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Posts from the ‘User Agreement’ Category

Another Lesson Learned: Instagram Quickly Backtracks After Angering Its Users

This week, users of Instagram scored a victory with the company’s management over a plan to amend Instagram’s terms of service that would allow the third-party use of users’ photos without their permission or any form of compensation.  This change, which was scheduled to take effect in mid January, caused an uproar among Instagram’s user base.

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Internal Revenue Service Preparing to Wield “Fiery Sword of Tax Audits” against Diablo III Gamers

We’ve reported before on how technology oftentimes outpaces the law.  But for the millions of people currently playing Diablo III™, Activision’s and Blizzard’s newest release, the opposite has occurred.  Here we have older income tax laws catching up to technology in new, unexpected ways.  In short, there is a serious likelihood that millions of online gamers are about to incur some federal income tax liability, and the vast majority of them seem not to know it yet.  Whether you are a gamer yourself or whether you think gamers need a dose of reality, this post has something for you.

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Google+ Makes Tremendous Progress, But a Minefield Awaits

It should come as no surprise that Google+ has expanded at a rapid pace.  Already, in just a few months, Google+ has expanded to 13 million users.

With any new social media service, like with present ones, problems are abound.  First, how does the service prevent it (or at least discourage) from being a playground for predators and defamers?  Google took one important step recently by announcing that Google+ will not allow the use of pseudonyms.  This is an important first step.  By not allowing pseudonyms, Google is peeling away one layer used by defamers and predators on the internet.

Not surprisingly, this development was not met with joy by celebrities, because many of them use pseudonyms instead of their real name.  Also, many ordinary people had their accounts suspended who were not using pseudonyms at all.  It is clear that the algorithm Google is using is not perfect and some people will unfairly be targeted.  That pain, however, is a small price to pay.

Google+ is in its infancy.  There will be missteps and issues and lawsuits.  To keep your rights and responsibilities clear, I recommend reading Google+’s Privacy Policy and Content and Conduct Policy.  They are both readable and short. One important thing of note in Google+’s Content and Conduct Policy is Google’s ban on impersonation.  I have seen cases where a victim (whether it be a company or individual) is being impersonated by another, causing immeasurable harm.  I just hope, Google will have an easy way to contact them if something like that occurs.

And of course, some things have yet to be answered:

  • How will Google handle defamation claims?
  • How will Google respond to claims of abuse by other users?
  • Will Google change its privacy settings if they sense a business opportunity (like Facebook)?
  • Will Google enforce other people’s/company’s copyrights and trademarks?

Stay tuned.

Coming soon: my take on businesses lining up to be a part of Google+.

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