Communications & Media Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Communications & Media issues written by leading professionals.
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Spokeo and the TCPA: Mere Receipt of Fax with Non-Compliant Opt-Out Notice is Not “Concrete Injury”

In ARcare v. Qiagen N. Am. Holdings, Inc., No. CV 16-7638 PA (ASX), 2017 WL 449173, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 19, 2017), the district court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss a TCPA class action, finding that the simple...more

Litigation Alert: Supreme Court Clarifies Copyright Eligibility for Useful Articles

While much of the legal press may be speculating about the future of the Supreme Court’s Chevron test, yesterday the Court considered a very different kind of “chevron”—a design on a cheerleader uniform. In Star Athletica LLC...more

Privacy TIp #79 – Consumer Reports Will Help Us With Privacy + Security of Products

What a great idea! Trusty Consumer Reports has announced that it is collaborating with three cybersecurity firms to “create a new standard that safeguards consumers’ security and privacy—and we hope industry will use...more

Searches of Devices at the U.S. Border

Seyfarth Synopsis: Although longstanding policy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorizes searches of electronic devices in the possession of travelers arriving in the United States, recent reports of such searches...more

Third Circuit Holds Criminal Defendant in Contempt for Refusing to Decrypt Hard Drives

In a precedential ruling, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals this week upheld a lower court’s ruling holding a criminal defendant in contempt for refusing to decrypt two external hard drives that were seized during a child...more

Supreme Court Defines Test for Copyright Eligibility of Useful Article Design Features

Yesterday, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the Supreme Court resolved an issue that previously had been the subject of “widespread disagreement” in the federal courts—the proper test for determining when a...more

DSM Watch: Germany suggests ramping up regulation of Digital Platforms by establishing a “Digital Agency” with a robust antitrust...

Will Germany establish a “Digital Agency” to monitor compliance with competition law rules in digital markets? Will a German “Digital Antitrust Enforcer” become a role model for a European protectionist approach against...more

Supreme Court Expands Copyright Protection for Designs Originally Produced on Useful Articles

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court (in a 6-2 decision) ruled that a stripes and chevron pattern on a cheerleading uniform may be eligible for copyright protection and that the separability test under 17 U.S.C. §101 did not...more

Lessons from the Historic ZTE Enforcement Action

On March 7, 2017, Chinese telecommunications company, Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corp. (ZTE), signed on to three separate settlement agreements with the United States, agreeing to pay $892 million for violations...more

Sis Boom Bah – Supreme Court Extends Copyright Protection to Cheerleading Uniform Designs

In a decision announced today, the Supreme Court held that Varsity Brands is entitled to assert copyright protection in two-dimensional designs featured on its cheerleading uniforms. These designs consist of various lines,...more

FTC Issues Order Against Debt Relief Company for Alleged Misrepresentations

On February 27, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) entered into a stipulated order for permanent injunction and monetary judgment with defendants United Debt Counselors, LLC, a debt relief company, and its principals,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Designs Are Copyrightable Under 17 U.S.C. § 101

The U.S. Supreme Court dramatically simplified and expanded the world of fashion and copyrights today, ruling that the chevron striping of a cheerleading uniform (and any other design on clothing, furniture, or other "useful...more

USPTO launches new proof of use audit program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has launched a new program that will require some trademark owners to submit more “specimens” (i.e., proof of use) and information than was required in the past. As a...more

Amazon’s Latest Trademark Battle: A Race Against “Chime”

Last month, Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) announced a new application, Amazon Chime, for online meetings, including video and voice conferencing, chat, and screen sharing. Amazon Chime will compete against a crowd of other...more

To The Relief of Sergeants Everywhere, Forever 21 Challenges Adidas’ Three Stripe Marks

On March 3, Forever 21, Inc. sued Adidas American, Inc. in the Central District of California (2:17-cv-01752), asking for a declaration that its clothing decorated with stripes does not infringe Adidas’ trademarks, and...more

Business Listing Scams

You should be aware, and make your employees aware, of a new fraud that is hitting businesses, big and small, all over the country. It is commonly referred to as a Business Listing Scam....more

Can You Hear Me Now? South Carolina Department of Revenue Issues Guidance on Taxation of Communication Services

The South Carolina Department of Revenue (the “Department”) issued guidance earlier this month, in South Carolina Revenue Ruling 17-2, to update a comprehensive discussion concerning how communication services are taxed. Up...more

"Supreme Court Seeks to Clarify Copyrightability of Design Features on Useful Articles in Cheerleading Uniform Case"

On March 22, 2017, in a 6-2 decision in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al., 580 U.S. ___, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a design feature incorporated into a useful article may obtain copyright...more

Supreme Court Rules on Cheerleader Uniform Case

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in what many refer to as the cheerleader uniform case. Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc....more

Crowdfunding or Private Placement Memorandum?

Spurred by the frenzy of mid-century modern furniture of the 1950s and 1960s returning in popularity, a growing number of collectors are investing in and holding vintage furniture. Capitalizing on that craze, N. Stile Sune’s...more

Digital Divide Deepens: Tech Community Backs Second Circuit in Clash with Magistrates over Reach of U.S. Warrants

The technology community took aim at a recent federal magistrate’s ruling that ordered Google Inc. to comply with search warrants seeking customer emails stored on servers abroad, calling the decision “an impermissible...more

Brexit ahead for TMT …8 months on

Eight months ago, just before the Referendum, I anticipated the implications of a Leave vote for the sector. Today sees the publication of the first results of the Hogan Lovells "Brexometer", which will track the attitudes of...more

gTLD Sunrise Periods Now Open

As first reported in our December 2013 newsletter, the first new generic top-level domains (gTLDs, the group of letters after the "dot" in a domain name) have launched their "Sunrise" registration periods. Please contact us...more

Federal Court of Appeal upholds interlocutory injunction directed at retailers of set-top boxes loaded with copyright-infringing...

As reported previously, the Federal Court issued an interlocutory injunction on June 1, 2016 directed at retailers of set-top boxes that are configured, or “pre-loaded”, with various applications that provide their users with...more

New York District Court Flushes Nationwide Class, Permits New York Classes to Go Forward

In three related actions before the Eastern District of New York, consumer plaintiffs who purchased moist toilet wipes manufactured and produced by Kimberly-Clark and sold by Costco alleged that defendants mislabeled the...more

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