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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 13 Issue: 10
(October 2011)


The EU's highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), held on 4 October that the UK football Premier League (PL) cannot prevent viewers from shopping around for cheaper TV deals to watch sports events, even if it means looking into taking out a subscription with foreign broadcasters. / read more

The social networking website Facebook is under attack in the US over allegedly tracking users' online behaviour after they have logged out and a practice known as 'frictionless sharing'. / read more

US internet service provider (ISP) Verizon has filed a second appeal against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), criticising the regulator's new 'open internet' rules to promote net neutrality. / read more


The US, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand and Singapore recently signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The agreement should be 'a major tool in the battle against infringements of IP rights', the representatives of the signing countries explained, in particular against counterfeiting practices around the world. It contains mechanisms to improve cooperation in the enforcement of IP rights, including on how to combat infringements in a digital environment and how these measures should be enforced. / read more

EU / read more

With the publication of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Final rule on Preserving the Open Internet on 26 September 20111, the debate over 'net neutrality' is raging in the US once again. Lawsuits brought by Verizon and MetroPCS against the FCC, which were rejected as premature by the courts prior to publication, may now be revived, and a Senate vote on whether to quash the rules (the House has already passed a resolution in April of this year 'disapproving' the rules) is anticipated. Meanwhile, in Europe, things are not nearly so heated. Whilst the Netherlands may have become the first country in Europe to approve legislation preventing mobile operators from blocking or charging extra for VoIP services, the rest of Europe and the European Commission are adopting a 'wait and see' approach. Ginny O'Flinn, a Senior Associate at Olswang LLP, examines recent EU and US developments, and discusses why network neutrality is set to be such a crucial issue. / read more

On 7 September, the ICM Registry launched the new .xxx sponsored top-level domain name (sTLD), approved by ICANN in March. Designed for the adult entertainment industry, advocates argue that the new domain name will enable adult sites to be clearly flagged and filtered, although as the switch over to .xxx is voluntary, there is some scepticism on how effective it will be. At the time .xxx is launched, a WIPO survey published in May this year found an increase of 28% of cybersquatting cases in 2010 compared to the 2009 level. To combat this risk, rights holders have a number of options, including procedural measures implemented by ICM Registry during a 'Sunrise' period. / read more

The IP Crime Group, formed by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in 2004 to coordinate with government, law enforcement agencies and industry groups to combat against piracy and counterfeiting activity, has published its 2010/2011 annual report into activities carried out in the UK to combat IP crime over the past year, involving a wide range of counterfeit goods from CDs, DVDs and clothing to more alarmingly, potentially unsafe counterfeit consumer products such as alcohol, car parts and pharmaceuticals. Joanna Alderson, Associate at Pinsent Masons, discusses the legal challenges that exist following the evolution of the definition of IP crime. / read more

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued administrative complaints against two well-known companies in the online world, Google and Twitter, alleging that the companies' actions with respect to privacy of consumer information were 'deceptive acts' in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. The Twitter Decision and Order and the Google proposed consent order have raised questions as to whether the FTC is expanding the reach of its powers. Courts interpret Section 5 of the FTC Act broadly, and courts have long upheld the FTC's ability to exercise broad discretion in the public interest. Sue Ross, Senior Counsel at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, describes the FTC's statutory mandate and its exercise of its powers in those two investigations. / read more

The rise of the mobile phone in the developing world has created many new opportunities for the development of e-commerce activities in many emerging markets. However, security measures for this tehcnology are not as advanced as those for online commerce and banking, as there is very little infrastructure in place to support them. Saurabh Panjwani, Senior Researcher at UCSD and computer engineer at Microsoft, discusses the trends and examines the security risks that this new industry is facing. / read more

What is a Flash cookie? Well, have you ever noticed that some websites seem to know more about you than your own spouse - for example, online retailer websites which suggest products you might be interested in based upon other products that you have purchased or even just looked at in the past, or social networking sites that offer advertisements to you based upon your previous postings or comments, and even internet-based email services that suggest searches for topics about which you just happened to have emailed your friends? How is any of this possible, you ask? Answer: Through the use of so-called 'Flash cookies', which differ from browser cookies in that they are special 'cookies' utilised by Adobe Flash software, are difficult to avoid and detect on an individual's computer, and cannot easily be blocked or deleted using the basic privacy control features offered by most internet browsers. Melinda Levitt and Yonaton Aronoff, of Foley & Lardner LLP, analyse how these 'super' cookies work and what their implications are for privacy and data security. / read more

Liability: L'Oréal SA v eBay International AG
Adwords: LCC v Google, Inc.C v Google, Inc.
Copyright: Twentieth Century Fox & Others v BT / 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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