Center for Internet Law – Portland

Recent Legal Developments

Additional Noteworthy Cases

Roe v. Amazon. U.S. District Court-Ohio. 2016 WL 1028265. (2016).
Holds Amazon does not have same potential liabilities as traditional book publisher.

Involves whether Amazon, as an online book production/publication service, has same liability as traditional book publisher for uncompensated misappropriation of plaintiff’s likeness for use on cover of Amazon –published book. Court holds services supplied by Amazon more analogous to those provided by a photocopy machine than to far more extensive involvement of traditional book publisher. Because held by Court to not be a publisher, Amazon not co-liable with author for tort of misappropriation of likeness.

Schroder v. Pinterest. Cohen, et al. New York Supreme Court. 133 A.D. 3d 12 (2015).
New York Supreme Court holds Pinterest good-faith recipient of trade secrets wrongfully obtained by Pinterest investor and thus no liability by Pinterest.

Plaintiff Schroder claims to have developed confidential ideas, technology, and business plans later utilized in website and online business Pinterest, Inc.. Defendant Cohen was investor in Schroeder’s companies and subsequently in Pinterest. Court holds Cohen guilty of breach of his fiduciary duties to Schroeder by revealing confidential information and trade secrets to Pinterest founders. Pinterest itself, however, is deemed not liable to Schroder because other Pinterest founders had no confidential relationship with or duty to Schroeder, were not aware of Cohen’s breaches of his own fiduciary duties, and did not obtain trade secrets at issue by improper means. Court affirms misappropriation of ideas and misappropriation of labor, skills, and expenditures claims against Cohen, but holds good-faith recipient of trade secrets wrongfully obtained by third-party may be allowed to retain them.

Nucci v. Target. Florida District Court of Appeal, 162 So.3d 146 (2015).
Court holds discovery of relevant photo evidence admissible in court outweighs privacy settings on plaintiff’s Facebook page.

Plaintiff brings personal injury action arising from slip and fall on Defendant’s floor. Plaintiff claims reasonable expectation of privacy in her photos posted on her Facebook page which had privacy settings preventing public access to her Facebook account. Court holds Plaintiff had no reasonable expectation of privacy in photos placed by her on her Facebook page. Court concludes “photographs posted on a social networking site are neither privileged or protected by any right of privacy, regardless of use of any privacy settings” because discovery requested was calculated to lead to evidence that is admissible in court.

Smith v. Unilife. U.S. District Court-Pennsylvania, 72 F. Supp. 3d 568 (2014).
Employee’s in-person cell-phone recording of employer held violation of Pennsylvania Wiretapping  Act.

Employee’s recording of conversation with employer on employee’s cell-phone without knowledge of employer held violation of Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act. Bars use in court of unauthorized recordings made via cell-phone or smart phone.

UMG Recordings v. Escape Media Group. New York Appellate Court, 107 A.D. 3d 51 (2013).
Take-down rules under DMCA do not apply to pre-1972 copyrighted works.

Court affirms take-down provisions of DMCA do not apply to pre-1972 recordings streamed over internet by Defendant and therefore owners’ of pre-1972-copyrighted recordings can sue for copyright violations as soon as copyright-violating works are posted. For post-1972 copyrighted works, copyright owner limited under DMCA to initially sending take-down notice regarding copyright violation.

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