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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 10 Issue: 10
(October 2008)


Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! launched the Global Network Initiative on 28 October, to counter growing worldwide government pressure to comply with domestic laws requiring censorship and disclosure of personal information. / read more

Google US is now able to expand its online access to collections of copyrighted books from US libraries participating in Google Book Search, as part of a settlement agreement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, announced on 28 October. / read more

International privacy and data protection commissioners adopted a resolution on 17 October, urging operators of websites targeting young people to adopt 'clear, simple and understandable' privacy policies, as well as 'educating users about existing privacy and security risks and website choices available to the[m]'. / read more


With the launch of the Global Network Initiative on 28 October, positive steps have been taken at protecting freedom of expression and privacy on the net. The Initiative seeks to provide guidance to the internet sector when faced with government pressure to take actions that infringe upon internationally recognised human rights laws and standards. / read more

EU Commission proposes enhanced rights for consumers
BT conducts further Phorm trials
ICANN consults on revised 'domain tasting' policy
Dates for your diary / read more

George Orwell, in his book 1984, envisioned a world in which Big Brother, the omnipresent government, watched our every move. In Orwell's world, notions of privacy were all but gone. Fast forward: now were are in the later year of 2008. While privacy as we once knew it may be vanishing, that is not necessarily only happening at the hands of government. Indeed, access to very personal information now is at the fingertips of private employers. / read more

The European Commission has proposed a Consumer Rights Directive to protect consumer rights on the internet. If passed, it will harmonise the four existing consumer rights Directives across the EU into one set of rules for Member States. Marvin Farrell, an Associate at Bird & Bird, sets out the proposals of the new Directive and examines what they may mean for businesses and consumers. / read more

The District Court of Munich (Amtsgericht) ruled on 30 September that website operators are free to log their users' Internet Protocol (IP) addresses under German data protection legislation. Bastian Cremer, an Associate with Bird & Bird, examines the Court's decision, which contradicts a 2007 judgment of the District Court of Berlin Mitte, and explains the implications the differing decisions have for website operators. / read more

The EU Privacy Directive categorises data into general personal data and sensitive personal data. This can create issues in the internet age, when users of sites such as social networks may want friends to be able to view their sensitive personal data, but not their work colleagues or employers. Allen Brandt, Corporate Counsel at the Graduate Management Admission Council, argues that a new system for categorising data is needed, taking into account the subject's access and consent wishes. / read more

A Dutch court has recently prohibited Buma, a collecting society, from issuing a pan-European licence for the online use of the repertoire of the Performing Right Society, despite a European Commission decision that such a restriction is illegal. Olaf Trojan and Pauline Kuipers, of Bird & Bird, examine the implications of the decision, which has been appealed. / read more

On 24 September, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) issued the Liberal Democrats with an enforcement notice for breaking privacy rules by making 250,000 automated phone calls to homes. The ICO notice said that if the Liberal Democrats do not stop, they could face possible prosecution. Kenneth Currie, a Lawyer at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, examines the case and other recent automated call cases involving the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Barclaycard. / read more

The Financial Services Authority has published guidance that it does not consider the term 'consequential loss' as compliant with the transparency and fairness requirements of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations. Rafi Azim-Khan, a Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, highlights that although the FSA's guidelines apply to insurance contracts, they could have implications for all businesses, as a court could construe that such a term is not binding on the consumer. / read more

Trademarks: MLP Finanzdienstleistungen AG v WhoisGuard Protected
Metatags: Venture Tape Corp. v McGills Glass Warehouse
Copyright: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. v RDR Books / read more

About Digital Business Lawyer:

The monthly publication providing authoritative insights and thought leadership on the legal/regulatory issues affecting online business, covering distance selling, contracts, domain names, adblocking, advertising, cloud computing, net neutrality, e-privacy, data protection, cyber crime, the Internet of Things, social media, internet taxation and software / read more

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