In the first quarter of 2006 unsolicited commercial email (spam) accounted for approximately 80% of all email traffic on the Internet. It seems that the Controlling the Assault of Non-solicited Pornography and Marketing Act 2003 has failed to slow down spam as intended.
Senator John McCain has introduced federal legislation that would require commercial websites and personal blogs to report illegal images or videos posted by their users, or face fines of up to $300,000. However, US free speech advocacy groups have expressed concern that the bill would curb legitimate communication on the Internet.
A US district court has rejected KinderStart.com's claim that Google violated the free speech rights of various websites, engaged in anti-competitive behaviour and misled the public by projecting itself as an objective source of internet content, while it was actually penalizing certain websites for unexplained reasons related to the sites’ efforts to improve their Google ranking.
In a ruling that could have a significant impact on the rights of online publishers and bloggers, a California court of appeal has held that the identities of anonymous employees of Apple Computer, Inc who leaked trade secrets of Apple to online news magazines (also known as 'e-zines') were protected from discovery.
The executive and legislative arms of the federal government are actively attempting to stamp out offshore online gambling sites. Most recently, an online sports betting company headquartered in Costa Rica stopped taking US bets after the US Department of Justice charged it with operating an illegal gambling operation. A bill aimed at eliminating many forms of online gambling has also been tabled.
The search engine Google continues to make legal news in the US federal courts. In the most recent decision of note, a court ruled that Google need only disclose something over 50,000 random uniform resource locators (URLs) to the government, which initially had sought to compel Google to turn over billions of URLs and two months' worth of search queries.
A Nevada federal court has granted Google summary judgment against a lawyer and author named Blake Field who had sued for copyright infringement. Field had contended that by allowing internet users to access copies of 51 of his copyrighted works stored by Google in an online repository, Google violated his exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute copies of those works.
A Los Angeles court has ruled that Google's popular 'image search' function likely violates the law by displaying copyrighted photographs in the form of 'thumbnails'. Some commentators believe the decision will undermine Google's prime defences in its dispute with publishers and authors who have challenged its right under the Library Print Project to scan books that are still under copyright.
Internet regulation by particular states almost inevitably has a significant impact on out-of-state activities and interstate commerce. Accordingly, courts have invalidated a number of state laws restricting internet-related activities under the federal Constitution’s so-called 'dormant commerce clause'.
Recent guidelines drafted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service outline practices advocated by these bodies to deter and respond to cyberattacks. They are a useful source for businesses that wish to formulate a proactive and responsive strategy to this threat.
The Child Online Protection Act has cleared its first hurdle before the Supreme Court, but this was a limited test that left many questions unanswered concerning the act’s constitutionality. In spite of their different approaches, six justices have indicated significant concerns about this issue. The future of the act thus remains uncertain.
A new Minnesota internet privacy bill provides consumers with a right of action against both internet service providers (ISPs) and spammers for violation of its provisions; but its enactment presents a troubling development for ISPs due to the restrictions and uncertainties of a vague, untested statutory text.
While the constitutionality of the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act's jurisdiction over domain names has been questioned, analysis shows that fits squarely within the boundaries of established law and relies upon a court’s sovereign power to adjudicate the rights to an item of property under the custody of the law.
The new '.us' country-code top-level domain for the United States within the global domain name system went live on April 24 2002. Names within this domain can be registered by US citizens and residents, as well as businesses and organizations with a genuine presence in the United States.
Recent reports indicate that internet attacks are dramatically on the rise and that the Internet is vulnerable. Companies should thus become familiar with the legal weapons that can be used to protect them, punish those who perpetrate internet attacks and create disincentives against future attacks.
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently held that an employee’s expectation of privacy in his office computer was objectively reasonable because the employer had not notified employees that their computer usage would be monitored.
A recent Federal Trade Commission consent order serves as a useful roadmap for companies interested in implementing an internal privacy and data protection due diligence programme. Among other things, specific employees should be designated as responsible for privacy issues and training should be provided on information security procedures.
The 9th Circuit has addressed a number of key outstanding questions relating to hyperlinking on the Internet. The decision allows use of image 'thumbnails' in a search engine but bars use of full, high-quality images on a 'framed' webpage or an 'inline linked' webpage.
All multinational companies must develop a compliance strategy for the new legal privacy regimes in operation worldwide. This update sets out a three-stage work plan which should assist multinationals in complying with international privacy laws.
US federal courts have accorded limited deference to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) domain name dispute decisions. Federal litigation will override WIPO proceedings, and WIPO litigants will not be denied their day in a US court by virtue of having tried (and even failed) in WIPO proceedings first.