Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

Apple’s War on Samsung Has Google in Crossfire (The New York Times)
Officially, it’s Apple versus Samsung Electronics in another tech patent face-off in a San Jose courtroom this week, but Google also has a lot at stake in the case.

Hollywood’s Antipiracy Efforts Add New Voice (The New York Times)
Ruth Vitale, executive director of CreativeFuture, is aiming to steer Hollywood’s digital future.

Top EU Court Backs Internet Bootlegging Ruling (The Wall Street Journal)
The European Union’s highest court said that Internet service providers may have to block access to websites that infringe copyrights.

Aereo to Supreme Court: We Have Broken No Law (CNET)
In a brief to the Supreme Court, Aereo says that it has stayed within the realm of U.S. copyright law and that TV broadcasters have no right to royalties from its television streaming.

Policy News

House Republicans Move to Block Internet Management Switch (The Hill)
A group of House Republicans introduced a bill that would prohibit the Obama administration from moving forward with its announced plans to relinquish oversight of the technical side of the Internet’s Web address system.

Pat Leahy’s Patent Reform Bill To Be Taken Up Again This Week (Washington Examiner)
The Senate Judiciary Committee took up the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, or Senate Bill 1720, but was tabled until the April 3rd meeting.

U.S. Top Court Wary of Major Change to Software Patent Law (Reuters)
U.S. Supreme Court justices stepped gingerly into a raging debate over computer software on Monday, voicing concerns about vaguely defined patents but signaling they would avoid any radical change to existing law.
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Digital Policy Roundup

SIIA Weights in with White House on “Big Data and Privacy”

On Monday, SIIA submitted comments in response to the White House’s request for information on how the government can best protect citizens’ privacy in the age of “big data” analytics. SIIA’s overarching recommendation for policymakers is to proceed cautiously when considering new data policies, as these are likely to steer the future of data-driven innovation and the scope of what is possible for American innovation for decades to come. Policies that seek to curb the use of data could stifle this nascent technological and economic revolution before it can truly take hold. Additional inputs for the ongoing Obama Administration big data review process include full day workshops at UC Berkely on April 1st, and NYU on March 17th. The Administration is expected to release the outcome of the 90 day review on April 17th.

Student Data Privacy Legislative Update

Student data privacy bills are pending in a majority of state legislatures, though few have reached the finish line. Most notably, SB 167 was defeated in Georgia, a significantly modified version of NY S6007 was included in the NY State Budget signed into law yesterday, and discussions are ongoing regarding CA SB 1177. SIIA continues to emphasize the need to limit restrictions to “personally identifiable” information, the challenges to schools of parent opt-in/out policies, the important use of meta-data to drive product algorithms, and that one-size requirements on service providers will not work if they fail to address school primary governance in areas such as breach notification, data deletion, and access and correction. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Markey (MA) indicates continued work toward introducing a bill to amend the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). SIIA members interested in student privacy should contact SIIA’s Mark Schneiderman.

New School Technology Funding Advances

State and federal initiatives are advancing around technology access, infrastructure and related educator supports. The 2014-2015 New York State Budget signed into law yesterday will authorize up to $2 billion from state bonds to fund school broadband infrastructure and student devices, pending voter approval, with funding distributed on a needs-base formula over the next few years to schools with a state approved technology plan. Equity in technology access was among the SIIA recommendations in testimony 18 months ago to Governor Cuomo’s education reform commission. At the federal level, the FCC issued a second NPRM for the E-rate, calling for comments on their proposed rules, including to prioritize new funding for internal connections including school Wi-Fi, eliminate or phase out voice support, and potentially provide funding eligibility to caching servers and network filtering software. Finally, President Obama’s 2015 Education Budget proposal includes $200-$500 million for a new ConnectEDucators program, which would provide competitive grants for teacher and principal professional development in the improvement of curriculum and instruction through technology.
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Good Uses of Data- Targeting Promotion of the Affordable Care Act

Monday, NPR Morning Edition featured a story on the successful sign up of numerous New Hampshire residents under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite the persistent unpopularity of the law in NH and the faulty site, enrollments in the state have surpassed expectations.

So what was the reason for such unexpected success in New Hampshire? Part of the answer can be found in Karen Hicks’ data driven approach.  An expert in grassroots political strategy, she created Covering New Hampshire, a campaign to reach out to uninsured citizens and persuade them to sign up for health insurance under the new law. And how did she find the uninsured citizens?  According to NPR:

“She and her team used commercial databases to identify and target 50,000 households most likely to be uninsured.”

Targeting citizens likely to be receptive to a political message is a staple of political campaigns now, and big data analytics and commercial databases are an essential element of these campaigns.

Some critics of data driven innovation find isolated examples of possible abuses to suggest that there is something inherently suspect in the use of these techniques. Hicks’ approach to the challenge of enrolling New Hampshire residents is just a small example of the huge social benefits that can be derived from the ethical use of data analytics. To learn more about the societal and economic benefits of data visit SIIA’s Data-Driven Innovation page and check out our white paper on DDI.

Sabrina Eyob is the Communications and Public Policy Intern at SIIA. She is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied Comparative Cultures and Politics, and International Relations.

Governments can harness the power of data to advance national goals while protecting privacy

SIIA submitted comments yesterday  in response to the White House’s request for information on how the government can best protect citizens’ privacy in the age of big data analysis. We concur with the goals of President’s Obama’s Big Data Initiative to harness the power of data to advance national goals such as economic growth, education, health, and clean energy; use competitions and challenges; and foster regional innovation. Technologists, privacy advocates and policymakers can work together to foster the societal, governmental and business opportunities provided by data-driven innovation, while also meeting the challenge of protecting privacy.

SIIA’s overarching recommendation for policymakers is to proceed cautiously when considering new data policies, as these are likely to steer the future of data-driven innovation and the scope of what is possible for American innovation for decades to come. Policies that seek to curb the use of data could stifle this nascent technological and economic revolution before it can truly take hold. SIIA therefore urges you to avoid support for broad policies that will dramatically curb data collection and analysis.

Other key points contained in SIIA’s big data comments include:

• The vast majority of big data is not personal or sensitive data, and the vast majority of new insights generated from big data analysis do not rely on personal information.

• Uninhibited cross-border, or cross-jurisdictional, data flows is perhaps the single greatest need for innovative U.S. companies to continue growing around the world.

• Big Data policies need to promote technology neutrality and avoid technology mandates, recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

• It is necessary to think creatively about any new policy regime governing privacy in the “era of big data,” one which increases risk assessment and appropriate data uses by entities—this review should also consider how existing laws have in many ways continued to function effectively and provide a significant degree of protection.

• Governments should continue to embrace open data policies and public-private partnerships that maximize access to critical public data.

Read our full comments, and our 2013 white paper explaining how this innovation presents tremendous economic and social value, capable of transforming the way we work, communicate, learn and live our lives.

David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.

SIIA Says New York State Budget will Help Promote Digital Learning

SIIA today issued a statement on the 2014-2015 New York State budget. The New York State legislature approved, and Governor Cuomo signed, the 2014-2015 state budget last night, which includes school funding and makes a number of related policy requirements. The budget includes a $2 billion general obligation bond to fund enhanced education technology in schools, including broadband infrastructure and student devices. The bill also places new regulations on schools and their contractors with regard to student data privacy.

SIIA congratulates Governor Cuomo and the New York state legislature for passage of a historic $2 billion school technology bond initiative that will help ensure all students have access to digital learning necessary for their educational success. Included in the 2014-2015 budget, these funds will support the broadband infrastructure and computer devices needed for students to access rich content, online learning and creativity tools.

Importantly for the advancement of education technology in New York, the bill’s new student privacy requirements are improved from earlier versions. SIIA calls on New York State education officials to work with schools and service providers to put in place the clarifications and transition period needed to implement the many new student data requirements.  Doing so will help avoid unintended consequences that may limit student learning opportunities, and will give schools and their contractors sufficient time to understand the new regulations, as well as to update policies, practices and technologies accordingly.

Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Leader and Co-Conspirator of Android Mobile Device App Piracy Group Plead Guilty (
Florida Individuals Represent First U.S. Convictions for Distributing Counterfeit Apps.

ICE, CBP announce year-end intellectual property seizure statistics; Seizures increase as collaboration at the IPR Center continues (
The number of IPR seizures increased nearly 7 percent from 22,848 in FY 2012 to 24,361 in FY 2013.

Ex-MP3tunes Chief Held Liable in Music Copyright Case (Reuters)
The former chief executive of bankrupt online music storage firm MP3tunes was found liable for infringing copyrights for sound recordings, compositions and cover art owned by record companies and music publishers once part of EMI Group Ltd.

Megaupload’s Dotcom Loses Case to Access Extradition Evidence (Reuters)
Kim Dotcom suffered another blow to his fight against extradition to the U.S. to face online piracy charges after New Zealand’s highest court rejected his appeal to access evidence to be presented at the hearing.

CinemaCon: MPAA Chief Chris Dodd Won’t Stop Challenging Silicon Valley Over Piracy (Hollywood Reporter)
“We have both the right and responsibility to express our concerns about piracy undermining our industry on a global level,” Hollywood’s top lobbyist tells theater owners.

Copyright Office Announces New Fee Schedule; First Since 2009 (Copyright Office)
The Copyright Office is adopting new fees for the registration of claims, recordation of documents, special services, Licensing Division services, and FOIA requests. These fees will take effect on May 1, 2014. More info here. The final rule establishing the new fee schedule was published in the Federal Register and is available here.


SIIA Announces New Intellectual Property Protection Division

SIIA is significantly expanding its enforcement efforts, and will now target a broad range of intellectual property violations, on behalf of both software and content publishers. The new program, now called the Intellectual Property Protection Division or IPP Division, will continue its anti-piracy efforts but will now investigate and resolve many more types of nefarious activities that can adversely affect a participating company’s brand, intellectual property or reputation, such as: counterfeiting, fraud, unauthorized access, fraudulent use of domain names, and more.

SIIA will also assist participating publishers with the protection of their intellectual property. These protection services will include such things as assisting publishers with registering their valuable IP with the U.S. Copyright Office and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, registering their brands with the new domain name Trademark Clearinghouse, and more. The IPP Division will also place a renewed emphasis on content piracy and offer a range of specialized services that address the varying needs of participating content publishers.

More information about the new SIIA IPP Division is available here.

Important Message About Protecting Your Brands

Late last year, ICANN began approving the first new gTLDs. Like all new domain names that are or will be approved by ICANN, these new gTLDs will not go live until after brand owners are given a brief window to register addresses using their own brands before anyone else can. For more information about this process see this SIIA alert and FAQs. SIIA has created a new domain name alert system for those companies that are interested in knowing what new domain names are approved, when they will go live and how to protect themselves. Those who sign up for the alert will receive a weekly email from SIIA notifying them what new gTLDs have been approved by ICANN, and other relevant information. If you are interested in receiving these alerts, please email me at so that we can add your name to the list of alert recipients.

Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Innovative Policies, Developer Content and Data Tools are Key, According to Education Officials at SIIA Mobile Learning Forum

SIIA this week hosted a successful meeting with education policy makers to enhance dialogue with developers of moble learning and other educational technologies. Discussions helped SIIA members better understand how public policies, funding and regulations are impacting their K-20 education customers, and provided education and government officials with an better understanding of the industry’s role, questions and concerns. Among the clear conclusions from SIIA’s Education Government Forum on Mobile Learning: Educators and students are looking increasingly to deveopers and service providers for adaptive, mobile content as well as data analytics as the engines of instruction and the platform for student learning.

The conference agenda included:

  • Keynote presentations from Rich Crandall (Chief, Wyoming Department of Education), Robbie Melton (Tennessee Board of Regents) and Kathleen Styles (CPO, U.S. Department of Education);
  • Review of federal and state K-20 policy trends from both analysts and officials;
  • Discussions about the migration to mobile learning; and
  • Updates on pending regulations and funding shaping the market, includingthe E-rate, student privacy and Common Core State Standards and assessments.

Among the takeaways:

  • Leading educators are turning increasingly to mobile devices to personalize learning and meet student needs anytime/everywere — They are looking to developers for interoperable, adapative and aligned content and tools; and they are looking for flexible public policies to support that innovation including the E-rate.
  • Safeguarding student data privacy and data security are critical — A regulatory framework is now in place, and policy must not get too far ahead of the problem and unintentionally restrict data-driven learning.
  • Common Core State Standards and assessments are moving forward — Implementation is hard work, but educator and public support remains strong as does their need for aligned instructional resources, assssments and data-driven professional development.
  • Costs and quality remain primary concerns in higher education — Public policies are pushing toward an outcomes-based model built around transparency and flexibility, while entrenched interests and undefined competency metrics stand as barriers to reform.


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.