Law

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Crime vs. Cybercrime: Is the Law Adequate?

In 2001, I published an article on "virtual crime." It analyzed the extent to which we needed to create a new vocabulary -- and a new law -- of "cybercrimes." The article consequently focused on whether there is a difference between "crime" and "cybercrime." It's been a long time, and cybercrime has come a long way, since I wrote that article. I thought I'd use this post to look at what I said then and see how it's held up, i.e., see if we have any additional perspective on the relationship between crime and cybercrime... more»

ICANN IRT Report Open for Comment With Short Timeframe?

The Intellectual Property Constituency's draft report on trademark issues is now available for comment. The draft report was put together behind closed doors, which would appear to go against the normal policy development process at ICANN, which is quite worrying. Its contents, however, are even more disturbing... more»

Broad Reform of EU Telecoms Law Facing Obstacles In Dealing with Internet Piracy


European Union lawmakers failed to overcome the last remaining obstacle to a broad reform of the E.U.'s telecommunications laws late Tuesday, when a committee of the European Parliament rejected a compromise on the issue of how to deal with Internet piracy. While national governments including those in France and the U.K., two of the largest of the E.U.'s 27 members, push for greater powers to crack down on copyright abuse by illegal file sharers, the industry committee of the European Parliament stood by an earlier pledge to protect citizens from what it views as over-zealous policing of the internet. more»

French President Suffers Setback in His Controversial Internet Piracy Law Efforts

President Sarkozy suffered an embarrassing setback in his efforts to curb illegal downloading when an opposition ploy led Parliament to reject a controversial new law that would cut off internet service to offenders. The bill had already been passed by both houses in a first reading but the sudden arrival of Socialist MPs in a near-empty chamber led to a 21-15 vote defeat on the final vote in the National Assembly. more»

Sweden's Internet Traffic Drops by a Third as New Anti-Piracy Law Kicks In

April 1st was the start of a new anti-piracy law in Sweden where, according to traffic data, an immediate and significant drop (over 30%) occurred in the nation's overall Internet traffic. Reported today by Royal Pingdom: "The combined traffic passing through Sweden's Internet Exchange Points usually peaks around 160 Gbit/s, but on Wednesday it peaked at around 110 Gbit/s. That's a huge drop in traffic, and is presumably a direct result of less file sharing taking place. ... Another interesting observation is that there was more traffic than usual during the last days before the law took effect. Were people hoarding films and music? On Tuesday (the day before the law went live) traffic peaked at nearly 200 GBit/s, roughly 25% above normal levels." more»

The Jaynes Case is Finally Over

Last September the Virginia Supreme Court issued a surprise ruling that reversed its previous decision and threw out the state’s anti-spam law on First Amendment grounds. The Commonwealth made a last ditch appeal to the US Supreme Court, which I predicted they’d be unlikely to accept. I guessed right... more»

Internet Records Retention Bill

A lot of pixels have been spilled lately over an Internet records retention bill recently introduced in both the House and the Senate. The goal is to fight child pornography. That's a worthwhile goal; however, I think these bills will do little to further it. Worse yet, I think that at least two of the provisions of the bill are likely to have bad side effects... more»

WIPO's Misleading Release

The World Intellectual Property Organization put out a release yesterday trumpeting an eight percent increase in domain name disputes handled by WIPO. In 2008 there were 2329 complaints filed with WIPO, the most ever. WIPO uses the increase to raise questions about the possible increase in the number of available generic top-level domains... more»

The Third Wave of Internet Exceptionalism

From the beginning, the Internet has been viewed as something special and "unique." For example, in 1996, a judge called the Internet "a unique and wholly new medium of worldwide human communication." The Internet's perceived novelty has prompted regulators to engage in "Internet exceptionalism," crafting Internet-specific laws that diverge from regulatory precedents in other media. Internet exceptionalism has come in three distinct waves... more»

1770 Domain Disputes Filed with National Arbitration Forum in 2008, Over 12K Since 1999

The National Arbitration Forum today announced that a total of 1,770 cases were filed in its domain name dispute resolution program in 2008. The National Arbitration Forum, approved by ICANN, provides domain name dispute resolution services under policies like the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Nearly all 1,770 cases filed (98%) in 2008 involved UDRP domain names, like .com and .org and the rest involved usDRP domain names with the .us extension, according to the announcement... more»

Deeply, Deeply Flawed Economic Report and Analysis of New gTLDs Posted by ICANN

The reports and analysis by Dr. Dennis Carlton are deeply, deeply flawed. I will prepare a long rebuttal to it in the coming weeks, but wanted to go on the record early as to its weaknesses. The analysis appears to be based on a very limited review of the market for domain names, and utilizes little actual data. It fails to even consider how nuanced the market for domain names has become, and how registry operators can exploit those nuances, including tiered-pricing... more»

European Commission Can Register 'galileo.eu', Even if It Deprives Owner of Identical Trademark

When it drafted the .eu regulation EC 874/2004, the Commission reserved for itself a (long) list of domain names. One of them was galileo.eu. For obvious reasons, Galileo Lebensmittel GmbH & Co. KG claimed before the Courf of First Instance that the Commission's decision to reserve galileo.eu should be annulled... more»

IRMA Threatens Irish ISPs

I don't want to get into the entire Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) vs Eircom and IRMA vs ISPs debacle. The only reason I'm even writing this is because I'm getting a bit tired of all the "quotes" of "quotes" and other unclear and misleading things that people have been saying about ISPs over the last few weeks. more»

Peer-to-Peer Gambling Wins in the Washington Court of Appeals

Adding to the flurry of gambling news of late, the Washington Court of Appeals issued a decision today that found peer-to-peer betting company (betcha.com) did not violate Washington state gambling laws. The court runs through some other issues underlying the statute, but the net result is that Betcha is off the hook... for now. Read more... more»

Britain's Plans to Combat Internet Pirates Stalled

British Internet service providers will not be forced to cut off users who repeatedly break the law by illegally sharing music and video files, according the The Times. See last year's report, "Thousands of File Sharers Facing Lawsuits in UK". Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, said last year that the Government had “serious legislative intent” to compel internet companies to cut off customers who ignore warnings not to pirate material. However, in an interview with The Times, David Lammy, the Intellectual Property Minister, said that the Government had ruled out legislating to force ISPs to disconnect such users. more»