Snap Into a Privacy Lawsuit!

Spectacles About to Introduce a New Generation to Eavesdropping, Intrusion Into Seclusion

Snap (nee Snapchat) has just announced Spectacles, a funky pair of sunglasses with built-in video recording capability. Exactly like Google Glass before it, users can tap a button to activate a forward-facing camera in the corner of the frames for 10 seconds, and tap it again to extend the recording. Unlike Glass, they’ll cost less than […]

Privacy Regulators Are Zeroing in on the Internet of Things

IAPP
September 22, 2016

Privacy regulators across the globe are beginning to realize what the industry has known for a long time: IoT devices are woefully insecure. It can only be a matter of time before enforcement agencies introduce tough new requirements for data security and disclosures. Companies that fail to anticipate these developments will find themselves at a sever disadvantage.

Congress Moves to Protect Critical Social Media Reviews

CNN Money
September 13, 2016

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act, which is intended to prohibit businesses from suing individuals for posting honest, but negative, online reviews. This bill makes a provision of a form contract void from the inception if it is used in the course of selling or leasing goods or services to: (1) prohibit or restrict an individual who is a party to such a contract from engaging in written, oral, or pictorial reviews, or other similar performance assessments or analyses of, including by electronic means, the goods, services, or conduct of a person that is also a party to the contract; (2) impose penalties or fees against individuals who engage in such communications; or (3) transfer or require the individual to transfer intellectual property rights in review or feedback content (with the exception of a nonexclusive license to use the content) in any otherwise lawful communications about such person or the goods or services provided by such person.

The legislation goes on to make clear that it does not apply to employment contracts, nor is it meant to prohibit other common terms of use provisions, such as those against harassment or defamatory speech.

The intent of this law is laudable. It will be interesting to see how the final language comes together and, if signed into law, how it is applied.

Finding Friends is Fraught With Privacy Peril

Yelp's Loss Spells Legal Trouble for the Mobile App Industry

On Friday, September 8, Yelp became the latest mobile application maker to be held to account for potentially violating users’ privacy. The plaintiffs in a long-running class action lawsuit allege that Yelp and other app developers improperly uploaded address book data from their phones without their consent. The court’s ruling on Friday denied Yelp’s motion for summary […]

Michigan’s First Revenge Porn Money Judgment

Detroit Free Press
August 26, 2016

This is a great legal development in my home state’s internet law:

“In what might be Michigan’s first revenge-pornography case resulting in a monetary judgment, an Oakland County woman was awarded $500,000 Wednesday after her ex-boyfriend posted nude photographs of her on multiple Internet sites. 

“According to court records from the Oakland County Circuit Court, Judge Martha Anderson awarded the sum, which is set to accrue interest over time. Anderson also granted a permanent injunction against the ex-boyfriend, forcing him to immediately destroy and never republish the photos to third-party websites. If he does … he can be held in contempt and face prison or additional fines.”

The article also notes that “In April, a bill criminalizing the posting of sexually explicit images on the Internet without the depicted person’s consent was signed into law by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. Anyone found guilty of violating the law could face up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense. If a second violation occurs, the person could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. The individual could also face separate charges in connection to the crime.”

Although many similar statutes have been passed around the country, they often have First Amendment defects, because they go too far in abridging the Constitution’s sacrosanct freedom of speech. Nevertheless, cases like this prove that existing tort laws will almost always provide a way to punish those who use the internet to abuse others.

New Firm & New Look!

For those who don’t already know, I have recently moved my law practice to the firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. I couldn’t be happier or more excited about continuing my career with this fantastic group of legal professionals. Today the firm issued this press release about my move.

Together with this transition, I’ve also refreshed the look of this blog with the “Get Noticed!” WordPress theme from Michael Hyatt. I’ve followed Michael’s social media insights for years, and this theme is designed to make it easier to follow his advice. It will allow me to share a wider variety of content along with my standard blog posts, such as announcements like this one.

And with that refresh comes a renewed commitment to sharing fresh content on this blog. Over the past few months I’ve been on a mini-sabbatical, posting content closer to once per month than to my typical once per week approach. I’m now back to my regular schedule, and look forward to contributing to (or even starting) some Warner Norcross blogs soon as well.

It’s you, my audience, who make this effort worthwhile. Over the past five years, I’ve learned that although my readers rarely comment online (who has time?), there are more of you out there than I ever knew. It never ceases to amaze and humble me how often I meet someone who has been following these posts. Thanks for continuing to read!

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on “Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality” at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia as part of the World Intellectual Property Organizations’ Summer School series.

Date: Thursday, August 11, 2016
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Event: Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality
Topic: Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality
Sponsor: World Intellectual Property Organization
Venue: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Location: 600 Dulany St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Public: Private
Registration: Click here to register.

If you'd like me to speak to your organization about intellectual property, emerging media, or related legal topics, please feel free to contact me through my Contact page.

Pokestops, Go Away – The Backlash Against Augmented Reality Gamers

2015-10-06 18.13.32

2015-10-06 18.13.32The Kölner Dom Cathedral in Cologne, Germany has survived war, plague, and decay. Built in the 12th Century, it was the only major building in the city to survive the Allied carpet bombing in World War II. But the cathedral and its caretakers now stand against new invaders: hordes of Pokemon Go players.

Is the Increasing Use of Social Media Evidence a Game-Changer in Litigation of Insurance Claim Disputes?

This is a guest post by Peter Hamp, a student pursuing his JD and MBA as part of the joint degree program at the University of Michigan Law School and Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He earned his B.A., with distinction, in political science from Yale University. Over the past decade, social media has significantly changed […]

Why the Mugshots Case Matters Right Now

I write this post to share a thought that I didn’t get the chance to complete during my recent appearance on the Bloomberg Law Show. It’s about the July 14, 2016 decision in Detroit Free Press v. Department of Justice, in which the en banc 6th Circuit decided 9-7 to reverse 20 years of precedent that […]