Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

U.S.Court Grants Order to Wipe Pirate Sites from the Internet (Torrent Freak)
A U.S. federal court in Oregon has granted a broad injunction against several streaming sites that offer pirated content. Among other things, the copyright holder may order hosting companies to shut down the sites’ servers, ask registrars to take away domain names, and have all search results removed from Google and other search engines.

Oracle Bests Rimini Street in Latest Lawsuit Ruling (ZDNet)
A federal judge has backed Oracle’s position against third-party support vendor Rimini Street in rulings over defamation claims and copyright theft.

FTC Proposed Patent Troll Study Gets Go-Ahead From OMB (Mobile Payments Today)
The Federal Trade Commission received approval from the Office of Management and Budget for its proposed study on patent assertion entities, or “patent trolls.” The purpose of the proposed survey is “…to examine cutting-edge competition and consumer protection topics that may have a significant effect on the U.S. economy.”

Anti-Piracy Outfit Wants to Hijack Browsers Until Fine Paid (Torrent Freak)
Rightscorp revealed its new plan to fight and monetize piracy – by continuing to work with ISPs to block web access in order to compel infringers to pay the fine.

Analysis: Monkey in the Middle of Selfie Copyright Dispute (Intellectual Property Watch)
The recent case of a monkey selfie that went viral on the web raised thorny issues of ownership between a photographer and Wikimedia. In this article, two attorneys sort out the relevant copyright law.

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.

Big Data–An Orwellian dystopia or a Jetsonian utopia?

 Big data is a term often met with one of two emotions, great suspicion or hyperbolic optimism. Neither sentiment encompasses the reality of what big data has to offer. Few other topics are debated with such frequency both within and outside of the beltway. Numerous policy luncheons are convened with panelists ranging from devout data analytics worshipers to data atheists. As Stephen Pratt of Wired put it:

“We are at a crossroads in the fundamental role and use of these data. Are we creating an Orwellian dystopia or a Jetsonian utopia?”

This is the central question. What is the nature of big data? Privacy advocates, some policymakers, parents and others are of the Orwellian persuasion.  To this group the word ‘data’ sparks fears of privacy invasion, heightened government control, commercial manipulation, and discrimination.

Even the White House has participated in the discussion with the President tasking the Administration with a 90-day review that culminated in the report “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities Preserving Values.” What they found is that virtually all companies are good actors and of the numerous harms listed all but two were hypotheticals. The Center for Data Innovation’s Daniel Castro and Travis Korte have a good analysis of the harms in their article “A Catalog of Every ‘Harm’ in the White House Big Data Report.”

In the Jetsonian camp, are people like Chris Anderson who exaggerates the power of data in his 2008 article, “The End of Theory: the Data Deluge makes the Scientific Method Obsolete.” Anderson makes the claim that with the advent of big data and the systems for processing it, there is no need to search for causal relationships between two correlated variables; “correlation is enough.”

The problem with Anderson’s position is that the outcomes are half-baked. It is true that big data, via statistical algorithms, illuminates millions of patterns that would be impossible to identify otherwise. And while finding those patterns or correlations is important, your stats teacher was right; correlation does not equal causation. Take for example this BuzzFeed post “The 10 Most Bizarre Correlations.” One of the less colorful relationships BuzzFeed found, although no less absurd, is the link between the decline in market share for Internet Explorer and the drop in the national murder rate. In Anderson’s world there is no room to consider the validity of found correlations because there is no need to actually understand what is going on behind statistically significant relationships.

Clearly, big data has not antiquated the scientific theory, in many ways it reinforces its necessity. We need careful analysis through understanding of the specific facts in a scientific field and construction of tested and validated models to sift through the millions of spurious correlations. The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank illustrates why in a blog post titled, “Big Data: The end of theory in healthcare?”

In reality, as with most debates, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, between Orwell and Jetson.

Data-driven innovation has the ability to capture, comingle, store, verify and analyze relevant data, and then integrate the results into established processes to derive innovative practical outcomes. But the power of big data lies not in the accumulated data points themselves. Data itself is nothing but a collection of information. Rather, the power of data-driven innovation lies in our hands. To truly utilize large quantities of data two things are absolutely necessary:

      1. An adequate system for integrating, managing and analyzing the data.
      2. A data scientist with expertise in the field of what, within the data, is being studied, to ask the right questions and interpret results.

Data analytics has the power to reveal what works, what is missing and what can be done better in a way that would not be possible otherwise. Big data in and of itself, is not the solution to all of our problems. Data analytics is a tool that must be wielded by people and when leveraged appropriately there is much good that can be accomplished.

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 Public Policy Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the Policy team on Twitter @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

U.S. Patent Office Rejects Apple Autocomplete Patent Used Against Samsung (CNET)
While the Apple v. Samsung patent battle may have ended overseas, it is still going strong in the U.S. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected several claims of one of the patents Apple wielded against Samsung in the most recent patent-infringement trial.

Suit Against Alibaba Opens Window on Issue of Counterfeiting (The Wall Street Journal)
A lawsuit filed and then withdrawn last month against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. by several of the world’s leading luxury brands provides extensive details about the issue of allegedly counterfeit goods on the Chinese Internet company’s shopping platforms.

Wasn’t Cloud supposed to End Shelfware? (GigaOM)
One of the supposed advantages of cloud computing over an on-premises deployment model was that you would only buy what you need and pay for what you use. But it turns out customers are still buying more cloud resources than they need and ending up with shelfware, only in someone else’s cloud.

Japanese Manga, Anime Firms Debut Latest Antipiracy Project (Publishers Weekly)
A consortium of Japanese government organizations, manga publishers and anime production and game companies announced that they have formed the Manga-Anime Guardians Project, a combined effort to crack down on online piracy.

Twitch to Mute Copyrighted Music in Video-On-Demand (CNET)
Video-game streaming service Twitch, which is the subject of rumors about a Google takeover, announced a new copyright protection policy that threatens to muffle audio on much of its users’ Video on Demand content.

Photographer Sues Textbook Company for Copyright Infringement (The Pennsylvania Record)
A New York City-based photographer claims Houghton Mifflin Harcourt infringed on his copyrights with photos reprinted in millions of copies of the company’s books.

Australia Eyes Copyright Act Amendment to Curb Downloading (Intellectual Property Watch)
The Australian government is seeking to amend its copyright act to address online copyright infringement.

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.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Microsoft Sues Samsung Over Android Royalty Payments (The New York Times)
In the lawsuit, Microsoft said that Samsung stopped making royalty payments on time last fall and is refusing to pay interest for the delay, as required by their 2011 agreement, which related to Samsung’s use of Microsoft’s intellectual property in its Android smartphones and tablets.

Apple and Samsung Drop Patent Fights Outside the United States (The New York Times)
Apple and Samsung Electronics on Tuesday said they had agreed to drop patent litigation against each other in countries outside the United States, including Germany, Australia and Japan.

Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads on Illegal Sites (BBC News)
The City of London police have started placing banner advertisements on websites believed to be offering pirated content illegally.

UK Adopts Private Copying Exception As Some Rightholders Mull Legal Action (Intellectual Property Watch)
A new United Kingdom copyright exception for private copying cleared Parliament on 29 July and will become law in October.

Lawsuit Threatens to Break New Ground on the GPL and Software Licensing Issues (
When Versata Software sued Ameriprise Financial Services for breaching its software license, it unwittingly unearthed a GPL violation of its own and touched off another lawsuit that could prove to be a leading case on free and open source software licensing.

Victoria’s Secret loses PINK Brand Battle (CNNMoney)
Victoria’s Secret could be barred from using its PINK branding across the region after a British judge ruled the company was infringing on the trademarks of up-scale shirt-maker, Thomas Pink.

Poll: Should Internet Providers Block Piracy Sites? (The Wall Street Journal)

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.

SIIA Urges Department of Commerce to Avoid Restrictions on Data

Yesterday, SIIA submitted comments to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, in response to their inquiry on “Big Data and Consumer Privacy in the Internet Economy.”

In this exercise, directed by the May White House Big Data report, NTIA was tasked with reviewing the Administration’s 2012 Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights (CPBR), particularly the proposals’ ability to support the innovations of big data while at the same time responding to potential risks.

In our comments, SIIA points out that Data-driven innovation has the power to not only create economic and social value, as highlighted in SIIA’s 2013 white paper, but can also protect citizens from fraud and identity theft. Thus our comments stressed the importance of maintaining a policy framework that protects both individual privacy and encourages the natural evolution of new technologies. The three main points of SIIA comments are as follows:

  1. The emphasis should be placed on the responsible use of data and accountability, rather than unnecessary new limits on data collection and use.
  2. To enable the benefits of big data and data-driven innovation, we must maintain an evolving view of privacy rights, balancing these with societal benefits.
  3. Existing laws remain quite effective, and any new policies should build on the current risk-based framework, focused on preventing harm, where privacy and security are commensurate with the sensitivity of data.

To read SIIA’s comments in full, click here.

Sabrina Eyob is the Public Policy Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the Policy team on Twitter @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Congress Oks Bill to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking (PC Mag)
Congress approved the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, a bill that, if signed by President Obama, would reverse the Library of Congress’s decision two years ago that made cell phone unlocking illegal.

DOJ to Congress: Make Online Streaming a Felony (The Hill)
The Department of Justice is pushing Congress to increase the penalties for streaming copyright-infringing content online, so that online streaming of pirated content should receive the same consequences as illegal downloading.

House Returns to Patents (The HIll)
The House Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property will hold a hearing this week on the state of the Patent and Trademark Office. The hearing comes after a concerted push from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to reform the country’s patent system.

Infringement To Go: Pirate Bay Goes Mobile (Ars Technica)
The Pirate Bay has now debuted a new mobile service at, which will eventually have such features as personal RSS feeds so users can browse torrents on the go, and start the downloads at home.

UK Police Start Replacing Ads on Copyright Infringement Sites With Warnings(GigaOM)
Under a UK police initiative called Operation Creative, the police will now start replacing ads on copyright-infringing websites with official police banners that warn users that hte site is under investigation.

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.

New Markey-Hatch Federal Student Privacy Legislation is Unnecessary

SIIA today issued a press release on the introduction of the “Protecting Student Privacy Act” by Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Orin Hatch (R-Utah).

The current framework of robust federal regulations, industry best practices and binding contracts provides strong student privacy protections.  With these three layers of protection, we can give students access to revolutionary learning technology while ensuring that their information is used only for educational purposes. New federal student privacy legislation is not needed at this time.

The Markey-Hatch legislation is well-intended, but it contains provisions, such as a prohibition against the use of student information for targeted advertising, that already exist in current law and regulation. Other provisions, such as those related to data destruction, might not be workable in practice.

We share the privacy protection goals of Senators Markey and Hatch, but it’s critical to ensure that any new rules do not inadvertently create obstacles to the effective use of information. Innovative education technology is essential to improving education for all students and to ensuring U.S. economic strength in an increasingly competitive global environment.

Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology.

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