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Lodsys, the notorious patent troll that feeds by bleeding small app developers, has folded its cards rather than go to court with a company that is challenging its claim to a monopoly on internet purchasing. Ars Technica has a colorful account of the “tremulous troll” and Eugene Kaspersky, the man who faced it down because the troll reminded him of extortionists from his native Russia. Alas, Lodsys will live another day, though it must still fight off Martha Stewart, who is suing to crush the troll in Wisconsin.

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In Brief

A California judge has refused to throw out a class action case that claims Google’s scanning of Gmail accounts is a form of wire-tapping and an illegal invasion of privacy. The lawsuit is still at a preliminary stage but it’s significant that the judge refused to accept Google’s claim that the scanning was allowed because it formed part of its business operations. The ruling also addressed the larger question of whether users lose privacy rights in their email when they rely on services like Google or Yahoo. The Verge has a rundown, including the implication of the third party doctrine, here.

In Brief

Adam Liptak of the New York Times provides a lively account of how half the links in Supreme Court decisions — links that provide precedent and justify the law — lead to broken or missing webpages. The so-called “link rot,” described in a Harvard study, is a problem for the legal profession, and shows how courts’ shift away from fusty paper practices isn’t all positive. More broadly, the situation shows how future discussions of infrastructure renewal should encompass plans to repair the country’s digital infrastructure as well.

In Brief

Is liking something on Facebook a form of protected expression akin to putting a bumper sticker on your car? The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said, yes, it is. The ruling comes in response to a sheriff who sacked a deputy for liking the Facebook page of his political rival. A lower court last year agreed with the sheriff that the speech was “insignificant” and didn’t qualify for First Amendment protection. Facebook and the ACLU disagreed and weighed in on behalf of the deputy. (More background on the case and symbolic speech here.)



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