Electronic Frontier Foundation

This would be a better patent than what these guys received.

Blue Spike LLC is a patent litigation factory. At one point, it filed over 45 cases in two weeks. It has sued a who’s who of technology companies, ranging from giants to startups, Adobe to Zeitera. Blue Spike claims not to be a troll, but any legitimate business it has pales in comparison to its patent litigation. It says it owns a “revolutionary technology” it refers to as “signal abstracting.” On close inspection, however, its patents turn out to be nothing more than a nebulous wish list. Blue Spike’s massive litigation campaign is a perfect example of how vague and abstract software patents tax innovation.

The basic idea behind Blue Spike’s patents is creating a digital fingerprint (which the patents refer to as an “abstract”) of a file that allows it to be compared to other files (e.g. comparing audio files to see if they are the same song). In very general terms, the patents describe creating a “reference generator,” an “object locator,” a “feature selector,” a “comparing device,” and a “recorder.” You will be amazed to learn that these five elements “may be implemented with software.” That task, however, is left for the reader….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Serial Litigant Blue Spike Wins EFF’s Stupid Patent Of The Month For September”

Kevyn Orr, probably not an alien.

A couple weeks back we reported on the big hissy fit that Jones Day threw over Kevynorr.com, at the time a bare-bones website that promised to be a sarcastic look at former Jones Day partner Kevyn Orr’s “emergency management” of Detroit. Jones Day wrote themselves a nasty cease and desist letter.

The anonymous proprietor of Kevynorr.com is represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and their lawyers drafted a scathing response calling out Jones Day’s disingenuous, bullying letter….

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Shon Hopwood

* Thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Department of Justice will be declassifying some secret opinions from the FISA Court. We wonder who’ll be hosting the giant redaction party. [Associated Press]

* Morgan Lewis paid out a $1.15 million settlement over unfinished business claims to this defunct firm. Great work, Mr. Diamond, but Howrey going to get the rest to do the same? [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* “[Shon] Hopwood proves that my sentencing instincts suck.” Now that this former bank robber has a clerkship with the D.C. Circuit, the judge who sentenced him is having second thoughts. [The Two-Way / NPR]

* Laptops are useful tools for students in law school classrooms, but they’re also great for checking Above the Law and buying shoes while professors are droning on and on. Apparently we needed a study to confirm this. [National Law Journal (sub. req.)]

* George Zimmerman’s wife filed for divorce, citing “disappointment” as one of her reasons for ending the marriage. Don’t worry, Shellie, half of the nation was disappointed with the verdict too. [Washington Post]


Abraham Lincoln told a story about a lawyer who tried to establish that a calf had five legs by calling its tail a leg. But the calf had only four legs, Lincoln observed, because calling a tail a leg does not make it so…. Heeding Lincoln’s wisdom, and the requirements of the Copyright Act, we conclude that merely calling someone a copyright owner does not make it so.

– Judge Richard Clifton, writing for a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit in Righthaven LLC v. Hoehn.

(Additional commentary about this interesting case, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: Ninth Circuit Smacks Copyright Trolls”

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

We’ve covered the Stephanie Lenz / dancing baby / fair use case for years — but now it looks like there’s finally going to be a trial to consider if Universal Music can be punished for sending a DMCA takedown notice on a video of Lenz’s infant son dancing to 29 seconds of a song by Prince, which Lenz asserts was clearly fair use.

If you haven’t followed the case, it’s been argued back and forth for years. At one point, the court ruled that a copyright holder does need to take fair use into account before sending a DMCA takedown, but that there needs to be “subjective bad faith” by Universal Music in sending the takedown. In other words, Lenz (and the EFF, who is representing her) needs to show, effectively, that Universal knew that it was sending bogus takedowns. The EFF has argued that willful blindness by Universal meant that it had knowledge (amusingly, using precedents in copyright cases in the other direction, where copyright holders argue that willful blindness can be infringement)….

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Say goodbye to your security deposit…

* If Twitter reset your password yesterday, don’t worry. Looks like someone at the company just had an itchy trigger-slash-reply-all finger. [Consumerist]

* A disbarred Dallas attorney ended up in jail for allegedly trashing his office and drawing penises all over the walls when he got evicted last month. Apparently he’s also been watching too much Workaholics recently. [Dallas News]

* The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of registered sex offenders, hoping to block a new California law that allegedly curtails their internet rights. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. [Wired / Threat Level]

* Social networks: the newest part of George Zimmerman’s defense team? [New York Times]

* A useful new tool to help law firms in recruiting and placing laterals. [Attorney Search Group]

* Jared Loughner, who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last year, was sentenced to life in prison without parole today. Here’s what Rep. Giffords and her husband had to say to him. [Althouse]

Maybe I’m a Luddite for feeling uninterested in letting Instagram know where I took my last photo. Maybe I’m crazy for not geotagging my Facebook updates.

But here’s the thing: your electronic privacy is like handling a bad romantic relationship. If you give yourself away too easily, you might not be surprised if your partner — or in this case, your cell phone carrier — sells your personal information to make money and help other companies sell you more crap.

Case in point: Verizon, which is catching fire from privacy rights advocates for the way it handles (read: sells) its customers’ cellphone data. Amuurica, f**k yeah….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Verizon’s Data-Mining Policies Are On A Whole Other Plane of Creepy”

* Dewey still have some folks who owe us money? Yes we do. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Facebook will change its terms of service, specifically regarding the way it handles “sponsored stories” in order to settle a large lawsuit [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* A man opposing a Virginia attorney in a child custody hearing shot at the lawyer outside the courthouse. Luckily, he missed. [Gettysburg Times]

*The Fifth Circuit said yes, the law firm of Smith & Fuller is on the hook for $30,000 for accidentally releasing its client’s secret information. [ABA Journal]

* Recently released interviews with George Zimmerman tell his side of the death of Trayvon Martin. [New York Times]

*The Electronic Frontier Foundation is stepping in represent Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal and the defendant in this mess. [Electronic Frontier Foundation]