U.S., Euro Governments Seize 132 Domain Names Selling Counterfeit Goods

fake-website-icon For the third consecutive year, websites selling counterfeit products online have been seized on Cyber Monday, the day generally thought to be the busiest online shopping day of the year. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that 132 domain names have been seized this year in two campaigns known as "Project Cyber Monday 3" and "Project Transatlantic." The latter project refers to the fact that law enforcement agencies in several European countries also took part. The US-based effort nabbed 101 domains, while the European project claimed another 31. The ICE s [...]


Twitter Will Hide, Not Remove, Tweets That Violate Copyrights

twitter-legal-law Twitter is changing how it handles legal requests against individual tweets that violate copyright. Rather than remove the tweets altogether, Twitter will now hide the tweets and show a message alerting readers that the original tweet is being withheld. GigaOm first reported the news on Sunday, following a tweet from Jeremy Kessel, Twitter's manager of legal policy. Kessel linked to the new policy in Twitter's help center, which reads as follows: In an effort to be as transparent as possible regarding the removal or restriction of access to user-posted content, we clearly mark withhe [...]


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 [...]


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 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 [...]


Pinwheel Has A New Name: Findery

findery-logo-icon With a U.S. court telling Pinwheel that it couldn't use that name anymore, the location-based startup has chosen a new name: Findery. It also has a new lantern icon (shown at right) on its renamed Twitter feed and its new Facebook page, and a new blog where founder Caterina Fake's first post explains that nothing but the name has changed. A New York court recently agreed with Pinweel, a mobile photo-sharing site, that Pinwheel (with the "h") was infringing on its trademark. Yesterday, Pinwheel temporarily redirected its site to 2bkco.com, the name of its parent company. Today, Finde [...]


Caterina Fake Startup Pinwheel Forced To Change Name After Lawsuit

Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake's new location-based startup Pinwheel, which is still in private beta, is probably going to be forced to change its name. TechCrunch reported yesterday that a court in New York granted the similarly sounding Pinweel, a mobile photo-sharing site, a preliminary injunction. The central claim was trademark infringement. The main idea here is that the lesser-known but pre-existing Pinweel will be irreparably damaged by the potential consumer confusion over the two similar-sounding companies. The case is still in process but granting a preliminary injunction is a q [...]


Lawsuit Accuses Google, YouTube Of Stealing Sharing Idea In Google+ Hangouts

google-legal-law Be In, a company that created the video sharing service CamUp, is accusing Google of stealing trade secrets and violating its copyrights when it added a "Watch with Friends" video sharing feature to Google+. CamUp is a New York-based online service/community that allows users to share multimedia content via connected webcams. GigaOm has posted a copy of the lawsuit, which claims Be In has suffered losses in excess of $75,000 and "continues to suffer irreparable harm." The suit asks the court to shut down the Hangouts feature on Google+, to make Google remove the Hangouts button on YouTube [...]


Fighting Legal Threats With Humor & Charity: The Oatmeal Vs. FunnyJunk

Funny-Junk-Letter-REtort What could be worse than a web site apparently using your content without permission? How about getting a legal threat from that same site demanding a $20,000 payment? Faced with this type of crazy situation, Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal, responded with the type of humor and out-of-the-box thinking he's known for. He decided to raise money for a charity instead. After only a few days, Inman's raised nearly $150,000 and generated plenty of chuckles across the web with his approach. The Oatmeal Vs. FunnyJunk, Round 1 Inman makes funny web comics, quizzes and products that wholeheartedly e [...]


Google Compromises End Street View Litigation In Switz, Book Suit In France

Last week Google notched a major victory for Street View in Europe. The Swiss have affirmed its basic right to exist in the country, which is widely regarded to have among the toughest privacy laws on The Continent. The Swiss privacy regulator had demanded that Google guarantee it would be able to blur faces, car license plates and other images with complete accuracy, 100 percent of the time. That requirement was seen as a threat to Google's ability to continue to operate Street View in Switzerland -- because it could only blur faces (etc.) with 99 percent accuracy. In what was described [...]


Google, YouTube Pick Up Copyright Win In France

youtube-logo Google's YouTube won a legal victory today when a French court dismissed a copyright violation lawsuit filed against by TF1, a French television company. According to a New York Times report, TF1's lawsuit asked the court to rule that YouTube was required to pre-filter all content before it was published on the site. But the Tribunal de Grande Instance decided that YouTube's existing system for dealing with copyrighted material is adequate. (That system, called Content ID, prompts YouTube to identify copyrighted material and notify the owner of the possible infringement. The content own [...]


Google Wins 750+ Domains From Cybersquatter Who Wants ‘Google’ Trademark Canceled

google-domains-icon The National Arbitration Forum (NAF) has given Google ownership of more than 750 domains that used its trademark name, often in conjunction with other well-known trademarks and/or celebrity names. In one of its legal filings, Google called it "one of the most aggressive campaigns of domain name infringement that [Google] has encountered." The domains were registered by Chris Gillespie between February 29 and March 10, 2012. They include domains like googlechevron.com, googlecoors.com, googledonaldtrump.com and googlegaycruises.com. For a time, according to Google's complaint, Gillesp [...]


Oracle vs Google Split Decision: Jury Finds Copyright Infringement But Deadlocks On “Fair Use”

Screen shot 2012-05-07 at 3.03.37 PM According to published reports, a federal jury earlier today delivered a mixed result in Oracle v. Google. The jury found that Google had in fact infringed on Oracle's Java copyright (by virtue of its Sun Microsystems acquisition) in using some Java code in Android and related APIs. However it deadlocked on the question of whether that infringement was protected by the doctrine of "fair use." Fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. There were more findings and procedural nuances, more fully explained in the Mercury News article on the case. Google has now moved f [...]


Judge Says Android Was A Big Money Loser In 2010

android-losing-money-featured Even as it was selling more and more handsets Google's Android platform apparently lost considerable money throughout 2010, according to remarks made by the Judge in the Oracle-Google intellectual property trial. According to Reuters, Judge William Alsup commented on otherwise sealed financial documents submitted by Google to the court. "That adds up to a big loss for the whole year," the Judge reflected. This, despite generating nearly $100 million in revenue in Q1 2010. The reason this came up is because Android profit and loss records were submitted to the court as part of a damages h [...]


German Court Orders YouTube To Improve Copyright Protections

youtube-germany In a court ruling that both sides are calling a partial victory, a German court has ruled that YouTube must improve its copyright protection in Germany, but stopped short of telling the site to go back and remove all copyrighted material currently on the site. Hamburg's state court has told YouTube Germany that it must prevent users from uploading some music videos whose copyrights belong to the German royalties agency, GEMA. The court wants Google to use software to monitor and stop users from uploading alternate versions (i.e., live recordings) of songs that have already been flagged for [...]


How To Curate Twitter To Build Content & Engagement

twitter-cake-cropped Thanks to John Heywood, a writer and courtier to Henry VIII, we have classic epigrams like “Haste makes waste,” “a penny for your thought,” “beggars can’t be choosers,” and “the more the merrier.”  My favorite is “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” which Heywood actually recorded as “Wolde ye both eate your cake and have your cake.” When it comes to Twitter, I most value each of my many individual interactions  (let’s call that eating my cake) -- but at the same time, I’d like to continue enjoying the benefit of that content outside of the Twittersp [...]


Flickr Uses “Nopin” Meta Tag To Keep Some Images Off Pinterest

flickr-pinterest-logos Flickr appears to be the first of what you'd call a "major" website to employ a meta tag that keeps copyright-protected images from being pinned on Pinterest. As VentureBeat first reported, Flickr is using the "nopin" meta tag that Pinterest just introduced earlier this week. When Pinterest sees the tag on a web page, none of the photos can be pinned directly from the page. Flickr is adding the "nopin" tag to photo pages that are marked as private, marked as non-safe, and -- this is the most common implementation -- on pages of Flickr users whose privacy settings don't allow photos to be [...]


Pinterest Takes A Small Step Toward Fighting Copyright With Opt-Out Meta Tag

pinterest-copyright-featured As the noise continues to grow surrounding Pinterest and its potential legal headaches, the image-based social network has taken a small step toward placating website owners concerned with potential copyright violations. As LL Social pointed out yesterday, Pinterest is supporting a "nopin" meta tag that will prevent users from pinning images directly from the site where the code is installed. The meta tag can be found at the bottom of Pinterest's Help page, under a heading that says "What if I don't want images from my site to be pinned?" It's a simple piece of code: meta name="pinterest [...]


Pinterest Drops Skimlinks, Might Try Ads; Says Copyright Issues Not A Significant Issue Yet

pinterest-logo Pinterest has stopped using Skimlinks to monetize some of the "pins" that its users were publishing on the site and, in other news, the company also says that copyright issues haven't been a "significent issue" to date. Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann has been making the rounds a bit this week ("finally," some would say) and discussing some of the issues that have come up in light of the site's stunning recent growth. Silbermann contacted Josh Davis of LL Social, the site that helped spread the news about Pinterest adding affiliate links (via Skimlinks) to some of the content that users po [...]


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