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A new antitrust lawsuit filed on behalf of iPhone users could get rid of Apple’s exclusivity agreements (‘EA’) with AT&T and Verizon.

The class-action lawsuit (below) accuses Apple of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (‘DMCA’) because the EAs do not giving consumers the “absolute legal right to modify their phones to use the network of their carrier of choice.”

If the plaintiffs successfully get a court to let consumers opt-out of carrier EAs, the ripple effect could be be huge. A decision for plaintiffs could potentially affect all carriers and all mobile handsets sold with locked phones with sold with exclusivity agreements in the U.S., regardless of what mobile operating system they use.
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Delaware’s Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision allowing an H-P shareholder to take a peek at lawyer Gloria Allred’s letter alleging that her client, former H-P contractor and actress Jodie Fisher, was sexually harassed by the company’s then CEO Mark Hurd.

Citing a lack of trade secrets, as well as proprietary and nonpublic information, the court rejected Hurd’s attempts to keep Fisher’s original harassment allegations in the letter secret (ss the court opinion below).
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Forty years after acquiring publishing rights to the award-winning children’s book “Julie of the Wolves” by author Jean Craighead George, HarperCollins is claiming copyright infringement by Open Road, a Manhattan e-book publisher distributing the work electronically via downloads on Amazon.com, Apple, and others e-commerce web sites.

The outcome of the litigation (read the lawsuit below) could be a bellwether for publishing houses that take their time to bring signed authors’ works into the e-publishing game, including ‘Big Six’ publishers like HarperCollins.
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Deal sites like Groupon and Living Social make money by offering discounts for products and services to a large pool of web subscribers.

But what happens if the merchandise being offered for sale may be counterfeit, unauthorized versions of authentic merchandise?

If you’re clothing and fashion accessories designer Gotham Licensing Group, you file a trademark infringement lawsuit against a Canadian company doing business as Beyond The Rack (read the complete lawsuit below).
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A company holding a patent for a “Safe Transaction Guaranty” on e-commerce Web sites sued Google, alleging patent infringement.

buySAFE, Inc. contends (read the lawsuit below) that Google’s new Trusted Stores program violates its patent for third-party certification and transactional guarantees for Internet retailers.
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Happy Winter SolsticeIt’s been a great year for us at Justia, as we hope it has been for all of our Onward readers.  We thought it might be fun to re-cap (not to be confused with RECAP ) some of the various new projects, pages and products we’ve worked on in 2011.

Verdict – In mid-2011, we launched our new legal commentary and analysis web site, Verdict. Each weekday, one of our team of ten columnists provides original and informed analysis of breaking news and developments in the law.  Articles from Verdict this year included John Dean’s look at The Tea Party, Neil Buchanan’s piece on tax cuts for the wealthy, Sherry Colb’s examination of whether strip searches by jail officials are constitutional, and Vik Amar and Alan Brownstein’s analysis of the recent Proposition 8 ruling by the California Supreme Court.  Other great pieces covered a wide variety of topics including immigration, criminal law, civil rights, constitutional law, health care, new technologies, and U.S. politics.
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A federal indictment unsealed today alleges that a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack by a Connecticut resident who “was affiliated with Anonymous” brought down KISS band member Gene Simmons’ web site last year.

The felony charges allege that Poe and other unnamed co-conspirators used an open source software program to send large amounts of packets and requests to overwhelm GeneSimmons.com servers and bring the musician’s e-commerce site down.

But why did the attacks target the outspoken KISS co-founder?
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Tensions could reach a new high point today in the Facebook ownership claim lawsuit between plaintiff, convicted felon Paul Cegilia (inset), and Defendants Facebook and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

A court hearing today in Buffalo, New York is scheduled to consider no less than eight (8) motions with roughly eighty (80) pleadings on among them on the court docket.

What are they all about?
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Last month, Representative Don Young of Alaska introduced the DebtPatriots.Gov Act of 2011, which calls for the creation of a website dedicated to collecting donations to reduce the public debt of the United States. The website, which will be hosted at www.DebtPatriots.gov, will collect donations and publicly recognize the patriotism of those who “are willing to contribute additional funds, above and beyond their tax obligations.”

The bill proposes several levels of donor recognition:

Corporation Award Levels

  • Corporate Founder ($50B).
  • Corporate Son of Liberty ($10B).
  • Corporate Constitutional Delegate ($1B).
  • Corporate Minuteman ($500M).
  • Corporate Patriot ($1M).

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More lawyers are learning the hard way that courts will not grant social media discovery requests without first laying a foundation for access to the accounts and information being sought.

A trial court judge on New York’s Long Island recently granted two different motions to strike defense requests for social media and electronic discovery in a single personal injury case (read the decision below).

The decision reinforces the idea that Facebook “fishing expeditions” are likely to be denied. Lawyers who simply ask for social media and electronic data, will be wishing they had done their homework, because without showing how and why they should be granted access to it, their requests will almost certainly be denied.
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