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    Posted by Bernie Dietz
    Categories: Legal Protection

    The DMCA, or Digital Millenium Copyright Act, is a law that, in part, protects websites from liability for claims that third party provided content infringes the rights of the content’s owner. Under the DMCA, a copyright owner can send a “take down notice” to a website hosting content that the copyright owner believes infringes its rights. In order to preserve its immunity under the DMCA, the hosting website must take specific actions, including taking down the content and notifying the party that provided the content of the take down demand. For an example, check out how Comcast handled it in one case.

    Anyway, there has been criticism in the past that take down notices have been improperly used to have content removed that is not actually infringing. In my experience, most websites or web hosts would rather not spend the time intervening or reviewing the validity of the claims they receive, so they automatically remove the content when notified whether it’s a valid claim or not. For the sender of the take down notice, however, there are risks in sending a bogus take notice.

    Viacom, the owner of Comedy Central, recently was on the receiving end of a complaint that a take down notice allegedly sent by Viacom to YouTube was a misue of the DMCA. Apparently, Viacom and EFF, the group that sued Viacom, have come to an agreement to withdraw the lawsuit and Viacom has admitted they goofed.

    Before sending out a take down notice, take a hard look at your claim to be sure it would withstand a claim of fair or other proper use. Otherwise, the tables may be turned on you.

    Posted: April 25th, 2007 at 3:49 pm | | Email Post | Add comment
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    Posted by Bernie Dietz
    Categories: Legal Protection

    It’s Spring and the venue cases keep coming. I saw this recent decision involving the website and a claim of defamation by someone featured on the website. The case was filed in state court in Pennsylvania although the site is run from Florida.

    Without addressing the merits of the case, the judge dismissed it ruling that he did not have jurisdiction over the matter. I don’t have a copy of the decision so I don’t know how much of a factor it played in the judge’s decision, but it is interesting to note that the terms of use on calls for exclusive venue in Miami, Florida for litigation of any disputes involving the site. Couldn’t have hurt, though…

    Posted: April 11th, 2007 at 3:51 pm | | Email Post | Add comment
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    Posted by Bernie Dietz
    Categories: Legal Protection

    A recent case (link opens in pdf), Feldman v. Google, Inc., involving Google and a claim of click fraud in the Google Adwords program provides an interesting view into the way a court considers the enforceability of “click wrap” agreements and, specifically, choice of law and venue provisions. “Click wrap” agreements are those online agreements you often must accept before downloading software or signing up for an online service (such as AdWords). Most, if not all, of those agreements provide for a location (venue) in which any disputes must be heard. The Google Adwords agreement specifices Santa Clara County, California, for example.

    Google won this argument that the case, originally brought in Pennsylvania, should be transferred to California. If you have a click wrap agreement, you may want to read the Court’s analysis to see whether your agreement matches up to the enforceable one in this case.

    Posted: April 6th, 2007 at 3:37 pm | | Email Post | Add comment
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    Posted by Bernie Dietz
    Categories: Domain Name Issues

    Renew your domain names now because the price is going to go up.? This article details the 7% price hike that is coming for .com and .net addresses.? You can avoid the increase (at least temporarily) by renewing your domains before it kicks in.? And, as I’ve said before, make sure you’re registered with a reputable registrar – I continue to see people getting ripped off by fly-by-night resellers…

    Posted: April 6th, 2007 at 11:25 am | | Email Post | Add comment
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