Law

Law / Most Commented

Did Navigation Catalyst Systems Get Off Easy in Verizon’s $100 Million Plus Lawsuit?

Navigation Catalyst Systems (NCS) has settled the well publicized cybersquatting lawsuit brought against it by Verizon. The terms of the settlement are simple and straight forward, amounting to little more than an agreement by NCS to no longer register domains similar to Verizon's trademarks again. No money was apparently paid by NCS as part of the resolution. more

DMCA Reaches the Decade Mark

My friend Kevin Thompson over at Cyberlaw Central reminded me this morning in this post that President Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ten years ago today. Tempus fugit. It's interesting to reflect on how this critical piece of legislation has affected (I think fostered) the growth of the online infrastructure with its safe harbor provisions found at 17 U.S.C. 512. more

Largest Spam Gang Operation in the World Shutdown by U.S. and New Zealand Authorities

U.S. authorities announced today that they have shut down one of the largest spam operations in the world, an extensive network with ties to Australia, New Zealand, India, China and the United States. The group, dubbed 'HerbalKing' by spam fighting organizations, had been active as far back as 2005 and became notorious as the number one worst spam gang on the Internet for much of 2007 and 2008 according to Spamhaus, a non-profit anti-spam research group. more

Delayed Enforcement Blocks Domain Name Lawsuit: Southern Grouts v. 3M

I'm often baffled by lawsuits over domain names and keywords because they just don't seem to make any economic sense. This lawsuit is especially perplexing given the plaintiff's delays and the seeming impossibility of the plaintiff reaching a profitable outcome, even if it won in court. What was the plaintiff thinking? more

Kentucky Governor: All Your Gambling Sites Belong to Us

According to news reports, the governor of Kentucky has filed a suit in state court to seize 141 gambling domain names. His claimed authority is a 1974 law against "gambling devices", on the theory that a domain is a "device", and online gambling is taking money away from in-state horse racing and the lottery. The judge sensibly has said that he doesn't understand all the issues, and has given all sides a week to submit briefs. more

EFF Says Stop Illegal Surveillance; Sues NSA, President Bush, and Vice President Cheney

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies today on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the alleged illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. The five individual plaintiffs are also suing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other individuals who have ordered or participated in the domestic surveillance. more

Why It Doesn’t Matter That the Virginia Anti-Spam Law was Struck Down

If the headlines are to be believed, spam is now entirely legal in Virginia and anyone can send whatever they want without any fear of reprisal, ever. Looking beyond the headlines, it appears that the Virginia Supreme Court's ruling in AOL's case against formerly convicted spammer Jeremy Jaynes declares that the Virginia anti-spam law violates the Constitutional protection of anonymous speech, and thus is null and void. more

Comcast Given 30 Days to Disclose Network Management Practices, Says FCC Order

In follow up to August 1st ruling against Comcast, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a 67 page order released today has given Comcast 30 days "to disclose the details of their unreasonable network management practices, submit a compliance plan describing how it intends to stop these unreasonable management practices by the end of the year, and disclose to both the Commission and the public the details of the network management practices that it intends to deploy following termination of its current practices." more

Domain Name Lessons From iTunes

What do iTunes and a cooperative domain-name Intellectual Property (IP) regime have in common? They are market solutions to illegal activity: free downloading of music and free use of brands in domain names, respectively. The music industry tried to fight the free downloading of copyright-protected music by taking legal action against free downloaders under the pretext that their activity siphons industry revenue... more

If Thou Be’st as Poor for a Subject as He’s for a King…

Way back in 1995, Wired reporter Simson Garfinkel gave Jeff Slaton the name "Spam King." Less than a year later, Sanford Wallace earned the title -- and soon had to share it (and his upstream provider) with Walt Rines. Others have come and gone; Sanford and Walt reappear every few years, together or separately, only to be sued away again... it seems as if any spammer noticed by law enforcement is immediately crowned "the Spam King," even when there are multiple such crownings happening at the same time. more

Is This Only Sloppy Wording by ICANN?

So I wrote earlier that I though it was good stuff when ICANN released a paper on DNS Security. Yes, I think it was good this paper was released, and yes it points out correctly how important DNSSEC is. But, now when reading it in detail, I find two things that troubles me. And it has to do with management of .ARPA. A top level domain that is used for infrastructural purposes. Like IP-addresses and E.164 numbers... more

Good News from Three Spam Cases in the U.S.

They say (whoever "they" are) that good things come in threes, and that certainly seems true for law enforcement against spammers this week. In New York, Adam Vitale was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $183,000 in restitution for a week of spamming AOL back in 2005... In Illinois, an FTC settlement requires Spear Systems and company executives Bruce Parker and Lisa Kimsey to give up $29,000, stop making "false or unsubstantiated claims about health benefits" of their products, and bars them from violating CAN-SPAM ever again... And finally, in Seattle, the Robert Soloway case continues... more

In Which We Explore the Federal Laws that Apply to Cyberstalking

Tragedies frequently result in flurries of legal activity. Last years witnessed the Myspace tragedy in which a 13 year old girl committing suicide. Unfortunately stalking laws have been clumsy tools that are difficult if not impossible for law enforcement officials to wield. Where existing laws respond poorly to tragedies, the option behind Door Number One is to enact a new law, and the option behind Door Number Two is to argue for a reinterpretation of current law that would somehow miraculously shoehorn the tragedy into the law. Unlike game shows, legal contestants can pick both doors -- which is what happened in this case. more

Google, Viacom, Privacy and Copyright Meet the Social Web

In all the recent uproar (New York Times, "Google Told to Turn Over User Data of YouTube," Michael Helft, 4 July 2008) about the fact that Google has been forced to turn over a large pile of personally-identifiable information to Viacom as part of a copyright dispute (Opinion), there is a really interesting angle pointed out by Dan Brickley (co-creator of FOAF and general Semantic Web troublemaker)... more

Wow, Sanford Wallace Owes a Lot of Money

Last September MySpace sued ur-spammers Sanford "Spamford" Wallace and Walt "Pickle Jar" Rines were for egregious violations of CAN SPAM. Neither responded, so as was widely reported, earlier this week the court granted a default judgement. Since they sent a lot of spam, the statutory damages came to an enormous $235 million. Even for Spamford, that's a lot of money. more