Website Developer’s Unauthorized Login to Website Not Actionable Under DMCA

What's your password
Creative Commons License photo credit: TheRealMichaelMoore
In a recent decision, Ground Zero Museum Workshop v. Wilson, a District of Maryland court held that a former website developer who allegedly gained unauthorized access to the plaintiff’s website after a dispute and altered the website did not violate the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.  In a familiar fact pattern of the jilted lover, er, I mean website developer, the developer used his password to access the back end of the plaintiff’s website after the two parties had a falling out and the developer resigned.  Then, depending upon whose version of reality you choose to believe, the developer either (1) pulled out the website functionality he had created and left the website in the same condition it was in before he started work or (2) altered the website so that users would think it was no longer functioning and inserted code that would redirect users to various news articles about the plaintiff and its owners. [Read more…]

Hot News Flash: Second Circuit Holds Hot News Misappropriation Claim Preempted

The Second Circuit has revisited the issue of New York “hot news” misappropriation claims, and the extent to which such claims are preempted by the Copyright Act.  The plaintiffs in Barclays Capital case were major financial institutions that not only provide securities brokerage services, but also provide research and recommendations concerning the purchase and sale of securities.  The plaintiffs distribute these recommendations largely to encourage transactions, and make their money on the transactions (not the recommendations themselves).  The defendant, flyonthewall.com, provides an electronically distributed news service and, among other things, uses various means to obtain the plaintiffs’ securities recommendations and then reports them. The plaintiffs sued flyonthewall.com for “hot news” misappropriation. [Read more…]