Defamation and the Internet: Differing Approaches in the U.S. and Australia Defamation and the Internet: Differing Approaches in the U.S. and Australia

Information Technology
December 19, 2002December 19, 20022015-07-08
On December 10, 2002, the High Court of Australia issued its decision in Dow Jones v. Gutnick, affirming the jurisdiction of the courts in the Australian State of Victoria to try a suit brought by Mr. Gutnick against Dow Jones for articles published by the latter on its Internet news service alleging that Mr. Gutnick was a money-launderer and tax evader.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/defamation-and-internet-differing-approaches-us-and-australia

UK Court of Appeal Rules that Off-shore Server is Not Beyond Jurisdiction of Interactive Gaming Patent UK Court of Appeal Rules that Off-shore Server is Not Beyond Jurisdiction of Interactive Gaming Patent

Patent
December 19, 2002December 19, 20022015-07-08
The UK Court of Appeal has issued its decision in Menashe Business Mercantile v. William Hill, a case involving the issue of whether an interactive gaming patent can be enforced against a server located outside the UK. The defendant had operated a gaming system available to computer owners in the UK and supplied customers with a program which allowed their computers to communicate with a host computer outside the UK via the Internet.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/uk-court-of-appeal-rules-offshore-server-not-beyond-jurisdiction-of-interactive-gaming

New U.S. SEC Exemption Provides Relief for Internet Investment Advisors New U.S. SEC Exemption Provides Relief for Internet Investment Advisors

Information Technology
December 19, 2002December 19, 20022015-07-08
Recently, the United States Securities Exchange Commission ("SEC") adopted a new Rule which permits Internet Investment Advisors to register with the SEC. Prior to the new rule, investment advisors who provided advisory services over the Internet were prohibited from registering with the Commission because they did not fall within the provisions of section 203A of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Section 203A prohibits an advisor from registering with the Commission unless they are an advisor with a registered investment company or have more than $25 million of assets under management. As a result, Internet Investment Advisors were generally required to register with every State.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/new-us-sec-exemption-provides-relief-for-internet-investment-advisors

Mastercard and Visa not Guilty of Racketeering When Processing Online Gambling Debts Mastercard and Visa not Guilty of Racketeering When Processing Online Gambling Debts

Information Technology
December 19, 2002December 19, 20022015-07-08
In Thompson v. Mastercard, a class action suit brought against Mastercard, Visa and related banks under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the U.S. Court of Appeals (5th Cir.) affirmed that it was not illegal for credit card companies and banks to process debts incurred by the plaintiffs when they bought "chips" from Internet gambling sites. The Court ruled that the plaintiffs "have not sufficiently alleged "˜the collection of unlawful debt'", and that "RICO, no matter how liberally construed, is not intended to provide a remedy to this class of plaintiff."
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/mastercard-and-visa-not-guilty-of-racketeering-when-processing-online-gambling-debts

Finnish Taxi Drivers to Pay Copyright Fees to Listen to Radio Finnish Taxi Drivers to Pay Copyright Fees to Listen to Radio

Copyright
December 19, 2002December 19, 20022015-09-23
Finland's Supreme Court has ruled that taxi drivers must pay royalty fees if they play music in their car while transporting customers. The decision also extends to the radio. Under the ruling, taxi drivers must pay an annual copyright fee of 22 EUROS (about $35 CDN) for playing music while carrying a fare.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/finnish-taxi-drivers-to-pay-copyright-fees-to-listen-to-radio

President of PacketSwitch.com Sentenced to 11 Years Prison Term for Technology Fraud President of PacketSwitch.com Sentenced to 11 Years Prison Term for Technology Fraud

Information Technology
December 19, 2002December 19, 20022015-09-23
In a recent case brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the former president and CEO of Internet start-up PacketSwitch.com, Steven A. Ristau was found guilty of fraud, selling unqualified securities and tax evasion. In 1999, Mr. Ristau claimed that his company had developed wireless technology that would allow movies to be viewed up to 12 miles away. No such technology then existed. Mr. Ristau used a nearby hidden off-the-shelf wireless LAN to "demonstrate" the technology to potential investors.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/president-of-packetswitchcom-sentenced-to-11-years-prison-term-for-technology-fraud

Canada Introduces New Legislation Aimed at Child Pornography and Voyeurs Canada Introduces New Legislation Aimed at Child Pornography and Voyeurs

Information Technology
December 19, 2002December 19, 20022015-09-23
Canada's Justice Minister recently introduced new legislation aimed at cracking down on child pornography and peeping Toms. This legislation responds to public uproar after a Vancouver man who was found not guilty of possessing child pornography on the grounds that his stories had "artistic merit". The law replaces the reference to "artistic merit" with language that requires a demonstration that such material serves the public good and that this public good outweighs the risk of harm. This change is aimed at making it easier to prosecute offenders and more difficult for individuals to claim that their pornography is art.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/canada-introduces-new-legislation-aimed-at-child-pornography-and-voyeurs

U.S. Court of Appeals Rejects Argument to Enforce Contract Purchased Under Bankruptcy Sale U.S. Court of Appeals Rejects Argument to Enforce Contract Purchased Under Bankruptcy Sale

Litigation
December 19, 2002December 19, 20022015-07-08
Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals (7th Cir) considered the effect of a bankruptcy sale on a contract to provide a financial-market data service in FutureSource LLC v. Reuters Ltd. The provider, Bridge Information Services, had entered into a contract to provide data to FutureSource, but filed for bankruptcy two years later. Although Reuters purchased the bankrupt provider's assets, the right to receive royalties remained with a third party.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/us-court-of-appeals-rejects-argument-to-enforce-contract-purchased-under-bankruptcy-sale

Supreme Court of Canada Rules Against Patentability of Harvard Mouse Supreme Court of Canada Rules Against Patentability of Harvard Mouse

Patent
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
On December 5, 2002, the Canadian Supreme Court (SCC) allowed an appeal by the Commissioner of Patents from a decision of the Federal Court of Appeal, which had allowed the patenting of higher life forms. The Respondent had sought to patent a process for producing mice genetically altered to be "susceptible to cancer" (and thus suitable for carcinogenic studies) and the end product of the process (the mice and their offspring). The Commissioner allowed the process claims but refused the product claims; the Respondent in turn sought judicial recourse.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/supreme-court-of-canada-rules-against-patentability-of-harvard-mouse

Ontario Man First to be Convicted of Internet Obscenity in Canada Ontario Man First to be Convicted of Internet Obscenity in Canada

Information Technology
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
A resident of Fort Frances, Ontario has become the first person convicted in Canada for obscenity on the Internet. The man was fined $100,000.00 and sentenced to three years probation for posting short films on his website that violated the obscenity provisions of Canada's Criminal Code. The fine is reportedly one of the largest penalties for obscenity in Canada.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/ontario-man-first-to-be-convicted-of-internet-obscenity-canada

U.S. District Court Prevents Confusing Use of NISSAN.COM Domain Name U.S. District Court Prevents Confusing Use of NISSAN.COM Domain Name

Domain Names
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
A California District Court has issued a decision aimed at preventing consumer confusion between Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. ("Nissan Motors") and Nissan Computer Corporation ("Nissan Computers"). The Court granted a preliminary injunction preventing Nissan Computers, the owners of the nissan.com and nissan.net domain names, from using those websites to display automobile-related information, commercial advertising, or web links. In addition, the Court ordered that Nissan Computers display a prominent caption identifying those sites as affiliated with Nissan Computers and not with Nissan Motors.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/us-district-court-prevents-confusing-use-of-nissancom-domain-name

Privacy Commissioner Denounces "Lawful Access" Proposal Privacy Commissioner Denounces "Lawful Access" Proposal

Privacy
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
In an open letter to the federal government dated November 25, 2002, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has denounced the Canadian government's "Lawful Access" proposal that would require ISPs to develop the ability to intercept, monitor and store all wireless and Internet traffic data related to a user. The data could be ordered for retention and production by law enforcement agencies. The Commissioner suggests a four-part test to analyze the appropriateness of an encroachment of state power into the privacy of Canadians is not met by the proposal.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/privacy-commissioner-denounces-lawful-access-proposal

NYMEX Sues Intercontinental Exchange For Infringement of Copyright in Commodities Pricing NYMEX Sues Intercontinental Exchange For Infringement of Copyright in Commodities Pricing

Copyright
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
On November 20, 2002, the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) sued Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) for alleged infringement of copyrights held by NYMEX in the settlement prices of its natural gas and light sweet crude oil futures contracts. ICE allegedly copied the prices in establishing its own derivatives contracts.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/nymex-sues-intercontinental-exchange-for-infringement-of-copyright-commodities-pricing

Wal-Mart Obtains Court Order Over Posting of its Advertising Circular Wal-Mart Obtains Court Order Over Posting of its Advertising Circular

Litigation
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
On November 27th, using the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Wal-Mart obtained a subpoena from the U.S. District Court (Northern District of Illinois) directing fatwallet.com to disclose the identity of an anonymous user who posted Wal-Mart's Thanksgiving advertising circular. Fatwallet.com operates a web site that allows users to post and discuss information about prices and products.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/walmart-obtains-court-order-over-posting-of-its-advertising-circular

First Application of Chinese Copyright Law to Online Material First Application of Chinese Copyright Law to Online Material

Copyright
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
A battle in a Chinese court between the Chinese titans of Internet portals recently ended in favour of SINA.COM. The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court found SOHU.COM liable for infringement of its competitor's copyright by copying text and graphics downloadable from SINA.COM's website for use in mobile phones on a fee-based basis. This is the first ruling by a Chinese court applying Chinese copyright law to online materials.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/first-application-of-chinese-copyright-law-to-online-material

Supreme Court of Canada Releases Decision on the Confidentiality of CSIS Information Supreme Court of Canada Releases Decision on the Confidentiality of CSIS Information

Litigation
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
In the recent case Ruby v. Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada considered whether court proceedings involving national security should happen entirely in secret. The Court considered the issue of whether the in camera (s.51(2)(a)) and ex parte (s.51(3)) hearing provisions of the Privacy Act violated the Charter.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/supreme-court-of-canada-releases-decision-on-confidentiality-of-csis-information

Guidelines for "Web Bug" Users Guidelines for "Web Bug" Users

Information Technology
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
The Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), a coalition of network advertisers based in Cleveland, recently released guidelines aimed at websites that use "web bugs" or "web beacons". These "web bugs" track a user's activity on a website. A "web bug" is often used to collect profile information which is then used for advertising and marketing purposes.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/guidelines-for-web-bug-users

DVD Industry Loses DeCSS Case on Jurisdictional Grounds DVD Industry Loses DeCSS Case on Jurisdictional Grounds

Copyright
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
The California Supreme Court has held that the DVD industry cannot sue a Texas man in California since there is no connection between the Texan's conduct and California.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/dvd-industry-loses-decss-case-on-jurisdictional-grounds

ID Theft Case Concerns Many ID Theft Case Concerns Many

Privacy
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
Philip Cummings, an employee at a Long Island, New York computer company, is alleged to have used passwords belonging to various financial institutions to steal personal information from over 30,000 people. Recently, it was announced that an additional 10,000 people may be victims of identity theft. Cummings and an accomplice are alleged to have sold lists of credit-card numbers for a fee of $60.00 per name.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/id-theft-case-concerns-many

Nine Year Prison Term For Software Piracy Nine Year Prison Term For Software Piracy

Information Technology
December 5, 2002December 5, 20022015-07-08
Fifty-two year old Lisa Chen of California was recently sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to Microsoft and Symantec in the amount of $11 million (U.S.). Chen is alleged to be a "major player" in an international computer software piracy organization. Three others were arrested along with Chen in November 2001.
Deeth Williams Wall https://www.dww.com/articles/nine-year-prison-term-for-software-piracy

Disclaimer: This Newsletter is intended to provide readers with general information on legal developments in the areas of e-commerce, information technology and intellectual property. It is not intended to be a complete statement of the law, nor is it intended to provide legal advice. No person should act or rely upon the information contained in this newsletter without seeking legal advice.

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