Miscellaneous

The Stored Communications Act Protects Public Posts to Social Media Sites

The case arose from an oral licensing agreement between artist Buckley Crispin, Plaintiff, and Christian Audigier and companies (famously associated with the clothing line Ed Hardy), Defendants. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant violated the terms of an oral license by failing to put Plaintiff’s logo on his artwork and by using his artwork on items that were outside the scope of the license. Defendants served subpoenas duces tecum on four third-party websites including Facebook, Myspace, Black Market Art Company, and Media Temple seeking Plaintiff’s communications, sales information and basic subscriber information. The magistrate judge, below, denied Plaintiff’s motion to quash the subpoenas.

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When deactivating your Facebook account becomes the intentional destruction of evidence

Deactivating your Facebook account and passively allowing it to be permanently deleted can be considered the intentional destruction of evidence.  The Plaintiff in Gatto is now facing a potentially damaging adverse jury instruction if he takes his case to trial.  In Gatto, a ground operations supervisor at JFK Airport was injured in his course of employment when one of the United Airline’s planes bumped into a set of fueler stairs, causing them to run into the plaintiff.  In his suit, Plaintiff alleges that due to the crash he has suffered various serious injuries, is permanently disabled, hasn’t been able to work since July of 2008, and his physical and social activities have been limited.  Defendants sought access to Plantiff’s Facebook account in relation to these claims.

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Is What You Post On Facebook Discoverable? The Answer Is… Maybe.

We often hear that we should be careful about what we post on the internet.  But no matter how many times we hear this good advice, it seems like we have all posted something on the internet that we later regret.  Unfortunately, the internet is not a forgiving place.  And these unwanted internet posts can haunt an individual and result in serious consequences.

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Discovery of Social Media: The Plaintiff Responds and Produces

Defendants in an automobile accident case sought discovery of Plaintiff’s facebook and myspace (i.e., social media) account information. Plaintiff was seeking damages based upon the physical limitations caused by the injuries sustained in the accident and for psychological damages caused by his newfound anxiety to travel and traffic as well as depression. Plaintiff conceded that the “public information,” or information available to all users/nonusers or friends/nonfriends should be discoverable pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26 provided it was relevant. The Offenback Court conducted an in camera review of Plaintiff’s facebook page to determine the relevancy and discoverability of the material.[1]

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If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again—Court Protects Identities of Internet Users But Allows Re-filing of Expedited Discovery Request

Many individuals believe that matters pertaining to the United States Presidential Election are paramount to all other considerations.  This, however, is not always the case and even those who create problems for campaign committees from behind the guise of internet anonymity are entitled to equal rights under the judicial system.   Ex parte applications for expedited discovery are no exception according to the recent ruling in Ron Paul 2012 Pres. Campaign Comm., Inc. v. John Does, 1–10 because courts have a set list of criteria to consider when assessing the existence of “good cause” for expedited discovery to identify internet users.

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Panetta Warns of “Cyber-Pearl Harbor” in Speech to Business Executives for National Security (BENS)

In a speech to the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) on Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta illustrated the increasing likelihood of a possible "cyber-Pearl Harbor," and identified China, Russia, Iran, and militant groups as having increased their aggressiveness and technological advances in the context of cyber warfare.

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A New Wave of ”Megan’s Law” Legislation: Internet Sex Offender Registries

New Jersey is among the thirty-one states to adopt a sex offender Internet registry web sites as part of “Megan’s Law” legislation.  In 2000, New Jersey implemented new legislation regarding sex offenders.  In A.A. v. State of N.J., convicted sex offenders challenged constitutionality of Article IV, Section 7, Paragraph 12 of the New Jersey Constitution, a state constitutional amendment which authorizes the creation of an Internet sex offender registry (“Registry”), and an amendment to “Megan’s Law” known as the Internet Registry Act, which seeks to implement the Registry and would allow unlimited public access to certain information. The Third Circuit, however, denied the registrants’ motions for preliminary injunctions and held that the state could implement such a registry.

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$29.99 vs. $10,000 (and fees): Maximum Statutory Penalties Imposed to Deter Illegal Access to Satellite Television

DirecTV has had a tough time over the years, from battling cable television providers to continually attempting to “one-up” rival satellite television provider DISH Network.  While online streaming of television shows and movies has presented new challenges to television service providers, DirecTV has stayed afloat.  One group, however, has persistently caused headaches for broadcast satellite service providers over the years:  those who refuse to pay a penny of the $29.99 per month for DirecTV.  This group of individuals has resorted to numerous illegal means to get free access to television, including the purchase of transmission interceptor devices.  In the case of DirecTV v. Hermann, the Honorable Dennis M. Cavanaugh of the District Court for the District of New Jersey finally said “enough” and sent a message that costs much more than $29.99 per month.

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Plaintiff Is Not a Pirate: Joint Venture Company Downloads Files from Defendant’s Server After Dissolution

In Joseph Oats Holdings, Inc. v. RCM Digesters, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated a District Court decision which held that plaintiffs had wrongfully copied defendants electronic information in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law. The dispute stemmed from a joint venture agreement between the parties which was repudiated by defendants shortly after its inception. In September 2006, the plaintiffs commenced an action alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract, etc. In October 2006, plaintiffs attorney sent a litigation hold letter to defendants, demanding the preservation of (among others) electronic documents related to the litigation.

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The world of eDiscovery is expanding to automobiles

Technology continues to pervade more and more parts of our lives and now even cars and other automobiles may be implicated in electronic discovery disputes due to advanced digital recording devices and video files.  After a serious car accident, plaintiffs wanted an order for injunction with restraints to preserve material evidence from the crash.  Plaintiffs requested that all evidence be preserved pending the commencement of a personal injury action.

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