Posts

Meriton found guilty of manipulating TripAdvisor Reviews

Serviced apartment and hotel operator Meriton was found to have engaged in illegal conduct by manipulating TripAdvisor reviews.  The ACCC sued Meriton and won.  The ACCC brought actions under s18 and the little used s34 of the Australian Consumer Law.

See judgment at:  http://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2017/2017fca1305

According to the judgment, Meriton manipulated TripAdvisor in two ways:

"The respondent (Meriton) conducts a business of offering serviced apartment accommodation at (at least) 13 properties in Queensland and New South Wales. These properties appear on the TripAdvisor website. During the period November 2014 to October 2015 (the relevant period), Meriton participated in the Review Express service offered by TripAdvisor.  On a weekly basis, Meriton provided TripAdvisor with the email addresses of guests who had stayed at its properties and TripAdvisor sent email invitations to these guests to post a review. However, rather than sendi…

Alleged Illegal Conduct by Apple

Apple is being sued in Australia by the ACCC in relation to the Error 53 software fault in iPhones.  When this fault bricked iPhones and iPads, Apple refused to fix the problem where third parties had done prior repairs. 

The latest judgment on a procedural motion is http://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2017/2017fca1329

Regulation of Automated Vehicles in Australia

The Australian National Transport Commission has released a discussion paper Regulatory options to assure automated vehicle safety in Australia.  The paper identifies 4 regulatory options for a safety assurance system for automated vehicle technology.
Submissions for this discussion paper are open until 4pm, Friday, 28 July 2017.
The NTC expects to present it preferred regulatory option to the Minister in November 2017.
Full media release.

APT10 hacking attack from China

An interesting report from PwC regarding a computer hacker from China:

Cloud Hopper Report

Metatags and Google advertisements found to be trademark infringements

In an appeal decision handed down on Friday, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has affirmed a trial judge's decision that metatags and Google advertisements were trademark infringements.

The case is Accor Australia & New Zealand Hospitality Pty Ltd v Liv Pty Ltd [2017] FCAFC 56.

The case concerned a real estate agent advertising short term accommodation, using the name of a nearby Accor hotel (which was a registered trademark) to attract Internet users to the real estate agent's booking website.

The court confirmed findings of the trial judge that the following were trademark uses and trademark infringements:  use of of the trademark in the domain name, use in metatags for the website, use in headings for the website, use in email addresses, and use in Google advertisements.

First Amendment and Social Media

Social media and First Amendment issues were debated in oral argument before the US Supreme Court in Packingham v. North Carolina.

See:  http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/packingham-v-north-carolina/

Issue:  Whether, under the court’s First Amendment precedents, a law that makes it a felony for any person on the state's registry of former sex offenders to “access” a wide array of websites – including Facebook, YouTube, and nytimes.com – that enable communication, expression, and the exchange of information among their users, if the site is “know[n]” to allow minors to have accounts, is permissible, both on its face and as applied to petitioner, who was convicted based on a Facebook post in which he celebrated dismissal of a traffic ticket, declaring “God is Good!”

In oral argument on 27 February 2017, Justice Kennedy drew an analogy between social media and the public square.  Justice Ginsburg said restricting access to social media would mean being cut off from a very larg…

It is hard to control where your ads will appear online

Advertisers are leaving YouTube, because their advertisements are being placed in close proximity to hate speech and other offensive material.

See NY Times story, Perils of Online Ads

Book - The Last Days of Night

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An interesting book, a novel, about a new lawyer in New York, Paul Cravath, who founded one of NY's best law firms, and his representation of Westinghouse against Edison in patent disputes.  The Last Days of Night.  It shows that patent disputes have been going on for 100 years whenever new technology suddenly blossoms.

GST Tax obligations for non-Australian offshore sellers

Recently, the Australian Taxation Office released a draft GST ruling (GSTR 2016/D1) to assist foreign suppliers of digital and other intangible products to determine when they will be liable to Australian GST (an indirect tax like VAT) on supplies they make to Australian consumers. The draft GST ruling explains what steps suppliers should take to collect evidence to establish whether or not the recipient of a supply is an Australian consumer. See detailed article here.

Assaults on Privacy in the USA

A good article in Harvard Magazine titled "How surveillance changes people's behaviour: assaults on privacy in America."  See article here.