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Five for Friday: Internet Free Edition

Unfortunately, ever since Hurricane Irene, our office has not had internet service.  Apparently a card in Verizon’s central office blew out that affected our company and a few other businesses around the Tysons Corner area where our office is located.  Watching the three stooges over the past week trying to remedy the situation has been frustrating and time consuming.  The worst part is that Verizon essentially has no idea when internet service will be restored – it could even be weeks.  Needless to say, we cannot stand for something like that happening to us or to others and we took matters into our own hands.  More on that in the blog post following this one in a bit.

Also, my guest blog for Daniel Sharkov’s website appeared this week.  His site is great – offering a wealth of practical advice for bloggers and non-bloggers alike.  My guest blog, which gives tips for lawsuit-free blogging is here.

Now, we of course, present our weekly Five for Friday post where we touch on five interesting internet law stories (and sometimes non-legal stories).

First, Eric Goldman’s blog has a good rundown today of a long and tortured case brought by company identified as a “known spammer” by the Defendant, which works with ISPs and governments to identify spammers.  In the end, the Plaintiff lost their case because of its inexcusable behavior during discovery coupled with the lack of credibility of their “lone witness.”  Eric Goldman’s blog does a good job of isolating the money quote from the Court:

By failing to comply with its basic discovery obligations, a party can snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory. After our earlier remand, all e360 needed to do was provide a reasonable estimate of the harm it suffered from Spamhaus’s conduct. Rather than do so, however, e360 engaged in a pattern of delay that ultimately cost it the testimony of all but one witness with any personal knowledge of its damages. That lone witness lost all credibility when he painted a wildly unrealistic picture of e360’s losses. Having squandered its opportunity to present its case, e360 must content itself with nominal damages on each of its claims, and nothing more.

The lesson here, of course, when litigating is to cooperate in the discovery process.  If you do not, it never ends well.  Also, your damages cannot be completely speculative as they seemed to be here – have documentary evidence.

Second, word has come from Google’s official blog that they are eliminating some services including Aardvark and Desktop.  Check it out to see if there is anything you use, so you can migrate away from it.

Third, in the latest edition of deja vu all over again, another Apple employee has lost an iPhone prototype in a bar.  The story gets more weird after that: Apple was apparently able to track the phone to a particular address (which alone raises questions if this tracking software/hardware is installed on all iPhones or just the prototypes, because if it is on all phones a whole can of worms would have been opened).  Once they located the address, Apple employees and the San Francisco PD descended on the home and searched it.  The SFPD, which originally denied being there, now says they were there, but stayed outside.  The Next Web has a good rundown on this evolving story which is troublesome in many respects.

Fourth, mobledia.com has a comprehensive story on Facebook’s latest patent (which could threaten LinkedIn and other similar services).  The story correctly points out that social media companies (which traditionally do not have many patents) are vulnerable.

Fifth, Amazon, which has been waging a campaign against certain state sales tax laws, has sweetened the pot for California, offering to hire 7,000 new workers if they hold off enactment of the law until at least 2014.

Finally – bonus time.

Cooley Law School, which never did well in traditional rankings (which certainly have their own faults) decided to make up their own.  Not surprisingly, the criteria Cooley chose to emphasize in their rankings are areas at which they excel, including the square footage of their school and the number of students in their school.  After engaging in this bout of intellectual dishonestly, Cooley shook the magic 8 ball and was ranked 2nd! in the country – just behind Harvard of course.  TechDirt.com and PoliticalCartel.org have great rundowns of this saga that is worth the read.

I hope you enjoy your weekend and the new layout we have for the blog.  The tweaks will continue and we expect new content to be added over the weekend and next week that we are excited about.

Also, stay tuned this weekend for details on the Verizon saga and whatever other stories break.  Next week we have more on the Microsoft GeoLocation class action and some exciting news.  You won’t want to miss it!

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