German chefs can claim copyright over the arrangement of food on plates

It started with a 2013 ruling that extended copyright to "applied arts," and it gives the force of law to "no photographs of your food allowed" signs in restaurants. Read the rest

Pre-crime: DHS admits that it puts people on the no-fly list based on "predictive assessment"

A DoJ filing in an ACLU lawsuit in Oregon admits that you can be put on a no-fly list based on "predictive assessments about potential threats," as opposed to threatening or dangerous things you've actually said or done. Read the rest

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Student suspended for tweeting two words will get to sue his school, police chief

Rogers, MN honor student Reid Sagehorn was suspended after he tweeted two words, using his own device, on his own time, off school property. Read the rest

Assange allegations dropped, but he's not going anywhere

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, 2011. Toby Melville/Reuters

Two allegations of sexual assault leveled against Julian Assange by Swedish police were dropped Thursday due to that nation's statute of limitations.

But he still faces a more serious rape allegation and remains subject to if ever he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“Julian Assange, on his own accord, has evaded prosecution by seeking refuge in the embassy of Ecuador,” Swedish chief prosecutor Marianne Ny said in a statement. “As the statute of limitation has [expired] … I am compelled to discontinue the investigation.”

Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has not been charged in connection to the allegations and denies them, maintaining that they amount to politically motivated retaliation for his work exposing embarrassing government misdeeds. His lawyers say that should he travel to Sweden, he will be extradited to the U.S., which recently sentenced whistleblower (and Assange source) Chelsea Manning to 35 years' imprisonment.

“I am an innocent man. I haven’t even been charged," Assange told The Guardian. "From the beginning I offered simple solutions. Come to the [Ecuadorian] embassy to take my statement or promise not to send me to the United States. This Swedish official refused both.”

Since Assange entered Ecuador's embassy in 2012 and was granted asylum, the UK government has spent more than £12m maintaining a round-the-clock police presence at its doors to prevent him leaving.

The situation is a bureaucratic farce: Swedish prosecutors say they are willing to interview Assange in London, but Ecuador will not permit them to do so within their embassy. Read the rest

Rightscorp teams up with lawyers to mass-sue people who ignore blackmail letters

The publicly traded company warned investors that its plan of sending "invoices" to people its sloppy piracy-bots fingered as pirates wasn't working out so well, so now they've found a law firm that'll file bullshit lawsuits against "repeat offenders." Read the rest

Fast-moving Internet Law casebook

Internet law troublemaker James Grimmelmann (previously) has released the fifth edition of his $30 DRM-free casebook ($65 for print) of Internet law, "a fast-moving casebook for a fast-moving subject." Read the rest

Idaho court strikes down anti-whistleblower "ag-gag" law

Many agriculture-heavy states have passed laws criminalizing recording videos of animal cruelty and illegal workplace and food hygiene practices, but one judge in Idaho isn't having any of it. Read the rest

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We're suing the Justice Department over FBI’s secret rules for using National Security Letters on journalists


Freedom of the Press Foundation this week filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department over their unpublished rules for using National Security Letters and so-called informal “exigent letters” to conduct surveillance of journalists. Read the rest

Jamaica's new copyright means Jamaicans pay for reggae the rest of the world gets free

Jamaica now has the third-longest copyright term in the world, and the term extension has been imposed retrospectively, all the way back to works created in 1962, the year ska burst on the public scene.

The new term only binds on Jamaicans, meaning that the currently public domain Jamaican works that are going back into copyright will be free for foreigners long before they're free for Jamaicans again, a situation that will apply to all Jamaican works produced from 1962 onward.

Jamaica has also committed to enforcing copyright on foreign works that had entered the public domain in Jamaica, meaning that Jamaicans will have to pay for imports they currently get for free.

If Jamaica hoped that this measure would bring in additional royalties for its musicians from overseas markets, then the tactic that it chose to pursue was doomed to failure from the outset. Foreign users of Jamaican copyrights are not bound by the extended copyright term; only Jamaicans are; but conversely, Jamaicans are now obliged to honor foreign copyrights for the full extended term.1 As opposition spokesperson on culture Olivia Grange put it during debate on the new law, “what will happen is that we will, in fact, be paying out to foreign copyright holders in foreign exchange for the continued use of foreign works in Jamaica, while our own rights holders will only benefit up to the 50, 70 or 80 years that exist in other countries”. So all that this measure has accomplished is that citizens of Jamaica, a developing country, will be paying more money into Hollywood's coffers, while Jamaica's own rich cultural heritage draws in not a penny more in return.

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Georgia sues Carl Malamud, calls publishing state laws "terrorism"

The State of Georgia claims that its statutes are a copyrighted work, and that rogue archivist Carl Malamud and committed an act of piracy by making the laws of Georgia free for all to see and copy. Read the rest

The People vs Disneyland: tracing the impact of lawsuits on themepark design

The People V. Disneyland: How Lawsuits & Lawyers Transformed the Magic is the latest from David Koenig, who wrote the excellent Mouse Tales books of true confessions from Disneyland staffers. Read the rest

How did an Ohio inmate get prison administrators' usernames and passwords?

Lebanon prison, Ohio

Lebanon prison, Ohio

Ohio authorities are investigating how a prisoner obtained a list of the usernames and passwords for prison administrators.

Read the rest

Feds used malware to hack child porn network


It's OK, they're the government. Read the rest

Fair Use App: a guide to fair use for online video creators

Art from New Media Rights writes, "We spend our time working with online video creators on fair use, so we created The Fair Use App. We filtered down our experiences working with video creators to create an app that can help them better understand:" Read the rest

Laura Poitras sues the US Government to find out why she was repeatedly detained in airports

The Oscar-winning documentarian, who directed Citizenfour, was detained and searched over 50 times, but the breaking-point was when the US Government refused to respond to her Freedom of Information Act request for the reasons for her harassment. Read the rest

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