Showing posts from 2010

Online Surveys


Google and Privacy

On Wednesday, the FTC closed its investigation of Google for its collection of data from unsecured wireless networks that may have violated privacy rules. Google’s changes to its procedures and policies address the FTC’s concerns according to a letter from the FTC to Google:

No Copyright In This Headline

The Federal Court of Australia decided today that newspaper headlines are not protected by copyright. How will this impact Google News?
Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Reed International Books Australia Pty Ltd [2010] FCA 984 (7 September 2010)
See Mallesons Alert
The Australian

Fake Consumer Reviews

On the consumer protection front, the FTC settled charges that a public relations agency engaged in deceptive advertising “by having employees pose as ordinary consumers posting game reviews at the online iTunes store, and not disclosing that the reviews came from paid employees working on behalf of the developers. This activity was in violation of the FTC's Revised Endorsement Guidelines which require disclosure. The PR firm, Reverb Communications, is required to take down the fraudulent postings and bars them from making similar postings in the future without appropriate disclosures.Press release: to Complaint and Consent Order: on the FTC's Revised Endorsement Guidelines (16 CFR Part 255):

Google and Privacy

A video cartoon featuring Google's chief giving away ice-cream to snoop on children aired on a giant screen in Times Square today as a privacy group continued to hound the internet giant.Consumer Watchdog took its gripes with Google to the centre of Manhattan, where it paid to have a "Don't be evil?" animated clip shown on a "Jumbotron" screen above the masses coursing through Times Square.Full story

Changes to Laws In Australia involving licensing software to consumers

Have a look at the Mallesons blog.
Who does this affect?The new laws raise issues for all software licences with Australian end-customers where either:the software is "of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use or consumption"; orthe amount paid or payable for the software is $A40,000 or less.Those end-customers are taken to be "consumers" by the ACL, even if they are multinational corporations or government entities well-equipped to negotiate to protect their interests.

Software Licensing

Is the software installed on your computer something you own -- or did you simply buy a "license" to use it? That's the issue at the heart of Vernor v. Autodesk Inc., a case argued Monday before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that represents a broad challenge to the software industry's fundamental business model.

U.S. Patent Office Guidelines for patentable subject matter

See article at this U.S. law firm website.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) published Interim Guidance on 27 July 2010, for evaluating method claims for subject-matter eligibility under § 101 of the Patent Act.This guidance follows the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bilski v. Kappos.

Manifesto on internet policy and regulation

The IIA recently launched its "manifesto on internet policy and regulation, with principles and recommendations to guide decision making".
A PDF copy of the guide is available at
"We'll be requesting political parties to respond to its recommendations over the coming weeks," IIA chief executive, Peter Coroneos, said.
"It asks the question, under what circumstances can the Internet in Australia be advanced or hobbled by politicians today."
The report argues that the speed of technological change outstrips the ability of legislation and legislators to keep up.
"Should or can they, regulate the internet to tackle social policy challenges arising in the wake of rapid technological change without damaging our capacity to innovate and compete? If laws are passed, can they be enforced?
Is technology to blame or are we really dealing with age old human problems that neither laws nor technology can r…

Business Method Patents - U.S. Supreme Court takes wide view

See today's decision in the Bilski case.NYT article

YouTube and DMCA

YouTube wins copyright case, and found to be protected by DMCA.

See Mallesons and NYT

Last Class

The last class is Monday night, 31 May.The class will go for about an hour, then we may go for a drink/pizza etc. In this class, I can answer any questions that you may have. We will also discuss legal issues concerning eBay and (if time) Facebook. Please read: ebay User agreementebay U.S. user agreementPrivacy PolicyU.S. Privacy PolicyRules About IPPrior Posts

eBay - reimbursement re bankruptcy of seller

Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo

Facebook, MySpace Messages Are Protected: Judge A district judge has reversed a magistrate judge's ruling that fashion house Christian Audigier Inc. can subpoena the Facebook Inc. and MySpace Inc. communications of an artist who sued the designer for copyright infringement, finding that messages on the social networking sites are protected information.Yahoo, Facebook Back Google In YouTube IP Case Facebook Inc., eBay Inc., IAC/InterActiveCorp and Yahoo Inc. have urged a federal judge to rule against Viacom International Inc. in its copyright lawsuit against Google Inc. over video-sharing website YouTube Inc., arguing that a victory for Viacom in the case would hurt online commerce.

Communications Law to be Reviewed

Two top Democratic legislators said Monday that they would begin a process to modernize telecommunications laws that were last overhauled in 1996 but barely mention the Internet.
NY Times

Break Up Google?

Google is the “arbiter of every single thing on the Web, and it favors its properties over everyone else’s,” said Mr. Reback, sitting in a Washington cafe with the couple. “What it wants to do is control Internet traffic. Anything that undermines its ability to do that is threatening.”
See NY Times for full story.

ISP Liaibility

The main reading for the class on Monday, 24 May is the iiNet case:decisioncase noteiiNet press releaseAppeal lodgedAlso: The Bunt case High level note

Privacy - Proposed New Law in U.S.A.

U.S. Representatives Rick Boucher (VA-09), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and Cliff Stearns, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, released a discussion draft of legislation to assure the privacy of information about individuals both on the Internet and offline.


Google Says It Collected Private Data by Mistake

"Google said on Friday that for more than three years it had inadvertently collected snippets of private information that people send over unencrypted wireless networks. The admission, made in an official blog post by Alan Eustace, Google’s engineering chief, comes a month after regulators in Europe started asking the search giant pointed questions about Street View, the layer of real-world photographs accessible from Google Maps. Regulators wanted to know what data Google collected as its camera-laden cars methodically trolled through neighborhoods, and what Google did with that data."Full story in NYTimes

Copyright class

This lecture will give a brief overview of copyright law generally. For some background, see:

Berne Convention
Australian Copyright Council
Copyright Act

There have been a number of interesting Australian cases dealing with copyright infringement, see for example:

Stevens v Sony

The iiNet case will be discussed in detail in the Liability of ISPs lecture.

We will also discuss how other countries treat piracy:

US - Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and the case of Napster
UK - Ditigal Economy Bill, and the recent case of Newzbin

Patents Class

On Monday, 10 May 2010, we will be looking at patents.

Some reading for this class:

1.HistoryHistory of Software PatentsDo Internet Process Patents Threaten E-commerce?2.State Street Bank decisionDecision3.BilskiCourt of Appeals DecisionWikipedia summaryU.S. Supreme Court Oral ArgumentIn re Ferguson4.Australia Real TimeGrant v Commissioner of Patents [2005] FCA 1100Comment
5.Protests End Software PatentsWiki summary

Google v. Groggle

Google Keywords

"There is no stopping Google selling trademark terms as keywords. That is the message from the US courts this week. A judge from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has dismissed Rosetta Stone's case against the search giant, effectively killing off once and for all the conventional method of attacking the AdWords programme.Rescuecom had already dropped its case against Google (in order to fight a suit on exactly the same issue but where it is the defendant). But the fact that a court has now dismissed this type of case is very surprising, as it shows that they cannot even get to court anymore. The message is that mark owners will be wasting their time suing Google for trademark infringement. The Court of Justice of the European Union recently said the same thing, although it left the door open for mark owners to sue those third-party advertisers that purchase competitors' trademark terms as keywords.While the Best Buy v Rescuecom case will be tried…


In a previous post, I mentioned iCyte as a research tool. Here is an article in the Wall Street Journal about iCyte.

Domain name disputes and cyberquatting

Domain name disputes and cyberquatting

What are the common elements of domain name dispute resolution process?

For a good overview of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP), and the factors relevant to each element, see the WIPO website.

The Australian Dispute Resolution Process for domain names (managed by auDA), can be found here.

What are the differences between these two policies.

We will be discussing some of the following cases, which would be good to review before class:

"sucks" cases - red bull and bakersdelightlies

personal names

Who should win in this case?

We will also discuss the proposal for new top level domains.

Online Contracting

This week we will cover the two related issues of online contracting and legal issues which arise when creating a website.

Online contracting

How do you determine when an electronic communication is sent/received? What are the possibilities?

Electronic Transactions Act - Queensland / Commonwealth
Vienna Convention on the Sale of Goods (incorporated into Australia law)

Guidelines for operating websites

Australian Treasury Guidelines for e-commerce
Terms of useWhat are the common clauses / differences between these Terms of Use?
Great South EastTelstraMicrosoftGoogleClickwrap / Shrinkwrap agreementsSampleWhat is the difference between a clickwrap and a shrinkwrap license?
What can you do to try and make a clickwrap agreement enforceable?How will unfair terms legislation affect these agreements?
List of cases
Enforcing Click Wrap Agreements

Tiffany v. eBay

EBay Inc did not engage in trademark infringement and dilution by selling counterfeit Tiffany & Co goods on its website, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday, but it ordered further review of the jeweler's claim of false advertising.Tiffany and other luxury brands have long argued that counterfeit merchandise bearing their names is sold on eBay. The Web commerce company, which does not itself put the goods up for sale, says it has spent millions of dollars to track down counterfeiters and remove such listings.
See Reuters and BusinessWeek
Trial Decision and Second Circuit Appeal Decision

Who can regulate the Internet?

The DC Circuit court recently vacated the FCC's order imposing sanctions on Comcast Corp. for its network management practices. It held that the Commission failed to tie its assertion of ancillary regulatory authority over Comcast's Internet service to any "statutorily mandated responsibility." "In this case we must decide whether the Federal Communications Commission has authority to regulate an Internet service provider’s network management practices. ..."Here is the opinion:

How I Got Sued by Facebook I got sued by Facebook...Their contention was robots.txt had no legal force and they could sue anyone for accessing their site even if they scrupulously obeyed the instructions it contained. Warden vs. Facebook: a case of too much data access...Pete Warden had a really great idea: to map the friendship interactions of Facebook users to aid with geospatial analysis of user relationships. Facebook's lawyers had a different view.

Hot News

"Breathing some new life into the “hot news” doctrine, Judge Cote of the Southern District of New York recently issued a permanent injunction requiring the Internet-based financial news site (Fly) to delay its reporting of stock recommendations from Wall Street research analysts. ..."
See Case Note for Barclays Capital, Inc., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., and Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. v. THEFLYONTHEWALL.COM , 06 Civ. 4908 (S.D.N.Y. 2010)

Meta-tags and Google Keywords - TM infringement

A recent Queensland case concerning trademark infringement issues, relating to Internet marketing. The case considers Google AdWords keywords, meta-tags and domain names in the context of trademark infringement.See Mantra Group v. Tailly Pty Ltd Tailly operated businesses under names such as "Circle on Cavill Private Apartments" and "A1 Gold Coast Holidays". Tailly went into bankruptcy last Thursday. See also: Mallesons NoteGold Coast Bulletin

ACCC v. Trading Post

The case against Google & the Trading Post by the ACCC continues.
See judgment regarding amendment to claim.
In week 6, we will look at laws and current issues relating to content on the internet.

Should freedom of speech on the internet prevail over protection of the public interest?

What are the relevant public interests?

Should there by government regulation, or reliance on technology? See NetNanny for example.
Some current issues from around the world include:

China / Google




United States


Google Adwords Decision in Europe

See note on IPRights website.


"With traditional print circulation declining and advertising revenue weak — both from online and from print — media companies are trying to extract new sources of revenue from online readers, despite the risk that they could alienate some by charging for access.The Wall Street Journal, also owned by News Corp., The Financial Times and Newsday all charge for access. The New York Times has announced a plan to do so. Each has a payment system developed largely in-house.News Corp. announced in August that all of its titles would move to charging for Web access. Its chairman and chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, threatened last year to remove his publications’ stories from Google's search index to encourage people to pay for content online."See NYT

Google, China and Content Regulation

From The New York Times:

What Happens as Google Uncensors Search in China?

Google has stopped censoring results on its Chinese search engine, but many underlying pages are still blocked. Meanwhile, some Chinese say Google risks a government shutdown of its service.
See also this story

Issues in Creating a Social Website

"...As a result of this trend, companies that were long content to have a Web site consisting of nothing more than an online brochure are now actively exploring creating Web sites with social media capabilities. Before implementing social media capabilities (e.g., hosting user-generated content, giving users the ability to share content with other members of the Web site community), though, the company should weigh the business justification for doing so, because the legal issues involved can be tricky. " See this article

Google and Copyright

Viacom and Google broke their silence Thursday in their legal battle, as Viacom claimed that Google's YouTube unit had sought to exploit copyrighted works for profit, while Google argued that Viacom itself had secretly uploaded copyrighted clips it later demanded YouTube remove. The claims are among the many divulged as a federal judge and the parties to the case released a slew of documents.
Week 5 will cover the three related issues of SPAM, CRIME and PHISHING

You should review the following for some background understanding (as well as the material referred to in the study guide):


Spam Act
IIA Code


Australian Federal Police
Costs - UK
On the rise - US
Recent case



Is legislation or technology/awareness the solution? Which countries have attempted to combat phishing by legislation?
Following on from last week's discussion of Buzz, Google has now been sued by a user - see article.

Internet Jurisdiction

The next class is Internet jurisdiction. In addition to the notes in the Study Guide, please read the following:
Sliding Scale Test:
Zippo case

Effects Test:
Calder v. Jones (US Supreme Court)
Application of Effects Test:
Ubid v. GoDaddy
Weather Underground case (and complete court file for this case if interested)
Australian approach:
Dow Jones v. Gutnick (High Court of Australia)
[Defamation - including Internet cases - background information if interested]
Comment: Determining Internet Jurisdiction
Queensland Police information
Could two courts come to an inconsistent result in the same case: See The Secret litigation Background: The AustralianAustralian Trial Judge DecisionFull Court of Federal Court DecisionNote regarding US decision on jurisdictionSee also prior posts if interested, for example.

Translate Google

An article on Google's translation service: NY Times
One of the article links (Google - Bullying) is redirecting to the wrong article. This is the correct article.

We have swapped weeks 3 and 4 of class, so Monday will be all about PRIVACY and will be taught by Carly.

During class we will be talking about a wide range of issues concerning privacy and the internet. To prepare, you can review the following:

Australian law

Office of the Privacy Commissioner - (Includes links to Privacy Act and Privacy Principles)

Australian Broadcasting Corporation v Lenah Game Meat Pty Ltd (2002) 208 CLR 199


Internet Industry Association - (see Code of Conduct)

International Rights

Article 17 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Privacy Policies

See for example:

Disney Privacy Policy

Amazon Privacy Policy

Are they sufficient?


Cookie Central

Workplace email / internet privacy

Workplace policies


Articles regarding Buzz (already posted on blog)
Google Earth


Online privacy

Use in litigation



Apple Sues Maker of Google's Android Phone

See NY Times article
"In the lawsuit, filed with the office of the United States International Trade Commission and the United States District Court in Delaware, Apple said that HTC phones running Android violated 20 of its patents, including those relating to the iPhone’s ability to recognize the touch of multiple fingers on its screen at once."

Throwing the Book at Facebook

See this article in the Business Spectator.
"Companies and individuals are increasingly beginning to query why they should simply wear slanderous online comments that they wouldn't hesitate to take legal action against if it appeared on the printed page. From the heady early days when the internet was seen as a beast too wild to be tamed by the law, there is growing debate as to whether and how the web should be regulated.
In the past few weeks, we have seen a series of legal issues arise in relation to comments on the internet – particularly on Facebook.

In one case, $30,000 in damages was rewarded in response to defamatory comments by a man using various pseudonyms on a stock market forum. We have also seen an Indonesian man currently face jail time for insulting his music mentor on Facebook. ..."See also - Facebook Ads article

Important - Class Location

From now, class will be held in S308.


Class tonight

I just found out that we are now in S308

iCyte page

This is the iCyte service that I mentioned in class.
Here is a project that I have created using iCyte.


This is the course
Peter Black, who co-taught this subject last year, has this blog. He has become a famous Twit.

Google falls foul of privacy once again

From JL:
See Brisbane Times article
It is interesting to note that once again Google has reached for the freedom of speech lever as the apparent universal panacea absolving itself of any and all responsibility for breaches of privacy. I for one would have though that, as an American company, Google would have been well-versed in the notion that freedom of speech is only 'free' to the extent that it does not impose on, contravene or breach another person's legal rights. If tertiary institutions have the capability of analysing work submitted by students for plagiarism through the use of algorithm programs, then surely the technical boffins at Google can devise some process whereby material submitted for posting to the web can be assessed. In this particular case, it is difficult to embrace the Google's Code of Conduct "Don't do evil" as being anything other than a marketing slogan. For mine, aiding and abetting the doing of evil equates to the same thing. If Go…

Net Fraud

Net fraud accused back onlineFrom: The Courier-MailFebruary 21, 2010 A TEENAGE Brisbane student accused of using the internet to defraud Queensland's biggest bank of $2 million has today had his ban on using the internet lifted.Brisbane Magistrate Noel Nunan this morning varied bail conditions for Philip Heggie, 18, so he could use the internet to continue his university studies.Heggie, a University of Queensland business student, made a brief appearance in the Brisbane Magistrate's Court to answer charges of fraud, attempted fraud and uttering a forged document.Click here to read the full article on the website--- A class member asks the following regarding the above story:Given the level of sophistication required to perpetrate these alleged activities, has the Court (in its most recent decision concerning bail conditions) paid sufficient heed to the possibility of the accused undertaking similar acts? How meaningful are either of the different sets of bail conditions prescr…

Google Counter-sues regarding AdWords

This recent article is worth reading, as it relates to Google, trademark issues and also jurisdiction issues:
Google Countersues Haircutter Company That Brought On AdWords Lawsuit

Are these sites legitimate, or not?

The Law of Google 2010 (updated)

These are my notes for class for 1 March 2010. The class is "The law of Google". Have a look at these websites (and if you have a Google account, log in to that account first):

1. The breadth of Google.

Scholarly Papers
Custom Search, example: Leading Australian Law Firms
Syndicated Search and example and example
Google BaseGoogle Squared Alerts
Search tricks and tips
Internal search
Site Search
Site Map

Other Google Stuff
Toolbar and SideWiki
Google Accounts
Web History
Gmail Google Wave (plus video here)
Photos: Picasa and Picasa Web
Chrome Browser
YouTube Buzz Android

More information: Wikipedia
How Google Works
Google Sitemap

2. AdWords and AdSense: Google Advertising

A. Do these searches on Google, Australian Googleand UK Google and compare results:
Q1cheap accomod…

First Class 2010

Welcome to LWN117 Cyber Law and Policy in Semester 1, 2010 at QUT.
This unit is offered in internal mode, commencing Monday 22 February 2010 at 6pm.
The Venue is: GP:B506

Google, Privacy and Buzz

Google moved quickly to contain a firestorm of criticism over Buzz, its new social network, taking the unusual step of announcing changes to the product over the weekend to address privacy problems.Late Saturday, Todd Jackson, product manager for Gmail and Google Buzz, wrote in a blog post that Google had decided to alter one of the most vehemently criticized features in Buzz: the ready-made circle of friends that Buzz gives new users based on their most frequent e-mail and chat contacts. Now, instead of automatically connecting people, Buzz merely suggests to new users a group of people that they may want to follow or want to be followed by. .... NY Times blog
Critics Say Google Invades Privacy With New ServiceSAN FRANCISCO — When Googleintroduced Buzz — its answer to Facebook and Twitter — it hoped to get the service off to a fast start. New users of Buzz, which was added to Gmail on Tuesday, found themselves with a ready-made network of friends automatically selected by the company b…