Author: Allison Pedrazzi Helfrich
Following an investigation and notification attempts, clothing distributor Louis Vuitton Malletier filed a complaint against several websites that it believed were selling goods that infringed on Vuitton’s copyrights and trademarks, alleging contributory trademark infringement; vicarious trademark infringement; contributory copyright infringement; and vicarious copyright infringement. The court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the contributory copyright and trademark infringement claims. With respect to the contributory trademark infringement claim, the court held that the proper inquiry in this context was how much control the defendant had over the means of infringement.
Author: Alex Harris
The DC Circuit upheld a decision of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) prohibiting Verizon from continuing some of the company’s practices in trying to retain customers switching from its phone service to a competitor’s VOIP service. When a customer decided to leave Verizon for a competitor, Verizon would get a notice because it had to transfer the customer’s phone number to the new service. Verizon would then offer the customer incentives to stay, such as discounts and gift cards. The FCC banned the practice and the court upheld the FCC’s decision, reasoning that the FCC’s action survived the weak standard of Chevron deference because the FCC had rationally interpreted the relevant statute.
Author: José Mauro
Author: Matt Kellogg
In the Northern District of California, the District Court granted Google’s motion to dismiss in a suit claiming that Google had been complicit in fraud perpetrated through its AdWords program. Because the plaintiff did not allege that Google had helped to develop the offending content, Google was immune under § 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which shields website operators from liability for hosting unlawful content created by third parties.
Author: Stuart Loh
Universal Music Group (“UMG”) sued Veoh Networks, Inc. (“Veoh”), an Internet-based service that allows users to share videos online, for copyright infringement. In the present proceedings, UMG moved for partial summary judgment that Veoh was not entitled to protection under 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), a safe harbor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act designed to shield a service provider from liability arising from infringing conduct occurring “by reason of storage at the direction of the user.” In addition to storing videos uploaded by users, Veoh engaged in other activities (e.g., converting the format of the videos) to provide other users with access to them. UMG argued that because those other activities do not actually constitute storage, Veoh may not rely on § 512(c) as a shield to liability. The court denied UMG’s motion and rejected UMG’s narrow interpretation of the phrase “by reason of,” holding that such an interpretation was not consistent with its common meaning and that it would undermine the ability of § 512(c) to shield service providers from liability if they did anything with user-uploaded materials other than store it untouched. Instead, the court held that § 512(c) covers Veoh’s activities because they were designed to facilitate access to user-stored content.