French ISP Takes On Google By Blocking Its Ads For A Week

logo_free Google may be endearing itself to New Yorkers by providing free wi-fi in Chelsea, but the company's contribution -- or lack thereof -- to Internet infrastructure in France is reportedly making it enemies. That's why ISP Free earlier this year put in an ad blocker to strip out ads from Google sites and any sites accessed via Google, according to a reports in Ad Age and The Economist. The blocker was turned off after a week, and it only worked for a fraction of Free's users -- those who were using the latest version of the Freebox ISP hardware and software. But it highlighted the challenges t [...]

Google Wins With FTC Antitrust Settlement, Industry Reacts Pro & Con

Google FTC logos Google walked away largely unhurt from yesterday's FTC antitrust investigation settlement, and in the 24 hours or so since that announcement, the online/marketing/tech industry has responded with mixed reactions. In a nutshell, the FTC settlement prevents Google from scraping third-party content for inclusion in its search results (what it used to do with content from companies like Yelp and TripAdvisor), requires Google to make it easier for advertisers to export campaigns to other platforms, and also requires Google to let competitors fair and reasonable access to its patents for "standar [...]

Strange Bedfellows: Apple-Google Team Up In $500MM Bid For Kodak Patents

google-legal-law A few years ago it wouldn't have been all that strange to see Google and Apple working closely together on something like a joint patent initiative. Then the "thermonuclear" rift happened and the cacophony of bitter lawsuits. Indeed, in the wake of the global litigation between Apple and Google surrogate Samsung and the more direct (Google owned) Motorola-Apple lawsuits, it's very unlikely to see these two companies working together. Yet BusinessWeek reports that Google and Apple have teamed up to bid $500 million for bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co.'s patent portfolio: The two companies, c [...]

French Come After Google For “Back Taxes”

Taxes Reuters reports that French authorities are talking to Google about paying substantial "back taxes." The wire service says that the French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac had "convincing proof" that Google owed France money. France is one of several European countries that believe Google should be paying more in taxes. Cahuzac said that if the parties failed to come to some agreement France would take the issue to the courts. All this seems to confirm what was reported earlier this month by satirical French publication Le Canard Enchaine that Google was to be hit with a billion Euro tax b [...]

Google Puts “Cookiegate” To Bed As More Legal Battles Loom

google-privacy-200 The incident informally known as "Safarigate" or "Cookiegate" is now behind Google. On Friday, a court approved Google's $22.5 million settlement with the FTC. Some Google critics decried the settlement as having little impact on Google. The episode began in February of this year, when the Wall Street Journal discovered that Google (and others such as Gannett’s PointRoll) were circumventing mobile Safari’s default “no third party cookies” settings in order to track user behaviors. Google contended it was simply trying to make its "+1 buttons" work on iOS. The company argued nothi [...]

Google: 63% Of YouTube Videos Are Now Restricted In Turkey

Google-Turkey We know that this year Government requests to remove content has skyrocketed so far in 2012. Thanks to Google's more detailed transparency reports that were rolled out earlier this year, we can also see the most egregious countries along with request data. Turkey supplied 501 requests so far in 2012, up 1,013% from the previous reporting period. The most surprising  morels of information was that Google is now restricting Turkish users from accessing 63% of YouTube videos. The removal requests were all submitted on "alleged criticism of Atatürk, the government or national iden [...]

Google: Government Requests To Remove Content Spiked In First Half Of 2012

remove content Google announced that the number of content removal requests submitted by governments have spiked in the first half of the year. From January through June 2012, there were there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content, almost double the previous six-month period. Here is the chart showing the recent spike in content removal requests: From January to June 2012, the following countries made the most requests to remove content: Turkey (501) United States (273) Germany (247) Brazil (191) United Kingdom (97) Gover [...]

Cash-Strapped Euro Governments Look To Online Giants For Additional Tax Revenues

tax-money-180px Google, Facebook, Twitter and even Starbucks are being criticized and investigated for what several European governments consider to be tax avoidance. In the UK and France in particular Google is under scrutiny. And earlier this week a French newspaper (albeit like the satirical Onion) reported that French authorities had served a whopping EUR 1 billion tax bill on Google. Google has denied that it has received such a bill. Google's practice of billing advertisers and running profits through its Irish subsidiary, which is legal, allows the company to minimize taxes. According to a Reuter [...]

Europeans: Google Privacy Policy Not Illegal But Please Make Some Changes

European EU flag After all the saber rattling, commentary and anticipation yesterday there was an expectation that Google would be asked by European data protection authorities, led by the French privacy regulator CNIL, to "unravel" or roll back its unified privacy policy. There was also a strong suggestion that there might be fines imposed. Instead we essentially got a relatively polite request to make some modest changes to the privacy policy, mostly around disclosures to end users. The coverage today of the CNIL letter to Larry Page (embedded below) is all over the map, with some outlets focused on hypot [...]

Europeans To Ask Google To Change Unified Privacy Policy, Gain User Consent For Data Collection

google-privacy-200 Earlier this year, in March, Google consolidated more than 70 different privacy policies into a single more unified policy that allowed it to combine user data from all Google properties into a single view. Google argued that it represented privacy simplification for users (which was true). However it also benefited Google with more insight into its users' activities on the Google network, the ability to deliver more personalized search results and presumably enabled better ad targeting. The Europeans raised concerns about Google's new privacy policy at the time and suggested that it might [...]

One Down: Google Settles With Publishers Over Book Scanning

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced today that it had settled long-standing litigation with Google over its book scanning project. Google was sued in late 2005 by the AAP (and individual publishers) and the Authors Guild on behalf of writers. The litigation sought more than $100 million in damages for copyright violations. The settlement of the AAP claims doesn't impact the Authors Guild class action suit, which lives on. The specific book-publisher plaintiffs in the action were McGraw-Hill, Pearson and Penguin, Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Simon & Schuster. Specifi [...]

Acer, Skyhook And Google’s Android Self-Interest

android logo Danny has written two articles about Android, openness and the degree of Google's control over the ecosystem. These were sparked by the recent controversy surrounding computer-maker Acer's attempt to use a non-authorized version of Android (the Alibaba-made Aliyun OS) on mobile handsets: Google: Acer Can’t Work On “Non-Compatible Android” & Be Part Of Open Handset Alliance What Is The One True Android & How “Open” Is It? Aliyun OS "Incompatibility" Acer was set to announce that it was going forward with the Aliyun OS on one or more handsets but abruptly cancelled t [...]

Apple Goes 1 For 2 As Japan Court Rules In Favor Of Samsung

law-legal-concept Recently Apple won a major victory "at home" and lost (partly) "on the road" in South Korea, where a court last Friday issued a split decision in its IP litigation with Samsung. Earlier today Samsung won a round: a court in Japan found that the Korean company did not infringe Apple patents that involve "synchronizing music and video data with servers." From the published reports it appears the court was skeptical of Apple's claim to such basic functionality. Following the decision, Samsung shares gained back some of the losses they suffered in the wake of the major defeat the company suffer [...]

Google-Apple Patent Détente On The Horizon?

Nixon and Breshnev, 1972 Reuters is reporting that Google's CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been involved in "behind-the-scenes conversations about a range of intellectual property matters." Like Russia and the US during the cold war, Reuters says the "two companies are keeping the lines of communication open at a high level." The article suggests the discussions started before the recent Apple victory over Samsung in the much-watched US patent trial. That litigation was widely thought to be a proxy fight against Google-Android. And many assumed that direct Apple-Google litigation was likely in its wake [...]

Google: “Core Android” Not Impacted By Apple-Samsung Verdict

android-featured Will Apple's sweeping, yet still preliminary, patent victory over Samsung have a positive or negative impact on Android? Will it have any impact at all? Will it be the death of competition or a boon for competition? Opinions are all over the place. Over the weekend Google issued a statement (via TheVerge) that the decision will have no impact on "core Android" features or capabilities: The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Pate [...]

Google Reveals Prominent Legal Expert Among Paid Consultants

google-legal-law As you may recall the judge in the Oracle v. Google patent and copyright trial (William Alsup) asked both sides to reveal authors, bloggers, journalists and others with whom they had financial relationships. Oracle disclosed that it had retained Florian Mueller, who writes the widely read patent blog FOSS Patents. Google said that it had no such relationships. The judge wasn't satisfied with that response and ordered Google to try again and produce a list of paid commentators by August 24. At the end of last week, Google complied by filing a supplemental disclosure listing several nam [...]

Judge: “Google Failed To Comply” With Order To Disclose Paid Authors, Bloggers

google-legal-law In the Oracle vs. Google litigation, which is winding down, Judge William Alsup ordered the companies to disclose authors, bloggers and journalists with whom they had financial relationships. Oracle previously disclosed that it had retained Florian Mueller, who writes the blog FOSS Patents. Google disclosed that it had paid no one. On August 17, 2012 Google filed a statement that read in part: Neither Google nor its counsel has paid an author, journalist, commentator or blogger to report or comment on any issues in this case. And neither Google nor its counsel has been involved in any [...]

Google (As Motorola) Sues Apple Over Patents, Seeks US Import Ban On iPhones, Macs

apple-google-featured Apple has been waging a proxy war with Google and Android through its global litigation with Samsung. Now the companies will be directly battling it out in a new action filed by Google subsidiary Motorola before the US International Trade Commission (ITC). Motorola filed and partly won a patent case before the ITC, prior to the Google acquisition. But this is the first case filed under Google ownership. The earlier Motorola ITC patent victory was based on a single claim related to wireless 3G standards. Motorola seeks an import ban on iPhones in that case. A final decision from the administ [...]

India Begins Formal Antitrust Investigation Against Google

According to Reuters the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has opened a formal antitrust investigation against Google. The article reports that CCI received a complaint that Google had "contravened" an Indian "competition rule." However that rule and the substance of the complaint aren't identified. Google told Reuters that it was cooperating with the CCI and was confident that it hadn't violated any Indian regulations. This is merely the latest legal headache for Google in India. The country has also sought to impose aggressive censorship rules on Google that require Google to block [...]

Google Bows To Pressure, Will Penalize Sites Accused Of Copyright Infringement

copyright-piracy-cd Beginning this week, Google will be penalizing certain sites that are frequently accused of violating copyright laws. In a blog post Friday morning, Google explained the change this way: Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily.... Rights groups such as the Recording Industry Association of Americ [...]

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