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Tag: LAW

Google Doodles awarded patent for 'enticing users to access a website'

If you thought the crazy, Wild West days of the United States Patent and Trademark Office were over... think again! Google has been awarded a patent for its famous Doodles. The application was originally filed in 2001, some three years after Google began using custom logos on its home page. With the awesomely vague title "Systems and methods for enticing users to access a web site" we can...

Facebook to let advertisers use your posts in Sponsored Stories

Can't stop gushing about your favorite new gadget or your latest album purchase? If you're posting about it on Facebook, there's a chance your words could wind up used by advertisers without your knowledge. Facebook has begun allowing companies to re-post endorsements from users as "Sponsored Stories," and there's no way for you to opt out at the moment. It's not all bad, though. Sponsored...

Autodesk wins court case, you officially don't own AutoCAD

Seasoned Download Squad readers are probably already aware that you don't really own some of the software on your computer. You have a license to install and use it, but that's not quite the same as that software actually belonging to you. It's a bit confusing to the average user, to be sure. Thankfully, we have the court system to help us sort out all kinds of confusing matters of legality,...

San Francisco becomes first US city to pass radiation warning law for cell phones

Yes, seriously. The city has been busy in recent weeks, pushing for this in the name of "the consumer's right to know." The law will require visible warnings to be posted right next to phones in stores so that shoppers can read -- in mandated 11-point or higher type -- each unit's specific absorption rate. The specific absorption rate, or SAR (a soon-to-be buzzword) [it's only one letter away...

Court finds LimeWire guilty of copyright infringement, RIAA cackles gleefully

Chalk one up for the music industry lobby: the RIAA has won a major victory against LimeWire, the popular Gnutella and bittorrent client. Try as LimeWire might to at least appear to be playing by the rules, the court saw things otherwise. When you install LimeWire, the program does ask you if you plan on using it to download copyrighted stuff you shouldn't. It also warns you prior to...

Google seeks ruling against record label to squash infringement claims

It may not be the sort of landmark ruling we were hoping for, but Google seems intent on making at least some progress in the dreaded copyright infringement debate, and they're using an unlikely tool to do it -- a lawsuit filed against Google. Not long ago, a small and basically unheard-of record company called Blues Destiny Records made waves by suing Google, Microsoft and Rapidshare. Their...

Federal prosecutors try to put hacker behind bars for 25 years

Wired's Threat Level reports that federal prosecutors seek a 25-year sentence for Albert Gonzalez, a hacker who is responsible for massive identity theft - over 130 million credit and debit card numbers. Gonzalez is behind identity theft at TJX, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Office Max, Hannaford Brothers, 7-Eleven, and Heartland Payment Systems, among others. As is quite usual in such cases, defense...

New legislation to prevent piracy in France fails dismally; piracy continues to rise

In what must surely be the least surprising news of 2010, a study by a French university found that piracy increased after France's enactment of a 'Three Strikes Law'. Under the bill, which went into power in July 2009, repeat offenders can be cut off from the Internet. If being cut off is deemed not suitable for the villain's heinous crimes, the judge can instead levy a 300,000 Euro fine or send...

French to vote on internet censorship bill next week

Next Tuesday French lawmakers will vote on a bill dubbed 'Loppsi 2' that will give the authorities the power to force ISPs to block access to any web address. The intention of the bill is to allow French authorities to block sites in order to prevent the distribution of child pornography, but ultimately gives the government unilateral control to filter the internet. Amendments to the bill...

Did the FTC just mention something about blogging?

So that we're not the only single blog in the known universe and beyond who misses the chance to comment on the FTC's boneheaded guidelines requiring bloggers, celebs, reviewers and others -- basically anyone who you might read online -- to disclose any "material relationship" with companies they review. I tend to look at everything in terms of Pros and Cons. Here's the list I came up with. ...

Cat cleared of illegal porn charges

File this one under "LOLcats in real life." A Florida man accused of downloading over 1,000 illegal child porn images tried to lay the blame on his cat. Allegedly, the cat would jump on his owner's keyboard, and the offending images would just appear. The cat had the last laugh, though, as police have now ruled him out as a suspect. After failing to win the cops over with his implausible tale,...

LawMail.org looks too much like Google for comfort

This is a software blog, not a clearinghouse for legal advice, but I have to say that I'd probably change my site design around a bit if I owned lawmail.org. Law Mail is a certified email service -- for lawyers! -- that provides secure, private, tracked messaging for the transmission of legal documents. Good idea. The legal profession is largely still mired in the dark ages of faxes and snail-mail...

10 years later, COPA internet censorship law is finally dead

Way back in 1998, US president Bill Clinton signed into law a measure called the Child Online Protection Act. And it's never actually been enforced. As the name suggested, the law was intended to help protect kids from the dangerous things that can be found on the internet, specifically pictures of naked people. But critics said it limited free speech, and didn't make it clear how to distinguish...

Mistrial for RIAA's first file-sharing victory

Back in October of 2007, a federal jury ruled in favor of the RIAA and fined the defendant, Jammie Thomas, an outrageous $220,000.00 US for sharing 24 songs on a P2P network. Not surprisingly, Ms. Thomas filed an appeal. Her case was indirectly strengthened when a New York federal judge ruled that the RIAA could not strictly sue individuals under the "making available" claim -- the argument that...

Google Maps diminishing value of homes, causing "mental suffering"?

A couple is accusing Google of diminishing the value of their property and causing them "mental" suffering" for including their recluse home in the Google Maps Street View project. The road leading up to their house is apparently labeled "private", something the Street View operator must've missed. We checked the Street View footage up to the house and didn't notice any clear "private" signs,...