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Lost in Translation: Rosetta Stone sues Google for Trademark infringement

Rosetta Stone, a foreign language education provider, filed suit against Google in federal court last week for allegedly infringing on the company's trademark.  The conflict arose over Google's AdWords program which allows third parties to purchase keywords for advertising purposes. The result is that when a consumer runs a Google search for "Rosetta Stone", their search results will display paid advertisements of competitors as "sponsored links". What do you thingk, trademark infringement or fair competition?

Trademark holders rush to secure usernames on Facebook

Trademark holders are rushing to protect their marks on Facebook as a result of the new "username" feature.  Facebook recently granted all registered users the right to create personalized usernames in the form of URLs (www.facebook.com/username) because it expedites the search process for individuals and businesses.  With the creation of the username, you can now be linked directly to the profile you are looking for instead of wasting time scanning thousands of search results. While it seems the username is a helpful tool, many trademark holders are worried that cybersquatters will jump on this opportunity to wrongfully register their marks. How will the new Facebook policy towards markholders affect legitimate free speech.

RIAA wins $1.9 million judgment in retrial of alleged filesharer Jammie Thomas

A retrial of Jammie Thomas, who has been unique in her refusal to settle with the RIAA's filesharing gestapo, has ended with an even greater jury verdict against her. This time, instead of $9,250 per song allegedly shared on Kazaa, the jury found her guilty of "willful" infringement at $80,000 per song. As if you weren't already scratching your head at the current state of copyright law (think the failure of the DMCA to account for fair use, copyright term of 70 years plus life of the author)

Is the DMCA the weapon of choice for Internet bullies?

Internet bullies are taking matters into their own hands by trying to use the "safe harbor" provisions of the DMCA to wrongfully intimidate others. It is crucial for all Internet service providers, website operators, bloggers, etc. to fully understand the state of the law in order to avoid unneccesary harassment. 

Section 512 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) creates "safe harbor" provisions for online service providers who allow user generated content. Under these provisions, online service providers are granted some protection against copyright infringement claims as long as certain procedures are followed. Generally, a copyright holder must send a "take down" notice to the service provider, and the service provider will inform the user the content has been taken down. In response, the user may reply with a "counter notice" letter to try and have the content re-posted.

French Internet Law: "3 Strikes" and you're out?

Despite President Nicolas Sarkozy's relentless efforts to protect copyright, the highest court in France upheld internet access to be a fundamental right for all French citizens. The President, with great support from music industry executives, had been pushing to further regulate copyright by initiating a "three strike" anti-piracy policy. The "three stike" policy would have permanently cut off internet access to those who violated copyright laws after two warnings. In April this past year, the President created HADOPI (High Authority on Diffusion of Works of Art and the Protection of the Rights on the Internet) to police copyright abusers and manage the internet cut offs. HADOPI is said to be the first internet policing agency in the democratic world. However, the Constitutional Council ruled that cutting off internet access by the HADOPI agency, without recourse to a court of law, contravened three articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, France's fundamental document setting out the rights of French citizens, breaching rights to freedom of expression and the presumption of innocence.

The AP is going stop bloggers from pirating content (or quoting in fair use for legitimate reasons)

The AP says it is taking aim at "wholesale theft" with new technology that is aimed at targeting reposting of "entire articles." The new technology is supposed to simply flag questionable articles for lawyers and paralegals to then review.

The question is will the new technology be so limited, or will the AP use the technology to follow the same path it took filing DMCA takedown notices falsely characterizing the law regarding the Drudge retort's postings as follows:

"...the use is not fair use simply because the work copied happened to be a news article and that the use is of the headline and the first few sentences only ."

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