Law / Recently Commented

One More Reason to Avoid Diet Drug Fakes: They're Dangerous

Garth Bruen writes: "The Food and Drug Administration is reporting that some people have gotten fake Alli that contained twice the recommended dose of sibutramine (aka. Meridia), another diet drug. The issue is possible heart problems. The FDA discovered the illegal Alli-Meridia switch when otherwise healthy people reported feeling anxious, shaky, nauseated, and sleepless after taking the bogus Alli. Some even had heart palpitations. No deaths have been reported." more»

A Word of Warning About Your Haiti Charity Donations

Neil Schwartzman writes: "CAUCE, The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Symantec warn consumers about fraudulent charities trying to steal donations for Haitian earthquake relief efforts." more»

Addressing Search Engine, Website, and Provider Accountability for Illicit Online Drug Sales

Garth Bruen reports on a paper published by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics of Boston University School of Law authored by Bryan A. Liang and Tim Mackey titled, "Searching for Safety: Addressing Search Engine, Website, and Provider Accountability for Illicit Online Drug Sales". From the paper: "Online sales of pharmaceuticals are a rapidly growing phenomenon. Yet despite the dangers of purchasing drugs over the Internet, sales continue to escalate. These dangers include patient harm from fake or tainted drugs, lack of clinical oversight, and financial loss. Patients, and in particular vulnerable groups such as seniors and minorities, purchase drugs online either na├»vely or because they lack the ability to access medications from other sources due to price considerations. Unfortunately, high risk online drug sources dominate the Internet, and virtually no accountability exists to ensure safety of purchased products."  more»

Virtual Banishment and the First Amendment: Estavillo v. Sony Computer Entertainment of America

I saw this case in the excellent National Association of Attorneys General publication Cyber Crime e-newsletter. Many of us host or sponsor online communities of one form or another. On occasion, this means we must engage in moderation of the discourse in that community, and, as chance may arise, on occasion, we must give some chap the boot from the community for violating the AUP or the TOS. Inevitable, the booted chap screams "First Amendment Violation," to which we must respond, "The First Amendment restrains government actors -- we are not government actors." more»

CircleID's Top 10 Posts of 2009

Looking back at the year that just ended, here are the top ten most popular news, blogs, and industry news on CircleID in 2009 based on the overall readership of the posts. Congratulations to all the participants whose posts reached top readership in 2009 and best wishes to the entire community in 2010. more»

Google Loses Another Domain Name Dispute

For the benefit of trademark owners, ICANN has something called the UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Process) that allows the owner to file a complaint against an allegedly infringing domain name, to be resolved by one of a small set of arbitrators. About 90% of UDRP cases that proceed to a decision are decided in favor of the complainant; opinions differ as to whether that's because of the merit of the complaints or the institutional bias of the arbitrators. more»

Three Strikes Law Comes Into Effect in France

The first effects of France's new law against internet piracy will begin to be felt as the new year begins. The law was passed after a long struggle in parliament, and in the teeth of bitter opposition from groups opposed to internet restrictions. Illegal downloaders will be sent a warning e-mail, then a letter if they continue, and finally must appear before a judge if they offend again. more»

Gripe Site Triumphant Over AntiCybersquatting Consumer Protect Act Complaint

Today's case involves the classic alleged scenario of a gripe site which used a Plaintiff's trademark in Defendant's web site domain name -- and whether this might be a violation of the Anti Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). more»

Spam-linked Chinese Domain Registrar Caught in Porn Cleanup

Owen Fletcher of IDG News Service reports: "A Chinese domain registrar long criticized for serving malicious domains promised stricter oversight on Tuesday after being censured in a government crackdown on Internet porn. China's own domain registry regulator last week became the latest source to criticize, a Beijing-based registrar, as the agency stepped up efforts to stop false user information from being used to register new domains." more»

Online Drug Traffic and Registrar Policy

Last month I published an article called "What's Driving Spam and Domain Fraud? Illicit Drug Traffic" which explained how the many of the troublesome online crime issues are related to the online sale of narcotics and dodgy pharmaceuticals. Since this article was published we have witnessed one of the largest international law enforcement efforts against online drug traffic (Operation Pangea II)... more»

It's Safe to Be a Dog on the Internet Again: Lori Drew Prosecution Terminated

"On the Internet, no one knows whether you're a dog." Of course, if you are a dog, and you are fibbing about it, according to the US Attorneys Office out in California you're a felon and should be sent to the dog pound. Fortunately, there's a new dog in town who seems to be howling a different tune. Bad facts make for bad law. The unfortunate alleged facts of this case involved fibbing about actual identities, playing with a young girl's emotions, and the girl's eventual suicide. more»

US Court Levies $15 Million Fine Against Spammer

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, the US Federal Trade Commission, and the Australian CMA broke up a large fake drug spam ring known as Herbal Kings, run by New Zealander Lance Atkinson. The NZ government fined him NZ$108,000 (about US$80,000) which, while a substantial fine, seemed pretty small compared to the amount of money he must have made. But today, at the FTC's request a US judge fined Atkinson US$15.5 million, and got his US accomplice Jody Smith to turn over $800,000, including over $500,000 in an Israeli bank. more»

ISP Owners Could Face Jail Under Proposed Canadian Child Porn Bill

Canadian government has introduced legislation requiring ISPs to notify authorities of any reports of child pornography or face fines and possible imprisonment. If enacted, the bill would require ISPs to notify police of tips they receive regarding websites where child pornography may be available, and to safeguard evidence if they suspect a child pornography offence has been committed using an internet service that they provide. more»

Brand Owners, Representatives of WIPO and ICANN Discuss New gTLD Concerns

Managing Intellectual Property, in association with Finnegan, has released an article based on a recently hosted discussion regarding ICANN's approved plans to open the domain name system to an unlimited number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and how the Implementation Recommendation Team's (IRT) recommendation will affect brand owners. Topics included the main concerns with new gTLDs from a brand owner's perspective, the role of IRT, enforcement issues, and navigating the new domain name space. Finnegan partners David Kelly and Jonathan Gelchinsky participated with J Scott Evans of Yahoo! Inc., Elisabeth Roth Escobar of Marriott International, Inc., Erik Wilbers of WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, and Kurt Pritz of ICANN for the roundtable. more»

SnapNames Faces Lawsuit; Attorney Says Domain Industry Is the Wild West Because It Is Unregulated

A class action lawsuit was filed today in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on behalf of lead Plaintiff Carlos A. Cueto and others who participated in online auctions for domain names. In the lawsuit, Mr. Cueto alleges that an executive of the company conducting the auctions acted as a shill bidder to manipulate bids. The domain names were auctioned online by Oversee.Net, Inc. subsidiary SnapNames.Com, Inc. "The domain name industry is the wild west of intellectual property because it remains unregulated. The online community has been up in arms over what they feel has been an opaque system that just begs for transparency. It is impossible to know whether you are bidding against someone that isn't working or affiliated with the company conducting the auction," said attorney Santiago A. Cueto. more»