Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gotta Love San Francisco

Where else but the bay do you get companies like this? See here.

Yahoo and Microsoft Unite to Take on Google

Gawker reports that Yahoo and Microsoft have struck an advertising deal in order to partner up and take on Google in the paid search world. Paid search has been plagued by click fraud thus far, internet attorneys will be watching to see how this new deal affects consumers and small business. Whether or not Yahoo and Microsoft put a dent in Google's search dominance remains to be seen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is IPHONE Too Much for ATT's Network

Internet attorneys are always interested in new digital consumer products and if their makers can actually back up their performance claims.

To this end, it looks like ATT just doesn't have the network muscle to handle data-hogging Iphones. What's the problem? Well, Iphones just use tons and tons of data. All of those apps and shiny and slick digital toys devour data. This, in turn, slows a network and ATT is the exclusive network provider for Iphone. ATT just might not have broad enough shoulders to carry the entire Iphone data burden. I would recommend that both ATT and Apple re-think this exclusivity or else they may not only lose customers in droves (what good are all those uber cool apps if they don't perform timely), but they may face class action claims for failing to deliver the digital performance they have promised.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Twitter's Trademark Dilemma

Twitter wants to trademark words such as "tweet" and "re-tweet". Problem is, those terms aren't exactly distinctive and, in fact, are arguably descriptive terms - a big no go zone for trademarks. In order to show that Twitter, in fact, uses such terms in commerce - TechCrunch reports a lame change of nomenclature on Twitter's website. Mindless updates are now termed "tweets" instead of "updates" - which had been the nomenclature used for Twitter since its debut.

Who cares and why does it matter? This will have no impact on the average Joe, we'll all go around saying we "tweeted" this or "re-tweeted" that without any fear of violating trademark law or, more importantly, a lawsuit. Twitter's efforts are aimed squarely at third party app developers and - the entertainment/broadcast industry. Twitter wants to be paid each time your favorite baseball announcer says "hey, tweet us the answer to the seventh inning trivia question" and so forth.

Twitter must have had some boneheads doing their legal work previously - what lawyer with any brains would let Twitter go on for over a year using the term "updates" rather than the best e-commerce branding term of recent memory in "tweets"? Perhaps such a boneheaded move will cost Twitter a trademark registration. It would be a shame as that may be the only way Twitter figures out how to actually make a buck or two. The lesson is that e-commerce ventures like Twitter need to retain experienced internet lawyers with the knowledge and foresight to stake out intellectual property territory before such rights are foolishly relinquished.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Facebook Uses Your Pics to Sell Stuff to Your Friends

Most Facebook users don't realize it but their friends may be receiving ads featuring pics ripped directly from Facebook users' profiles. So don't be alarmed if you see your buddy's girlfriend featured in an ad for an online dating website or you are featured as an unsuspecting pitchman for a fast food joint or skin cream. This is just the next wave in targeted, internet marketing and the real and true purpose of all social networking websites.

Users may disable this feature. Of course, it is hard to find the disable function but, that is hardly surprising given Facebook's need to actually make money one of these days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Google off the Defamation Hook in Britain

Google scores a defamation victory abroad. A British court has ruled that Google is not liable for indexing defamatory web pages. As American internet lawyers know, this ruling is in line with Section 230 0f America's Communications Decency Act.

How broadly this is applied in the U.K. has yet to be seen but the ruling seems grounded in logic and reason.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Phishing Attacks Continue to Plague Social Networks

Techcrunch reports on the latest social networking phishing attack developing on Myspace. Proceed with caution on social networking sites, they may not be as secure as many users think.

What are phishing attacks? Wikipedia has the simple answer. Internet lawyers know that phishing can result in serious harm such as identity theft which leads to financial ruin for many. Social networking sites seem to be the perfect target for phishing because users often have a false sense of security and trust. Many times, phishers (the bad guys) can take advantage by posing as a trusted friend or familiar profile. Be wary of weird or strangely titled messages from social networking "friends". If a message makes no sense, it's probably from an imposter.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Are the Feds Watching Your Tweets??

Gawker has an interesting little bit of Silicon Valley gossip regarding the Feds keeping an eye on Twitter activity. As internet lawyers already know, the feds are very good at keeping an eye on your internet activities. Best not to Tweet unless you are stone sober. I guarantee some drunken fools will be paid a visit by the secret service after making threats against the President or some other politician. Don't be that guy or girl.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gathering Evidence Online Can Be Tricky

Internet based lawsuits can be very challenging with regard to gathering and preserving evidence. The nature of digital evidence means that it may be lost in a second or extremely inaccurate and misleading.

One example of this is the difficulty in linking wrongful online behavior to the actual bad actor. Some services offer things such as email tracking to identify the actual individual associated with an email address. Experienced internet lawyers know that such services are often inaccurate and unreliable in a court of law.

Take the experience of poor Kimberly Higgins detailed on the Consumerist. This women has been wrongfully sued because her name happened to be linked to an email address used by a scammer who duped a gentlemen in Britain with an Iphone offer. Naturally, the man in London sought justice by filing a small claims suit in America. The problem - he is likely throwing good money after bad by bringing a suit based upon unreliable evidence he obtained from an email tracing service.

Unfortunately, too many people charge off into court without performing the due diligence necessary to know that their suit is based in fact. Essentially, this British gentlemen has based his lawsuit on information he obtained from an unverifiable source. It is akin to filing a lawsuit based upon an anonymous and unconfirmed Wikipedia entry.

Those looking to enter internet litigation may be well served to hire an internet law firm experienced in matters of gathering digital and internet based evidence.