Technology and Business Law Blog

Absurd IP Infringement Claims

If you thought that the holding of the Belgian court that Google was infringing copyrights of  Copiepresse when it provided links to the newspaper articles and photos and asked to pay around $77.5 million as damages was absurd especially because the US courts would probably have taken a more lenient view, taking into consideration all the facts such as Google bringing in tons of traffic to the these newspapers and the newspaper consortium actually generating revenue in the process, then here is another absurd claim by a Singaporean company called Vuestar which states that it has the patent to link images from one website to another site, Method of locating web-pages by utilising visual images and so if anyone used these links then they will get sued by Vuestar.

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May 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Copyright Infringement Law Suit against Google in Belgium Courts

Copyright infringement claims by the Belgian newspaper association Copiepresse and Google has been ongoing from 2006. Tracing the history, in 2006 Google settled with Belgian photographers and journalists in a copyright dispute over Google linking to Belgian newspaper articles for free (read here) but in February 2007 the court ruled for the Belgian consortium Copiepresse and held that Google violated Belgium’s copyright law when it linked and published portions of articles from Belgian newspapers on its news site without permission and the court ordered Google to remove the material and pay $32,500 a day (read here) which Google did not comply with and Google in turn appealed against the Belgian court’s ruling (read here) and in now Google has been summoned before a Brussels court in September for Copiepresse states that due to copyright infringement it has suffered around $77.5 million in damages and it would be interesting to see what the appellate court holds ( read here).

In my opinion if the case had been litigated in the U.S. the courts would not have imposed such severe peanlities on Google and probably even not held Google for copyright infringement, based on the ruling in the Perfect 10 case where linking to thumb nail pictures were not held to be a copyright infringement.

May 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Phishing Sites Diverts Relief Efforts

If you are sending money to help out the earthquake victims in China, be aware of where your money is really going. With online transactions making life and relief immediate, cyber thieves also have means of instant gratification by diverting the relief money to their own coffers.

It is a sad state of affairs that thousands are dying all over the world and some good hearted folks are trying to help out through monetary means and their money is not reaching the intended victims of disaster. Technology has brought convenience and easy ways to commit various forms of illegal activities with the touch of a key stroke.

This happened with the Red Cross when a  phishing sites posed themselves as a representative of the Red Cross and provided multiple bank account numbers for donors to send donations.
Though financial losses from such attacks run into millions of dollars, but it is very difficult to get accurate details on the financial loss for any single event as multiple links and multiple bank account numbers are used by the hackers for such activities. In most of the cases, phishers use e-mails for enticing prospective donors towards contributing on the sites.

May 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Google’s Social Networking Site: Friends Connect

 

According to wikipedia, Web 2.0 is a term describing the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies and Web 3.0 is a term used to describe the future of the World Wide Web. Following the introduction of the phrase “Web 2.0” as a description of the recent evolution of the Web, many technologists, journalists, and industry leaders have used the term “Web 3.0″ to hypothesize about a future wave of Internet innovation.

The latest social networking tool from Google called ‘Friends Connect” seems to combine both web 2.0 and web 3.0 and has made social networking more accessible to all, just about anyone who uses the world wide web. The new era is all about open channels of communication and creativity and Google has once again cleared the pathway for it. Using Google’s new Friend Connect product, any Web page, whether it is devoted to curling or pizza or a folk singer, can allow visitors to make and connect with other “friends” who visit that site. Like any major social network today, any Web page using Friend Connect could easily present to each user the names and pictures of friends and potential friends. Those people could then post messages to one another. Read here.

Dan Fraber in his article in news.com says Google has been taking a more open and distributed approach with its OpenSocial API, which allows compliant applications to work across any social network. By extension, Friend Connect would provide glue to allow any site to add a social dimension and build connections to other social networks.

From the looks of it Friends Connect seems simpler to set up and use than Facebook or MySpace since with Friend Connect, the owner of a Web site would add a snippet of code to its page. Google’s servers would handle the rest.

May 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 3 Comments

Bush blames India’s Prosperity for Rise of Food Prices In the U.S.

People like Bush are always looking for stupid reasons to justify their incompetence and point fingers elsewhere, even thousands of miles away… It is ridiculous to say that the food prices in the U.S. is rising because people in India are having a better standard of living and since they are eating better, it is affecting the ability of the Americans to eat their huge portions and continue with their colossal wastage of resources .

The US President George W Bush also vindicated remarks given by the Secretary of State; Condoleezza Rice a few days back on the rising food prices, blaming India and China, that improvement in dietary habits of Indian middle class has been responsible for rising food prices.

The US President George W Bush explained the reasons for rising food prices at a function in Maryland Heights in Missouri, on Friday said “Just as an interesting thought for you, there are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. That’s bigger than America. Their middle class is larger than our entire population.”
”When you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food, and so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up” Bush added.

It is a well known fact that the people in the U.S. are the major consumers of the world and it is no different when it comes to food too. They are obese and unhealthy people who consume gluttonus amounts of super size portions and eat like there is no tomorrow. People around the world live on meager rationed food and in some countries like Haiti and Africa children eat mud cakes, even the so called poor in the U.S. have food banks and food stamps that allow them to have well stocked refrigerators. What Bush is implying is that people around the world should continue to suffer so that people in the U.S. can continue with life stlyes only most people can dream of in other parts of the world.

President Bush who is rich beyond a common man’s imagination is totally not in touch with reality and ignorant of the life styles of people around the world. Maybe he should advice the people in the U.S. not to waste so much food and cut down on the amount they eat, which will lower the costs of medical care and help everyone appreciate the meaning of not being “fatted”.

Also food prices continue to rise around the world, even in India people over there too find it real hard to keep up with the rise in food costs especially with no assistance programs like food banks, subsidies and food stamps. The so called “middle class” as Bush claims is facing the same plight that people in the U.S. are facing. Condoleezza Rice and Bush make these ridiculous statements and sound like they personally have experienced and witnessed the consumption patterns of the middle class in India.

May 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Alias Persona for Social Networkworking Sites

One size does not fit all, and we change our behaviour, speech, style of dressing etc to fit the environment we are in and that is what users of social networking sites are doing. After years of throwing out inhibitions and displaying a sense of freedom by sharing all their personal and even intimate happenings on social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace, these users mostly younger ones are scaling back and being cautious about what they want “the world” to know about them. That is right I did use the term “the world” since what we share in these networks is no way private and the so called ‘friends’ are not like intimate people who will safeguard all that is revealed in the sites, plus now that most of these social networking sites are pretty popular and open to all, the information shared on it it, is out there for the world to see. The teenagers are being affected by it since employers and others who need to ‘check out’ them out have the information right there for them to access and not all of it is viewed in their best interests.

Even though the companies like Facebook discourage alias accounts,  people are using them to avoid prying eyes and letting few confidants  know their real identity. It is almost like the saying ” Live and Learn.” Privacy is real important especially when there are no real laws to protect our online safety and when the information we put out there is used to our detriment.

“Other people in their 20s and even teenagers are doing the same, assuming online aliases on such sites as Facebook and MySpace to avoid the prying eyes of parents, college recruiters, potential employers and other overly interested strangers. They are also being more selective in who they allow in as “friends” by paring back the size of their social circles.” Read here.

May 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Warren Buffet’s Advice

Here is the link to the advice apparently given by the world’s greatest investment wizard: Warren Buffet, http://blogs.siliconindia.com/ParagKaria/45Il06yq45823144. It is some wise and sound advice, but what  about enjoying some of the money too, after all money is only a medium of exchange and a form of energy.

There was a one hour interview on CNBC recently with Warren Buffet, the second richest man who has donated $31 billion to charity. Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:

1. He bought his first share aged 11, and he now regrets that he started too late!

2.. He bought a small farm aged 14, with savings from delivering newspapers.


3.. He still lives in the same small 3-bedroom house in mid-town Omaha that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. Out side of His house does not have a wall or a fence.


4
. He drives his own car, everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.

5. He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world’s largest private jet company.

6.. His company,” Berkshire Hathaway”, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis. He has given his CEO’s only two rules.

Rule number 1:” Do not lose any of your shareholder’s money”.

Rule number 2:” Do not forget-The rule number 1″.


7. He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His pass time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch TV.


8. Bill Gates, the world’s richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for “half hour”.
But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for “Ten hours” and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.

9. Warren Buffet does not carry a ‘cell phone’, nor has a computer on his desk.

His advice to young people:

“Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself and Remember:


A. Money doesn’t create a man; it is the Man who created money.

B. Live your life as simple as you are.

C. Don’t do what others say, just listen to them.

But,” Do what you feel good.”

D. Don’t go for a brand name; just wear those things in which you feel comfortable.


E. Don’t waste your money on unnecessary things; Just
spend on “Those who really are in need”.

F. After all it’s your life…, so why give the chance to others to rule your life.”

May 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Anti-Piracy House Bill

An anti-piracy bill was passed yesterday which is the Pro IP Act that was opposed by various lawyers and legal watch groups last year and labeled the “outrageously gluttonous IP bill ever introduced in the U.S.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/30/AR2008043003360.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter

The bill, introduced in December by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and 17 co-sponsors and known as the Pro IP Act, is championed by a broad base of intellectual-property holders, including entertainment companies, auto parts manufacturers, drugmakers and unions. It now heads to the House floor, and advocates hope it will pass this summer.

In addition to creating the position of IP czar, the bill would amend federal copyright law to add resources to the fight against piracy and raise the ceiling on damages that could be awarded by a civil court to a rights-holder whose work had been pirated. Patry and others opposed a section backed by the music industry that has since been struck from the bill. Referred to as the “compilation clause,” it would have targeted users who illegally share music CDs, assigning penalties for each song pirated from a CD, rather than one penalty per disc.

Even though piracy is high in the U.S. it is insignificant compared to piracy of U.S. generated material in other countries like China and India. Even though anti-piracy laws are entacted in these countries, the real questions to be asked are, how effectively are these laws being enforced  and how is U.S. realistically going to stop piracy in these countries? The U.S. cannot go there are enforce it’s laws and all these bilateral treaties etc just look good on paper.

May 1, 2008 Posted by | Copyright, Piracy | , | Leave a comment