Startup News Digest 8/25/17

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

Last Day to Vote for SXSW Tech Policy Panels. Voting on SXSW panels ends today, so it’s your last chance to vote for tech policy panels at next year’s SXSW. Get caught up on the offerings with our guide, which includes panels on everything from patent trolls, to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, to artificial intelligence.

This Week’s #StartupsEverywhere: Eric Streeper (Santa Fe, NM). We ventured west to Santa Fe, New Mexico this week to check in with Eric Streeper, the founder of Xerb, a video streaming platform for content creators. Eric said the city’s rich, creative history has inspired local entrepreneurs and spurred innovation, but the lack of a traditional industry has made it sometimes difficult to retain local talent. He also explained that Santa Fe’s diverse, accepting culture has helped many entrepreneur expats quickly gain roots in the city.  Read the full profile here.

Court Rules for Uber in Terms of Service Case. A federal court sided with Uber late last week, ruling that the ride-sharing company made it clear to users its terms and conditions --  including that disputes with Uber had to be settled in arbitration instead of court -- when users downloaded and used the app. The decision reverses an earlier ruling from a federal court in New York, where a judge dismissed Uber’s attempt to take a class action lawsuit over alleged price fixing out of court and into arbitration, saying that users did not have adequate notice that Uber’s terms of service included a forced arbitration clause. The federal appeals court disagreed last week, ruling instead that Uber users had adequate notice about, and were bound by, the company’s terms of service.

Federal Self-Driving Car Panel Falls Silent. A panel of advisors focused on self-driving cars has become inactive under the Trump administration, Recode reports. The group -- convened during the Obama administration -- includes executives from General Motors, Apple, and Ford and has not met since its first meeting on January 16, 2017.

VidAngel Loses Appeal over Copyrighted Films. VidAngel -- a service that streams mainstream movies without their nudity, foul language, and other objectionable content -- will stay shuttered, after a federal court this week upheld an injunction against the company, which is being sued for copyright infringement. On Thursday, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that the lower court was correct in issuing the injunction, finding that movie studios were likely to win their copyright infringement cases against VidAngel. Both courts disagreed with VidAngel’s arguments that its operations were protected by the Family Movie Act and fair use provisions in copyright law.

Justice Department Narrows Warrant, Gets Court OK. The Justice Department has been allowed to proceed under a judge’s supervision with a warrant for information about organizers of a protest centered around President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Facing public backlash, the Justice Department scaled back the controversial warrant that requested IP logs about all visitors to the website used to organize the protest. The warrant, initially served on web hosting company DreamHost in July, asked the company to turn over information about the 1.3 million users who merely visited the website, according to the company. In a reply to the court, the government said that it didn’t intend for the warrant to be that broad and didn’t know until DreamHost spoke publicly how many web users would be affected by the warrant.