Recently, the Ontario Court of Appeal turned its attention to the issue of how Ontario libel laws apply to statements published online.
The case of Weiss v. Sawyer grew out of a long running dispute over a negative book review published in an online bi-weekly publication. The writer of the book took exception to the review and wrote letters allegedly containing libelous statements regarding the reviewer. One such letter was emailed to the editors of the online publication and may have been posted on their websites.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/ontario-court-of-appeal-addresses-online-email-libellous-statements
Beginning in December 2002, foreign businesses seeking to secure their presence in China's Internet space will be able to acquire URLs with the ".CN" top-level domain name. The .CN extension is the geographical top-level domain name for China which had previously been available only to citizens and businesses within China. In an agreement between the .US registry NeuStar and the China Internet Network Information Centre ("CNNIC"), registrations for .CN will be accepted through accredited registrars located outside of China.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/foreign-businesses-to-be-allowed-to-register-cn-domain-names
On November 1, 2002, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released a statement expressing his concerns over the intrusion into privacy rights by a provision of the federal Government's Bill C-17 (Public Safety Act 2002). Section 4.82 of the Bill would provide the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with access to personal information obtained by airlines about Canadian air travellers for the purpose of anti-terrorist "transportation security" and "national security" screening. The Commissioner was concerned that this provision would allow the RCMP to use information obtained to seek out those wanted on warrants for Criminal Code offences that were not related to terrorism, transportation security or national security.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/canadian-privacy-commissioner-expresses-privacy-concerns-over-bill-c17
The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower courts decision dismissing claims brought under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA") for lack of in rem jurisdiction. The court ruled that: (a) section 1125(d)(2)(A) of ACPA provides that a trade-mark owner may file an in rem action against a domain name only in the judicial district in which the registrar, registry, or other domain-name authority that registered or assigned the disputed domain name is located; and, (b) section 1125(d)(2)(C), which sets out the procedure for the deposit of domain name registrar's certificates with the courts, does not provide an additional basis for in rem jurisdiction.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/appeals-court-considers-jurisdictional-issues-under-acpa
An Australian Internet service that allows a member of the public to view an aerial photograph of any Sydney street address has some privacy critics concerned. The images, available for a modest charge from Webmap Pty Ltd, show an aerial view of a single property and its two closest neighbours at a scale of 1:750. The images are sufficiently detailed to view positions of decks, pools, boundaries and access points. People are visible but not easily identifiable in the images. Each aerial photo in the database is updated every three years.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/australian-privacy-commissioner-says-aerial-property-photos-not-a-privacy-violation
Can a mass-mailing computer virus become legal if it is "authorized" by a click wrap license agreement? That's the novel question raised by the FriendGreeting email, which invites email users to download an application to view an electronic greeting card. The program, which has been circulating widely around the world in recent weeks, then sends itself to email addresses in the victim's Outlook contacts file. This would be just another nuisance virus, except for a new wrinkle – the program is launched by clicking on an ordinary-looking click wrap license agreement.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/friendgreeting-virus-protected-by-license-agreement
The Canadian dispute resolution provider Resolution Canada has released its first ".ca" domain decision.
The Registrant, a competitor to the Complainant, had registered the ".ca" version of the Complainant's domain name. The Complainant claimed that the Registrant had been using the disputed name to direct Internet users to the Registrant's website.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/first-ca-decision-issued-by-resolution-canada
The working group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is close to dealing with all issues which have stood in the way of completing version 1.2 of the protocol. What may be delaying the approval process are two companies who are or have been members of the XML Protocol working group. Epicentric and WebMethods have declared that they have possible patents that relate to SOAP 1.2.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/patent-rights-holdouts-delay-approval-of-webservices-specification-for-internet-standards
The working group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for patent policy has issued the Royalty-Free Patent Policy as a Last Call Working Draft. Under the Policy, W3C will not approve a Recommendation of a standard if it is aware that a patent exists covering in part or whole of the standard which is not available for licensing on royalty-free terms. The charter of any working group on a proposed standard must include royalty-free licensing requirements that require that the standard produced by the working group be available on royalty-free basis, to the best ability of the working group and the W3C.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/internet-standards-body-calls-for-comments-on-royaltyfree-patent-policy
The Virginia Supreme Court recently affirmed a lower Court's ruling refusing AOL's motion to quash Nam Tai Electronics' subpoena for the identity of an AOL subscriber.
Nam Tai filed a complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California against fifty-one unknown individuals alleging libel, trade libel, and violations of California's unfair business practice statutes. Allegedly, the anonymous defendants had posted, "false, defamatory and otherwise unlawful messages" on an Internet message board relating to Nam Tai's publicly traded stock. One of the defendants was an AOL subscriber.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/aol-must-disclose-identity-of-subscriber
Ending a dispute between RIM and Handspring for infringement of a number of the former's U.S. patents for handheld device keyboards, the two companies recently announced that discussions are underway for Handspring to license these patents. Once licensing agreements are finalized, the pending lawsuit will be discontinued.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/research-motion-rim-to-settle-patent-dispute-handspring
The longest running Uniform Domain Names Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) case came to a close recently, two years and four months after the complaint was initially filed. Stanley Works, a manufacturer of well-known tools and household hardware, had filed its UDRP complaint with the National Arbitration Forum on April 27, 2000, requesting that McNeil & Associate transfer the domain names stanley-proto.com, stanley-husky.com, stanley-tools.com, and stanley-hardware.com to the complainant.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/longest-running-domain-name-dispute-concludes
Close to a year after the settlement agreement was signed, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approved the Microsoft anti-trust settlement with a few minor changes, ending the prolonged anti-trust case between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice. Judge Kollar-Kotelly rejected efforts by the Department of Justice to impose stiffer sanctions on the software giant. The settlement did, however, include some restrictions on Microsoft's business practices. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that this settlement is a "major milestone" and that he is "personally committed to full compliance".
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/microsoft-antitrust-case-settled
A growing emphasis on mediation and arbitration has prompted the ADR Institute of Canada to develop comprehensive National Arbitration Rules. The Rules complement arbitration statutes in most provinces and are intended to provide a detailed procedure for arbitration of any kind of dispute within Canada.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/adr-institute-of-canada-launches-new-national-arbitration-rules
The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) has recently released a report on the monitoring of employee computer use by employers in the U.S. The findings in the report were based on interviews by the GAO of fourteen Fortune 1,000 companies.
The GAO found that all of the companies interviewed stored their employees' electronic transactions, including copies of email messages, web sites visited, and computer file activity.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/us-report-finds-all-major-companies-monitor-employee-online-activity
The U.S. Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) have both recently called for their respective federal governments to enact Anti-Spam legislation as a means to protect consumers and legitimate marketers from deceitful bulk email marketing practises.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/no-immediate-plans-for-canada-to-ban-spam-despite-call-from-marketers
The Canadian Competition Bureau has laid charges against the Internet Registry of Canada for its allegedly misleading practice of sending solicitation letters that appear to be Government of Canada invoices for domain name renewal. Domain name owners, whose registration with a third party registrar is set to expire, may receive the mail from the Internet Registry of Canada prompting them to pay and renew through them.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/domain-name-scam-warning
In contrast to the recent U.S. case that held that websites are not covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act, (see E-tips, October 24, 2002), the Australian Human Rights Commission has reaffirmed that equality of access is still a requirement under Australian law.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/australian-internet-sites-must-be-accessible-to-disabled
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has released a report on developments in access to information and privacy legislation throughout Canada from September 2001 to August 2002.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/ontario-information-and-privacy-commissioner-releases-report
The Daily Mirror won its appeal last week against supermodel Naomi Campbell. In February, the Daily Mirror published pictures of Ms. Campbell leaving a Narcotics Anonymous clinic and published articles detailing her alleged drinking and drug addictions and her subsequent treatment. Ms. Campbell has publicly denied taking drugs in the past. In March, the English High Court held that the newspaper was in breach of confidence and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and ordered the Daily Mirror to pay damages.
Deeth Williams Wallhttp://www.dww.com/articles/supermodel-naomi-campbell-loses-privacy-case