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CLIP-ings: May 24, 2013

Internet Governance
Outsourcing Missing Persons: French police announced they will no longer pursue missing persons investigations (other than for minors or instances of suspected foul play) and will instead suggest that those filing reports venture online to look for clues on social media.
Tumblr Adult Content: After acquiring the popular blogging platform for $1.1 billion Yahoo! announced it would not remove adult content (which accounts for over 16% of traffic) from Tumblr, though experts warn this could place Yahoo! in violation of a federal law requiring all distributors of such material to maintain records of the ages of adult performers.


Adolescent Health Privacy: A hospital in Boston is creating a two-tiered system of access to electronic health records, one for teens themselves and another for parents which will provide access but will filter out information about pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and other sensitive data.

Information Security & Cyberthreats

FISA Orders Hacked: The Washington Post reported that a previously disclosed breach of Google servers in 2010 actually provided Chinese hackers access to secret US government surveillance orders that may have alerted foreign governments as to which of their agents were under suspicion.
Software Malfunction Opens Jail Cells: A script error in a Maryland correctional facility’s security software caused the simultaneous opening of 500 cell doors, triggering a panic among local community members who were not immediately informed of the security breach.

Intellectual Property

AG Hunts Patent Troll: In what is being called the first ever government lawsuit against a patent troll, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell invoked his state’s consumer protection law to sue a company that attempted to shake down thousands of small businesses with threats of patent infringement suits.
Licensed FanFic: Amazon launched a platform by which authors of fan fiction (derivative works based on popular series like Star Trek and Harry Potter) can legally publish and sell their stories while splitting profits with Amazon and the original rights holders.

Free Expression & Censorship

Criminal Investigation of Reporter: An investigation of a State Department employee who leaked secret CIA documents to a journalist at Fox News lead the DoJ  to name that journalist as a co-conspirator in the case, a decision that is being criticized for chilling the First Amendment rights of reporters.

Practice Notes

Are Bitcoins Right for Your Client?: A helpful primer on how the increasingly popular electronic payments work and what some of the costs and benefits may be for businesses.

On the Lighter Side

American Brand Slam: A collection of some of the most horrifyingly tactless faux-pas committed by companies on social media.