This week, the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic, on behalf of a group of esteemed law scholars, filed an amicus brief (pdf) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) v. Public.Resource.org. Amici argue in the brief that model codes incorporated into law are not, and should not be, copyrightable. Several standards developing organizations (SDOs) – including ASTM, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) – filed the lawsuit against Public Resource back in 2013, alleging copyright and trademark infringement. After a lengthy discovery process, the federal District Court in D.C. is currently considering motions for summary judgment from both parties.
In November 2015, the Cyberlaw Clinic supported the Electronic Privacy Information Center in submitting comments to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding a proposed registration regime for operators of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”), commonly known as drones. Fall 2015 Clinic students Katherine Kwong and Sophia Choi contributed to EPIC’s comments, in which EPIC expressed general support for a drone registration requirement but raised concerns about the inclusion of personal information about drone operators in a registration database.
Harvard students seeking ongoing support and mentorship with their startups are encouraged to apply for the Harvard Innovation Lab‘s Spring 2016 Venture Incubation Program. The Program offers a great opportunity for current Harvard students (including students throughout the university, from the Law School and beyond) who are looking for space and related community resources as they try to build out a venture. Information about the program and the application process is available at the i-Lab website. Applications for the spring are due on January 4, 2016.
The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) in Commonwealth v. White, SJC-11917. This is the third case in as many years in which Massachusetts’s highest court has sought the input of amici to help clarify when law enforcement may glean information from a cell phone to advance a criminal investigation.
We are happy to report that the Library of Congress has approved of exemptions to the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions in order to protect independent medical device safety and security research and patient access to data. This announcement comes after a year of litigating this issue before the Copyright Office. You can review all of our prior coverage and the filings of the case at our page about the 2015 Anticircumvention Rulemaking. I wanted to take time to review the decision, and reflect briefly on the process of the DMCA rulemaking.
The Harvard Innovation Lab will be hosting three of Harvard Law School’s alumni as experts in residence over the coming weeks. The i-Lab hosts programming and offers workspace for students across the University interested in innovation and entrepreneurship to support their ventures. These alumni will each be available to meet with students on a Friday in the next month, with the goal of counseling on their career, venture, or business planning issues.
In a strong affirmation of the privacy interests of cellphone users, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled unanimously earlier this week that law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth must obtain a warrant to access anything more than a minimal amount of the cell-site location information (CSLI) that telecommunications companies collect about their users. The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in Commonwealth v. Estabrook on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in support of privacy protection for CSLI.
“Holy copyright law, Batman!” Although this sounds like Robin, it is actually a line from a federal appeals court opinion issued this week, holding that Batman’s iconic car is entitled to copyright protection. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with DC Comics in its claim to a copyright interest in the Batmobile, ruling in DC Comics v. Towle that the automobile was sufficiently distinctive to be deemed a protectable character. DC Comics had sued defendant Mark Towle for, among other things, copyright infringement and trademark infringement, based on his sale of replicas of the car. Mark Towle’s Gotham Garage sold replicas of the Batmobile as it appeared in the 1966 television series featuring Adam West as Batman and the 1989 movie starring Michael Keaton for approximately $90,000.
The Cyberlaw Clinic is delighted to announce that on October 8, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will be holding oral arguments at Harvard Law School, in the Ames Courtroom in Austin Hall. The court will hear four cases, starting at 2:00pm.
This fall, the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship is launching a new experimental course on FinTech (the use of innovative technologies in financial services). The course will meet for seven sessions on Tuesday evenings, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, starting October 27th. As currently envisioned, the course will focus on FinTech opportunities in payments, cryptocurrencies, lending, electronic trading and consumer finance. Most of the students in the course will be from MIT (chiefly the Sloan School and Computer Science Department), but the organizers also hope to attract a limited number of HLS students with interests in innovation and financial regulation. Students enrolled in the course will work in teams to develop a business plan for a new FinTech product. The plans will be eligible for entry in the MIT FinTech Competition and 100k Business Plan Competition in the Spring of 2016. If you are interested in learning more about this offering and the logistics of cross-registration, please contact Professor Howell Jackson (email@example.com) or Carlos Sanchez Altable at the MIT Marin Center (firstname.lastname@example.org).