Its been just over two years since the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) commenced its legal strategy of filing lawsuits against individuals identified as exchanging copyrighted music on P2P networks. As of November 2005, over 15,000 lawsuits have been filed with over 700 new lawsuits being filed each month. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has just released a report entitled RIAA v. The People: Two Years Later (PDF).
Continue reading RIAA Lawsuit Strategy Marks 2nd Year
USA today has an interesting article regarding the risks associated with online banking. The article describes the ordeals of an Ameritrade customer that had $60,000 worth of securities transferred out of his account and a Bank of America business customer that had over $90,000 transferred out from his bank account.
Continue reading Risks with Online Banking
Go Daddy Group Inc. filed patent application number 20050216288 on September 29, 2005. The patent claims as a patentable invention the offering the following services to a customer in a single package: (a) registering a new domain name; (b) setting up a hosted website using such domain name; and (c) submitting an application to the trademarks office in order to trademark the selected domain name. There may also be an additional service of submitting the URL of the hosted website to various serach engines. Obviously, offering these services as a package with only one set of forms that need to be filled out may result in some rekeying of data. Also, performing all of these steps, and within a shorter rather than longer timeframe, may provide better legal protection. However, is offering this combination of services as a package, even if not offered by others, something that would not be obvious to someone skilled in the art?
USPTO – Patent Application No. 20050216288
Apparently, Go Daddy employs two full time patent attorneys and has over 50 patent applications pending. Another patent application covers the process of combining the designing a website with an application to the US copyright office.
So there’s a domain name you’ve always wanted. It looks like it might expire soon. What should you do?
Mike Davidson has the scope in How to Snatch an Expiring Domain. This great article, although now a little dated, describes the entire process.
The Court of Appeals for Ontario recently ruled that Ontario courts do not have jurisdiction to hear a $10 million damages claim by a Guinean national who recently moved to Ontario in respect of articles published by The Washington Post in 1997 but still available online.
Continue reading Bangoura Decision
The Wall Street Journal has a great article about how a growing number of countries (including China, Brazil, India and Cuba, as well as the European Union) are questioning U.S. control over the Internet.
The Internet is currently managed by a nonprofit private organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) which was set up by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1998. However, the U.S. government retains veto power over all decisions (such as the creation of new Web domains). But now a number of countries argue that since the Internet is a global tool, no one country should control it.
Interestingly, the issue increased in importance last August over a new proposed domain for pornographic sites that Icann had tentatively approved several months earlier, but which ran into problems after the Department of Commerce withdrew its support. Although not necessarily taking issue with the outcome, the incident illustrated the unilateral control that the US Government could exert.
EU, Developing Nations Challenge U.S. Control of Internet (October 25, 2005)
There is a battle underway for control of the Internet. A shift in that control, should one occur, could result in the transfer of decision making on top-level domains, spam control, consumer protection and maintenance of the Internet root servers. One idea being considered is to merge ICANN into the International Telecommunication Union. There are hints that a transfer to an international body could even include the levying of taxes on e-mail and domain names.
Continue reading Fight for Control of the Internet
Players of Blizzard Entertainmentâ€™s multi-player online videogame World of Warcraft may be getting more than they bargained for. Spyware. A hidden program called â€œWardenâ€ scans gamersâ€™ computers. The purpose of the warden is to verify compliance with the EULA and TOS., and to prevent cheating. However, many users may find it very objectionable to have a third program spying on their other processes. Blizzard Entertainment does give notice of what it is doing but how many people really read online agreements top to bottom. Also, the scope of what Blizzard Entertainment reserves the right to do is very broad.
Continue reading Importance of Reading License Agreements