Trade Secrets

How Much is a Twitter Account Worth? (And Is It Enough to Keep You in Federal Court?)

While doing some research on recent media law suits here at the CMLP, I came across a particularly interesting case involving a dispute over the ownership of a Twitter account: PhoneDog, LLC v. Kravitz.

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Lost and Found: California Law and the Next Generation iPhone

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past few days, you've heard that a newfangled iPhone mysteriously turned up in a fancy beer bar in Redwood City, California, and photos of it ended up on

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Highlights from the Legal Guide: An Overview of Trade Secrets

This is the tenth in a series of posts calling attention to topics we cover in the Citizen Media Legal Guide. In this post, we highlight the section on trade secrets, which describes the limitations imposed on publishers who rely on or publish certain confidential business information and offers practical advice to citizen media creators on how to avoid liability for publishing trade secrets.

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Crazy Legal Battle Between Newspapers Settles, But Leaves Worrisome Fair Use Decision Intact

Many readers are probably familiar with the meltdown of the Santa Barbara News-Press, a local daily newspaper in Santa Barbara, California. Starting in 2006, reporters and editors of the newspaper clashed with now-infamous Wendy McCaw, controlling shareholder of Ampersand Publishing LLC, which owns the paper. Tensions swirled around McCaw's perceived intervention in editorial and reporting judgments, traditionally left to the paper's professional staff.

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Making Sense of the Wikileaks Fiasco: Prior Restraints in the Internet Age

Yesterday, I reported that a federal judge in San Francisco had issued a stunningly broad injunction that brought down Wikileaks.org, a site that is developing what it describes as an "uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis." (I'll let the prescience o

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Court Orders Wikileaks.org Shutdown, Then Grants Limited Reprieve?

Last Friday, a federal district court judge in San Francisco issued a stunningly broad injunction that brought down Wikileaks, a site that is developing what it describes as an "uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis."

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Think Secret to Cease Operations as Part of Settlement With Apple

TechCrunch is reporting that Apple and Think Secret have settled their longstanding trade secrets dispute. Here's the kicker: under the terms of the agreement, Think Secret will cease operations. Think Secret issued a statement:

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Chilly Weekend: Black Friday Prequel and Public Domain Music Scores

If it's fall, these must be cease-and-desists for Black Friday ads. This year, they seem to be coming earlier than ever, as Wal-Mart sends pre-notifications against future posting. I put my analysis into a Chilling Effects Weather Report

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Not Every Cease-And-Desist Letter is a DMCA Takedown Notice

Today, the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse posted a cease-and-desist letter from MediaDefender to gpio.org complaining that MediaDefender's leaked emails had been posted to the site. The operator of the site, which subsequently moved to http://mediadefender-defenders.com (but not because of the letter), also posted the letter and his reply. His reply quite effectively points out that he and his server are in Norway and thus "it appears that your legal grounds for throwing letters at me claiming this-or-that is shaky enough that you might want to relocate."

This exchange reminded me of an article in Ars Technica a few weeks back discussing the reactions of peer-to-peer site operators to similar letters from MediaDefender. I meant to post on this article at the time, but forgot about it until today. The gist of the story is that some peer-to-peer site operators received cease-and-desist letters from MediaDefender and responded with blistering comments ridiculing the MediaDefender lawyers for their impoverished understanding of U.S. copyright law. For example:

[isoHunt's] formal response to SMR&H is filled with caustic wit and considerable legal expertise. "If Mr. Gerber is truly as experienced in IP law as his bio claims he is," asks the isoHunt administrator in his response, "why is it that he is incapable of composing a DMCA takedown notice as per USC Title 17 Section 512?" The isoHunt administrator explains that Gerber failed to adequately specify the allegedly infringing content as required by law. The administrator also helpfully provides a link to a valid sample complaint so that SMR&H will be less likely to send the improper information in their second attempt. The following is an excerpt of the isoHunt administrator's response:

"This e-mail serves as a counter notification under USC Title 17 Section 512(c)(3)(A)(iii) that you have failed to properly identifying links to content that allegedly infringes your copyright/trademark/rights (or, in this case, has something to do with really embarrassing trade secrets *and* employee social security numbers) AND you have failed to address your e-mail to the appropriate agent, namely copyright@isohunt.com, so I invite you and your clients to take a long walk off a short pier, since you and/or your clients might actually manage to NOT get something that simple wrong."

In closing, the isoHunt administrator says that the he will comply with the request if it is properly submitted. "Despite us being located in Canada, if you do actually figure out how to compose a valid DMCA notice, we will honor it," he concedes, "just as soon as we're done laughing at you."

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