Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Faceless Net Giants

A story in the Sydney Morning Herald:  "Faceless Net Giants Writing Own Rule Books."  If you upset Google (or Google Ireland -- the company that Google hides behind), they can just make you disappear.

"Australians use them more than any other websites and to many they have become essential services, oiling the wheels of life and commerce at the click of a mouse. 


But when Google or Facebook no longer wants you, it can be all but impossible to find out why, as internet entrepreneur Mark Bowyer and others have found to their cost.

Earlier this year Google banned ads from his travel website, Rusty Compass, because it said the site "poses a risk of generating invalid activity".

Monday, December 19, 2011

Apple Apps

On Christmas morning, millions of people will unwrap new iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches — and immediately start downloading games and other applications for them. It is the biggest day of the year for app sales, which can mean big money for developers.


Flurry, a mobile analytics firm, estimated that in the period from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26 last year, 240 million applications were downloaded to Apple mobile devices, or about 20 percent of the total downloads for the month.


Source:  NYTimes

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brand xxx marks dot danger


The arrival of a generic top-level domain specifically for the porn industry has worrying implications and likely costs for many well known labels.
There is more trouble for brand owners brewing in cyberspace, with ­fundamental changes to the domain name system being implemented. In March 2011, following successful lobbying from the adult entertainment industry, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) agreed to allow the ­creation of a new generic top-level domain (gTLD) specifically for the adult entertainment industry. A gTLD is represented by the letters that come after the dot in a domain name, such as .com or .net.
The new adult entertainment top-level domain is .xxx and will come online next year.
This has implications for every business because brand names could be used in domain names for adult websites. For example, someone could register the new domain name sportsgirl.xxx or boostjuice.xxx for a porn website.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Metatag Use is Not Use as a Trade Mark

"I do not accept that the use of any of CTI’s Registered Trade Marks in Green Energy’s metatags would constitute a trade mark infringement for the purposes of s 120(1). Metatags are invisible to the ordinary internet user, although their use will direct the user to (amongst other websites) Green Energy’s website. Once at the Green Energy website, then, in the ordinary course, the internet user will be made aware that the website is concerned with Green Energy’s services. It cannot, therefore, be said that the use in a metatag of CTI’s Registered Trade Marks is a use that indicates the origin of Green Energy’s services. Thus, metatag use is not use as a trade mark"

Complete Technology Integrations Pty Ltd v Green Energy Management Solutions Pty Ltd [2011] FCA 1319 (18 November 2011)

Samsung Overturns Apple Injunction in Australia

Samsung was successfully in having an interlocutory injunction overturned today in the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia.  See decision:  Samsung Electronics v. Apple Inc. [2011] FCAFC 156 (30 November 2011).

The case concerned two Australian patents owned by Apple.  Apple asserted that the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tablet infringed claims of those two patents.  An injunction was granted by the trial judge to prevent Samsung launching the Galaxy 10.1 in Australia until trial.  Today, Samsung was successful in having that injunction removed.

As soon as the appeal court decision was announced today, Apple asked for the decision to be suspended so that it could appeal to the High Court of Australia.  Apple asked this without even reading the Court's decision.  The judge today suspended the decision until 4pm Friday, in effect keeping the injunction in place until Friday.  Apple now has until 4pm Friday to convince the High Court of Australia to keep the injunction in place -- a hard task.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Law Schools That Teach Little About Legal Practice

From the NY Times:
Law Schools That Teach Little About Legal Practice

By DAVID SEGAL
Law schools have long emphasized the theoretical over the useful, leaving law firms fairly resigned to training their hires how to actually practice law.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Speedo Shuts Down Blogger and Gets Domain Name

A NSW man has been ordered to shut down several pornographic websites featuring Speedo swimwear and using the company's trademark. Speedo Holdings took Central Coast blogger Dave Evans to court claiming he had used the trademark under aliases and without the company's consent. The company claimed the websites and the use of the company's trademark as part of his domain names could damage the "valuable reputation and goodwill associated with the name and trade mark Speedo". In the Federal Court of Australia on Thursday, Justice Geoffrey Flick ordered Evans to stop operating and registering any domain name containing the name Speedo. He was also restrained from operating websites featuring any sign of the Speedo trademark. Evans, who didn't appear in court, was ordered to transfer the domain names to Speedo within 21 days.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Amazon Running Sweatshop



Amazon's online store has great prices and service, and is efficient for consumers. But someone has to pick and pack the goods ordered online. Amazon has a number of distribution centres to do this. And according to U.S. newspaper reports, Amazon is running these distribution centres as sweatshops. This is the downside of cheap prices and Internet stores.

See for example: Inside Amazon's Warehouse.

Just Google "Amazon Sweatshop Pennsylvania" and you will find numerous articles about this situation.

Free books from Amazon

"Free books, including New York Times bestsellers, for the Kindle. If you’re an Amazon Prime member.

Free shipping, free movies, free books, for $80 a year. What, exactly, is Amazon up to?

There has to be some master plan, because Amazon is spending itself silly to pull this off. Because the offer is limited to owners of Kindles — it doesn’t work if you use the Kindle service on an iPad, for instance — it is intended to sell more Kindles."

Pogue's Blog

Google Changes Search Algorithm to Make Results More Timely

"Acknowledging that some searches were giving people stale results, Google revised its methods on Thursday to make the answers timelier. It is one of the biggest tweaks to Google’s search algorithm, affecting about 35 percent of all searches.

The new algorithm is a recognition that Google, whose dominance depends on providing the most useful results, is being increasingly challenged by services like Twitter and Facebook, which have trained people to expect constant updates with seconds-old news.

It is also a reflection of how people use the Web as a real-time news feed — that if, for example, you search for a baseball score, you probably want to find the score of a game being played at the moment, not last week, which is what Google often gave you."

Full story in NY Times.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Hyperlinking to articles not publication for defamation

An interesting case concerning defamation on the Internet: see the Supreme Court of Canada decision, Crookes v Newton, 2011 SCC 47.

The defendant operated a website offering commentary on various issues. An comment included hyperlinks to two other pages, both of which contained articles that the defendant conceded were defamatory.

One hyperlink was "shallow," in that it referred to a web page on which the defamatory article was one of several articles posted there.

Another was "deep," in that clicking on the link led a viewer directly to the article.

For different reasons, all judges decided that this hyperlinking was not a "publication" for Canadian defamation law.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inteflora case - bidding on trademarks as Google keywords

The Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") has delivered its ruling in the long-running Interflora v Marks & Spencer Adwords case. The CJEU decided that trade mark owners can prohibit the purchase of their trade marks as keywords on web search engines, but cannot do so if the advertisements triggered do not allow users to ascertain the origin of the goods or services referred to in such advertisements.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Australian Google AdWords Decision - Google Wins

After an 17 month wait, Justice John Nicholas of the Federal Court of Australia decided today that the ACCC did not make out their claims against Google in the case involving sponsored links and Adwords.

The key findings were that:
  • ordinary and reasonable members of the relevant class of consumers are likely to understand that sponsored links are advertisements; and
  • Google merely communicated the representations made by advertisers, without adopting or endorsing any of those representations
This is the matter in which one of the sponsored links was for Xbox360, which appeared when users searched for "playstation2". The court held that the publication of the sponsored link was misleading, but that Google was not involved in the contravention.

The court's reasons for decision are published at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2011/1086.html

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Patent Case - non-patentable subject matter

Cybersource v Retail Decisions was decided on 16 August 2011. It decided that a certain Internet process was not patentable subject matter.

CyberSource is the owner by assignment of a patent, which recites a “method and system for detecting fraud in a credit card transaction between [a] consumer and a merchant over the Internet.” Claim 3 of the patent recites a process for verifying the validity of credit card transactions over the Internet.

"We are not persuaded by the appellant’s argument that the claimed method is tied to a particular machine because it “would not be necessary or possible without the Internet.” Appellant’s Br. 42. Regardless of whether “the Internet” can be viewed as a machine, it is clear that the Internet cannot perform the fraud detection steps of the claimed method. Moreover, while claim 3 describes a method of analyzing data regarding Internet credit card transactions, nothing in claim 3 requires an infringer to use the Internet to obtain that data (as opposed to obtain- ing the data from a pre-compiled database). The Internet is merely described as the source of the data. We have held that mere “[data-gathering] step[s] cannot make an otherwise nonstatutory claim statutory.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Blog is Paying My Bills

Further to the class last night, have a look at:


Don't forget to click on the Google Ads here ---->

Monday, May 23, 2011

Free Speech on Twitter

From the NYTimes:

SAN FRANCISCO — What began as seamy gossip about an affair between a famous British soccer player and a reality TV star has quickly become another test over how far the rights to privacy and free speech extend online, where social media operate in countries with vastly different laws.

The soccer player has been granted a so-called super-injunction, a stringent and controversial British legal measure that prevents media outlets from identifying him, reporting on the story or even from revealing the existence of the court order itself.

But tens of thousands of Internet users have flouted the injunction by revealing his name on Twitter, Facebook and online soccer forums, sites that blur the definition of the press and are virtually impossible to police.

Last week, amid growing outrage in Britain over the use of super-injunctions, the athlete obtained a court order in British High Court demanding that Twitter reveal the identities of the anonymous users who had posted the messages. A Twitter spokesman, Matt Graves, said the company could not comment on the court order or how it planned to respond.

Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, said, “It’s really going to the core of Twitter’s service and trying to balance the speech of its users and the fact that countries have different laws and norms about speech.”

Full story here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Online contracting, creation of websites

e-commerce
What impact does the Electronic Transactions Act have on e-commerce / online contracting?
In this area you should also look at:
the Queensland legislation
UNCITRAL Model
UN Convention

Standard forms of agreement
Website terms of use - look at a few examples including Great South East; Microsoft. What are the common clauses? Anything strange? What impact does Unfair Contracts legislation have on these contracts?
Click wrap v Shrink wrap - what are the differences?
Case summaries

Setting up a website
What should you be aware of (having regarding to previous lectures)?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rogue Websites

On May 12, 2011, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sponsored S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act), a bill to deter, prevent and root out websites that profit from trafficking in stolen content.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Week 10 - Copyright

Legislation
International treaties - Berne Convention
The law in Australia - Copyright Act, and amendments related to the internet - Computer Programs Act 1999, Digital Agenda Act 2000, US Free Trade 2004

Australian Cases - piracy and copyright
Kazaa
MP3s4free
Stevens v Sony
Newspaper headlines
iiNet

US Cases
Napster
Grokster
Limewire
YouTube

UK
Newzbin

Policy Issues
Balancing interests of copyright owner and users - Electronic Frontiers Australia
Licensing through Creative Commons

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

End of Voluntary Internet Filtering Program in Australia

See The Australian

THE Gillard government will scrap its voluntary internet filtering grants program to save $9.6 million over three years.

A combination of reasons led to the decision, including moves by Telstra, Optus and Primus to voluntarily block child abuse websites.

"Consultation with industry has identified limited interest in the grants due to the increasing range of filtering technologies readily available to online users, including browser and search engine filters," the government says in the 2011-12 budget papers.

"Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other government priorities."

Labor intends to introduce mandatory ISP internet filtering -- a policy championed by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy -- once a government review is completed.

Treasurer Wayne Swan's fourth budget today is aimed at delivering $22 billion in savings to meet the government's surplus target in 2012-13.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Google News - Copyright Violation in Belgium

The Belgian Court of Appeal has ruled that Google has infringed the copyright of Belgian newspapers, by placing links and portions of articles on Google News. Read more here

Monday, May 09, 2011

Competition Law Issues

Michael Laufert, working with the ABA Communication and Digital Technologies Industries Committee, has put together a website devoted to antitrust and collaboration issues facing tech industries. Common topics are patent pooling, standard setting and the like. His site, "Collaboration and Competition in Technology," is available at the link below or through CDTI's page on the Section's website:

http://apps.americanbar.org/dch/comadd.cfm?com=AT328100&pg=1

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Data theft

Sony - Details of more than 100m users stolen; Sony faces US congressional hearing; Claims file "Anonymous" left on server.

Week 9 - Domain Name Disputes and Cybersquatting

What is cybersquatting?

Dispute resolution
What are the 3 elements of a UDRP proceeding?
Is the auDRP identical?

UDRP process
Read the case of simplybusiness.com and jappy.com (in relation to element 3) - which view do you agree with?
Read the cases of sermosucks.com and natwestbanksucks.com (in relation to criticism sites) - which view do you agree with?

Discussion
For this lecture, everyone should be prepared to discuss one case with the rest of the class - search here, or for interesting issues and WIPO's preferred views, here
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the UDRP/auDRP process?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Get Your Data Back

Here is a guiding principle: If a business collects data on consumers electronically, it should provide them with a version of that data that is easy to download and export to another Web site. Think of it this way: you have lent the company your data, and you’d like a copy for your own use.

Location Tracking

Google said Friday that it collected location data from Android phones, but that it did so anonymously and with user consent. The company said it gathered the data to provide services like maps and searches for shops or restaurants near a person’s location. The company said it also used the information to estimate traffic on various roads.

“Phones know where you are, and they need to for many of the services we offer,” said Mike Nelson, a Google spokesman.

Full Story Here.

Mobile Google

Google said in October that mobile ads were on track to generate $1 billion in revenue in the coming year. Mobile users can call a business from within a Google ad or receive coupons for nearby stores. They can take cellphone photos of movie posters to pull up a trailer. With new technologies like near-field communication, advertisers could reward customers with loyalty gifts for walking into stores, Mr. Temsamani said.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Poker Play

"IN ANOTHER era, Daniel Tzvetkoff would have been whacked - shot or garroted, buried in a shallow grave or sent to sleep with the fishes. The world's two biggest online gambling companies, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, which want the $US100 million they believe the former Gold Coast high-flyer took from them, don't work that way.

They send their lawyers. Or they just wait. But Tzvetkoff, incredibly, has used his position from inside a US jail to, first, free himself, and then go on the offensive against the very people who are chasing him.

The Queensland internet entrepreneur, 28, was mysteriously bailed from a US federal prison last August. He has rolled to save his neck.

US federal prosecutors are using Tzvetkoff's unique inside knowledge of how big online gambling companies shift money out of the US in exchange for a sweet deal."

See Courier Mail front page story

"ASSOCIATES of former internet high-flyer Daniel Tzvetkoff have been charged after a flurry of arrests in the US over illegal online gaming following his release last year from a New York prison.

US judges have sealed the files on Mr Tzvetkoff's criminal case, after he was secretly released from prison -- without a bail hearing -- on charges he was involved in a $500 million money-laundering scheme for illegal online poker sites.

Secrecy now surrounds the former Gold Coast-based entrepreneur's movements, with prosecutors refusing to disclose if they are going ahead with the charges that carry a 24-year jail term."

The Australian

The owners of three of the largest Internet poker companies operating in the United States were accused Friday of tricking regulators and banks into processing billions of dollars of illegal Internet gambling proceeds.

Eleven people including the owners of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars were charged with violating anti-Internet gambling laws, according to charges filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

Prosecutors also filed a civil money laundering complaint seeking to recover at least $3 billion from the companies, which are all based overseas, court documents said.

In addition, according to the government statement, restraining orders were issued against more than 75 bank accounts used by the poker companies and their payment processors. And the Internet domain names of the companies were also seized.

NY Times

Friday, April 08, 2011

Social Media Alarm Bells

See The Age

In an age in which one negative online review can destroy brands, social media has become one of the top risks keeping C-level executives up at night, a survey of 446 major Australian corporations and public sector organisations has found.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Hilton Hacked

From an email from Hilton Hotels:

Dear Customer:

We were notified by our database marketing vendor, Epsilon, that we are among a group of companies affected by a data breach. How will this affect you? The company was advised by Epsilon that the files accessed did not include any customer financial information, and Epsilon has stressed that the only information accessed was names and e-mail addresses. The most likely impact, if any, would be receipt of unwanted e-mails. We are not aware at this time of any unsolicited e-mails (spam) that are related, but as a precaution, we want to remind you of a couple of tips that should always be followed:

• Do not open e-mails from senders you do not know

• Do not share personal information via e-mail

List of Cases

The EFF has an interesting list of U.S. Internet law cases. See

Week 7: Liability of ISPs and Infrastructure Providers

This class deals with liability of intermediaries. For example, is an ISP liable for the conduct of its users? Is a web hosting company liable for the content of others that it hosts? Is TripAdvisor liable for reviews of hotels posted by users? Is Google liable for the content that appears on this blog?

Should such intermediaries be liable for the actions of others?

The main reading for the class is the iiNet case:

Google Buys Nortel's patent portfolio


Bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp. has accepted Google Inc.'s $900 million stalking horse bid to buy an intellectual property lode of some 6,000 patents and patent applications that include wireless, data networking and semiconductor technology, the Internet giant said Monday.

See BBC and Google Blog

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week 6: Content Regulation

This class will focus on laws and current issues relating to the regulation of content on the Internet.

Should freedom of speech on the Internet prevail over protection of the public interest? Does the public need to be protected? What is the difference between censorship and regulation?

What are the relevant public interests? Who decides?

Should there by government regulation, or reliance on technology (such as NetNanny), or parental responsibility (e.g., see Google's Family Safety Centre)?

Reading:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jurisdiction: Penguin v. American Buddha

See this decision from the highest court in NY: Penguin Group v. American Buddha

The case concerns whether NY courts have jurisdiction in a copyright case, involving a website controlled and located out of NY State. The Court decided that the situs of the injury was the location of the copyright holder -- i.e., in New York.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spam Crime and Phishing (Week 5)

For this lecture we will be discussing:

Spam
Australian legislation - Spam Act 2003
How many prosecutions have been brought in Australia? Is the Spam Act an effective deterrent?
ACMA
IIA Spam Code
US (CAN SPAM Act) and recent court action by Microsoft
What other jurisdictions have enacted Spam legislation?
Spam Laws

Crime
AFP - e-crime
Lack of reporting?
Hacking examples

Phishing
Phishing attacks - Westpac ATO Canada CRA
Top 10 countries for phishing
Anti-phishing website

Friday, March 25, 2011

Keywords in Europe

Extract from legal newsletter, IBLS:

The latest advocate general opinion on keywords advertising could, if followed by the European court, have a significant impact on Google’s advertising model. The advocate general’s opinion in Interflora v M&S advises that a trademark owner can take action against an advertiser who attempts to benefit from the attractive force of the proprietor’s mark. This is the first time that such a high court has opined on a dispute between a trademark owner and advertiser, rather than examining Google’s role – but it could deter advertisers from bidding on others’ trademarks.

The advocate general states that trademark use as a keyword can be forbidden under Article 5(2) of the European Trademarks Directive if “the advertiser attempts thereby to benefit from its power of attraction, its reputation or its prestige, and to exploit the marketing effort expended by the proprietor of that mark in order to create and maintain the image of that mark”.

Yesterday evening a crowd gathered at University College London for a seminar on the future of advertising function of the trademark. Although the speakers were in the dark about the advocate general’s opinion in Interflora, they nevertheless provided insight that takes on a new light today. For instance, this latest opinion continues the court’s flirtation with the advertising function, which could disappoint Annette Kur, one of last night’s speakers and co-author of the recent study into the European trademark system. “Including the advertising function into reasoning under Article 5(2) TMD is unnecessary and dangerous,” she said, advising brand owners to forget about trying to use the advertising function to gain protection beyond the established function of the trademark. “Stick to what you know,” she said.

Trademark owners will have to wait some time for the court’s judgment in Interflora.

See also FT

TripAdvisor and Crime

"To our travel community: This past weekend we discovered that an unauthorized third party had stolen part of TripAdvisor's member email list. We've confirmed the source of the vulnerability and shut it down. We're taking this incident very seriously and are actively pursuing the matter with law enforcement. How will this affect you? In many cases, it won't. Only a portion of all member email addresses were taken, and all member passwords remain secure. You may receive some unsolicited emails (spam) as a result of this incident. The reason we are going directly to you with this news is that we think it's the right thing to do. As a TripAdvisor member, I would want to know. Unfortunately, this sort of data theft is becoming more common across many industries, and we take it extremely seriously. I'd also like to reassure you that TripAdvisor does not collect members' credit card or financial information, and we never sell or rent our member list. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to keep your personal information secure at TripAdvisor. I sincerely apologize for this incident and appreciate your membership in our travel community. Steve Kaufer
Co-founder and CEO More information"

Law Dog

Yale's dog: Click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Content Regulation - Government Launches Classification Review

See ABC article

"The Minister responsible for classification, Brendan O'Connor, said technology is fast moving and the review will examine how the classification can cater for further advances into the future.

"A lot has changed in recent years. Australians now access content through the Internet and mobile phones and that poses challenges for the existing classification scheme," Mr O'Connor said. "We're also seeing the convergence of different technology platforms and the worldwide accessibility of some content, which also creates new concerns," he said.

"Australians need to be confident that our classification system will help them make informed choices about what they choose to read, see, hear and play," Mr O'Connor said. "That's particularly important for parents who rely on the National Classification Scheme to make sensible choices for their children," he said."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Google Copyright Settlement Rejected

Google infringes copyright on a grand scale.
Yesterday, Judge Denny Chin of the District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected the proposed settlement in The Authors Guild v. Google Inc. in relation to Google digitizing books.  The judge stated:  "The question presented is whether the [Amended Settlement Agreement (the “ASA”)] is fair, adequate, and reasonable.  I conclude that it is not.
While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far.  It would permit this class action – which was brought against [Google] to challenge its scanning of books and display of “snippets” for on-line searching – to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books without permission of the copyright owners.  Indeed, the ASA would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engagin in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case."  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

U.S. Patent Case

The recent U.S. case of CLS Bank v. Alice addresses patent eligibility requirements  for computer-implemented business and financial methods.  

Alice is an Australian company that owns four United States patents; it asserts that CLS infringes these four patents. CLS is an “Edge Act Corporation,” organized under Section 25A of the Federal Reserve Act, as amended, 12 U.S.C. § 611, and authorized by statute to engage in international banking activities.

Summary provided by the U.S. law firm that represented the successful party: On March 9, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed all claims of patent infringement brought under four patents directed to computer-implemented methods, systems, and products for exchanging a financial obligation, because each of the patent claims was directed to an “abstract idea” and was invalid because it was directed to non-patentable subject matter. The decision is significant because, among other things, it addressed numerous questions left unanswered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S. Ct. 3218 (2010). This Client Alert reviews the decision and the significance the decision may have on the scope of the abstract idea exception that had not been addressed either by the Federal Circuit or by the Supreme Court in their respective Bilski decisions.  

Seizure of Domain Names

A post from a student:

"Earlier this year an Act was passed by the US government (Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act) which specifically allows the seizure of any website which has been "'primarily designed' to offer goods and services in violation of the Copyright Act and / or the Lanham Act".


In February the US Department of Homeland Security used this new act to seize 83 internet domains. The seizure involved re directing the DNS of that domain to a banner as shown here. One domain in particular was channelsurfing.net, this web site hosted links to other sites which hosted copyrighted material. The site operator Brian McCarthy is now facing court for Criminal Infringement of a Copyright.


As a part of this DNS seizure the DNS hosting provider FreeDNS was disabled. This caused the approximately 84,000 customers of FreeDNS to be redirected to the DHS 'banner', some of whom were not related to the original seizure at all (eg RapGodFathers.com)."


Compare the Australian case of

Cooper v Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd [2006] FCAFC 187


See also

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20023918-93.html

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/10/new-york-man-faces-five-years-in-jail-for-linking-to-online-videos/

http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/dhscomplaint/?source=front


Marketing Issues with Social Media

ADVERTISING: When the Marketing Reach of Social Media Backfires  What happens when behavior on social media is deemed antisocial?  Full story here.

Social Networks Seminar

There is an expensive seminar on 1 April regarding social networks.

"As the flames of revolution in the Middle East continue to be fanned by Facebook groups and a chorus of tweets, our panel of international experts tackles the massive potential and limitations of social technologies.

Together they will take a look at the role social media is playing in bringing about true democracy, challenging conventional economies and helping the scientific community accelerate research."

Details here if interested.

The Evolving Mission of Google

THE MEDIA EQUATION: The Evolving Mission of Google  Google will tell you insistently that it is not a media company — it organizes and manages content, but does not produce it. Watch closely.  See NY Times article

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Privacy - Week 4

Australia
Office of Australian Information Commissioner - look at the Privacy Act and Privacy Principles.
What legislative changes have been proposed for Australian privacy laws?
You should also be aware of relevant case law in this area - is there a right to privacy at common law?
Privacy Foundation

International rights
Art 17 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Privacy Policies
Do you understand/agree to all of these terms?
Amazon
Disney

Cookies
Cookie Central

Google
Google Maps
Legal responses - Australia; USA; Czech Republic; Germany. What are some other responses from around the world, particularly in relation to the Street View data collection issue?

Facebook
No longer a social norm?

Solutions
TrustE

Internet business models

Article on price fixing issues for ebooks - see here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Keyword Decision in California

See Network Automation v. Advanced Systems Concepts

"Here we consider whether the use of another’s trademark as a search engine keyword to trigger one’s own product advertisement violates the Lanham Act. ...

Given the nature of the alleged infringement here, the most relevant factors to the analysis of the likelihood of con- fusion are: (1) the strength of the mark; (2) the evidence of actual confusion; (3) the type of goods and degree of care likely to be exercised by the purchaser; and (4) the labeling and appearance of the advertisements and the surrounding context on the screen displaying the results page.


The district court did not weigh the Sleekcraft factors flexibly to match the specific facts of this case. It relied on the Internet “troika,” which is highly illuminating in the context of domain names, but which fails to discern whether there is a likelihood of confusion in a keywords case. Because the linchpin of trademark infringement is consumer confusion, the district court abused its discretion in issuing the injunction. "



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Class 3 - 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:


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]


Queensland Police information

Could two courts come to an inconsistent result in the same case:
See The Secret litigation
See also prior posts if interested, for example.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Australian Domain Names

Australia’s Internet community celebrated a significant milestone last night with the registration of the two millionth .au domain name.

Monday, March 07, 2011

UDRP - Bad Faith Registration

In a UDRP proceeding against a cybersquatter, the Complainant has to prove three elements. The third element is bad faith registration and use. Some decisions have interpreted this requirement as being bad faith registration only. However, the traditional view that both bad faith registration and bad faith use is required, was supported, by majority, in the recent SimplyBusiness.com decision.

See also this DomainNameWire article.

Note that in Australia, under the auDRP, the requirement is different -- bad faith registration or bad faith use ("domain name has been registered or subsequently used in bad faith").

Keywords in Canada

Last month (February 2011) in Private Career Training Institutions Agency v Vancouver Career College (Burnaby) Inc, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia refused to grant an injunction preventing the use of names of competitors in Google and Yahoo keywords as part of internet advertising.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

iCyte

When you are doing electronic research on the Internet, the iCyte tool is useful. See www.icyte.com. You can use it to save and annotate your research. It is free for students.

Week 2 - Google and Social Media

On Monday we will be looking at the business models of companies who operate primarily on the Internet. We will look at the rules you must comply with when using their sites (in addition to all other laws that apply), and the benefits/criticisms of their business models. In particular, we will focus on Google and Facebook, but will also try to cover Amazon, eBay and Twitter. You should be familar with the products/services offered by these companies, and their terms and conditions.


What are the risks of doing business with these organisations?


For some background you can look at:

Don't Be Evil

Google Product Offerings

Google Watch

Google Book Project

AdWords - Australia

Facebook and Privacy

Click fraud

Endorsements - US position

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Study guides

For those in the class asking about study guides, paper copies have been mailed to you, and you should receive them within the next few days. In the meantime, you can access an electronic copy under the "Learning Resources" tab of the Blackboard site.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

7s Domain Name Decision

Is it cybersquatting to point a domain name to a website that has no relationship with the semantic meaning of the domain name?

See 7(s) v. Luo decision

Discussion: Domain Name Wire

Patenting Business Methods

Review of patentable subject matter in Australia

The Australian Advisory Council on Intellectual Property has released its review of patentable subject matter. The Advisory Council is an independent body appointed by the government, and advises the Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research on intellectual property matters.

Click here to view the report

Click here to view the Advisory Council's Media Release

Chasing Pirates

See Inside Microsoft's War Room

Copyright in databases

In December 2010, the Full Federal Court decided that there was no copyright in White Pages and Yellow Pages telephone directories.
Chief Justice Keane was convinced by the respondents argument that the White and Yellow Pages “were compiled, not by the individuals engaged to facilitate the process, but by a computerised process of storing, selecting, ordering and arranging the data to produce the directories in the form in which they were published.” [7-8]

Friday, February 25, 2011

iiNet copyright case - Full Federal Court Appeal Decision

iiNet succeeded in its appeal, but on narrower grounds. The case concerns whether an ISP is liable for copyright infringement of its users.
See case, and SMH article, and ZDnet

Google Modifies Its Algorithm

Google has changed its algorithm that returns search results, to remove content farm websites. See NYT.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fined For Conduct of Facebook Fans

In his judgment Justice Finkelstein held that: "while it cannot be said that Allergy Pathway was responsible for the initial publication of testimonials (the original publisher was the third party who posted the testimonials on Allergy Pathway's Twitter and Facebook pages) it is appropriate to conclude that Allergy Pathway accepted responsibility for the publications when it knew of them and decided not to remove them. Hence it became the publisher of the testimonials."

In responding to the judgment, ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said: "Many corporations now use Facebook "Fan" pages and Twitter accounts to promote their businesses. This outcome confirms that any business that decides to leave public testimonials or other comments on their Facebook and Twitter pages will be held responsible if they are false, misleading or deceptive."

See ACCC Press Release

ACCC v. Allergy Pathway [2011] FCA 74


Use of Domain Names is Passing Off - UK Decision

In Lifestyle Management Ltd v Frater, a former agent of Lifestyle Management Ltd has been found by the UK High Court, on an application for an interim injunction, to have committed acts of passing off by pointing certain domain names to websites that closely resembled his former principal's website.

See also this case note.

Keywords abuse - damages of $292,000

A law firm specialising in disability claims was awarded $292,000 by a California court, because of a competitor’s use of its mark as a Google AdWord.


Domain Name Decision

Recent domain name decision regarding bad faith.

The Law Firm of the Future

An interesting article about legal services.

Also, an article about Twitter and law firms.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Internet Law Resource Centre

BNA has launched its Internet Law Resource Centre. It costs a heap of money, but there is a 15 day free trial.

Manipulating Google Search Results

The NY Times has a very good story about how JC Penney manipulated Google search engine results. Google did not catch this until the NYT pointed this out. Once Google decided to act, Google manually changed the results. For many searches, JC Penny went from 1st place to about 75th place.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday, January 09, 2011