August 2007 Quick Links, Part II
By Eric Goldman
* e360 Insight v. Spamhaus Project, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 20725 (7th Cir. Aug. 30, 2007). An email marketing company was listed on Spamhaus’ ROSKO and sued for defamation and other torts in Illinois. Spamhaus took the position that US courts have no authority to render a judgment on a UK-based operation. The district court ultimately awarded $11.7M in damages and various equitable relief. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the default judgment but vacated the damages and equitable relief, sending those back to the district court to reevaluate the appropriate remedies. I understand that Spamhaus wanted to make a philosophical point by not fighting the lawsuit in the US, but had they overlooked their philosophical objections, they should have won a quick victory per 47 USC 230(c)(2).
* Search Engine Land had a good overview/recap article on geolocation technology. It provides a clear and easy-to-read explanation why the folks who think online businesses can just stay out of a state that enacts dumb regulations are full of crud.
* Pisciotta v. Old National Bancorp, No. 06-3817 (7th Cir. Aug. 23, 2007). Another court (this time, the Seventh Circuit) says that consumer fretting about possible future identity theft isn’t enough harm to support a lawsuit. See the analogous JetBlue, Acxiom and Key cases.
* NYT: In the 1990s, a lot of people sought to build an infrastructure for micropayments. Consumers resisted them, but today those efforts seem a little silly–AdSense advertising can generate the same financial benefits for a web publisher without the overhead. Meanwhile, the credit card systems are being stretched to cover micro-transactions because merchants are aggregating a consumer’s orders and processing them in bulk (rather than processing each one individually) as a way to reduce the transaction costs.
* NYT: “As video games have surged in popularity in recent years, politicians around the country have tried to outlaw the sale of some violent games to children. So far all such efforts have failed.”
* AP: Chinese animated cops will be patrolling the Information Superhighway beat.
* Tired of negative reviews on Yelp, a San Francisco restaurant put up a sign saying “no Yelpers.” I wonder if a sign like that lessens or exacerbates negative publicity.
* NYT: Book authors obsessively check Amazon sales rankings and try to game them.
* Facebook accidentally posted some of its source code to a public website. Surely an interesting development for ConnectU’s discovery team!
* Another Internet company hires its own in-house economist–this time, virtual world Eve Online.
* A nice retrospective on the Cleveland Free-net, which at one point was a prominent component of the Cyberspace community.
* I have one free guest pass to the CLE International New Media Law conference in SF on Oct. 1-2. Free to the first person who sends me an email request. [SORRY–TAKEN!]