Law

Law / Most Commented

Net Neutrality, Slippery Slopes &  High-Tech Mutually Assured Destruction

Ten years ago, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman lamented the "Business Community's Suicidal Impulse:" the persistent propensity to persecute one's competitors through regulation or the threat thereof. Friedman asked: "Is it really in the self-interest of Silicon Valley to set the government on Microsoft?" After yesterday's FCC vote's to open a formal "Net Neutrality" rule-making, we must ask whether the high-tech industry -- or consumers -- will benefit from inviting government regulation of the Internet under the mantra of "neutrality." more

Domain Names as Property Subject to Creditor Claims - Bosh v. Zavala

Most people take it for granted that domain names are property. As such, there shouldn't be much dispute that domain names are subject to the claims of judgment creditors. But I've seen enough resistance to this position that I thought a recent case was worth a quick mention. more

Bill C-27: Historic Canadian Anti-spam Legislation Battered, But Still Unbeaten

As readers of CircleID have seen, there has been a lot of activity (for example, Michael Geist's "Canadian Marketing Association Attacks Anti-Spam Bill"), as the final votes of C-27 grow nearer. The history towards getting a spam law passed in Canada has been a long one. For years, CAUCE encouraged legislators to undertake this important work... Fast forward a few years, and a few governments, and suddenly we have a law tabled in the House of Commons... more

Canadian Marketing Association Attacks Anti-Spam Bill

With the final Industry Committee review of C-27, Canada's anti-spam legislation, set for Monday afternoon, lobby groups have been increasing the pressure all week in an effort to water down many of the bill's key protections. Yesterday, the Canadian Marketing Association chimed in with an emergency bulletin to its members calling on them to lobby for changes to the bill. While the CMA was very supportive of the bill when it appeared before the committee in June, it now wants to kill the core protection in C-27 - a requirement for express opt-in consent. more

Ten Years of UDRP

In 1999, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) developed a policy to resolve disputes between trademark owners and registrants of domain names. This policy, the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) was made available for disputes concerning an alleged abusive registration of a domain name. In the past 10 years alone, more than 16,000 disputes have been filed resulting in more than 10,000 domain name transfers. more

Does Eolas Patent Infringement Case Against Microsoft, Apple and Others Have Web Implications?

Eolas, a technology company that was awarded $565 million in a patent infringement settlement against Microsoft in 2007 is embarking on another campaign against others under the same grounds of patent violation. The latest lawsuit alleges that Apple and 22 companies are in violation of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,838,906 and 7,599,985, which involve embedded Web applications within a browser. The list of infringers also include Google/Youtube, Yahoo, Adobe, Amazon, Blockbuster, Citigroup, eBay, Frito-Lay, Go Daddy, J.C. Penney, JPMorgan Chase, Office Depot, Perot Systems, Staples, Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments even adult-oriented Playboy. more

Pew Looks at the State of Online Music Ten Years After Napster

Pew Internet reporting on the 10th anniversary of the Napster's launch: "As researchers look back on the first decade of the 21st Century, many will no doubt point to the formative impact of file-sharing and peer-to-peer exchange of music on the internet. Distributed networks of socially-driven music sharing helped lay the foundation for mainstream engagement with participatory media applications. Napster and other peer-to-peer services "schooled" users in the social practice of downloading, uploading, and sharing digital content, which, in turn, has contributed to increased demand for broadband, greater processing power, and mobile media devices." more

Downloading is Not Enough… Probably

Peer to peer download services are still popular with music-loving kids, it seems. The second annual survey of young people's music consumption by pressure group UK Music found that three-fifths of the 1,808 18-24 year olds who took part said they used p2p services, and four-fifths of those did so at least once a week. This is almost the same as last year's result, and would seem to indicate that the efforts by the music industry to offer a range of licensed alternatives to Limewire and other p2p services have failed to have any real impact. more

Comment on the Kleiman/Komaitis Proposal on Multiple IP Clearinghouses for the New gTLD Process

I recently learned about a meeting that took place between ICANN staff and Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC) members Kathy Kleiman and Konstantinos Komaitis regarding the Implementation Recommendations Team (IRT) recommendations for the protection of intellectual property rights in new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). My comment relates to the White Paper published by Ms. Kleiman and Mr. Komaitis with respect to the notion of having multiple Regional Trademark clearinghouses (TMCs). For the reasons stated in this comment, the KK Proposal fails a number of the benchmarking checklists used by the IRT in evaluating proposals. more

How Copyright Violators Are Removed from Search Engine Listings Based on DMCA

It may not be widely-known but the big 3 search engines -- Google, Yahoo! and Bing -- have established procedures for removing natural search results on the basis of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). That's good news for brand owners: if consumers can't find infringing websites via the search engines, they're less likely to come across them at all... more

NJ Man Arrested for Domain Name Theft and Sale on eBay

A man from the northern New Jersey area was charged and arrested for stealing a domain name belonging to the owners of P2P.com. According to reports, he allegedly transferred the ownership of the domain name to himself and succeeded in reselling it on eBay to a professional basketball player Mark Madsen of the Los Angeles Clippers. more

WIPO: Disregard TLD in Trademark Dispute

There is a Dutch website which regularly publishes comments on rulings of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration, Dutch court cases, and similar things. They have a newsletter which reports over the latest cases. It is really meant for people who are into the legal aspects of domain names. In the July "nieuwsbrief" newsletter, there was a remark (in Dutch) about a case that the top level ".nl" suffix to the name should not be considered relevant. more

USA: Court Leaves FCC With Discretion to Regulate Special Access Circuits

On Friday, the decision to deregulate "special access" circuits was upheld. The case had been brought by the Ad Hoc Committee, a long standing body of large business users, one of the main categories of buyers of high capacity leased lines to interconnect business premises. more

Privacy Commissioner Finds Facebook Violating Canadian Privacy Law

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released its long-awaited finding in the complaint against Facebook on a variety of privacy grounds. The complaint was launched by CIPPIC in May 2008 (note that I am an advisor to CIPPIC but had no involvement in this complaint). The case marks an important step in assessing how Canadian privacy law addresses social media with the Commissioner identifying some significant concerns. Moreover, as the case potentially heads to court, it will be closely watched to see whether the findings can be enforced against a global social media power like Facebook. more

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Globally Protected Marks List (GPML)

At first blush, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Globally Protected Marks List (GPML) do not seem to have anything in common. The first is a politician of debated repute that is seeking to quell disputes over the legitimacy of his election. The second is a recommendation that seeks to protect trademark owners and consumers from an explosion of infringement and source confusion that could be wrought by the introduction of new Top-Level Domains (TLDs). However, upon a closer analysis, they do share one common flaw: both have arguably failed to appropriately prioritize the right to free speech... more