New Hampshire Exempts Bitcoin from Money Transmitter Regulation

The pro-bitcoin legislation trend continues. This month New Hampshire passed legislation that exempts persons using virtual currency from registering as money transmitters. Specifically, the law amends existing RSA 399-G, which deals with licensing of money transmitters as follows. Continue Reading

Vermont Becomes Second State to Legalize Daily Fantasy Sports in 2017

On Thursday, June 8th, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into a law a bill that legalizes and regulates the operation of paid-entry fantasy sports contests within the state. Vermont is at least the eleventh state to pass a bill legalizing some form of fantasy sports and the second state to do so in 2017. Continue Reading

Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence and Joint Conduct

Over the past few years, sophisticated pricing algorithms and artificial intelligence have attracted the attention of antitrust and competition enforcers. These new technologies interpret and respond to market conditions with far more precision, agility, and consistency than their human counterparts. As a result, they may require practitioners to develop new ways of thinking about joint conduct such as price-fixing conspiracies. But to what extent do these innovations really alter traditional antitrust analysis under Section 1 of the Sherman Act? In a recent article published in Competition Policy International’s Antitrust Chronicle, we analyze existing legal doctrines and principles to see if they can offer antitrust and competition practitioners any guidance before we jump into this “brave new world.” Continue Reading

100 Million Reasons For Open Source Compliance

CoKinetic Systems Corporation filed suit against Panasonic Avionics Corporation, seeking damages in excess of $100 million, in part, for violation of the GPL v2 open source license. CoKinetic alleged that Panasonic blocked competitors from having the ability to develop software for Panasonic’s In-flight Entertainment (IFE) hardware by refusing to distribute the source code for its open-source Linux based operating system. CoKinetic alleged that this software controls the basic functions of Panasonic IFE hardware systems. According to CoKinetic, this is a willful violation of the GPL License, exposing Panasonic as a willful infringer of the copyrights of thousands of software developers that have contributed to Linux. The suit includes other very interesting legal claims, detailed below. Continue Reading

The Kardashians Can’t Keep Up With Copyright Law

Khloe Kardashian is the latest Kardashian to find herself in court over her activities on social media. The youngest Kardashian sister was sued by a photographer for copyright infringement in Xposure Photos UK Ltd v Khloe Kardashian et al, 2:17-CV-3088 (C.D. Cal). Xposure alleges that Ms. Kardashian posted a photo it owned on her Instagram without permission and without the copyright attribution notice included on the original. For brands, celebrities, influencers, and others who use social media, particularly to make money or for promotion, this serves as a good reminder that all rights in any photographs, videos, and other content they post on social media must be cleared. Continue Reading

Horseracing-based Fantasy Sports Game Found Illegal

In a follow up to a lawsuit we previously reported on, a California District Court ruled on summary judgment that a horseracing-based fantasy sports game constitutes illegal wagering. Specifically, the court found: the entry fees paid in contests offered by Defendant on its Derby Wars website are wagers under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978; Defendant is operating an offtrack betting system as defined in Section 3002(7) of the IHA; and the IHA can serve as a predicate for a California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 claim. Continue Reading

Important Open Source Ruling Confirms Enforceability of Dual-Licensing and Breach of GPL for Failing to Distribute Source Code

A recent federal district court decision denied a motion to dismiss a complaint brought by Artifex Software Inc. (“Artifex”) for breach of contract and copyright infringement claims against Defendant Hancom, Inc. based on breach of an open source software license. The software, referred to as Ghostscript, was dual-licensed under the GPL license and a commercial license. According to the Plaintiff, those seeking to commercially distribute Ghostscript could obtain a commercial license to use, modify, copy, and/or distribute Ghostscript for a fee. Otherwise, the software was available without a fee under the GNU GPL, which required users to comply with certain open-source licensing requirements. The requirements included an obligation to “convey the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License” of any covered code. In other words, under the open source license option, certain combinations of proprietary software with Ghostscript are governed by the terms of the GNU GPL. Continue Reading

AR Game Maker Launches First Amendment Challenge

Candy Lab AR, makers of the augmented reality poker game Texas Rope ‘Em, sued Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, over an ordinance alleged to be violating the First Amendment. The ordinance states: “Permits shall be required before any company may introduce a location-based augmented reality game into the Parks…” Continue Reading

Brands Beware!!!! FTC Scrutinizing Influencer Posts for Compliance with Endorsement Guides

In response to a petition from a coalition of consumer groups last year complaining about the need for disclosures by social media influencers, the FTC recently announced on April 19, 2017 that it had issued more than ninety letters reminding influencers and brands that “if there is a ‘material connection’ between an endorser and the marketer of a product – in other words, a connection that might affect the weight or credibility that consumers give the endorsement – that connection should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed, unless the connection is already clear from the context of the communication containing the endorsement.” The FTC explained that material connections could “consist of a business or family relationship, monetary payment, or the provision of free products from the endorser.” A copy of the form of the letter, which explains that clear and conspicuous disclosures are required can be found here. Continue Reading

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