This blog contains our personal opinions on topics that interest us.

Forced unlocking of smartphones

In January, I wrote a blog post about a California District Court ruling that a person could not be forced to unlock their smartphone because of the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against self-incrimination. The issue is being debated vigorously around the country and in the courts. For example, on April 18th, the Indiana Supreme Court (the highest court) heard oral arguments on that same issue (see link). The trial court judge ruled that Ms. Seo had to unlock her smartphone. Ms. Seo appealed and the appellate court reversed because of the Fifth Amendment. Photo by Koby Kelsey on Unsplash. #privacy

Seems familiar

I saw this shirt at a souvenir stand in Croatia. The design seems familiar to me. Does it seem familiar to you? (see link). #trademark

Using background artwork

Last year, Mercedes-Benz ran an advertising campaign for its G 500 series vehicles that included in the background certain murals by well known artists around Detroit, Michigan (see Mercedes Benz USA LLC v. James Lewis, 19-cv-10948, March 29, 2019, Dkt. 1 (hosted on In response to the campaign, the mural artists sent cease and desist letters to Mercedes-Benz based on the unlawful use of their copyrighted works. Mercedes-Benz stopped using the works in the campaign. It appears the parties were having discussions, but at the end of March 2019 Mercedes-Benz in the Eastern District of Michigan sued the mural artists for a declaratory judgment that the use of their murals in its adve

Cookie for access

On March 7, 2019, the Dutch Data Protection Authority issued a statement that under the GDPR a website cannot require visitors to accept tracking cookies to use the website (see link). The basis for the decision was that for consent to be a valid legal basis for the processing of personal data, it must be specific, informed and freely given. However, with cookie walls, consent is not freely given because if a visitor does not consent to accepting tracking cookies, the visitor cannot use the website. Based on that March 7th decision, a complaint was filed on April 3rd against Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe with the Irish Data Protection Commission (see link to the complaint). IA

The Cloud Gate (redux)

Last year, I blogged about the Cloud Gate case where Mr. Kapoor sued the NRA for copyright infringement for including briefly in a video his famous Cloud Gate sculpture located in Chicago, Illinois. At the end of 2018, the case was transferred to the Eastern District of Virginia (Case 1:18-cv-1320-LMB-TCB). During a pre-trial conference, the parties focused on the NRA's affirmative defense of fair use (Dkt 71). Shortly after, the parties agreed to dismiss the case (Dkt 73). Fair use is a complex factual determination that examines four factors: 1. The purpose and character of the use (i.e., whether the use was transformative), 2. The nature of the copyrighted work, 3. The amount and subst

Privacy Shield and Brexit

It is almost time for the UK to crash out of the EU, or gracefully exit the EU. In anticipation of both scenarios, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued updated guidance to Privacy Shield participants on international transfers of personal information (see link). In summary: If the UK gracefully exits, there will be a transition period up to December 31, 2020 where no changes are needed. If the UK crashes out (or after the transition period), a Privacy Shield participant must revise their public commitment to include the UK (see link). #privacy #brexit

The Blockchain is here to stay

This guest post is written Andrij Sytnyk, a co-founder of Ambitorio, a Crypto Valley based startup in the digital licensing space. Andrij is a certified Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) specialist with more than 15 years of experience with enterprise IT development and management covering manufacturing environments, cloud architecture, Fiber to the Home (FTTH) implementations, and IT rollouts and network monitoring. Recent turbulence in the cryptocurrency market led many people to assume that Bitcoin and its underlying Blockchain technologies are on their deathbed: The Hype is over. ICOs are mostly scams. I disagree. This is the beginning, and the outlook for Blockchain

Slippery when wet

What a great visual design. #copyright #design

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