Technology Law Source

Are you a criminal because you share your Netflix password?

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit continues to decide high profile cases that interpret the key provisions of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This post summarizes two July decisions from the court—one that sent the internet into a frenzy, and one that somewhat assuaged those fears.

Overview of the CFAA

The CFAA’s deceptively-simple statutory scheme and language have proved difficult to apply in practice some 30 years after it was enacted. The CFAA creates criminal and civil liability for whoever “intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains . . . information from any protected computer.” 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C). “The statute thus provides two ways of committing the crime of improperly accessing a protected computer: (1) obtaining access without authorization; and (2) obtaining access with authorization but then using that access improperly.” Musacchio v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 709, 713 (2016). The CFAA provides a private right of action for “[a]ny person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of this section.” 18 U.S.C. § 1030(g). Continue Reading

FAA’s comprehensive new small UAS rules are here. How can they help your business?

On June 21, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released long-awaited new rules for commercial, non-hobbyist small unmanned aircraft (sUAS) operations. The FAA’s press release about the new rules in part 107 of the FAA regulations is available here. FAA’s three-page fact sheet about the new regulations can be found at this link, and a 53-page advisory circular, which provides additional guidance, can be found here. The fact sheet and advisory circular are helpful resources, but by no means exhaustive, as the complete rules and commentary from the FAA fill 624 pages.

These final rules govern the commercial use of small (less than 55- pound) UAS. Many of our clients, who are understandably excited about the prospects of integrating drones into their businesses under a more defined regulatory regime, should become familiar with these detailed regulations before taking to the sky. That is also true for clients who may currently be operating sUAS pursuant to a Section 333 Waiver that they obtained from FAA before these new rules were finalized. The new rules address how those Section 333 Waivers apply under the new regulatory regime, and also how to obtain waivers from many of the new operational requirements.

Continue Reading

What is the immunity notice required to take full advantage of the Defending Trade Secrets Act?

We’ve previously posted about the Defending Trade Secrets Act allowing plaintiffs to pursue a trade secret claim in federal court. Our colleagues at Employer Law Report recently reported on how employers can take advantage of this Act. An important piece of the Act includes immunity from criminal and civil liability for employees who disclose their employer’s trade secrets. Read the post, “Employers wanting to take full advantage of the Defending Trade Secrets Act should consider including immunity notice in all new and updated confidentiality agreements.”

The passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act creates important considerations for trade secret plaintiffs

While patent, trademark, and copyright cases have had a place in federal law and a home in federal court, trade secret law has been relegated to the jurisdiction of state courts. Until now. With the passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which President Obama signed in to law on May 11, 2016, a plaintiff can pursue a trade secret claim in federal court. The DTSA amends the Economic Espionage Act, creating a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. It is expected to provide uniformity to trade secret law, which should provide better predictability for litigants who seek to protect their trade secrets. It also opens the door to the federal courthouse for trade secret claims.

Despite the ability to sue in federal courts, it is not a sure bet that federal courts will experience a flood of trade secret claims. Certainly there are provisions of the DTSA that would appeal to plaintiffs, and litigants may benefit from the perceived sophistication of a federal court judge. But there are some key considerations that might cause plaintiffs to pause before filing a trade secret misappropriation action under the federal law. Continue Reading

Porter Wright announces the 2016 Technology Seminar Series

Porter Wright continues its tradition of providing cutting-edge information about how technology affects your business with the 2016 Technology Seminar Series, beginning  May 18.

This year’s sessions are:

May 18: Big Data, Data Analytics & the Law 2016: What Your Company Needs to Know About the Evolution of the Next Big Thing

“Big data” is one of today’s most prevalent buzzwords across virtually all industries worldwide. But who truly understands what big data is and how it’s used? How is information collected, stored and analyzed? How are businesses leveraging big data in the workplace and the marketplace? How should companies balance data-driven trend-spotting against  consumer protection?  What laws or ethical frameworks apply to the use of big data, and how can you be sure your company is complying with them? This seminar provides an introduction to big data analytics, to the legal and strategic issues that big data raises for business, and to the ways that companies can position themselves to handle these challenges.  It then zeros in on the use of big data in the modern workplace to illustrate how some of these issues play out in a context familiar to many companies.

Speakers: Dennis Hirsch, Professor of Law, Faculty Director of the Program on Data, Law, Ethics and Policy (DLEAP), The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Brian Hall, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP Continue Reading

Recent executive action and anticipated impacts

Companies across industries – from tech to transportation – should be paying careful attention to Friday’s executive action signed by President Obama. Our colleagues at Antitrust Law Source, Jay Levine and Chris Yook, wrote an article discussing the order’s requirements and what we can expect as it is implemented. Check out the article: “Breaking: President Obama’s executive order requires all federal agencies to examine antitrust issues.”

In addition, Jay Levine was interviewed by Martha C. White for NBCnews.com for his thoughts on the subject.  As Jay notes, patent applications may see increased scrutiny – definitively something we will be watching as agencies implement this order. Check out the full story here.

Big data and what can be done with it

Our colleagues at AntirustLawSource.com recently shared parts one and two in a three part podcasting series; “Big data and what can be done with it.” Podcast host and editor, Jay Levine, talks with Phil Rist, executive vice president of Prosper Business Development, about challenges and opportunities for big data in 2016. From the internet of things providing more data available for tracking (Part 1), to using big data for key financial decisions (Part 2), we think you’ll find the discussion quite interesting.

Stay tuned for part 3.

 

Ch-ch-ch-changes – Fourth Circuit upholds FCC’s rules streamlining certain wireless telecommunications upgrades and expansions

Mobile wireless service is ubiquitous. Growth of domestic mobile data use is astronomical with growth rates expected to increase by as much as 20 times over the next five years.  4G LTE is lighting up our homes, schools, and workplaces. And 5G, we are told, is right around the corner. Growth requires infrastructure – new sites and modifications to existing facilities. Infrastructure requires permits, largely from local governments. But permit processes take time and local concerns can delay expansions. Now, however, the wireless telecommunications industry has a new tool to implement changes more quickly. And the Fourth Circuit has given the thumbs up to FCC regulations that foster these changes. See Montgomery County v. FCC, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 22070 (4th Cir. 2015).

This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit put the finishing touch on its decision upholding FCC regulations interpreting a 2012 law that cleared the way for a category of infrastructure expansion projects by eliminating discretionary reviews by state and local governments. The law, and the FCC’s interpretation of it, is a significant win for the wireless telecommunications industry in its efforts to streamline deployment of infrastructure, which can be slowed by state and local processes. On Feb. 16, 2016, the industry scored another victory when the court denied the petitioners’ motion seeking rehearing and rehearing en banc.

This is a big deal. Before the 2012 law, one of the most effective tools the wireless telecommunications industry could leverage for infrastructure expansions was the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Strong as that law is, it can present round-peg-square-hole challenges. After all, what mobile devices did you have in 1996? For those who had them, what did you do with your mobile devices besides make really expensive phone calls?
Continue Reading

LexBlog