Addressing legal issues with the latest technological developments and social media trends.
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GettyImages-183260374-scaled-e1655395979765-300x237On June 2, 2022, the New York Legislature passed a bill, S6486D, that would place a two-year moratorium on certain new cryptocurrency mining operations at fossil fuel energy plants in New York. The bill would also limit circumstances in which mining operations currently operating at plants in New York would be able to renew the permits or registrations that allow them to operate. However, the bill would not immediately require existing mining operations to cease, and the bill will not become effective unless it is signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

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GettyImages-1371003104-300x169Who are you, really?

Identity can be hard to define. In the real world, we don different (often overlapping) masks depending on the situation—family, work, public service or private play. Online, the distance between the “real you” and these masks is often more pronounced. We adopt pseudonyms, handles, avatars and personas—each associated with a different reputation, a different level of trust from the community, and different data (profile pictures, posts, etc.). While some may be closer to what you might consider your “core” identity than others, they are all part of your overall digital identity. As the concept of the metaverse evolves, and with the prospect of avatars that span multiple virtual environments, identity becomes more complicated and protecting it becomes all the more important.

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GettyImages-1330940206-300x300On May 4, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-9-22 to create a coordinated state regulatory approach for cryptocurrency and blockchain, with the further aim of harmonizing the state’s laws with those (potentially) enacted at a federal level. Another goal of the Order is to determine the usage of blockchain technology for state and public institutions. Through the Order, California is aiming to continue its innovation leadership by developing new and clear rules in support of the further development of emerging cryptocurrency and related blockchain technologies.

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In this week’s News of Note, ransomware continues to ravage institutions—including a 157-year-old college and the government of Costa Rica—AI learns to accurately predict a patient’s race based on their medical images, cryptocurrency crashes, and more.

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copyright-metaverse-1161454459-300x277We’ve written extensively on the still somewhat recent arrival of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as both a potential revenue stream, caveat-filled investment destination and pop culture marker of the moment. Back in 2018, we wrote about the Los Angeles Dodgers giving away digital bobbleheads to fans, who could redeem a private hidden key to send the bobblehead to a personal cryptocurrency wallet or sell the unique serialized bobblehead to another fan. Later, we wrote about NFTs in the art world, from a burned Banksy to the record-setting sale of Beeple’s Everydays – The First 5000 Days, which sold for $69.3 million (including fees). Increasingly, the practical uses of NFTs are being examined in places beyond entertainment and IP portfolios, including the real estate market. Recently, Spanish airline Air Europa even sold the first NFT plane ticket, called a “NFTicket,” for just over $1 million.

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Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are changing how we think about asset ownership in the real world and in the digital world. NFTs—unique digital tokens stored on a blockchain ledger that represent ownership of an asset, either real or virtual—have gained significant popularity in realms such as art, gaming and entertainment, as a means to establish authenticity and transfer various rights. As a result, entrepreneurs are searching for new industries to disrupt utilizing the advantages offered by NFTs and blockchain more generally. The traditional real estate industry, together with virtual land in the evolving Metaverse, has been on the radar of many.

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Between February and April 2022, a professional photographer from Cologne, Germany, filed nine copyright infringement lawsuits in U.S. federal courts. What makes the cases unique is that in each one, the defendant had a Creative Commons license to use the image for commercial purposes free of charge. Knowing the potential traps associated with these licenses and how they can arise may help your company avoid being the next defendant.

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in HiQ Labs, Inc. v. LinkedIn that automated web scraping of publicly accessible websites does not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), even if the website owner objects to the scraping. This marks the second time in this case where the Ninth Circuit found that scraping public websites is not the type of “breaking and entering” into computers that the CFAA prohibits.

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metaverse-investment-maze-83720799-300x225The Metaverse is an immersive world combining virtual reality and augmented reality, where users are represented by avatars and roam virtual spaces. It comprises a variety of platforms and environments that can be explored, experienced, and developed. Online social games like Second Life, Fortnite and Minecraft are among the first wave of successful Metaverse games. Now, Meta and Microsoft see the Metaverse as a place to play, live, and work. A JP Morgan white paper stated that opportunities in the Metaverse seem “limitless.” The bank predicted that virtual worlds will “infiltrate every sector in some ways in the coming years.” A March 31 report by Citi concluded that the Metaverse has the potential to become a $13 trillion opportunity by 2030, with total global users of between one and five billion. According to Citi, the Metaverse will become a significant part of the next iteration of the internet (referred to as Web3) enabled by a variety of existing and emerging technologies, including 5G connectivity, secure blockchain and payment platforms, crypto assets, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, 3D modeling tools and headset devices.

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NewsofNote-300x250In today’s News of Note, we explore ransomware-as-a-service profits, the continued untangling of IP issues with NFTs, the prospect of scented virtual reality experiences, the development of a humanoid robot, and much more.

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