Saturday, March 31, 2012

Copyright & Theft

"THE Justice Department is building its case against Megaupload, the hugely popular file-sharing site that was indicted earlier this year on multiple counts of copyright infringement and related crimes. The company’s servers have been shut down, its assets seized and top employees arrested. And, as is usual in such cases, prosecutors and their allies in the music and movie industries have sought to invoke the language of “theft” and “stealing” to frame the prosecutions and, presumably, obtain the moral high ground. ...


The problem is that most people simply don’t buy the claim that illegally downloading a song or video from the Internet really is like stealing a car. According to a range of empirical studies, including one conducted by me and my social psychologist collaborator, Matthew Kugler, lay observers draw a sharp moral distinction between file sharing and genuine theft, even when the value of the property is the same."


See NY Times opinion article from U.S. law school professor.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Copyright Exceptions To Be Reviewed

Draft terms of reference for an Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the operation of copyright exceptions in the digital environment were released today for public comment.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the ALRC will consider whether the exceptions in the Federal Copyright Act are adequate and appropriate in the digital environment.  The draft terms of reference reflect the fact that technology is constantly evolving and testing the boundaries of copyright law Ms Roxon said.

"In our fast changing, technologically driven world, it important to ensure our copyright laws are keeping pace with change and able to respond to future challenges.  We want to ensure this review has enough scope to look at the key areas of copyright so were calling on stakeholders to provide us with their feedback before the ALRC begins its work."

The draft terms of reference ask the ALRC to examine the adequacy and appropriateness of a broad range of exceptions in the Copyright Act, including time shifting.

The draft terms of reference also direct the ALRC to consider whether exceptions should allow the legitimate non-commercial use of copyright works for uses on the internet such as social networking.

The Government has appointed Professor Jill McKeough, University of Technology Sydney Dean of Law, to the ALRC as a Commissioner to lead the copyright inquiry.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Class 6 - Content Regulation

Reading for next Monday's class on 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:
Extra Reading if you are interested:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Privacy Issues re Apps

Congressmen Send Inquiries to 34 App Developers Over Privacy Practices:

See MacRumours


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Privacy

Please review the following privacy materials for the next lecture.

Australia
General information - OAIC, Australian Privacy Foundation, Electronic Frontiers
How prevalent (and relevant) are privacy concerns in Australia? How would you pursue a privacy complaint?

Legislation - look at the Privacy Act and the National Privacy Principles. Are further reforms on the way?

Case reports - review (and be ready to discuss) some privacy decisions, whether made by the Federal Privacy Commissioner or the Australian Information Commissioner.
You should also be aware of relevant case law in this area - is there a right to privacy at common law? Will there be in the future?

International
Art 17 of ICCPR.

Contractual rights
Look at the privacy policy of at least 2 websites you frequently use. Do you agree to all the terms and conditions?
For example - Google, News

Cookies
Are cookies a privacy concern, or a part of everyday life?

Recent news
Google and more Google
Then Google maps - what have been the different responses around the world?
Facebook and also here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

International Online Shopping

U.S. stores are shipping to customers in Australia.

"International visitors are coming to American sites because of lower prices and the availability of products they cannot get in their own countries, according to Forrester. Macy’s has found that Australian shoppers are particularly interested in its trendy clothes, while Canadians want basics like coats, shoes and underwear."  See NYT

What legal issues could arise for the U.S. sellers and the Australian buyers?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wrong Takedown Demand

What happens if a person issues a copyright take down demand to a file sharing website such as Vimeo or YouTube, and it is wrong.  Potential liability for unjustified threats.
See Bell v. Steele
See also:  SMH Article and Note.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Telephone Numbers, Domain Names and Trade Marks

Have a look at this recent decision concerning a trade mark application for a telephone number:
1-800-Flowers.Com, Inc v Registrar of Trade Marks [2012] FCA 209
This case involves a dispute between 1300Flowers and 1800Flowers.
It reminds me of the domain name decisions concerning "Phonewords".  See for example:
the 1300fitness.com.au decision.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

For Creators of Games, a Faint Line on Cloning

"Cloning the soul of a game — its gameplay mechanics, design, characters and storyline — is now commonplace in digital marketplaces like Apple’s iOS App Store and Google’s Android. And while the app stores have offered an unparalleled opportunity for independent software makers to reach customers and make money with an innovative game, they are learning it is just as easy for another game studio to compete with a very similar game."
See Full Article

Monday, March 12, 2012

Class 4 - Spam, crime and phishing

Next week we will be looking at spam, crime and phishing.

Please look at the relevant chapters of the textbook (chapter 11 and part of chapter 3) as well as the following materials.


Spam

Australian law - Spam Act 2003 (Cth)
US law - CAN-SPAM Act
EU directive - Directive on privacy and electronic communications (Article 13)
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
Internet industry Spam Code of Practice

How effective are these laws?

Crime
Australian law - Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)Criminal Code 1899 (Qld)
Scale of cybercrime - Symantec report
Australian Federal Police
Lulzsec
Cost - here and here

Is cybercrime underreported? Australian Institute of Criminology

Phishing
Australian government - Scamwatch
Anti Phishing Working Group
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance

What is the best way to respond to phishing - raising awareness, enacting legislation or cutting off scam emails before they arrive?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Google Play

Email from Google:


Today we introduced Google Play, a new digital content destination available on mobile devices and on the web. With Google Play, users can buy and experience books, music, movies and Android apps, available across their devices. Google Play gives our partners and the ecosystem an integrated entertainment hub for Android and Google users. As part of this launch, Google eBooks and Android Market will become part of Google Play, and users will now get their ebooks from Google Play.

In addition, customers who go to the web ebookstore will be redirected to the Google Play store. While this doesn't change the way consumers read Google eBooks, it does provide a more compelling mobile purchase experience.

We are excited about the opportunities ahead to "play" together.

Google Play team

Helpful Resources:
Google Play overview - http://play.google.com/about
Google Play brand assets - http://www.android.com/branding.html
FAQs - http://support.google.com/books/partner/bin/answer.py?answer=2494942

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Week 3 - Internet Jurisdiction

The next class is Internet jurisdiction. 
Presentation from class is here.
Please read the following:
The relevant chapter in the assigned class text.





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)

Penguin Group v. American Buddha


Australian approach:

Dow Jones v. Gutnick (High Court of Australia)

[Defamation - including Internet cases - background information if interested]


What happens if the Defendant does not show up?

Bell v Steele (No 2) [2012] FCA 62 (7 February 2012) - a case that involves a film made in NY and Australia by Richard Bell from Brisbane, that was uploaded to Vimeo from Australia, and where a person in NY had the film removed from Vimeo.


Could two courts come to an inconsistent result in the same case?
See The Secret litigation:
Background: The Australian


  • Australian Trial Judge Decision
  • Full Court of Federal Court Decision
  • Note regarding US decision on jurisdiction
  • Yahoo Facebook Patent War


     Yahoo has demanded licensing fees from Facebook for use of its technology, the companies said on Monday, potentially engulfing social media in the patent battles and lawsuits raging across much of the tech sector.
    Yahoo has asserted claims on patents that include the technical mechanisms in the Facebook's ads, privacy controls, news feed and messaging service, according to a source briefed on the matter.
    Representatives from the two companies met on Monday and the talks involved 10 to 20 of Yahoo's patents, said the source, who was not aware of what specific dollar demands Yahoo may have made for licenses.

    Saturday, March 03, 2012

    Week 2: The Law of Google

    This class will look at Google's business models, and the legal issued raised.

    Have a high level look at the following parts of the Google empire:


    Reading:


    Additional Reading if you have time:

    Hosted Domains

    IP Addresses


    [Student Post]
    For those that didn’t know, the world is running out of IP Addresses:
    It has been known for some time that the current structure of IP addresses is not sufficient for the number of computers/devices accessing the internet in future. The current structure of IP addresses, known as IPv4, is structured as xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (e.g. 192.168.0.1) which limits this number of unique addresses to 4,294,967,296.
    With the limit of Ipv4 addresses expected to be exhausted soon and the number of internet connected devices estimated to reach 22 billion by 2020 (IMS Research) it is clear a new IP standard is required.
    Thankfully a group known as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has been developing IPv6 since the early 90’s which provides for 340 undecillon (that’s 340 with 36 zeros) unique addresses. (e.g. 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334).  However, proliferation of IPv6 has been slow with Google estimating in 2008 that IPv6 uptake among users was less than 1%. The need for replacement and/or updating of some hardware and software is partly to blame for this slow rate of uptake.
    So it seems a significant burden has been placed on the IETF to ensure the smooth running of the internet through the adoption of IPv6. That’s a lot of technical control for how the internet of the future is run. Interestingly the IETF is a volunteer organisation with no formal membership. Their work is funded by employers of its volunteers and sponsors including the US National Security Agency (NSA).
                    Questions this raises for me:
    -          If IPv6 is developed through volunteers Is the internet controlled and owned by everyone?
    -          Although ICANN is no longer US Government controlled it seems the IETF may be to some extent. If all roads lead to the US is the US government in control of the internet?
    Another way of thinking about this issue might be “Who has the deepest level of technical control over how the internet is run?” Maybe that’s the IETF.

    Friday, March 02, 2012

    Kim Dotcom Interview

    The first interview with Mr Dotcom after his arrest is here:

    Campbell Live

    Google Search Results Misleading

    "In the Statement of Claim, the applicant alleges that, in the period from at least early April 2011 to 21 June 2011, the first respondent established a process by which searches for the applicant’s website by reference to the words “Pacific Boating” on the internet using the Google search engine were diverted to websites controlled by or associated with the first respondent."

    See Pacific Boating Group Pty Ltd v Freedom Boating Club Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 72 (8 February 2012)

    Thursday, March 01, 2012

    Domain Name - Use as a Trademark?

    "Since 1995, Sports Warehouse had used the name “Tennis Warehouse” in Australia and did not change its domain name for its online store. Sports Warehouse, for the first time in closing submissions, (while conceding that reputation in the context of s 60 was that of the mark rather than reputation on some other basis), contended that as a significant number of Australian residents visited the Tennis Warehouse website at the domain names “www.tennis-warehouse.com” or “www.tenniswarehouse.com”, by inference they came to know Sports Warehouse by that word, which did not include a TW device. While acknowledging that, once at the website, the customer would encounter the TW device with the TENNIS WAREHOUSE trade mark, counsel for Sports Warehouse submitted that the court could infer, in such circumstances, a “capacity for confusion” at which s 60 was essentially directed.

    While it has been held that a domain name can in some circumstances constitute use of a trade mark (see Sports Warehouse v Fry at [146]-[156]), there was no evidence before the court to establish that, as at December 2006, the TENNIS WAREHOUSE mark had acquired a reputation through use of the domain names amongst any consumers or any significant section of the public."

    See Fry Consulting Pty Ltd v Sports Warehouse Inc (No 2) [2012] FCA 81 (13 February 2012)