Sohu vs Toutiao: Chinese Mobile News App Sued by News Publishers for Copyright Infringement

Recently, a 120 million users mobile application, Toutiao (“headline” in Chinese), got on the nerves of traditional and Internet news publishers in China. In late June, China's Internet giant Sohu sued Toutiao for copyright infringement and unfair competition before the Beijing Haidian District Court. 

Big Data and the Perceptual Divide

There's an old joke that goes like this: “There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't.” Like most old jokes, it's built around a kernel of truth. If you cram enough training in mathematics and science into a person's brain, it changes not just how they think, but how they see the world. It's hard to overstate just how deep this shift goes, but it's akin to the “overview effect” experienced by astronauts during spaceflight, in which suddenly seeing the planet from a different perspective induces a profound sense of oneness and connection. But for engineers and other types of data scientists, I suspect that the effect goes in the opposite direction. It seems like there's an inclination among some who work with large bodies of data, be they NSA cryptologists or Facebook researchers, to view their data as something separate from the individual citizens and consumers that those data points represent. And I believe that this disconnection goes a long way towards explaining the tensions in the modern big data world. Read more » about Big Data and the Perceptual Divide

Net Neutrality and the First Amendment Rights of Users of Government-Run Networks

Yesterday my Elon Law colleague Enrique Armijo, who writes about the application of the First Amendment to new technologies, filed a comment in the FCC's net neutrality proceeding. As CIS blog readers know, the FCC has shown interest in using its preemption authority to remove barriers to municipalities establishing their own broadband services to compete with private ISPs. Read more » about Net Neutrality and the First Amendment Rights of Users of Government-Run Networks

The World Intermediary Liability Map (WILMap) is Online!

The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is excited to announce the official launch of the World Intermediary Liability Map (WILMap).
The WILMap is a detailed English-language resource comprised of case law, statutes, and proposed laws related to intermediary liability worldwide. The WILMap allows visitors to the CIS website to select information on countries of interest through a graphical user interface. 

The Argentine National Communications Commission Orders to Block The Pirate Bay

Today, the Argentine National Communications Commission (NCC) ordered Internet Service Providers to block access to The Pirate Bay websites in the country within five days. The blocking order complied with an injunction issued by the District Court No. 64 in Buenos Aires in a case initiated by the Argentine Chamber of Phonographic Producers. Read more » about The Argentine National Communications Commission Orders to Block The Pirate Bay

Riley, Aereo, and the "Arthur C. Clarke Rule"

It turns out that searching through the digital contents of a person’s mobile phone is more intrusive than rifling through an address book, wallet, or purse. Correspondingly, police may no longer perform such a search without a warrant. Privacy advocates are hailing the Supreme Court’s decision last Wednesday in Riley v. California as a victory of common sense and rationality over blind adherence to doctrine. But just a few minutes before the Riley decision appeared online, the Court handed down its ruling in ABC v. Aereo, holding that the company’s use of tens of thousands of dime-sized micro-antennas to stream broadcast television over the internet was a form of copyright infringement. The Court’s decision in Aereo has so far seen a far cooler reception than its one in Riley, with some fearing that the majority’s reasoning could potentially chill innovation.

Let’s be honest: Riley and Aereo barely have anything to do with each other. One is a Fourth Amendment case, the other is about copyright infringement. And while there is some crossover in the tech policy world, there aren’t many public defenders who run a side business litigating civil intellectual property disputes, nor are there many IP attorneys who spend their days off arguing the exclusionary rule. The only reason these two cases have so often been cited in parallel is that they were handed down within minutes of each other, and they both relate to technology. That said, what these two cases do illustrate is just how much trouble the Supreme Court, and, by extension the entire legal system, has with new technologies. And what we need to ask is why, doctrinal technicalities aside, so many see Riley as coming out the “right” way while Aereo is viewed as a “bad” result. Read more » about Riley, Aereo, and the "Arthur C. Clarke Rule"


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