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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 15 Issue: 7
(July 2013)


A new telecommunications law, which came into effect on 1 July in Germany, will provide for expanded access by German intelligence agencies to a person’s inventory data if suspected of a criminal offence. The new law will require telcos to bear the cost of compliance, which includes providing an electronic interface to law enforcement agencies. / read more

The draft Consumer Rights Bill, published on 12 June by the UK Government, aims to consolidate existing consumer rights legislation and establishes digital content as distinct from goods and services under the scope of protection. / read more

The State Attorneys General shared at a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General held on 17-19 June that they intend to ask Congress to amend 47 U.S.C. 230, the federal law that protects websites from liability for third party content. The AGs want to exclude state criminal prosecutions from the immunity. / read more


Back in April, Deutsche Telekom, the internet service provider (ISP) with ownership of some 60 percent of broadband connections in Germany, unveiled new plans for its home service customers that fly in the face of the concept of net neutrality – the idea that all net data needs to be treated equally irrespective of user or service. Telekom’s plan is to restrict high-speed internet to a certain amount of gigabytes per month; once the limit is hit, that user is placed on a slow speed service, at two megabits per second (revised down from 384 kilobits per second following outside pressure), unless the user pays extra to access higher speeds. / read more

On 12 June 2013, the Government published the draft Consumer Rights Bill (the 'Bill'). The principle aim of the Bill is an attempt, welcomed in many sectors, to consolidate the complex legislative framework of UK consumer law, which can currently be found spread across many pieces of legislation and as such frequently overlaps. Among the Bill's points of interest for e-commerce are the new rights for consumers purchasing digital goods. Ben Allgrove, Julia Hemmings and Eve-Christie Vermynck, of Baker & McKenzie, describe the draft Bill's contents and outline its impact on businesses. / read more

The dispute between Google and Oracle, over whether Java application programming interfaces (APIs) can be copyrighted, continues. Following a decision in the Court for the Northern District of California in May 2012 in which the Judge ruled in Google's favour that APIs are not copyright-protected, Oracle has appealed. Many commentators believe that whichever way the case goes, it will have a profound effect on the future of software development. Simon Briskman and Nick Fiducia, of Field Fisher Waterhouse, discuss the background to the case and its possible consequences for industry. / read more

The convergence of broadcasting services and the internet is raising significant regulatory questions, espcially given the unregulated nature of new devices avaliable to consumers. Numerous calls across Europe have sounded for the extension of current regulation to all content services to ensure that a level playing field is created for all content providers. Tony Ballard, Partner at Harbottle & Lewis LLP, evaluates the current calls for regulation caused by the convergence of TV and the internet and the response from service providers accustomed to the freedoms provided by the eCommerce Directive. / read more

Proposed reforms to the Spanish Copyright Act, which concentrate on protecting copyrighted material online, were announced in March and have attracted substantial criticism during the ongoing consultation phase. The reforms, if implemented, would inter alia increase the measures available against internet service providers suspected of infringing IP rights. Sonia Santos and Guillem Villaescusa, of Grau & Angulo Abogados, outline the proposed changes and the criticisms. / read more

The Obama Administration issued five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations on 4 June to protect innovators from frivolous patent litigation by so-called patent trolls. Anthony J. Biller, Member of Coats and Bennett PLLC, shares his views on the situation. / read more

The Do Not Track (DNT) system, which requests that third parties disable their tracking of a user's web browser activities, is supported by all of the main internet browsers, with Microsoft courting controversy by installing DNT as standard on Internet Explorer 10 on its release last year. This latter action provoked outrage from online advertisers, and such controversies are indicative of the long-running debate over the DNT system and its implementation. Michael Bond, an Associate at data protection compliance consultancy Opt-4, explores the arguments found in the debate around DNT and questions whether there is a new way forward to satisfy both advertisers and privacy advocates. / read more

E-Commerce Law & Policy explores cloud computing regulation in four jurisdictions. / 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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