On November 10, Judge John Walters of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California rejected a request by several domain name registration companies to block ICANN -- the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers -- from authorizing the rollout of a controversial domain name “waitlisting” service. In his memorandum denying the registrars’ motion for a preliminary injunction, Judge Walter held that the registrars had failed to prove either irreparable harm stemming from the new service’s launch or a likelihood that the registrars’ suit would succeed on its merits. Judge Walter also declined to find that the public interest would favor issuance of a preliminary injunction at this time. Notably, Judge Walter rejected the registrars’ contention that ICANN must achieve consensus among all players before moving forward with any change in policy. At issue in the case is a new service proposed by Verisign, the current registry for the .com and .net Internet domains. In 2001, Verisign proposed to launch a Wait List Service (WLS) for .com and .net Internet names. The WLS proposal would allow consumers wishing to register a domain name that had already been registered to place their name on a waiting list (only one waiting list entry would be created for each currently-registered domain name). Should the desired domain name become open for registration, the consumer on the waiting list would be given first opportunity to register the name.
Research conducted by John Halderman, a Ph.D. student at Princeton University, on MediaMax CD3 copy prevention technology developed by SunnComm Technologies showed that users can bypass that protection by holding the shift key every time they insert one such protected CD into a computer. Haldeman also discovered the process to disable the protection software if it had already been installed, and published such results in his website. Although a Bancorp analyst seems to have preceded Halderman in the shift-key finding and in making it public, it was Halderman who, through public statements of SunnComm CEO Peter Jacobs, became the target of a potential suit under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits to manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under the Copyright Act. Interestingly, Halderman’s mentor, Professor Edward Felten, had faced a similar threat in 2001 because of a paper on which he collaborated with other professors.
The Chamberlain Group filed suit against Skylink Technologies in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 1201. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Skylink, and dismissed the complaint. Chamberlain manufactures and markets garage door openers (GDOs), including a “Security+” line that uses a “rolling code” technology to prevent “code-grabbing” (i.e., the capturing and recording of transmitter signals to obtain unauthorized access to a consumer’s garage). Skylink markets a universal remote transmitter that is capable of operating Chamberlain’s Security+ GDOs. Chamberlain claimed that Skylink’s transmitter unlawfully circumvented Chamberlain’s rolling code technology in violation of the DMCA. In response, Skylink asserted that Chamberlain had authorized its customers to circumvent the rolling code technology, and therefore that Skylink could not be held liable for the use of its remote transmitter to operate Chamberlain GDOs.
The Ninth Circuit ruled that the FBI could not require a provider of a telecommunications device to allow the FBI use the service to listen in on customers in their cars if the surveillance disrupted the service too much. Some luxury cars are equipped with on-board communication systems that assist drivers in a variety of activities. The appellant (“the Company”) runs this type of service (“the System), which uses a combination of satellite and cellular technology. One aspect of the System allows the Company to listen to oral communications inside the vehicle by opening a cellular connection to the car. The Company intended this feature for use when the owner reports the car stolen and the Company places the System in “theft mode.” The FBI obtained a series of district court orders requiring the Company to allow the FBI to use the System to surreptitiously intercept conversations taking place inside cars equipped with the System, based on 18 U.S.C. §2518(4). Although the wiretap orders at issue had expired, the Court ruled that the case was not moot because the case fit the “capable of repetition, yet evading review” exception to the mootness doctrine.