July 2013

This week’s internal report by MIT on its handling of the Aaron Swartz case may be an appropriate time to note that the sound and fury over the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (the “CFAA”) is not limited to its use in criminal cases like the Swartz prosecution. The controversy extends to the use of this law in civil cases as well.*

*The CFAA may be used as either a civil or a criminal law. However, the words of the statute must mean the same thing in each context. As the court noted in the case discussed in this post, “it is not possible to define authorization narrowly for some CFAA violations and broadly for others.”

In my July 2nd post on AMD v. Feldstein I noted that the case had given rise to two note-worthy decisions.  The May 15, 2013 decision, discussed in that post, involved the legalities of the former-AMD employees’ alleged solicitation of current AMD employees in violation of  non-solicitation agreements.… Read the full article

Click here for direct access to a pdf of this document. This advisory was updated on August 1, 2013, to reference a FAQ issued by DOR on July 31, 2013.

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Things are Settling Back Down in Yoknapatawpha County

“It was as though she realised for the first time that you – everyone – must, or anyway may have to, pay for your past; the past is something like a promissory note with a trick clause in it which, as long as nothing goes wrong, can be manumitted in an orderly manner, but which fate or luck or chance, can foreclose on you without warning.” Requiem for a Nun, William Faulkner

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For many years the Estate of James Joyce was infamous for its use of copyright law to restrict what many people considered fair uses of  Joyce’s works. Now that most of Joyce’s works are in the public domain, it seems that the owner of William Faulkner’s copyrights, Faulkner Literary Rights LLC (“Faulkner”, is stepping up to take its place. But in the “Midnight in Paris” case you’ve gotta wonder: what the heck was Faulkner thinking?

Even many people who have never read a word of William Faulkner will recognize these famous lines: “the past is never dead.… Read the full article

Why Did Broadcasters Use a Local Affiliate to Challenge Aereo in Boston?

Why did a Boston affiliate of ABC file suit a major copyright infringement action against Aereo in Boston, rather than ABC itself? Or another major broadcaster, such as CBS, NBC or Fox?

On May 15th, in a post titled “Does Second Circuit Decision Determine Copyright Legality of Aereo “Antenna-Farm” System Nationwide?”, I discussed the fact that Aereo had filed a preemptive suit in the Southern District of New York. The suit asked the federal district court to enjoin the major broadcasters (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) from filing what Aereo called “duplicative-follow-on suits” or “do-overs.” Aereo was attempting to prevent the broadcasters from following it around the country and filing a new copyright infringement lawsuit in each circuit in which Aereo launched its service. Aereo argued that the opinion of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in WNET v. Aereo, holding that Aereo’s retransmission of over-the-air broadcasts do not violate broadcaster copyrights, was binding nationwide on the plaintiffs in that case.… Read the full article