Daniel is a Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He is part of EFF's intellectual property team and focuses on patent reform. Before joining EFF, Daniel was a Residential Fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet & Society where he represented writers, painters, filmmakers, and others who rely on fair use to create their art and scholarship.
Daniel previously practiced at Keker & Van Nest, LLP, where he represented technology clients in patent and antitrust litigation. He served as a law clerk to Justice Susan Kenny of the Federal Court of Australia and to Judge William K. Sessions, III of the District of Vermont. Daniel has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Western Australia, an M.A. in philosophy from Rutgers, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
On August 30, 2016, the Patent Office issued U.S. Patent No. 9,430,468, titled; “Online peer review and method.” The owner of this patent is none other than Elsevier, the giant academic publisher. When it first applied for the patent, Elsevier sought very broad claims that could have covered a wide range of online peer review. Fortunately, by the time the patent actually issued, its claims had been narrowed significantly. So, as a practical matter, the patent will be difficult to enforce.
Patent trolls — companies that assert patents as a business model instead of creating products — have been in the news lately. This is hardly surprising, given that troll lawsuits now make up the majority of new patent cases. And the litigation is only the tip of the iceberg: patent trolls send out hundreds of demand letters for each suit filed in court. At the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we have been following this issue closely and are working hard to bring reform to fix the patent mess.
Last week's decision in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust -- upholding the Mass Digitization Project (MPD) -- was a big victory for fair use. The MDP is a project where university libraries and Google have together digitized over 10 million books to allow for full-text searches, preservation, and access for people with print disabilities. When the Authors Guild sued for copyright infringement, HathiTrust defended the suit by arguing that the MDP is fair use.
Judge Baer upheld the MDP. His decision recognizes that the project is a massive public good: it is a tool for scholarship, prevents the loss of our cultural heritage, and provides unparalleled access for the visually impaired. Significantly, he found that these educational purposes are "transformational" in a way that supports fair use.
The Australian government has proposed sweeping changes to its surveillance and national security laws. The government’s wish list includes mandatory data retention, surveillance of social networks, criminalization of encryption, and lower thresholds for warrants. As it seeks to expand its surveillance powers, the government also wants to dilute oversight by jettisoning record-keeping requirements. This week I submitted detailed comments opposing the changes to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security.
We filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit on behalf of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts urging the appeals court to reverse a district court decision that ignored established fair use principles that many artists rely upon in creating their work.
The FUP filed this suit on behalf of a University of Denver conductor and others, challenging Congress’s restoration of copyright to works that had entered the public domain.
A New Hampshire state court has dismissed a defamation suit filed by a patent owner unhappy that it had been called a “patent troll.” The court ruled [PDF] that the phrase “patent troll” and other rhetorical characterizations are not the type of factual statements that can be the basis of a defamation claim.
The general rule in patent law is that each country has its own patent system. If you want damages for sales in the United States, you need a U.S. patent. If you want damages for sales in New Zealand, you need to get a New Zealand patent, and so on. A case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to disrupt this system by allowing worldwide damages for infringement of U.S. patents.
In a big win for free speech, the California Court of Appeal has rejected Olivia de Havilland’s right of publicity and false light claims against FX. The court’s ruling [PDF] explains that the First Amendment protects creative works about celebrities whether the work in question is fact, fiction, or a combination of both. While Hollywood will breathe a sigh of relief, the ruling should also protect other speech by ensuring that right of publicity claims are subject to meaningful First Amendment limits.
When someone wants to remove speech from the Internet, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) notice and takedown process can provide the quickest path. This has made copyright law a tempting tool for unscrupulous censors. As content companies push for even more control over what gets posted online, it’s important to remember that any tool used to police copyright will quickly be abused, then adapted, to censor speech more widely.
If trolls don’t face consequences for asserting invalid software patents, then they will continue to shake down productive companies. That is why EFF has filed an amicus brief [PDF] urging the court to uphold fee awards against patent trolls (and their lawyers) when they assert software patents that are clearly invalid under the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v.
"A nonprofit advocacy organization, EFF often files amicus briefs in cases involving tech companies. The Federal Circuit discourages amicus briefs that duplicate arguments made by the main parties, but the court’s policy of withholding access to briefs made it hard to read other case filings before the deadline to submit amicus briefs, said Daniel Nazer, the EFF attorney who asked the court to amend its policy.
"But even when the U.S.P.T.O. granted patents to Raniere for his inventions (which they did for over 20), it shouldn’t necessarily be considered proof of brilliance, according to Daniel Nazer, attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Nazer said, “If your whole shtick is going around and convincing people that you’re this genius, then the patent system is a way to buttress that.
"Another law professor, Annemarie Bridy of the University of Idaho, lamented gCaptain's situation.
"It's a shame, really, to see people with meritorious defenses give up solely because they can't afford their day in court," she emailed Ars. "But that's how trademark bullying and IP trolling work. Right holders know that it's much cheaper and less stressful for an accused infringer to capitulate or settle than it is to try to win a case in federal court."
"Daniel Nazer, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote on Twitter that Securus only "puts up a pretense of being a technology company.""
Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Right of publicity law is a mess. Courts apply a variety of tests and apply these tests inconsistently to different forms of media. At the same time, the right of publicity impacts a wide range of speech--from movies, to computer games, to baseball cards. Uncertainty about the relevant standards makes it difficult to advise clients about the scope of the right.
Daniel Nazer Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Jonathan Blavin Partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson
• First Amendment and public figures in sports games
• Cheating and hacking in online game play
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Read or listen to the full interview at NPR.
NPR's Audie Cornish talks to Daniel Nazer of the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the impact of this ruling. An appeals court ruled the music used in the video was an instance of fair use.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
When Stephanie Lenz saw her toddler jamming out in the kitchen to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy," naturally she took a video and posted it to YouTube.