Much like humans, bots come in all shapes and sizes. In social media networks, these bots can like what you post and even increase your followers. Companies use bots for all types of things—from booking a ride to giving makeup tutorials. Some bots can even solve your legal problems. Besides saving time and money, bots have the potential to reduce errors and increase a business’s customer base. But what happens when bots spy on users and share personal information? Or when they make racial slurs and offensive comments?
The UK Data Protection Authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has published an update report on privacy issues around real-time bidding (RTB) and programmatic advertising. The report is a progress update on the ICO’s investigation into the AdTech industry, which it says is one of its regulatory priorities.
On May 31, 2019 the FDA held a public hearing about cannabidiol (CBD) products. The day-long hearing saw comments and presentations from stakeholders ranging from nonprofit organizations like ASTM International to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a food, beverage and consumer product trade association. Corporate entities in the cannabis industry also provided testimony, such as ingredient manufacturer Mile High Labs, which supplies products like CBD isolate and concentrate, and Socati, which provides high-CBD genetic varieties and extraction processes. Pharmaceutical companies like Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc., which produces the drug Connect-FX, were also present. Connect-FX is a CBD transdermal gel for treating Fragile X syndrome (Martin-Bell syndrome), a rare genetic disorder that causes developmental problems like intellectual disabilities. It is currently being evaluated as an experimental treatment for use in child patients in clinical trials.
Be clear. Be open. Be upfront. That’s what influencers need to do to build a following. But those same standards could just as easily describe the legal guidelines applicable to influencers Fall short, and influencers may violate the law.
CBD, CBG, CBA, CBN, THC—the race to find the holy grail of cannabinoid production is in full swing. Money flows abound, unicorn-hungry investors looking to capture market share are swirling around promising frontrunners with lucrative IP. One interesting segment of cannabis IP gaining traction focuses on cannabinoids synthesis from microorganisms such as yeast.
For any company that has tackled GDPR compliance, the new privacy rights introduced by the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) will seem pretty familiar. It might even be tempting to assume that by being GDPR compliant, one is already most of the way there in terms of preparing for the CCPA. In “Countdown to CCPA #2: GDPR Compliance Does Not Equal CCPA Compliance,” colleagues Catherine D. Meyer, Steven Farmer, Fusae Nara and Rafi Azim-Khan explain how, similarities aside, there are significant differences between the two privacy laws.
In November 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice rolled out the China Initiative. This new policy includes plans to “identify priority Chinese trade theft cases, ensure we have enough resources dedicated to them, and … bring them to an appropriate conclusion quickly and effectively.” The new Attorney General, who has a master’s degree in Chinese Studies, supports the Initiative and intends to continue to advance it.
With the transition of software from physical, boxed merchandise to web-based, downloadable content, the question of how and whether to tax this less tangible manifestation of goods and services has been taken up by courts and legislators alike. In “The Evolution of Software as a Service Taxes Post-Wayfair,” colleagues Marc A. Simonetti, Dmitrii Gabrielov and William L. Bennett examine the evolution of tax laws regarding Software as a Service (SaaS) in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. decision.
“For a bunch of hairless apes, we’ve actually managed to invent some pretty incredible things”
—Ernest Cline, Ready Player One
It’s an incredible time to be alive. The Digital Age has helped us reached levels of efficiency and connectivity that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. In his award-winning novel, Ready Player One, Ernest Cline, paints a picture of a not-so distant future where people spend the majority of their time experiencing life in the “Oasis,” a realistic virtual world where users interact with one another in amazing virtual environments that mimic reality in many ways, but where the rules of physics and nature are malleable, allowing the game publisher to create wildly entertaining games where virtually anything can happen. While we may not have the Oasis yet, today’s video games are rapidly evolving into similar immersive social platforms where users can play, compete and express themselves in settings that seem to be inevitably headed towards something that looks increasingly like Cline’s Oasis. One way that video game makers are able to make game backdrops more realistic and thus enrich the overall user experience is to incorporate real-world ideas and content to more closely emulate reality in the game. In response, an increasing number of intellectual property owners who object when their “property” gets incorporated into video games are bringing lawsuits that will help define the boundaries of intellectual property law in this new arena.
(Note, this post has spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.)
Perhaps one of the most mesmerizing scenes in Avengers: Endgame is where all the MCU superheroes (including those on Titan) come through Dr. Strange’s portals to enter the battle against Thanos. In Avengers: Infinity War, Dr. Strange didn’t use these portals to send Iron Man and the others on Titan back to Earth before everyone got dusted, but that alternative storyline certainly may have been one that fans would have enjoyed. Understandably, one enormous limiting factor to alternative storylines is cost—especially when $600-800 million was spent to create the two movies as they are. Future advances in artificial intelligence technologies may change that. Indeed, a number of large tech companies are already interested in creating interactive content to personalize storytelling (e.g., Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch” episode), and recent developments in machine learning algorithms (including those fueling the creation of photorealistic images) may bring us closer to that reality sooner than later. If so, under what circumstances will companies own and get to collect on the copyright?