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Google Wave - the next big thing from Google

Google is planning on launching Google Wave.
Here is a video about Google Wave. (
It is long and probably takes about 20 mins to get a decent feel.) Google Wave is the next big thing from Google -- to merge IM, email, Facebook etc. It is said to be Google's counter attack to Microsoft's (launched this week, in case you missed Microsoft's $100M launch campaign) but it is really not a search tool but a communication tool.

A commentary is here:

Here is a back story about it:

Lars Rasmussen is speaking later this month in Brisbane, and next month in Sydney & Melbourne. He invented Google Maps, and now Google Wave. He lives in Sydney.

2009 Innovation Lecture - Dr Lars Rasmussen, Google

30 June 2009 Brisbane – Customs House

Business Method Patents

"WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide what sorts of business methods might be patented, an issue with the potential to reshape significant parts of the economy. “This is the most important patent case in 50 years, in particular because there is so much damage and so much good the court could do,” said John F. Duffy, a law professor at George Washington University who submitted a brief in the appeals court in support of neither side."

Google News

One topic for tonight's class will be Google News, and the impact of the IceTV copyright decision on Google. For IceTV, see below.

Have a look at the following:

Stanford IP Litigation Clearinghouse

This is an interesting website:

On December 8, 2008, the Law, Science & Technology Program at Stanford Law School, together with several commercial and philanthropic partners, launched the Stanford Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse (IPLC). A free online database, the site is being released to the public in phases, with the patent portion currently offering real-time comprehensive data regarding patent infringement litigation in the United States. Non-patent matters, including copyright, trademark, trade secret and antitrust currently offer only intermittent data while "pending additional fundraising."

Internet Law Bookstore

I created an Internet Law Bookstore using Amazon technology. It took only 5 minutes to set up. Have a look at This shows how easy it is to set up an e-commerce website these days.

Recent US Copyright Case

"CBS's Internet unit won the right to use National Football League players' names and statistics for free in fantasy sports leagues it sponsors after a judge ruled the information is in the public domain. The ruling is the latest setback for professional sports leagues and players unions looking to control the fantasy market. "

Similar result to IceTV in Australia?

IceTV Judgment - copyright and electronic program guides

See Story in SMH.

Judgment on Austlii

Penguin Jurisdiction Case

Penguin IP Suit V. Web Site Can't Fly In NY: Judge
A federal judge has tossed a copyright case brought by Penguin Group USA Inc. against a Web site that posted Upton Sinclair's "Oil!" and several other Penguin works online, citing a lack of personal jurisdiction in New York.

Recent Internet Reports

Internet Typology: The Mobile Difference: Wireless Connectivity Has Drawn Many Users More Deeply into Digital Life
Pew Internet & American Life Project, March 25, 2009
Freedom on the Net: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media
Freedom House, April 1, 2009
This publication includes country reports on Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, India, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Internet Crime Report 2008
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), March 2009
There is an FBI news release, March 30, 2009, at

Sinking the Copyright Pirates: Global Protection of Intellectual Property
Hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, April 6, 2009
For transcripts, please go to and scroll down.
The Office of U.S. Trade Representative Releases Summary of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Negotiations
News release, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), April 6, 2009
The summary is at

Research Tool

When you are doing website research, you may wish to use this free tool to record and store the pages that you find interesting or useful.
See (an Australian invention)

Domain Names

Carly Long, an expert in domain name litigation, will teach the first half of the class this Tuesday evening.

You may wish to have a look at the following:


Panel Views

See also, UDRP Commentaries

Letter to ICANN

Proposed Changes to the Patent Act

If you are interested in patents, then you may be interested in these proposed changes to the law in Australia. We will be looking at patents later in the semester.

Google and Trademarks

In a long-awaited opinion, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Google must face a trademark infringement lawsuit for selling keywords that trigger ads.

The three-judge panel reversed a lower court's dismissal of Rescuecom v. Google, 06-4881, in which computer-repair company Rescuecom had claimed that users could be confused by links to competitors' ads that appear alongside Google search results for the company's trademarked name.


Rescuecom Corp. v. Google Inc., 2009 WL 875447 (2d Cir. April 3, 2009)

The Standard

Eric Goldman's Blog


The class on Tuesday will focus on jurisdiction issues.

If you want to do some extra background reading, a recent case concerning The Secret documentary and book has both Interent and jurisdictional issues. It is more important for copyright law, but is an interesting diversion for Cyberlaw.

Background: The Australian

Australian Trial Judge Decision
Full Court of Federal Court Decision

US Lawsuit
Note regarding US decision on jurisdiction
Motion Judgment

Dan Hollings Case.

Google/Louis Vuitton legal battle resumes

See The Guardian

Google today entered the latest stage in a four-year legal battle against luxury brand Louis Vuitton which accuses the US internet giant of selling trademark search terms relating to its products to rivals.

Google's lawyers are at the European Court of Justice today as part of a hearing relating to an appeal the search company lodged after LVMH won a case in France against Google in 2005.

Amazon and Copyright


This week, an e-book Web site said invoked the 1998 law to prevent books from some non-Amazon sources from working on its Kindle reader.

Amazon sent a legal notice to complaining that information relating to a computer utility written in the Python programming language "constitutes a violation" of the DMCA, according to a copy of the warning letter that the site posted. is an e-book news and community site.

Google and NZ Copyright

Stepping into local New Zealand political debate for the first time, Google makes a submission on the draft ISP code of practice – and it doesn’t hold back, citing a rash of bogus copyright claims it has received in the US. In its opening salvo, the company says, "section 92A undermines the incredible social and economic benefits of the open and universally accessible internet, by providing for a remedy of account termination or disconnection that is disproportionate to the harm of copyright infringement online.”


Cybersquatting Cases Hit Record In 2008
WIPO has announced that companies and celebrities ranging from Arsenal football club to actress Scarlett Johansson filed a record number of "cybersquatting" cases in 2008 to stop others from profiting from their famous names, brands, and events. The most common business sector in which complaints arose was pharmaceuticals, due to Web sites offering sales of medicines with protected names.

10 March: Social Media Club Brisbane

Instead of the usual LWN117 class on Tuesday 10 March, you are encouraged to attend the March event of the Social Media Club Brisbane:
SMCB March is a panel discussion about legal issues related to the social media world. Joining us on the panel for the evening is:
  • Peter Black, Lecturer, QUT Law School
  • Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation, QUT Law School
  • John Swinson, Partner, Mallesons
After you've picked the lawyers' brains hang around for a few drinks downstairs at Lock n Load's Jazz Night. Feel free to arrive from 5.30pm, with the panel session starting at 6.00pm.

SMBC March is proudly supported by QUT Faculty of Law and Lock n Load Bistro.
Lock n Load is at 142 Boundary St, West End QLD 4101. View Google Maps here.

Patents and Google

Google Patent Chief: Patent reform needed more than ever
Posted: 03 Mar 2009 11:29 AM PST

Editorial by Michelle Lee, Head of Patents and Patent Strategy at Google, See

The Law of Google

These are my notes for class for Tuesday, 3 March 2009. The class is "The law of Google".

1. The breadth of Google.

Scholarly Papers
Custom Search, example: Leading Australian Law Firms
Syndicated Search and example
Google Base

Search tricks and tips
Internal search
Site Search
Site Map

Other Google Stuff
Google Accounts
Web History
Photos: Picasa and Picasa Web
Chrome Browser

More information: Wikipedia
How Google Works
Google Sitemap

2. AdWords and AdSense: Google Advertising

A. Do these searches on Google, Australian Google and UK Google and compare results:
  • Noosa
  • Hilton
  • Q1
  • cheap accomodation queensland
  • flowers paddington
  • the tallest building in brisbane is
  • DSL-G604T
  • Sony
  • Harvey World Travel
  • Harvey World Travel Insurance
B. AdSense

Look at the Google Ads on these websites:
More information on Adsense

C. Google Trends and Google Analytics

D. AdWords
  • create Ad
  • select Keywords, budget and display location
  • people then click on your Ad.
Terms: pay-per-click (PPC); cost-per-click (CPC); cost-per-impression (CPM); click through rate (CTR)

KeyWord Tool and Tool

More information: Google Learning Centre

E. Other types of Google advertising

F. Problems & Issues

(a) Pay Per Click Websites

Look at these websites:
(What is legitimate? See RealSpanking and Jackass and UStream)

(b) Click Fraud
What percentage of click are fraudulent? See this story and here too.
Clickfraud is old news: Crack-down

(c) Trade Mark Issues
Google Procedure
ACCC Lawsuit: See here and here and here and here (Google filed its defence on 17 November 2008.)
RescueCom Lawsuit
French Lawsuit
Geico Lawsuit and settlement

More information
Google Business Solutions

3. Legal issues and lawsuits

Book Search Lawsuit and here
Caching & Copyright: see here and here and here

Also, see older posts in this blog, such as this post from 2006.

LNP candidate hits Labor's Dean Wells in the Googles

THE state election campaign is yet to officially begin, but a new battlefront has emerged in cyberspace in the fight to win over undecided voters.

Anyone googling Labor MP Dean Wells' name will first see a link to his Liberal National Party opponent's website on their screens.

The LNP's Murrumba candidate Peter Flannery is paying the online search engine for a sponsored link to appear at the top of the results page.

See Courier Mail

The Secret Litigation

There is currently a copyright litigation regarding the DVD and best selling book, The Secret.

The Director, Drew Heriot, is suing Rhonda Byrne in Federal Court in Chicago. Byrne's Eastern European company, TS Productions, is suing Drew in Federal Court in Melbourne, Australia.

Although these cases do not directly concern the Internet, they raise interesting questions regarding jurisdiction and appropriate forum.

I am representing Drew Heriot.


Internet Business Issues

David Jacobson, from Brisbane, has a very useful Blog for Internet businesses in Brisbane, titled "External Insights".

New blog

Now that LWN117 is over for 2006, if you are interested in following developments that relate to the legal regulation of the internet, visit my new blog Freedom to Differ:

Reading For Class

In Monday's class, we will be studying Google and Ebay. How does these sites make money? What are the legal risks?

Read about Google and Ebay in the next series of posts. (There are earlier posts also referring to Google and Ebay.)

Make sure that you are familar with the Google and Ebay websites. Ebay also owns PayPal. (Some people thing that Paypal sucks.) Ebay has lots of information about Ebay on its site.

Ebay sells some weird stuff. Have a look here, and see the weird stuff category.

Also, if you have time, do a search on Google using the terms "google lawsuits" and "ebay lawsuits".

Recent Articles About Ebay

[Source for these and next 3 posts are the excellent BNA News]

Yahoo and eBay have reached a multi-year advertising and
commercial partnership aimed at boosting their position
against Web search leader Google. According to the deal,
Yahoo will be the exclusive third-party provider of all
graphic ads throughout eBay's auction site. Yahoo has also
chosen eBay's online payment system PayPal to allow its own
customers to pay for Yahoo Web services.

StreamCast Networks, the creators of the Morpheus
file-sharing software, is alleging in a lawsuit that auction
house eBay is profiting from peer-to-peer technology that
rightfully belongs to it. StreamCast claims in a lawsuit
filed Monday in the U.S. Central District Court in Los
Angeles that Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the duo who
developed the technology behind companies Kazaa and Skype,
of breaking an agreement to give StreamCast the first right
to purchase their FastTrack peer-to-peer protocol.

The US Supreme Court has handed a victory to patent-reform
advocates, ruling that MercExchange was not automatically
entitled to a court order in a patent dispute with eBay. In
a closely watched case, the court unanimously ruled that
judges have flexibility in deciding whether to issue court
orders barring continued use of a technology after juries
find a patent violation. Decision at
Coverage at

A Romanian native unhappy with eBay Inc.'s business
practices was sentenced to five months in prison for making
e-mailed threats against two of the company's top officers.
Florin Horicianu also received five months of electronic
monitoring and was ordered to stay away from eBay employees
and events

FIFA IS set for a legal battle with eBay after the auction
site failed to halt the sale of unofficial World Cup tickets
on their website. The UK Government yesterday introduced a
change in the law governing the sale of tickets for the
World Cup not authorised by football's world governing body
Fifa. Under the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act
it was already an offence to sell tickets for any of
England's group matches at this summer's finals in Germany.
But yesterday's amendment widened the definition of a
designated match covered by the legislation making it
illegal to sell tickets for any World Cup games.

Makers of the wildly popular "World of Warcraft" online game
now face a lawsuit from an eBay seller who claims he was
improperly barred from selling copies of his own unofficial
gaming guide. During several months beginning last August,
24-year-old Brian Kopp sold several hundred copies of his
guide, which contains tips on playing the game and
accumulating points, at roughly $15 apiece. Weeks after his
first auction went live, Blizzard, Vivendi, and the ESA
began sending repeated takedown notices under the DMCA,
asking eBay to yank the auctions because of copyright and
trademark infringement concerns.

The first town ever auctioned on eBay soon will be back up
for sale on the online auction site. Nearly two years after
he bought the tiny town of Bridgeville, Orange County
financial adviser Bruce Krall says he plans to re-auction
the Humboldt County hamlet on eBay next month.

A police officer in Florida has been charged with selling a
car that he knew had been stolen over eBay to a man in North
Carolina. The Florida Highway Patrol was brought into this
by the Kissimmee Police Department because, when North
Carolina authorities called, officers realized the man they
were investigating was one of their own.

Recent Articles About Google

An AP article reports on problems plaguing Google over its click-fraud settlement. Some companies say that Google is trying to short-change them and thousands of other
advertisers by offering refunds totalling $60 million to settle a lawsuit. The refunds, which will be provided in the form of advertising credits, are meant to compensate Google's customers for undetected click fraud, which contributed to the $13.3 billion in ad revenue that has poured into the company since 2001.

Google has agreed to shut down some communities on its
popular Orkut social networking site because the Brazilian
government says they advocate violence and human rights
violations. In recent years, news reports have linked
drug-dealing operations and organized fights between soccer
fans to Orkut communities. One community allegedly advocated
killing the president and planting a bomb in Congress and
explained those thing might be done.

Google's share of the US Web search market continues to edge
beyond Yahoo and Microsoft, according to the latest monthly
numbers released by analysis firm ComScore Networks. The
search giant's market share among home, work, and university
Internet users climbed from 42.7 percent to 43.1 percent
from March to April of this year, up from 36.5 percent in
April 2005.

The NY Times Magazine ran a lengthy feature on the Google
Book Search program and the growing interest in scanning
millions of books, a move facilitated by technology and the

A former Google Inc. advertiser sued Wednesday to block a
proposed $90 million class-action settlement, arguing the
amount grossly understates how much the online search engine
leader has benefited from a ruse known as ``click fraud.''
The complaint, filed by Joseph Kinney in Arkansas state
court, targets two small businesses -- Lane's Gifts &
Collectibles and Caufield Investigations -- leading a
class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of
merchants and entrepreneurs who have bought ads through
Google's search engine since 2001.

A Long Island politician sued Google on Thursday claiming
the search engine leader is profiting from illegal child
pornography. Jeffrey Toback, a member of the Nassau County
Legislature, said Google has paid links to Web sites
containing pornography involving minors.

With a $10 billion advertising market at stake, Google, the
fast-rising Internet star, is raising objections to the way
that it says Microsoft, the incumbent powerhouse of
computing, is wielding control over Internet searching in
its new Web browser. Google says it expressed concerns about
competition in the Web search business in recent talks with
the Justice Department and the European Commission, both of
which have brought previous antitrust actions against

The French president, Jacques Chirac, yesterday unveiled
what he hopes will be his great legacy to France's struggle
against the global dominance of the US: a series of
technological projects including a European search engine to
rival Google. Named Quaero - Latin for "I search" - the
search engine aims to be the first to efficiently sort
through audio, images and video.,,1761482,00.html

Google's chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, says Google is
not lobbying to change China's censorship laws and, for now,
has no plans to do so. Schmidt was visiting China last week
to promote the company's new Chinese search engine and to
meet with officials of various Chinese ministries.

Google's bid to blanket San Francisco with a free wireless
Internet service cleared a major hurdle Wednesday when a
city panel identified the search leader and EarthLink as the
best candidates for the ambitious project. The
recommendation, completing a six-week review, allows the
city to begin negotiations with Google and EarthLink, which
decided to team together earlier this year after initially
bidding against each other. The companies will pay to build
the entire network, which is expected to cost at least $15

A US federal court ruled last week that the purchase by
Canadian pharmacies of search engine keywords using the name
of rival Merck's "Zocor" cholesterol reduction drug does not
constitute trademark infringement. The US District Court for
the Southern District of New York refused to dismiss the
claims of trademark dilution and false advertising, but
dismissed the trademark infringement claim related to the
keyword purchases.

Google may get a break from a federal judge in a lawsuit
claiming the company's 3D Earth-mapping program violates
patent rights. The legal fight began in May 2004 when a
Virginia-based company called Skyline Software Systems filed
a patent-infringement suit against Keyhole. Google became
part of the suit after it acquired Keyhole in October 2004.

A court has ruled that a lawsuit over a company purchasing a
rival's trademark as a search keyword should go to trial, in
what could be the first case to scrutinize the trademark
infringement liability of keyword purchasers. Edina Realty
sued rival real estate company, accusing it
of false advertising, trademark infringement and trademark
dilution. According to the suit, MLS used "Edina Realty" in
search terms purchased on Google and Yahoo, in the text of
the MLS ads that appeared on the two search sites, and in
hidden links and text on the MLS Web site.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled against
Yahoo in the company's attempt to persuade the court to
intervene in a landmark ruling in France over the sale of
Nazi memorabilia on its websites. The 99 page decision
focuses on the jurisdiction of the court and whether the
first amendment issues were ripe for consideration. Decision
Coverage at

BNA's E-commerce Law Daily reports on Wednesday's hearing
involving the suit by Agence France Press against Google
over the Google News service. At issue is whether news
headlines are copyrightable subject matter.

Reading For Class About Google

Read about Google AdWords and AdSense at and at

Read About Google.

Read about Google's products and services

Different Ways to Search on Google

What is different about this search box?

Have a look at the Google and other advertising links on this page.

One bad aspects of Google:
Domain monetarisation, and see this paper.

Lecture on geo-identification

Dr Svantesson gave his public lecture on geo-identification at QUT yesterday (as promoted in this blog).

His lecture on geo-identification, which is the practice of identiyfing internet users' geographical locations, considered how this technology can be used to ensure compliance with national regulations. The PowerPoint slides he used are available here. He also has a website that contains numerous links and resources on geo-identification:

xxx domain name controversy

Michael Geist writes that the recent ICANN decision to reject the creation of a new dot-xxx domain name extension (reported in this blog) may have long-term implications for Internet governance since it sparked enormous controversy and provided ample evidence of US government intervention into ICANN matters.

Read more here.

Challenge to Amazon's 1-Click Patent

New Zealander Peter Calveley has successfully lobbied the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to re-examine Amazon's 1-Click Patent, the online process that enables shoppers to enter their credit card details and address just once so that on subsequent visits to the website, it takes just a single mouse click to make a purchase. Read more here.

Geo-Identification: A Death Sentence for the ‘borderless’ internet?

QUT Seminar
Speaker: Dr Dan Svantesson
Title: Geo-Identification - A Death Sentence for the ‘borderless’ internet?
Date: Wednesday 24 May 2006
Time: 5.30pm Refreshments
6.00pm Lecture commences
Venue Lecture Room B122, B Block, Level 1
QUT Gardens Point Campus
The Topic

Recent technological advances let operators of Internet facilities, such as websites, identify the geographical location of those they interact with, enabling them to make their content available in certain locations only. Such geo-identification can solve many of the legal problems associated with the “borderless” Internet. However, this practice also changes the Internet from a relatively borderless medium to something similar to our physical world, divided by borders of different kinds.

The lecture has two aims: (1) giving legal practitioners a better understanding of how geo-identification can help to limit their clients’ legal risk exposure; and (2) giving academics, law-makers and other interested parties an understanding of how the technologies discussed affect Internet regulation.

The Speaker

Dr Dan Svantesson is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, Bond University. He has law degrees from both Sweden and Australia. In 2004 he was awarded a PhD at UNSW for his thesis titled ‘Private international law and the Internet’. He is a Research Associate at the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, a Board Member of the Australian Privacy Foundation and the National Convenor for the International Law Interest Group of the Australasian Law Teachers Association. Further, he is the National Rapporteur for Australia within the Data Protection Research and Policy Group of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and a Contributing Editor of the World Legal Information Institute. Dan specialises in international aspects of the IT society, an area within which he has published a range of articles and given presentations in Australia, Asia and Europe.

Sue Lavering

FPL Secretary, International and Community Engagement
Faculty of Law
Queensland University of Technology
Ph 3864 5433
Fax 3864 1161

LAPD has started a blog

The Los Angeles Police Department has started a blog. Read about it here. Visit the blog here.

Do you think this is a good use for a blog?

eBay patent case

The U.S. Supreme Court has handed a victory to patent-reform advocates, ruling that a small company whose patent was infringed by eBay Inc. was not automatically entitled to a court order blocking the offending service. Read about the case here. Read the judgment.

MS v Google ... again

US antitrust authorities have rejected concerns that a search feature in the new version of Microsoft web browser would give the company an unfair advantage over Google. Read more here.

A defining moment?

The Economist suggests that this is a defining moment for Google. Read more here. Do you agree?

Attorney-General announces copyright reforms

The Commonwealth Attorney-General has announced major copyright reforms. These reforms are, in aprt, an attempt to keep up with rapid technological developments. Read the press release here.

These reforms will be discussed in class tonight.

Choking the internet

Wired asks this question: Could High-Def Choke the Internet?

Read the article and let us know what you think?

Hacker fails to avoid extradition

From Australian IT: A British computer expert accused by Washington of the world's "biggest military hack of all time" should be extradited to the US to stand trial, a court ruled on Thursday. Read more here.

Audit of ISPs by ACMA

A recent audit of the twenty-four largest Australian internet service providers by ACMA has found a high degree of compliance with consumer protection obligations under the industry’s content codes of practice. However, ACMA has also urged consumers to report on lack of internet safety measures. Read the press release here.

Minister for Communications, Information technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, said that the findings of the audit carried out by the communications regulator demonstrated the effectiveness of codes of practice under its co-regulatory content regulation scheme. However, a spokeswoman for the Minister said that the federal Government had not ruled out ISP-level content filtering and that the Senator's comments shouldn't be taken as indication of how well current regulation policy was working. Read the Minister's press release here.

For more details, read this report in Australian IT.

Yahoo seeks media freedom in China

Yahoo has announced that it is seeking US government help to urge China to allow more media freedom. Read more here.

.xxx domain name rejected

Following yesterday's post, ICANN has voted to reject a proposal to create a red-light district on the internet.

Read more here.


Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will consider a proposal to introduce a new dot-xxx ending for adult-entertainment web sites. Read more here.

Do you think this would be an effective measure to regulate online content?

Academic Live

Just a few months after Microsoft launched the beta version of their new search engine,, they have launched Windows Live Academic at

Affordable internet gambling?

CNN reports that that people who use the Internet to place their bets tend to be affluent and educated. Online gambling advocates hope that this finding will encourage the US government to legalise online gambling. For more information, click here.

Have you ever gambled on the internet? Do you believe that people should be able to gamble on the internet? What legal regulation should there be for online gambling?


A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee has approved a bill that would ban Internet gambling, estimated to be a $12 billion industry. The legislation would update and expand an existing federal law to cover all forms of interstate gambling within the US, and would bar a gambling business from accepting payment in the form of credit cards, checks, wire, and Internet transfers.

What impact will this have? Will it be effective?

iTunes patent


A patent application filed by Apple Computer in December 2004 appears to cover a method of buying a song, ring tone, for music video from an online store over a wireless network. The application was published yesterday on the Web site of
the US Patent and Trademark Office. It describes an invention that allows cell phone or wireless handheld users to interact with an online music store, such as iTunes, and mark a song or video file that can be downloaded to a computer at a later time.

Blogging in China

Australian IT reports that blogs are popular in China.
What impact do you think blogs will have on Chinese society? Can blogs help bring democracy to China?

Business 2.0 Magazine: MySpace purge draws sharp reactions

From Business 2.0 Magazine:
  • SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0) - When Friendster started deleting profiles it deemed risque or otherwise objectionable, users bolted for the exits, helping to boost rival social networks like MySpace. Could MySpace be making the same mistake? Author Nicholas Carr characterized a recent move to close 200,000 accounts as a "purge." Ross Levinsohn, head of MySpace parent News Corp.'s (Research) Internet division, said the move was motivated by concerns for teen safety. That's certainly credible given the spate or recent incidents in which adults have been arrested for soliciting sex from minors met on the site. But mainstream marketers' concerns about questionable content may just go just as far in explaining its recent reform campaign. And with 250,000 new accounts opened daily, the closures hardly seem large enough to slow MySpace's momentum.

Will this impact on MySpace? Should MySpace be censoring accounts?

Australian Code on Spam

Last week the ACMA registered a code of practice for internet service providers and email service providers on countering spam. Read the press release and the Code.

Do you think this Code will help reduce spam? Why? Why not?

Back to blogging

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last week. But I'm back and I promise to keep blogging until I take another week off from blogging over Easter.

IIA Questions ALP Policy Position on Internet Content

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, March 21 2006

The Internet Industry Association has questioned the rationale for the
fundamental change to Australia's internet content regulatory scheme
proposed by the ALP today.

"We are not convinced that Australian families will benefit from
fundamentally changing a scheme which is internationally recognised as
the most advanced of its kind in the world", said IIA chief executive
Peter Coroneos.

Mr Coroneos added: "Under the government-backed Internet Content Code
scheme which applies in Australia, ISPs are already required to provide
their customers with access to a filter or filtered feed. Furthermore,
these filters must pass rigorous independent testing to ensure they not
only catch the kind of content referred to the in the Opposition's
proposal, but also thousands of other sites which are likely to cause
offence to adults and potential disturbance to children. On top of all
this, the scheme prohibits ISPs from profiting from the provision of
these filters - they must be offered on a cost recovery basis, and some
ISPs even offer them for free."

Under Australia's Broadcasting Services Act, industry Codes of Practice
are developed and enforced. The Codes apply to all ISPs in Australia who
are required to adhere to the scheme, and substantial penalties exist
for non-compliance. These penalties are enforceable in the Federal Court.

Mr Coroneos added: "It is important to recognise that the UK 'Cleanfeed'
scheme (upon which the Labor proposals are modelled) was a
market-drivien initiative which arose because the UK lacked the strong
legislative protection available to Australians. We can't understand why
we'd adopt measures that will impose significant extra costs on users,
degrade network performance and deliver no real upside for Australian
families beyond that currently available."

"For families and those concerned with child safety the message is
simple," Mr Coroneos concluded. "Follow the advice given by your ISP and
take advantage of the tools and services they provide to shield your
children from unsuitable sites."


More information about the IIA Codes and family friendly filters is
available at For details of Australia's
co-regulatory scheme see For general information about
protecting children online, see

For further information please contact:
Peter Coroneos
Chief Executive
Internet Industry Association
phone (02) 6232 6900

Tales from the Public Domain: Bound By Law?

Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University School of Law, which focuses on the delicate balance between intellectual property and the public domain - the realm of material that is free to use without permission or payment - has published a comic book that provides a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture. You can check out the comic book here.

Michael Geist: Goes From Bad To Worse

From Michael Geist's blog:
  • "I recently blogged about CRIA's failure to renew, which it used as part of its 'educational' campaign to convince users to stop downloading. A blog reader has noted that the situation has gone from bad to worse as the site is now owned by a Russian download service offering up thousands of MP3 files it says are legal for nine cents each. Bear in mind, there are thousands of CDs sitting in Canadian stores today encouraging people to visit"

Google's GDrive

Google revealed last week that it had inadvertently disclosed its closely guarded financial projections and also let slip information about a personal, digital storage service that is in the work, known as GDrive. GDrive would be an online storage service that would give users an alternative to storing data on their personal computer hard drives. Such a service could allow users to get access to their files wherever they are, whether from a laptop, cell phone or personal digital assistant.

Read more here.

Government censorship in Australia?

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday that a spoof John Howard website that featured a soul searching "apology" speech for the Iraq war has been shut down under orders from the Australian Government. Read the article here and view a copy of the "speech" here.

Is this censorship? Should the Australian government be allowed to ask Melbourne IT to shut down the site?

EFF: Proposed New Jersey Laws Would Chill Free Speech

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is objecting to a proposed New Jersey law that would require internet service providers to record users' identities and reveal them in any claim of defamation. The EFF believes that this would remove anonymous speech from the internet, thereby chilling free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Read EFF's open letter to three New Jersey congressmen.

US trys to stop internet gambling

Last week a United States House committee approved a bill aimed at stamping out the $12 billion internet gambling industry by stopping businesses from accepting credit cards and other forms of payment. Read the article from the Washington Post (free subscription required).

What dangers are posed by internet gambling? Should internet gambling be banned? How can we regulate internet gambling?

More censorship in China

On Friday a Chinese court jailed a teacher for 10 years on Friday for publishing anti-government views on the internet. Read CNN's report here.

dot.XXX legislation proposed in the US

Two US senators have proposed legislation that would establish a new ".XXX" domain for racy or sexually explicit websites. The bill proposed by senators Mark Pryor and Max Baucus, both Democrats, calls upon the US Department of Commerce to exclude sexually charged content from established website domain names such as .gov, .com, .org, .net, and .edu.

Read more here.

China defends internet censorship

On several occasions this blog has discussed content regulation of the internet in China. Last week, the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, offered a defense of China's internet censorship. Read more here.

ICANN to test non-English domain names

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has outlined a plan for testing domain names entirely in non-English characters, bringing closer to reality a change highly sought by Asian and Arabic Internet users.

Read more here.

France to open up iTunes

France is pushing through a law that would force Apple Computer Inc to open its iTunes online music store and enable consumers to download songs onto devices other than the computer maker's popular iPod player. Under the proposed law it would no longer be illegal to crack digital rights management if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another.

Read more here.

What might the implications of this proposed law? Should other nations consider implementing a similar law? Why? Why not?

More criticism of AOL's attempt to create a two tiered email service

In previous weeks, this blog has linked to stories on the introduction of a two-tiered system of email. Now Californian state Senator Dean Florez, a Democrat, has criticized AOL's attempt to create a "two-tiered world of e-mail service."

"It seems to me that AOL is setting a horrible precedent here," he said. "The whole ideal of Net neutrality gets wiped away, and we are left with an Internet of haves and have-nots."

Read more here.

ID theft in South Korea

The Korean government will strengthen its measures to prevent crimes related to the stealing of personal
information, amid increasing concerns over privacy theft on the Internet. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs has proclaimed a new law, under which one could serve up to three years in prison or face a maximum 10 million won fine for unauthorized use of personal information.

Read more here.

Creative Common license upheld

The first known court decision involving a Creative Commons license was handed down on March 9, 2006 by the District Court of Amsterdam. The case confirmed that the conditions of a Creative Commons license automatically apply to the content licensed under it.

Read more at the Creative Commons blog.

Google wins a court battle

Today a US District Court judge ruled that Google did not violate copyright law when it automatically archived a posting on Usenet by Gordon Roy Parker and by providing excerpts from Parker's website in its search results.

Read a summary of the case here. The judgment is also available to read.

Microsoft to help parents monitor their children

Microsoft has announced plans to include a free service to help parents control and monitor what their children are doing online in its upcoming Windows Live offering of Web services.

Read more here.

Do you think this will be an effective way to regulate content on the internet?

For LWB141 Legal Institutions and Method students

For a copy of the PowerPoint slides used Peter Black's week 3 tutorial, click here.

Australian IT: Cybersnooping laws differ in Australia

According to Australian IT, the law relating to cybersnooping are are different in different Australian states and there seems to be little prospect of a uniform "cybersnooping" rule appearing any time soon. Read the article here.

Microsoft joins the fight against spam

Microsoft has joined the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, the organization announced Tuesday. The move brings the software giant's Outlook, Exchange Server and MSN Hotmail products and services into the effort, which is dedicated to combating spam, phishing, viruses and other security threats distributed via e-mail.

Read more here.

Do you think the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group will be effective in reducing spam?

Abu Ghraib photos online

The online news magazine has published what it says is the complete archive of the Army's photographic evidence in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse investigations. The archive included a photo depicting a naked Iraqi detainee with bleeding wounds allegedly from an attack by U.S. military dogs.

Most of the photos had been published before. said it was the first news organization to publish the full file of photos collected by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, which previously released some in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read more here. To see the pictures, click here.

Should these images be available on the internet? What policy considerations underpin your opinion on this issue?

Online international paedophile pornography ring

27 people who were part of an international paedophile pornography ring that streamed live molestations of children over the internet have been charged with possession, receipt, distribution and manufacture of child pornography.

Authorities have identified seven child victims, including an infant whose molestation in April by a suburban Chicago man was transmitted live via an internet chat room to a co-conspirator who used the screen name "BigtDaddy619".

Four of those charged allegedly molested the children, making the resulting images available in the chat room called "Kiddypics & Kiddyvids," that facilitated trading of thousands of images and videos, the statement said.

Read the full story here. See one of the indictments here.

ISP held not liable for passively posting defamatory content

A UK court has ruled that an internet service provider (ISP) cannot be held liable for passively posting defamatory content. The court ruled that "an ISP which performs no more than a passive role in facilitating postings on the internet cannot be deemed to be a publisher at common law." The court did acknowledge that
"if a person knowingly permits another to communicate information which is defamatory, when there would be an opportunity to prevent the publication, there would seem to be no reason in principle why liability should not accrue."

The case is Bunt v. Tilley [2006] EWHC 407 (QB) (10 March 2006).

Google to put whole books online

  • Google is expanding its role in the publishing world from a search engine for books to a distributor making entire books available to read online.
    The company launched a new program Friday that allows traditional book publishers in the United States and Britain to sell and set the price for access to full copies of their books, Google spokeswoman Megan Lamb said Monday. Consumers who purchase the access cannot save copies of the books or individual pages to their computers and can view them only through a Web browser.
    "We are collaborating with publishers -- in response to demand from them -- to develop a suite of online tools that will enable publishers to experiment with new and innovative ways to generate more book revenue,'' Lamb said in an e-mail.
    The new program is open only to U.S. and U.K. publishers at this point.
    Several points remained unclear: whether Google would get a cut of the price paid for access to a book; whether customers who purchase access to books see advertising while they read the books; and whether independent authors will also one day sell full access to their books through the service.

Read the full article here.

US Family Entertainment and Copyright Act

A pair of apparent Ryan Adams fans violated the new US Family Entertainment and Copyright Act when they made portions of the singer's latest album available on a website frequented by his fans. The indictments are believed to be the first under the pre-release provision of the 2005 FECA law. Read more here.

Reinventing the internet

The Economist wonders what the internet would look like if a clean slate redesign was implemented. Read more here and listen to an audio interview with Tom Standage, Technology Editor of The Economist here:
  • The internet has been a hotbed of innovation because it’s "dumb". The designers didn’t presuppose how the internet would be used and that has made it extremely flexible. But what we are running into now are scaling and security problems, and some people are asking: if we were building the internet from scratch, what would be the ideal clean-slate design?

Do you think the internet should be redesigned from scratch? What do you think the internet would look like? Do you think that such a redesign could ever realistically happen?

Legal to search a computer for child pornography

The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that police may search computer hard drives for child pornography if their owners subscribe to websites selling the images. The panel found that there was a "fair probability" customers of child pornography Web sites receive or download the illegal images, opening the door for police searches.

The opening two paragraphs of the opinion summarise the issue:
  • The term "Lolita" conjures up images ranging from the literary depiction of the adolescent seduced by her stepfather in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel to erotic displays of young girls and child pornography. This case requires us to consider probable cause to search a computer for child pornography in the
    context of an Internet website, known as "," that admittedly displayed child pornography.
    Micah Gourde appeals from the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress more than 100 images of child pornography seized from his home computer. Gourde claims that the affidavit in support of the search lacked sufficient indicia of probable cause because it contained no evidence that Gourde actually downloaded or possessed child pornography. We disagree. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the magistrate judge who issued the warrant made a "practical, common-sense decision" that there was a "fair probability" that child pornography would be found on Gourde’s computer. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983). The Fourth Amendment requires no more.

The full opinion is available here. A news story reporting on the ruling is available here.

US Child Online Protection Act

In 1998 the US Congress passed Child Online Protection Act. The Act was to impose a $50,000 fine and six-month prison term on commercial Web site operators who publish content "harmful to children',' as defined by "contemporary community standards". However, legal challenges from sexual health sites, the online magazine and other internet publishers have kept it from being enforced. The US Supreme Court has twice granted preliminary injunctions that prevent the government from enforcing theAct until the case is tried.

Opponents of the Act contend that not only is it too broad and would therefore stifle free speech, but that advances in technology have made it obsolete. summarises the issues plaguing the Act.

Is the Act obsolete? Does the Act unduly infringe upon free speech? How can we protect children from offensive content that is available online?

Judge plans to order Google to hand over data to the US Government

The New York Times reports that as the US Justice Department has sharply cut back its request for search-engine data from Google, a federal judge indicated that he would instruct Google to comply with a government subpoena in the department's defense of the Child Online Protection Act, a 1998 law that would impose tough criminal penalties on individuals whose websites carried material deemed harmful to minors..

Read more here (free subscription required). See also

Microsoft in trouble with the European Commission

According to the Associated Press, the European Commission told Microsoft last Friday that it was "still not in compliance'' with a 2004 antitrust ruling that ordered it to share information with rivals to make their software work with Microsoft servers. The EU has already threatened Microsfot with 2 million euros in daily fines, backdated to 15 December, and said it will make its final decision after a hearing for Microsoft to plead its case later this month.

Read the full report here.

US Government sideas against eBay in patent dispute

The US Office of the Solicitor General said in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court on Friday that eBay willfully infringed on patents held by Great Falls-based MercExchange LLC and should be enjoined from using its "Buy It Now" feature, which allows users to buy goods at fixed prices rather than compete in auctions. Goods sold using that system account for about a third of eBay's business. Read more here.

AFP: Hong Kong clamps down on data firms after police leak

From AFP:
  • Hong Kong authorities said that they would set up a register of data-collection companies after details of 20,000 people who complained about the police were leaked on to the Internet. Roderick Woo, Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, said the companies would have to provide information on what kind of data they collect and why, and who will access to it. Woo said authorities were investigating the leaked data, including names, addresses and criminal records, which apparently came from the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC). The IPCC had denied any link with the website that carried the information but local media quoted unnamed police source saying the council outsourced data processing. Read more here.

Should Australia implement a similar register of data collection companies?

Michael Geist asks "Does the Government Have a Role in Internet Connectivity?"

Michael Geist picks up on Toronto Hydro's announcement of its plans to blanket the City of Toronto with wireless Internet access. He notes that the announcement has sparked an important debate about the
appropriate role for governments and public institutions in providing Internet connectivity. He argues that government cannot adopt a hands-off approach, though it must recognize that its role differs in the urban and rural markets with the urban focus on the competitive environment, while the rural mandate concentrated on establishing connectivity.

Read Michael Geist's comments here.

Do you agree that "Given the Web's importance, government cannot adopt a hands-off approach, though it must recognize that its role differs in the urban and rural markets"?

Google's Brazilian unit in trouble

Google's Brazilian unit has been asked to appear before Brazilian authorities on Friday to explain what the company was doing to curb crimes allegedly being committed through its Orkut chat rooms. According to CNet, Google's Brazil spokesman confirmed that the unit, Google Brasil, had received a summons from the Public Ministry, but he declined to give details.

Read the full story here.

Does this tell us anything about jurisdictional difficulties on the internet?

Internet hate speech in Canada

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has issued an interesting internet hate decision that focuses on the applicability of Canada's Human Rights Act to internet hate materials. The Tribunal ordered fines against several individuals for their role in maintaining several hate websites and newsletters.

You can read the decision here.

IT Today

From today's liftout in The Australian:

Hate speech and the internet

On page 7 of today's The Australian newspaper, an article headlined "Warning of hatred on racists' fantasy website" (the same article is available online under the headline "Racist site wanrings ignored"), referred to "A racist website where extremists fantasise about gassing Arabs has been allowed to operate freely for months, despite warnings sent to state and federal authorities that it breaks laws prohibiting the incitement of racial violence."

The website referred to is a blog titled Patriot Alliance Downunder. You can view the website at

Does this website breach Australian state and/or federal law? Should a website with this sort of content be allowed to remain online? What does the fact that this website is still online tell you about internet content regulation in Australia?

Japan: the internet and suicide pacts

CNN reports on internet suicide pacts in Japan:
  • "Internet suicide pacts have occurred since at least the late 1990s and have been reported everywhere from Guam to the Netherlands. But in Japan, where the suicide rate is among the industrialized world's highest, officials are worried about a recent spate of such deaths."

Read the full article here.

Is it possible to stop the internet being used in this way?

EFF Consumer Alert: isn't Anonymous Email

From EFF:
  • EFF is warning the public about a so-called anonymous email service located at's tagline is "Anonymous email made easy" but this service does not provide real anonymity -- it's a trap for the unwary and should not be used by battered spouses, whistleblowers and others who need real protection. Read more here.

Will Google take on Microsoft in the market for office-productivity software?

Google has purchased Upstartle, a small startup that runs a collaborative word processor inside Web browsers. Jen Mazzon from Upstartle blogs about the acquisition for Google here. Business 2.o Magazine believes that this acquisition is the surest sign yet that Google plans to take on Microsoft in the market for office-productivity software. Read more here.

Who do you think will win? Can you think of any legal concerns users may have with an online office-productivity suite?

Amazon to make movies and tv shows available to download

The New York Times reports that is in talks with Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers about starting a service that would allow consumers to download movies and TV shows for a fee and burn them onto DVD's. Read more here (free subscription required).

Internet censorship in Russia

On Friday the Russian government sought to shut down a popular, independent news Web site ( in Siberia for publishing extremist views of an anonymous reader who insulted Islam. This came the day after the government warned a different website ( over its decision to post on its site caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were first published in a Danish newspaper last September and inflamed violent Muslim protests when European and other newspapers reprinted them this year.

New York Times: "Anonymous Source Is Not the Same as Open Source"

From the New York Times:
  • "Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, currently serves up the following: Five billion pages a month. More than 120 languages. In excess of one million English-language articles. And a single nagging epistemological question: Can an article be judged as credible without knowing its author? Wikipedia says yes, but I am unconvinced."

Read the full article here.

What do you think? Can an article be judged as credible without knowing its author?

European Digital Library

At least six million books, documents and "other cultural works" are to be put online and housed in the European Digital Library by 2010, the European Commission announced last week.

US internet search giant Google triggered an international race to build an online library when it announced plans in December 2004 to digitise books and documents from a handful of big libraries (see Google Book Search). US based internet and software giants Yahoo, Microsoft and Amazon have since announced separate plans while France, angry that private companies took the lead, has pushed for the creation of a public digital library.

Read more here.

What copyright issues need to be considered when creating a digital library?

Backspace: 5 March to 12 March

This week this blog covered several important stories and raised a number of interesting issues:

How should damages be assessed for privacy and cybersecurity breaches

Listen to this podcast where I discuss how damages should be assessed in privacy and cybersecurity lawsuits. The Lawyers Weekly Show host J...