Jan. 2008 Quick Links (Non-IP Edition)

By Eric Goldman

47 USC 230

* Doe v. SexSearch, the case absolving a website for age verification of its users, has been appealed.

* The Supreme Court denied cert in Parker v. Google. See 2008 WL 114262.

* NYT update on the Subway v. Quiznos lawsuit. I’m still waiting to see how the CCBill case affects the legal analysis.

Ripoff Report

* CMLP reported that Energy Automation Systems v. Xcentric Ventures has settled.

* A lot of people would love to take down the Ripoff Report. The latest (perhaps unexpected) opponents–the SEO crowd. See here, here and here. Definitely not a group I’d want to have gunning for me…

* Sarah Bird wrote the blog post I wanted to write: a recap of all of the litigation involving the Ripoff Report and its related entities. She updates a number of cases I’ve blogged about here.

Privacy

* The quest to find defendants in the AutoAdmit lawsuit has spilled over to unrelated websites whose URLs were posted to AutoAdmit, on the theory that AutoAdmit users were likely to have visited there prior to or after the links were posted. See the plaintiff’s motion. This has proven to be a controversial move; see critiques from Mike Masnick and Sam Bayard.

* World Privacy Forum’s Top Ten Opt Outs.

* The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has compiled a master list of all the data breaches that have been announced.

Spam

* Venkat on 4 years of CAN-SPAM. I think the best we can say is that CAN-SPAM hasn’t destroyed email as a communication tool, but I am skeptical that its significant transaction costs are outweighed by its benefits.

* Search Engine Land shows Wired that its wiki isn’t spam-proof and then apologizes for it.

Marketing/Advertising

* Greg Linden predicts a dot-com crash in 2008 where a dry-up of investment capital will lead to marketing desperation: “Much like we saw after the 2000 crash, it is likely that those with little to lose will attempt scary new forms of advertising. The Web will become polluted with spyware, intrusiveness, and horrible annoyances. None of this will work, of course, and there will be lawsuits and new privacy legislation, but we will have to endure it while it lasts.”

* Oddee has some vintage ads that couldn’t be made today.

Blogging

* Examples of how blogging is actually increasing some companies’ sales.

* Giving in to cyberspace exceptionalism, a divorce court judge ordered a husband to stop blogging about the wife. Fortunately, the judge soon realized his error and reversed course, basically throwing up his hands saying “I don’t know what to do here.” Garrido v. Krasnansky, No. F 466-12-06 (Vt. Fam. Ct. Jan. 14, 2008).

Miscellaneous

* Once again, Mike Masnick says what I was thinking better than I could: “Both Microsoft And Google Are Probably Best Off Shutting Up About Monopolies.”

* Wired has a great article on scraping data from major Internet players, many of whom themselves use scraping-like methodologies to gather data: “But beneath all the kumbayas, there’s an awkward dance going on, an unregulated give-and-take of information for which the rules are still being worked out. And in many cases, some of the big guys that have been the source of that data are finding they can’t — or simply don’t want to — allow everyone to access their information, Web2.0 dogma be damned.”

* The FTC has cracked down (again) on a website for inadequate security. This time, the e-tailer “Life is good” promised that “all information is kept in a secure file” but a hacker got good stuff (credit card #s, etc.) anyway. The FTC pointed to several deficiencies, including (1) the retailer’s failure to store the sensitive data in encrypted format, (2) inadequate efforts to identify and patch security holes, and (3) inadequate monitoring of intrusions.

* Krause v. Chippas, 2007 WL 4563471 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 28, 2007). Court says a website user was bound to the contract when “lead page” of website said “USE OF THIS SITE AND OR SERVICES OFFERED WITHIN THIS FUTURESCOM.COM SITE SIGNIFIES YOUR AGREEMENT TO THIS SERVICE AND USAGE AGREEMENT.”

* An interesting British study explains the downsides of government-mandated disclosures to consumers. HT Rebecca.

* I participated in a 30 minute podcasted conversation on the Lawyer 2 Lawyer show on the topic of social networking sites.

* I have 2 copies left of my 2007 Cyberspace Law course reader. First 2 people to email me with a request and their mailing address get them. [UPDATE: Gone!]

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