The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 101 Number 8

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

Have you been the victim of identity theft?

Texas law allows you to put a "security freeze" on your credit report, preventing an identity thief from using your information. If you think you may need a "security freeze,"
 Click here for more.

Monkey Selfie Can't Be Copyrighted

In 2011, a monkey in Indonesia used the camera of photographer of David Slater. According to Slater, the act was intentional on his part - he wanted the monkeys to take pictures of themselves. Other versions of the story vary, but many media outlets are reporting that Slater's camera was actually stolen by the monkey, then used to take photographs.

As it turns out, the monkey used the camera to take astonishingly good pictures of herself ("selfie"). After several of the pictures hit the Internet, one of the more popular selfies ended up on Wikipedia. Slater asked Wikipedia to remove the picture, claiming ownership under federal copyright laws. Wikipedia refused to remove the image, insisting that since the monkey took the picture, Slater was not the owner of the image. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the image is public domain.

In a 1,222 page report, the United States Copyright Office sided with Wikipedia. According the the report, a photograph taken by a monkey, or any other animal, is not protected by federal intellectual property laws and can not be copyrighted. As a result, Slater can't force Wikipedia to remove the image.

Do you agree with the report? Or should the photographer own the rights to the image?
 Click here for more.

Florida Court Overturns Ban on Gay Marriage

On Thursday, a United States District Court in Florida ruled a 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. However, the court will not allow same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses until appeals are completed.

According to the ruling, the Florida ban on same-sex marriage violates constitutional rights of due process and equal protection.

The judge said,
"The founders of this nation said in the preamble to the United States Constitution that a goal was to secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity. Liberty has come more slowly for some than for others."

19 states currently have same-sex marriage.
 Click here for more.

Your Money

How much money can you save in your 401(k) plan?
 Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

There is a presumption of reliance in FTC civil contempt actions.

The Second Circuit held that in an action by the FTC to enforce contempt relating to defendants' violation of a Consent Order, the FTC is entitled to a presumption that consumers relied, when deciding to purchase defendants' products, on defendants' omissions and misrepresentations. The court also held that the appropriate baseline for calculating damages, i.e. the actual loss to the consumers as a result of the defendant’s conduct, is the defendant’s gross receipts.
Click here for more.

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