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Amazon adjusts its TOS to account for a zombie apocalypse; Apple and Facebook ponder different roads for VR and its devices; the BBC will scan your face to see how you feel about what you’re viewing; and more …
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The cybersecurity ramifications of the Internet of Things (IoT) are perhaps nowhere more crucial—potentially a matter of life and death, in fact—than in the realm of medical devices. Until recent times, a potential hack of the data-sharing that is a hallmark of the IoT raised far more privacy concerns than actual health risks. However, as medical devices begin to evolve and make use of the connectivity of the IoT, this balance may change. For one example, think pacemakers, where a malicious glitch in a networked piece of equipment could have fatal consequences.
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Frequent readers of our blog will recall that in prior posts on companies such as Uber, Ashley Madison and Twitter, we have stressed the importance of having a robust terms of service (TOS) agreement. In many instances, TOS, if adeptly deployed, can limit a social media or gaming company’s liability to its users. We now see that TOS can also effectively limit the remedies available to these potential plaintiffs.
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Augmented reality goes to the Superbowl; Cisco commits to the Internet of Things with a billion-dollar embrace (even as IBM belatedly embraces the cloud); the staying power of the sharing economy is questioned; and more …

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In our recent post, Living in a Nonmaterial World: Determining IP Rights for Digital Data, we discussed the potential impact of the Federal Circuit decision in ClearCorrect v. ITC, 2014-1527, in which the appeals court held that the “articles that infringe” are limited to “material things” and thus do not include “electronic transmission of digital data.” The decision limited the regulatory jurisdiction of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to articles that are considered physical products. The implications of the decision are far-reaching since the Internet of Things touches on most industry sectors. As previously noted, the decision has been supported by open-Internet advocacy groups, characterizing the decision as a “win for the Internet,” while other groups (including the dissent to the opinion) see the decision as a significant setback in the fight against overseas piracy of patented and copyrighted works.

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The future of ride-sharing companies has hung in the balance for more than two years while class actions and labor complaints were pending against industry giants Uber, Lyft and others. The ride-sharing companies have primarily fought with their drivers over the driver’s employment status—a conflict between whether the drivers are employees entitled to benefits or independent contractors responsible for paying for their own expenses such as gas and vehicle maintenance. (See our earlier posts, Uber Is Driving an Unknown Road and Avoiding Uber Trouble via Good Terms of Service.) After a tide of unfavorable court decisions for its competitor Uber, on Tuesday, Lyft agreed to settle a California class-action lawsuit brought in 2013 by its drivers seeking reclassification from independent contractor to full-time employees and the benefits associated with employee status.

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NewsofNote
It’s been a week when virtual reality news reigns supreme, with the technology shown off in medicine, film and entertainment, and as part of Apple’s future plans. The FCC has even suggested a spectrum designation for it. Oh, and did you hear about the Google AI’s defeat of a Go pro?

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A recently published patent application filed by Twitter provides a possible glimpse into the future of social media and selfies—and it’s a future arriving on the wings of that poster child of modern technology, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone. The patent indicates that Twitter may be experimenting with a system in which its users can use messages such as tweets to control drones, including taking photos and videos that may be streamed and shared with others in real-time through their user accounts. When asked by CNBC about this system, Twitter offered only a two-word explanation: “Drone selfies.” While Twitter’s plans for this technology as yet remain unclear, any company considering a system to enable capture and sharing of drone selfies or other drone-captured content (e.g., event livestreams) should consider the potential legal implications, some of which include Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and regulations, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and privacy and other tort-related laws.

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Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. When it comes to acting on copyright infringement takedown notices, just how fast is fast enough for social media platforms? Some recent (and not-so-recent) cases reveal how difficult the question has proven for the courts.

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