Category Archives: Privacy

An IP Address Is Not Sufficient Evidence to Identify a Person

A New York federal judge quashed and/or limited adult film industry plaintiffs’ requests for early discovery in a copyright infringement case stemming from numerous “John Doe”  defendants’ supposed illegal downloading of adult films. As a part of his analysis in this ruling,  U.S. Magistrate Gary R. Brown held last Tuesday that an IP address is not sufficient evidence to identify a specific person in a case alleging that pornographic copyrighted material was illegally downloaded. According Magistrate Brown, “It is no more likely that the subscriber to an IP address carried out a particular computer function — here the purported illegal downloading of a single pornographic film — than to say an individual who pays the telephone bill made a specific telephone call.”

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EU Ruling Allows ISP’s to Provide User Data to Copyright Holders

The European Union’s highest court ruled Thursday that national data retention laws do not prevent Internet service providers from sharing customer information that copyright holders can use to identify individuals that they believe have engaged in illegal file-sharing.

Twitter Supoenas and the 99%

Twitter and social networking accounts, expectation of privacy?Prosecutors have subpoenaed the Twitter records of Jeff Rae, an arrested Occupy Wall Street protester, and four others, seeking account information and tweets sent around the time the protests heated up last fall. Rae was arrested during a mass protest on the Brooklyn Bridge in October. The subpoena seeks all of Rae’s tweets from Sept. 15 — two days before the Occupy movement began in downtown Manhattan — through Oct. 31, along with account and contact information for Rae.

 Based on the subpoenas filed in another protestor’s case, prosecutors appear to be looking for evidence that would prove the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the alleged crime. The protestors were primarily arrested on misdemeanor changes such as blocking traffic, disorderly conduct or defying police orders. Many of the protestors have argued that they did not realize they were defying police orders but prosecutors are trying to show that the defiance was knowing and deliberate.

 Rae plans to fight the subpoena, stating “I was a little bit blown away,” Rae said. “It’s interesting that in places like Egypt our leaders applaud people for using Twitter and social media for their movements. Here, I’m being subpoenaed for using social media.” He said his lawyer would file a motion to quash.

 A special Manhattan criminal court has been set up to handle Occupy cases. Many have been resolved through a type of conditional dismissal that wipes the charges away if the defendant stays out of trouble for six months, but hundreds of protesters have chosen to move ahead with trials.

 I think it’s pretty much a sure bet that prosecutors will gain access to these twitter accounts. Assuming they have probable cause, it should be no different that obtaining a defendant’s phone records or bank account information. In fact, I would think one would have even less of an expectation of privacy in one’s tweets than in one’s phone or banking records. The purpose of twitter is to shout out your thoughts to the world and connect with other like-minded people, wherever they may be. Except for private messages (which the prosecutors say they are not seeking), anyone and everyone can see what you are tweeting. Consequently, the privacy expectation is practically non-existent in the sent tweets. The account information is a closer question but courts have recently held that this information is also available to prosecutors because the defendant loses his expectation of privacy in the information once it is shared with a third party, i.e., Twitter. So prosecutors will undoubtedly get the account information as well.

 Check out this article on Law360 where my law partner Kathryn Walker and I were quoted on this issue yesterday. We both feel that the information is likely discoverable by prosecutors. What do you think?


Bits and Bytes

Facebook has yet another privacy SNAFU. For a time there, you could even see Mark Zuckerberg’s private photos.

Clever Branding Can Transform Your Company, Even If You’re Selling the Same Old Stuff Everyone Else Is.

What to Do If Your Business Gets Hacked. This article provides a decent starting place. More on Data Security: How to Protect Your Employees’ SmartPhones from a Data Breach.

MusicRow is reporting that Karen Oertley has stepped down from her post as executive director of Leadership Music. Oertley replaced Kira Florita less than two years ago, via

This is sooo true. I Don’t Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore, via Dan Pallotta of the  Harvard Business Review:

Is the “Brain Drain” Now Headed in the Other Direction? Is the World’s Talent Leaving the US?

Franklin, Tennessee’s  PureSafety, a provider of health and medical management software, has been acquired by Underwriters Laboratories, a global company out of Northbrook, Ill. The business is expected to stay in Franklin.

Congratulations to Nashville’s Sharon Edwards, CFO of brokerage Willis North America, who was named by industry magazine Business Insurance as one of its 25 ‘Women to Watch’ based on her “leadership, professional achievement and market influence,”  via

In more local business news, Gibson Guitar has purchased a suite of Florida-based companies that specialize in professional audio equipment, and created a new division — Gibson Pro Audio — based in Nashville.

Social Media is the “great equalizer” for small businesses.

The Nashville Predators are worth more than last year but still are bringing up the rear of the NHL.

Which carrier do you suppose has the fastest downloading and uploading cellular service in Nashville? Unfortunately, it is not mine.

ESPN Reporter Erin Andrews Sues Nashville Hotel For Negligence, Invasion of Privacy over Stalking Incident and Stalker’s Release of Secret Video on Web

ESPN reporter Erin Andrews filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit in Davidson County Circuit Court last week accusing the West End Marriot of invasion of privacy, negligePicturence, and emotional distress stemming from a well-publicized incident in which an individual named Michael Barrett secretly videotaped her in the nude in 2008 and publicized it on the Internet. Barret, who is also a defendant in the lawsuit, was convicted of stalking Ms. Andrews in 2010, and was sentenced to two and half years in federal prison. Andrews is seeking $10 million in damages in the suit–$6 million from the Marriot and $4 million from Barrett. The Complaint alleges that Barrett called the Marriot and was told Ms. Andrew’s room number which enabled him to rent the room next to hers. Barrett then removed the peephole from Andrew’s hotel room door and filmed her without her knowledge as she was changing clothes. Andrews initially filed the lawsuit last year and withdrew it in order to file separate lawsuits in each of the cities where she was stalked and recorded by Barrett.