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iStock-819590732-videogames-liability-300x169What do videogames, cigarettes and slot machines have in common? They’re all addicting, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Since addiction and legal liability can sometimes go hand in hand, game designers (and app developers) would do well to pay attention whenever a new habit or hobby looks like it might be deemed harmful.

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Our colleagues Cathie Meyer and Amy Pierce have published a Client Alert titled California Enacts Mini-GDPR Effective January 1, 2020. Under the new law, covered businesses will need to update policies and procedures for responding to customer inquiries about collection, use, sale and disclosure of customers’ personal information or face stiff enforcement actions. Takeaways from the Client Alert include:

  • The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 provides consumers with broad rights to control use of their personal information by covered businesses.
  • Covered businesses will need to review and revise their existing privacy policies to make the required disclosures and to provide two methods for customers to inquire about use of their personal information.

The new law is effective January 1, 2020.

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white-list-id642247308-300x300#FakeNews is hurting more than political campaigns. Companies’ hard-earned reputations may be on the line when their ads pop up next to fake news stories and offensive YouTube videos.

Last year, major brands found their ads appearing in videos promoting extremist views and hate speech. JPMorgan Chase learned that it was advertising on a fake news site called Hillary 4 Prison. The ad ran under a headline claiming that actor Elijah Wood revealed “the horrifying truth about the Satanic liberal perverts who run Hollywood” (talk about bad publicity).

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wave-lines-vector-id857865094-300x300Music consumers love streaming services. The data surrounding subscriptions and revenue tells us so. Largely self-reporting systems, however, have made it more complicated to quantify that success. Can we trust companies to embrace transparency when their own interests rely so much on the numbers they are reporting?

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In this roundup, some of your favorite initialisms (AI, IP, TOS) come out to play while stories about government agencies and social media access call into question whether such access is a two-way street.

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The-shop-copyright-lebron-200x300Let’s talk shop. With LeBron James. Sounds cool right? That’s what James and his partner Maverick Carter thought when their entertainment company Uninterrupted developed The Shop. On The Shop, James and his friends, business associates, and various celebrity figures banter while getting their hair cut. Uninterrupted aired two episodes of the series with the first episode, (which premiered during the 2017 NBA Finals), garnering roughly four million views across Uninterrupted.com and ESPN’s YouTube channel.

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Google-duplex-300x200If you haven’t seen Sundar Pichai’s presentation on Google Duplex, watch it. The technology is fascinating.

Google is developing software that can assist users in completing specific tasks such as making reservations by telephone. The software uses anonymized phone conversations as the basis for its neural network and in conjunction with automated speech recognition and text-to-speech software can have independent phone conversations with other people. Incredibly, the software requires no human interaction—at least by the user requesting the service—to complete its task. The result is that you can task the software to setup a haircut appointment for you, or book a table at a restaurant where it is difficult to get reservations, with no further input needed. It can also work with different scheduling options if your preferred time is not available. And importantly, the conversations seem natural—it is very difficult to tell that one of the participants in the conversation is a computer.

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iStock-898984004-autonomous-vehicles-300x188When Eddie Rabbitt sang “Drivin’ My Life Away” in 1980, he was chronicling the life of a roadie, of a life spent behind the wheel. At the time, autonomous driving vehicles were still a distant speck on the horizon of the information highway. Today, we are on the cusp of a revolution that offers a near future where no one will have to spend his or her life behind a wheel. As always, the future carries new concerns, dangers and legal developments. We have already seen our first accidents and fatalities related to autonomous driving, and the regulatory and liability landscape is quickly setting context for this new technology—twenty-two states and Washington, D.C., have enacted legislation related to autonomous vehicles (with more pending).

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Recent technology news provides its usual mix of hope, distractions and hand-wringing-worthy developments. (Granted, one of these items is not so much “news” as an ever-present truth about TOS.)

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iStock-935705246-blockchain-300x200As the blockchain avalanche continues, and ever-increasing numbers of blockchain-based patent applications seek issuance, savvy inventors and practitioners continue probing for patent-eligible space. Blockchain apps ultimately will face the same barriers as other software applications—key among them being new rules on subject matter eligibility. For those hoping to make it past such obstacles, performance-related refinements to blockchain technology may provide a safe harbor.

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