In a voluntary self-policing effort most likely intended to help safeguard their Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) Section 230 immunity from suit, several Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) have created a “Copyright Alert System” (“CAS”) to allow content owners the opportunity to report piracy, through which “strikes” can be issued to Internet service users as a warning for piracy. This YouTube user who I can’t identify as an authority, has a few generally accurate, and fairly informative videos about the CAS regime. It’s not clear whether this user is a representative of the ISPs or not. Comcast also has a pretty good set of faqs on the CAS.
Essentially, the CAS allows content owners to identify infringing IP addresses after verifying that infringement is taking place by P2P (“peer to peer”) file sharing. The ISP then sends a warning to the Internet service user who had that IP address at the relevant time. After multiple warnings the Internet service user may be required to view a video about piracy, and after several warnings that user’s service may be “throttled,” or slowed down to make piracy more difficult or time-consuming. The CAS includes an arbitration process for challenging warnings (Russell’s teapot: How do you prove you weren’t pirating?), but no circumstance under which an Internet service user’s account is to be terminated.
Yesterday, Apple lost its appeal and has been denied the trademark for “multi-touch” by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The original application for the trademark was on January 9, 2007, the same day the iPhone was introduced. However, the application was eventually denied, with the decision stating that the, “applicant’s proposed mark is merely descriptive of applicant’s goods.” Read more
It looks like Samsung is about to take a more aggressive approach in a new salvo against Apple in their patent wars.
Samsung claims that the new (and still unreleased) iPhone 5 violates Apple’s patents. As soon as the new iPhone hits the shelves, a Samsung executive claims that they will seek an injunction to prevent sales in South Korea.
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).