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Epic Games’ Courthouse to Statehouse Battle with Apple and Google, Changes Ahead for UT Social Media Law & More

December 18, 2023 (2 min read)

Epic Battles Apple and Google from Courthouse to Statehouse

Last week a jury in San Francisco handed Epic Games, developer of the popular video game Fortnite, a rare victory over a Big Tech company, finding that Google violated federal and California antitrust laws by restricting download and payment options for Android apps purchased through its app store. The legal battle, which began when Epic sued Google in 2020, isn’t over. Google said it plans to appeal the decision.

Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple in 2020 as well, accusing the company of similar anticompetitive practices with its iPhone app store. So far Apple has fared better than Google. But that fight may not be over either. The case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a decision about whether the justices will review it is expected early next year.

Epic has also battled Apple on another front, backing a bill in Arizona last year (HB 2662) aimed at forcing Apple to open its app store to other payment processors. The measure failed in committee, likely due to pressure from a cadre of the state’s top lobbyists hired by Apple to quash the measure. And to prevent similar action elsewhere, the company hired multiple lobbyists in numerous other states, including 25 just in Florida. (WIRED, ASSOCIATED PRESS, PLURIBUS NEWS)

UT Lawmakers to Consider Changes to New Social Media Law

Utah Sen. Mike McKell (R), chief sponsor of the law passed in the state this year (SB 152) requiring social media platforms to obtain parental consent before allowing access to minors, said he plans to introduce legislation next year to amend the law to provide social media companies protection against civil action. The aim of the “safe harbor” provisions would be to prevent the law from being challenged like a similar one in Arkansas (SB 396). (PLURIBUS NEWS)

VA to Weigh TikTok Ban for Minors

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) announced last week that he would be introducing legislation to “restrict youth access—those under 18—to TikTok,” according to a video posted to his official account on X, formerly Twitter. “The impact of Chinese Communist Party affiliated TikTok on our children’s mental health has been detrimental,” the post stated. (X)

WI High Court to Weigh Whether Amazon ‘Delivery Partners’ Contractors or Employees

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday (12/19) in a case concerning whether a group of 1000 Amazon “delivery partners” who provide service through a smartphone app are employees, entitled to unemployment compensation, or independent contractors,” as Amazon maintains. The state’s Department of Workforce Development contends Amazon has misclassified the gig workers and owes the state’s UI fund over $200,000. (WISCONSIN EXAMINER, WISCONSIN COURTS)

Tesla Recalls 2 Million Cars over Autopilot Concerns

Facing pressure from U.S. regulators, Tesla issued a recall encompassing over two million of its vehicles, nearly every car it’s made in the United States since 2012. Federal officials said the company hadn’t done enough to keep drivers from misusing its vehicles’ driver-assistance system, Autopilot, including by engaging it on local roads instead of on highways, for which it was designed. (NEW YORK TIMES)

—Compiled by SNCJ Managing Editor KOREY CLARK


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