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‘Grokster’ file-sharing software doesn’t infringe A unanimous panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week said that the controversial software program and its competitors do not infringe film and music copyrights by facilitating file-sharing over the Internet. A coalition of movie studios and record companies had sued Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc.�distributor of Morpheus�in an attempt to shut down the trading of pirated content. But the three-judge panel flatly rejected the industry argument and ruled that the suit fails two legal tests used to determine liability for copyright infringement. “The copyright owners urge a re-examination of the law in the light of what they believe to be proper public policy,” the court said. Such a renovation would conflict with binding precedent and be unwise, it said. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, No. 04 C.D.O.S. 7624. It’s Tiffany v. eBay Tiffany and eBay are in court over a major question for Internet commerce: At what point does the online auction house bear responsibility for fake goods sold on its site? Tiffany has sued eBay in the Southern District of New York in Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay Inc., accusing it of trademark infringement by facilitating and promoting the sale of tens of thousands of pieces of counterfeit Tiffany jewelry. Last year, 971 million items were sold on eBay. Orders bar thousands of asbestos claims A federal bankruptcy judge last week issued orders that effectively bar tens of thousands of asbestos claims nationwide and provide a fund of about $500 million to pay claims against Travelers Indemnity Co. that relate to the bankruptcy of Johns-Manville Corp. Judge Burton Lifland of the Southern District of New York affirmed his determinations in the bankruptcy case, In re Johns-Manville Corp., including a 1986 indemnification agreement between Travelers and Johns-Manville, and held that the agreement bars direct lawsuits against Travelers. Johns-Manville collapsed under the weight of asbestos-related litigation and filed for bankruptcy in the 1980s. Lifland presided over the bankruptcy, the first and most prominent asbestos case in the country, including the creation of the Manville Trust. DNA profiling upheld A fiercely divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals en banc panel upheld the federal government’s DNA databank last week, saying the high-tech tool does not violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches. A convicted bank robber, Thomas Kincade, challenged the constitutionality of collecting identifying genetic material, but the court said law enforcement interests outweigh privacy concerns. Federal authorities, like officials in 49 states, collect certain convicts’ DNA as a crime-fighting tool. U.S. v. Kincade, No. 04 C.D.O.S. 7542. Five dissenters issued an Orwellian warning�”1984 arrives twenty years later than predicted”�but Diarmuid O’Scannlain and other judges used a “totality of circumstances” test in siding with the government. Class action targets Ford Ford Motor Co. and Magna International Inc. have been targeted in a $395 million class action over door latches that have allegedly caused deaths and serious injuries. The claim, filed in Canada’s Ontario Superior Court, is seeking payment to replace latches on about 4 million light trucks and SUVs in the United States and 300,000 to 400,000 more in Canada. Toronto-based Will Barristers would represent Canadian Ford owners, while Motley Rice of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., would represent the Americans. Vehicles with the alleged defect, from the 1997 model year to 2000, include the F-150, Navigator and Blackwood. On impact, the doors on the side of the vehicle that was not hit allegedly spring open during accidents. Firms must review paralegal compensation Beginning on Aug. 23, law firms will need to determine whether their compensation policies for paralegals comport with the U.S. Department of Labor’s FairPay Overtime Rules. While the rules indicate that paralegals do not qualify as exempt learned professionals and therefore are entitled to overtime pay, assistants with other duties or working for certain employers may qualify for the administrative exemption. Workers earning less than $23,660 per year are guaranteed overtime protection. The Department of Labor asserts that the rules will strengthen overtime rights for 6.7 million Americans.

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