Sunday, June 11, 2017

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.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sunday, April 09, 2017

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.

Monday, March 27, 2017

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 large part of the marketplace of ideas.  The First Amendment includes not only the right to speak, but the right to receive information.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

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

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Book - The Last Days of Night

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.

Monday, January 16, 2017

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.

Friday, January 13, 2017

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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

EU ePrivacy

On 10 January 2017, the European Commission published a Proposal for a Regulation could have significant implications for Internet-based services and technologies.
The Proposal seeks to revise the current EU ePrivacy Directive.  It creates strict new rules regarding confidentiality of electronic communications, including content and metadata. In addition, the Proposal amends the current rules on the use of cookies and similar technologies, and direct marketing. The rules apply to EU and non-EU companies providing services in the EU, and are backed up by significant enforcement powers—fines of up to four percent of a company's global turnover.
The Proposal is the next major step in the EU's review of its data protection legal framework and follows the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in April 2016.