Posts tagged legal

ICANN Confirms it Will Work Closely with Governments to Shutter Domains Over Copyright Infringement

At the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers global meeting in Costa Rica this week, ICANN board members confirmed they will work closely with governmental bodies to shut down domains that are accused of copyright infringement.

ICANN governs the global naming system of the Internet.

Via Computer World:

Efforts to take down websites for copyright infringement are likely to move beyond U.S.-based registries, with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) promising to more closely cooperate with global law enforcement agencies and governments…

…During an open session with the Government Advisory Committee (GAC), the ICANN board confirmed that it will enforce its contracts with registrars more effectively in order to meet expectations from governments and law enforcement authorities. The expectations were contained in a 12- page document submitted by the GAC, which also includes representatives from national law enforcement agencies as well as Interpol.

While ICANN itself will not shutter domains, its participation and support for law enforcement efforts will enable governments creating SOPA-style laws to more easily pursue and shut down alleged copyright infringers.

Reporters detained, arrested across the country in "Occupy" protests

The reporters committee for freedom of the press (aka RCFP) talks about reporters rights in covering protests. 

rcfp.org

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photographer is the latest journalist to be arrested while covering the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that have sprung up across the nation, raising questions about how police should define and handle reporters documenting the protests.

Please click through for the rest of the article

News International and its "Compensation Scheme"

Maybe “scheme” rings better in the English ear but it sounds a bit “off” (read: scamish) to my American one.

Anyhoo, via the New York Times:

News International announced Friday that it had set up what it called a “speedy, cost-effective alternative to litigation” that would allow phone hacking victims to apply for swift out-of-court settlements through a company Web site. The purpose of the program, called the Voicemail Interception Compensation Scheme, is to “process good claims quickly to an award of compensation, not to get bogged down in complex legal arguments and speculative requests for disclosure of documents,” the company says on the site.

People claiming to be victims and wanting compensation are asked to fill out and submit electronic forms detailing their claims.

News International has already set aside more than $30 million to pay phone hacking victims; this move is intended to contain its legal costs as it deals with an increasing number of claims.

The above is buried near the end of an article published Friday about the arrest of a journalist at the Murdoch-owned Sun for making illegal payments to police officers. 

The journalist, Jamie Pyatt, won the 2006 Scoop of the Year prize at the British Press Awards for his reporting on Prince Harry dressing as a Nazi at a costume party.

Patent Troll Wants Your WiFi

Via Patent Examiner:

Delaware company Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC is scaling up its patent litigation assault against businesses that offer wireless Internet to customers, filing six infringement lawsuits this month against individual branches of some of the country’s largest hotel chains. It’s a new tack for the company, which began filing patent claims in March against coffee shops and restaurant chains, including Caribou Coffee, Cosí and Panera Bread Co., and department stores.

Contemplating the company’s approach – suing the users of the technology rather than its manufacturers – a logical question emerges: Will the onslaught reach the front doors of average, WiFi-using, American households?

When asked, Innovatio legal counsel responded that the company is not planning on going after individual WiFi users in their households “at this stage.” 

Instead, they are casting their patent net far and wide, asking for one-time licensing settlements of $2,300 to $5,000 from businesses such as cafes and hotels that offer their clients wireless Internet access, according to Patent Examiner.

As Patent Examiner explains, “By demanding a few thousand dollars, Innovatio ensures that, for many small business owners, taking up a legal defense won’t make financial sense.” 

Paul Allen Wants His Links Back

You know how just about every site has related links at the end of an article, or related products after an item? Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen wants a piece of that action.

Via paidContent:

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has refiled his patent lawsuit against 11 big internet companies and e-retailers, and the new complaint details just how broad Allen’s claim to basic internet functionality is. In a 35-page amended complaint [PDF] filed Tuesday, Allen’s lawyers detail how certain functions that are widely used in digital media—acts as simple as suggesting related links, offering various forms of “alerts,” or making suggestions of related products for purchase—stand accused of infringing the four patents Allen has used in this lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Interval Licensing, a patent-holding company set up to file lawsuits based on patents that were originally filed in the 1990s by Interval Research, a laboratory funded by Allen that closed its doors in 2000. Eleven companies stand accused of infringing Paul Allen’s patent rights: AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube…

…To call the accused features “widely used” web publishing functions would be an understatement. If patent claims on such basic ideas are found to be valid, there are surely hundreds of other potential defendants that could be sued by Interval Licensing. Paul Allen would be essentially a tax collector for the internet.

Allen and his lawyers are asking for damages, as well as an injunction that either shuts down the services or forces the defendants to pay Allen an ongoing royalty to continue using them.

Just Cause it's Online Doesn't Make it Free

Via paidContent:

Agence France-Presse stunned the Twitter-sphere last month when the wire service defended itself against a copyright claim brought by Daniel Morel, a photographer who captured iconic images of the Haiti earthquake, by saying that the photos were essentially free for the taking because they’d been shared over Twitter and TwitPic. Tweeting photographers can rest easy, because now a court has ruled that AFP isn’t off the hook, and will have to answer for its unauthorized use of Morel’s images.

The case was closely watched because it was one of the first legal tests of the rules around news agencies’ use of content from Twitter, which has become an increasingly important component of breaking-news coverage…

…AFP had claimed that it had broad re-use rights because of Twitter’s terms of service. “This broad re-use is evidenced every day when Twitter/TwitPic posts are copied, reprinted, quoted, and republished by third parties,” wrote AFP’s lawyers.

But that argument was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley, who wrote in his opinion [PDF] that Twitter’s terms of use “does not clearly confer a right on others to re-use copyrighted postings.”