Guest Post: Virtual Reality as an Agent of Legal Change

10 04 2018

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law

Guest post by Gilad Yadin

april 9, 2018

When I began studying the legal implications of virtual reality technology, seeing or using an actual virtual reality system required access to a research laboratory or a specialized training facility; virtual reality was something most people associated with science fiction, it seemed futuristic and far-fetched. A few years ago, Facebook got very publicly into virtual reality and suddenly everyone was talking about affordable, connected, social virtual reality environments. These days, roughly $400 worth of virtual reality hardware allows anyone to interact with social contacts, through expressive avatars, in a three-dimensional spatial environment. The surging virtual reality market is estimated to reach $40 billion by 2020. Cyberspace is changing in ways that can no longer be ignored.

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Tech Giants Maintain Dominance By Copying Technologies

22 03 2018

IP Watchdog

Steve Brachmann
March 21, 2018

Although it’s not illegal to earn a profit, unfair business practices in the pursuit of holding a monopoly over an entire industry led to the breakup of Standard Oil, especially the rebates from railroad companies for oil shipments which substantially lowered Standard Oil’s transportation costs relative to its much smaller competitors. Recent academic research has suggested that, while the U.S. government acted appropriately to stop the cartelization of an industry, Standard Oil was engaging in typical capitalist activity in securing better deals which optimized oil shipments.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/03/21/tech-giants-maintain-dominance-copying-technologies/id=94596/

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Congress OKs sex trafficking bill that critics say will “censor the Internet”

22 03 2018

Ars Technica

– 3/21/2018, 5:54 PM

The US Senate today passed a bill that weakens legal protections given to websites that host third-party content, saying the measure will help stop promotion of prostitution and sex trafficking on the Internet. But the legislation won’t actually help victims of sex trafficking, and will erode online free speech, critics say.

The Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in a 97-2 vote. Only Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voted against the bill, which is also known as the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). It already passed the House of Representatives, and is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump.

The bill changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides website operators with broad immunity for hosting third-party content. The bill declares that Section 230 “was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims.”

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The content in this post was found at https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/congress-oks-sex-trafficking-bill-that-critics-say-will-censor-the-internet/

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Top Internet Law Developments of 2017 (Very Late)

14 03 2018

Eric Goldman
Technology and Marketing Law Blog

March 13, 2018

[It’s a sign of my busy 2018 that I’m only now posting my annual Internet Law year-in-review recap. Better late than never?]

Can the Print-on-Demand Industry Survive?

Trump and Twitter.

Uber.

Europe’s GDPR.

Net Neutrality.

Section 230 and Sex Trafficking.

SESTA/FOSTA

“Conservatives” Bring Censorious Civil Rights Lawsuits Against Internet Giants (and “Liberal” Google/Facebook/Twitter Haters Cheer Them On).

Internet Companies Are Viewed as the Problem, Not the Solution (Especially for Political Ads).

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2018/03/top-internet-law-developments-of-2017-very-late.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com.

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Intellectual Property Plays a Big Role in Silicon Valley Deals

27 02 2018

Amanda G. Ciccatelli
February 26, 2018

IP Watchdog

How big of a role does IP play in Silicon Valley deals? “In almost any size transaction involving a technology company, our client asks us to look carefully at the company’s IP and the agreements the company has entered into with third parties to secure rights in IP and to permit others to use that IP,” said John Brockland, a technology and IP transactions partner at Hogan Lovells. “Depending on how a transaction is structured, the terms on which IP is assigned or licensed between the parties in a deal can also be a critical area of focus for our client.”

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The content in this post was found at https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/02/26/intellectual-property-plays-big-role-silicon-valley-deals/id=94010/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com.

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Congress Probably Will Ruin Section 230 This Week (SESTA/FOSTA Updates)

27 02 2018

For the past year, I’ve been covering Congress’ efforts to create a sex trafficking exception to Section 230’s immunity. From the beginning, it was clear that the proponents did not understand Section 230’s powerful but counter-intuitive doctrinal mechanisms, yet their initiative to gut Section 230 had momentum. Two bills were introduced: SESTA in the Senate and FOSTA in the House. Both bills as introduced were terrible.

After a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, SESTA was amended to fix some of its roughest edges, but the amendments didn’t resolve SESTA’s structural flaw (I’ll discuss that below). As part of a House Judiciary Committee hearing, FOSTA as introduced was replaced by substitute FOSTA, which still had problems but represented a more productive approach to address sex trafficking. Amended SESTA and substitute FOSTA passed the Senate Commerce Committee and House Judiciary Committee, respectively, queuing both up for passage by their respective chambers. However, amended SESTA has been slowed by Sen. Wyden’s hold; and for reasons that aren’t clear to me, the House Judiciary Committee didn’t report substitute FOSTA until last week. Ten days ago, the House Energy & Commerce Committee waived jurisdiction over FOSTA to help get the bill on the House floor.

Ever since substitute FOSTA emerged, one of the key questions has been how Senate and House might reconcile the different policy approaches in SESTA and FOSTA if both advanced. No one I spoke to, not even the inside-Congress experts, were confident in their predictions. Last week, a backroom deal was announced that apparently answers that question, but in substantively and procedurally deficient ways. This is BAD NEWS.

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ESA Comes Out Against Allowing Museums To Curate Online Video Games For Posterity

27 02 2018

Tech dirt
[retrieved 2-27-18]

A week or so back, we discussed the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) calling on the Copyright Office to extend exemptions to anti-circumvention in the DMCA to organizations looking to curate and preserve online games. Any reading of stories covering this idea needs to be grounded in the understanding that the Librarian of Congress has already extended these same exemptions to video games that are not online multiplayer games. Games of this sort are art, after all, and exemptions to the anti-circumvention laws allow museums, libraries, and others to preserve and display older games that may not natively run on current technology, or those that have been largely lost in terms of physical product. MADE’s argument is that online multiplayer games are every bit the art that these single-player games are and deserve preservation as well.

Well, the Entertainment Software Association, an industry group that largely stumps for the largest gaming studios and publishers in the industry, has come out in opposition to preserving online games, arguing that such preservation is a threat to the industry.

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Why the IP system works against the small

14 02 2018

The decision whether to secure technology using a trade secret or a patent hinges as much on the technology as it does on access to capital. Small companies need funding to commercialize new inventions. A patent provides a private property right that can be leveraged to attract funding. However, most large companies like Waymo, one of the richest on the planet, do not need funding. This is no doubt why Alphabet and its Google subsidiary have lobbied to weaken the patent system. It is understandable because it is in the best interests of their well-funded enterprises. It is, however, not in the best interest of innovation more generally speaking, nor is it in the interest of society… The IP system as it currently exists acts to protect huge monopolistic enterprises at the expense of everyone else – employees, startups, job creation, innovation, and society at large. It is no wonder that startups in America continue to decline, as recently reported by none other than the NY Times.

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IP and Sovereign Immunity: Why You Can’t Always Sue for IP Infringement

3 02 2018

The overlap between sovereign immunity and IP issues is not something that comes up all of the time. However, when it does, the impact of the immunity can be significant. The law for certain matters, such as lawsuits in Federal court, is fairly well resolved. However, its application when new procedures are made available, such as for IPRs which were established in 2012, has provided new challenges and opportunities… So can the Federal or State government be sued for infringement under Federal patent, trademark, or copyright law? The answer often depends on the particular facts and specific legal issues of a dispute. That said, in most cases the answer is Yes for the U.S. Government and No for states and Tribal Nations, unless they have taken a specific action to waive immunity for that matter. A brief summary follows.

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How IP-Protected Innovation is Driving Economic Growth

22 01 2018

IP-protected innovation is now the principal driver of corporate value and is driving economic growth nationally. Developing an IP portfolio is now a basic requirement even for tech startups that hope to raise early stage financing… A large portion of the market cap of Silicon Valley companies can be directly attributed to intangible – or in other words intellectual property – assets. IP law is the primary tool used to protect the value of that innovation, and as we see from countries without meaningful IP laws there is simply no way to protect innovation absent a strong intellectual property system.

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