Huawei Device Co. Ltd., No. IPR2020-01117, PTAB).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 16 shot down a petition for mandamus by Apple Inc., paving the way for a Texas trial on allegations that the software giant infringed various patents through products that support the IEEE 802.11ac wireless networking standard (In re: Apple Inc., No. 20-127, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18899).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Responding to an objection to the settlement of a class action over the accessibility of the website of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the school and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed responses May 26, telling a Massachusetts federal court that the objector misstates the settlement’s provisions and fails to establish that it is unfair (National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, No. 3:15-cv-30024, D. Mass.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a June 11 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed with a Nevada federal judge that a defendant accused of disseminating, via BitTorrent network, the copyrighted film “Criminal” is entitled to reimbursement of her attorney fees (Criminal Productions Inc. v. Tracy Cordoba, No. 18-15919, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18538).
ATLANTA — More than a year and a half after the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held arguments in Winn-Dixie Stores Inc.’s appeal of a ruling that it was obligated to make its website equally accessible for vision-impaired consumers under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the customer who sued the grocery chain filed a supplemental brief on June 15, drawing the court’s attention to the statutory interpretation standard used in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued the same day (Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. v. Juan Carlos Gil, No. 17-13467, 11th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — After rehearing en banc an appeal of a products liability suit against Amazon.com Inc., the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 2 certified a question to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court about whether an e-commerce business can be held liable under state law for a third-party vendor’s product (Heather B. Oberdorf, et al. v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 18-1041, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 17974).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald J. Trump’s recent executive order addressing censorship on social media platforms violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) alleges in a complaint filed June 2 in District of Columbia federal court, because the order’s objective of redefining immunity for interactive computer service (ICS) providers under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is retaliatory and will chill free speech on the internet (Center for Democracy and Technology v. Donald J. Trump, No. 1:20-cv-01456, D. D.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Communications Decency Act (CDA) bars fraud and unfair competition claims by a man who claims that Facebook Inc. destroyed his social network pages and his related business income by removing posts that purportedly violated its community standards, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 12, affirming a trial court’s dismissal of his complaint (Jason Fyk v. Facebook Inc., No. 19-16232, 9th Cir.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A public sector financial technology (FinTech) platform company sued a former employee and an industry competitor he formed in New Jersey federal court on June 9, alleging that the former employee misappropriated the company’s trade secret information to build a competing business and destroy the plaintiff’s business in violation of state and federal trade secrets law (Statistical Zero Group LLC v. Sergio Marrero, et al., No. 20-7030, D. N.J.).