Does one person’s Twitter account a trade secret make? A newspaper in Virginia apparently thinks so. This past week, the owner of The Roanoke Times sued former Virgina Tech sports reporter Andy Bitter under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, among other things, because he refused to give up the login information for a Twitter account.
Last Tuesday afternoon, Elon Musk tweeted from his personal handle, “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” These words drove Tesla’s share prices up by 10% on Tuesday before Nasdaq halted trading, increasing Musk’s estimated net worth by $1.4 billion dollars.
Since then, there has been a lot of speculation about Musk’s tweet, including about whether it violated SEC rules. News outlets reported last week that the SEC has contacted Tesla to inquire as to the accuracy of the tweet, a move that could indicate the start of a more formal investigation.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution earlier this month to suspend the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement. The Privacy Shield is a protocol that provides for the exchange of personal data between the EU and the United States for commercial purposes. Adopted in 2016 after the European Court of Justice invalidated the Safe Harbor arrangement, the shield is intended to safeguard the “fundamental privacy rights” of European citizens with respect to data transfers between signatory countries.
Every day, millions of people are being unwittingly recorded by others. Every person you see walking down the street likely has a means to record your image and transmit it to billions of people at a whim. But, would you have ever expected that your Lyft or Uber ride was being broadcast across the globe for others’ entertainment? For some passengers in St. Louis, this was their reality.
From the frontiers of content creation, we bring news in the longstanding war between man and machine. Or, in this particular case, animators versus software. Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the University of Washington are developing artificial intelligence software, dubbed “Composition, Retrieval and Fusion Network” (or CRAFT for short), that allows a user to generate a new video scene composed of graphic elements extracted from a library of preexisting video scenes by simply typing out a description of the new scene (e.g., “Fred is wearing a blue hat and talking to Wilma in the living room. Wilma then sits down on a couch.”). See here for those that prefer academic papers and here for those that prefer videos.
As we approach 2020, distributed ledger technologies (DLT) appear likely to have a far-reaching, comprehensive impact on our global economy. But core components of that economy—intellectual property rights in particular—sit in tension with DLT. Copyright owners learned this lesson with the advent of BitTorrent. Patent owners will face similar threats from DLT-based computing platforms executing programs referred to as “smart contracts.” To date, less than 500 U.S. patents have issued with the term “blockchain” in a claim, and none appear to have been litigated. As such, many nuances of DLT patent enforcement have not yet manifested. Nonetheless, even a cursory review of current case law reveals the road to a decentralized utopia is laden with patent-law potholes.
What 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.
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.
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).
Music 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?