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Posts from the ‘Five for Friday’ Category

Five for Friday: Facebook case dismissed; Sony changes TOS; Blogger Acquitted; File Sharing

Good news-we have opened up comments without moderation.  I will still check comments, but they should post immediately.

October is looking to be really busy with a conference, a trial, and an IP course.  Don’t worry – nothing will stop us from posting fresh news and analysis all of the time.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we will also be one of two law firms exhibiting at ad:tech in New York.

With that, here is this week’s edition of the Five for Friday:

First, another silly lawsuit was thankfully dismissed.  This one is compliments of a Washington lawyer who sued Facebook for leaving a page up for too long that advocated violence against Jews.  Notwithstanding the fact that the content of the page was obviously disgusting, the Plaintiff’s complaint was that the page was left up for too long (it was taken down).  I do understand where this Plaintiff is coming from.  Often times, large internet companies are not responsive when the technology they unleash onto the public is utilized by those with less than pure purposes.  Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like a lawsuit would help anyone here….especially not one in which a Plaintiff was claiming 1 BILLION dollars in damages.

You can read more about the case over at the BLT.

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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).

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Five for Friday: What calamity will hit next?

Hurricanes look spectacular from above.

Hurricanes look spectacular from above.

Busy day for the blog today.  We’ve already had the most views ever today and we still have 6 hours to go.  First a little on Irene and then on to the Five for Friday.  The first part has some information even the natural disaster free west coasters can use.

What calamity will come our way next?  I am so glad I recently purchased a home in an old now new earthquake zone and close to the water in a hurricane-prone area.  That being said, here are some useful links for affected East Coasters to get themselves through the next few days:

MSNBC.com’s page highlights some useful mobile apps in times like these.  Speaking of Apps, FEMA just launched its Droid App just in time.  A search did not reveal an App for iOS though.  Have no fear, iOS Apps are here.

The Washington Post has a good resource on all the Hurricane information.  The AP, has a nice blurb on how best to stay connected.  And, of course, if you want up to date weather information: go to the source.

Why is social media and the legal implications of what we do on it so important?  Because 50% of adults use it.  Without further adieu, here is another solid Five for Friday:

First, part of the now-infamous law that was to take affect Sunday that would have prevented private online chats between teachers and students has been put on hold by a Missouri state court judge.  Details are here and here.  Gov. Nixon, who signed the bill, now wants it repealed.

Second, Gawker.com reports on a new trend that may be ending right after it began: elevator tweets.  The first was a twitter account dedicated to Conde Naste.  A copycat one started from Goldman Sachs.  Not surprisingly, Twitter refused to freeze the Goldman Sachs account.  Instead, Goldman Sachs has launched an internal witch hunt investigation, according to the New York Post’s Page Six (though GS denies this).

There is a good lesson to be learned by this: (1) have a plan to protect proprietary information; (2) instruct employees about when or where you should discuss proprietary information (hint: not in an elevator with strangers); and (3) require employees to sign a written policy and train them about the consequences of revealing proprietary information.  I, of course, can help you with that.

Third, look for a story and analysis on a new case next week (or tomorrow if I batten down the hatches quick enough).  The maker of the Angry Birds games has sued a toy manufacturer for making “Angry Birds” stuffed animals.  In the meantime, read about copyrights here.

Fourth, recent law grad Justin Silverman has the most comprehensive analysis on the legality of BART’s actions here and here.  I have no examined it yet, but I will when I have a few minutes over the weekend and offer my comments next week.  Since that time, BART has been the target of Anonymous and protests.  Some of BART’s “exposure” has been of their own doing.

Speaking of hacking, a hacker exposed (via msnbc.com) the e-mail and passwords of 66,000 people (including US government employees).  It seems like the government and contractors are always one-step behind in prevention.

Fifth, here are a few tidbits worth further reading:

I will also try to blog about the Protect IP Act next week in all its controversy.

Stay safe and have a good weekend.  Please feel free to offer your insights in the comments.

Five for Friday: To Like or Not to Like….That is the Question!

Well, we all made it through another week – even if it was just barely.  I had a pretty busy week, traveling to Dallas for depositions, and giving a presentation today for the ABA on the geolocation tracking controversy.  You can order the CD-ROM by going here.  My co-presenters were excellent and offered insight on addition emerging issues.  Alternatively, I would be happy to e-mail you a copy of my portion of the presentation.  Just drop me a line.

Ready for our weekly Five for Friday?  I know I am!

First, in case you did not know it already, Germany has very strict privacy laws.  How strict you ask?  So strict that Facebook’s “Like” button violates it.  It appears the decision to essentially unlike the like button stemmed from two factors because the IP address of the person “liking” something is tracked by Facebook: (i) how long Facebook kept the data for (they claim two years and Facebook concedes 90 days); and (ii) the fact that the data went through servers in the United States.  It sounds like Facebook needs to spend some PR dollars – especially after a top German government official admitted to an affair with a 16-year old he met on Facebook (which is actually legal in Germany).

Second, Google+, which was the flavor of the day just last week has faced a number of stories that people are abandoning the new social media platform.  Here is a good example.  It’s hot.  It’s not.  It’s hot again.  We’ll see.

Third, I would be remiss if I did not mention HP’s unceremonious killing of webOS just yesterday.  (Disclaimer: technically, HP killed all of the hardware associated with the OS and HP claims they will continue to develop webOS.  I doubt it.)  The internet and twitterverse was all buzz with this news.  I wonder if the webOS team is blaming the HP hardware folks for this.  I know I would.

Fourth, the BART protests continue.  I recommend following OpBART on Twitter for the latest.  The owner of that Twitter account claims no responsibility for the recent hacks on BART-related websites.  We’ll have more on this as it develops next week.  And speaking of Anonymous, check this out.  Hot off the press and a must-read.

Fifth, Sue Scheff who co-authored a book detailing her head-online fight with internet defamers has some good tips to detect if your Facebook account has been hacked.  She is a great follow on Twitter.  Facebook hacking happens way more often than you think.  Beware.

As the weekend rolls on, remember: you’re legit!

There is a lot of good information out there.  I will bring as much as I can when I can.  I will address jurisdictional issues (can you sue in X court?) next week (don’t worry – it is much more fun than it sounds!)

Five for Friday Afternoon

As the work week winds down, here are five interesting things.  Some may expand to a longer blog posting this weekend or next week depending on requests.

First, as mentioned here yesterday, zediva.com announced it was closing its doors (or DVD players if you will) in response to a preliminary injunction issues by the United States District Court for the Central District of California.  Having been through this procedural step a number of times, 9 times out of 10, a victory at the preliminary injunction stage leads to an overall victory in a case.  In fact, I would not be surprised to see the Defendants eventually enter into a consent judgment if the Plaintiffs are willing to forgo disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.

The decision itself is well supported and draws on other well known cases in the field.  While the defendants brought some novel arguments, they could not get around the fact that when purchasing media, you are generally really only purchasing a license to use that media in certain ways.  In the end, the result, while unfortunate in the eyes of some (most of them having to find a new source of cheaper rentals), was inevitable.

Second, the riots in the UK seem to be shaking the very social foundations across the pond.  It has even gotten to a point where the Prime Minister has considered pulling a move Iran would be proud of and approve: banning social media.  This threat, at the very least, has gotten Facebook and RIM (of Blackberry fame) to the table to have a conversation with the British government.  Twitter is listening from afar, refusing to join the talks.  Stay tuned.

Third, Apple has found itself in the middle of some very expensive patent suits recently.  Will that distract them from suing the journalist who purchased the lost iPhone 4 prototype?  We’ll see.  On a related note, Apple scored a major victory in its patent suit against Samsung a few days ago, winning an injunction preventing Samsung from selling its tablet in Europe. Not surprisingly, Samsung is appealing.

Four, do not follow this playbook.

Five, why are we seeing so many lawsuits involving social media (and lawyers ready, willing, and able to handle them)?  Because more Americans are using social media.  Many more.

Next week, look for a robust discussion on personal jurisdiction.  For the non-lawyers in the room (first I say, you made a good decision), it may seem boring, but in the end, it is often the ballgame.  If someone is infringing, can you sue them in your locale?  That may mean everything to your lawsuit or whether you can make a threat of a lawsuit with some teeth.

There is a lot of good content out there, I will try and share as much as possible.

And finally, for the lawyers out there, Charlotte Allen has an interesting essay on a controversy ripping Widener’s law school apart at the seams.

Enjoy your weekend!

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