July 2008 Quick Links, Part II (Non-IP Edition)

By Eric Goldman

Search Engines

* Google explains all of the ways that it reinterprets the actual search query provided by a consumer to deliver results for words the searcher didn’t use. As I’ve said before, Google’s intermediation makes it impossible for a judge to assume that a defendant’s website was ranked based on the search terms selected by the searcher.

* In the vein of In re Yahoo, Google was hit with two class action lawsuits alleging that Google failed to disclose that AdWords ads were going to be placed on undesirable pages liked parked pages. See Levitte v. Google (complaint and Justia page) and RK West v. Google (complaint and Justia page).

* Google was denied attorneys fees in the long-running Parker v. Google case. Parker v. Google, Inc., 2008 WL 2600299 (E.D. Pa. June 30, 2008).


* Defamation lawsuit against Wikimedia tossed per 230. I’ve been waiting for the actual ruling to do a complete writeup. If you see it, please pass it along.

* NYT: “Wikipedia Tries Approval System to Reduce Vandalism on Pages.” Surprised?

Trespass to Chattels

* In the latest development in Oracle v. SAP/TomorrowNow, SAP has shut down TomorrowNow, the subsidiary that prompted the lawsuit from Oracle. The Second Amended Complaint expands the finger-pointing at SAP for supervising its subsidiary. Still unresolved: the size of SAP’s check to Oracle, and possible jailtime for TomorrowNow folk.

* Thomas O’Toole: Illinois adds anti-scraping provision to its attorney discipline website to block Avvo’s crawlers.


* 50 Cent is back in court on another questionable legal theory (see our first deconstruction of his litigation tactics). This time, Taco Bell tried a quasi-ambush marketing stunt to get something for free that he thinks they should have paid for.

* Rebecca on the latest ruling in NetQuote v. Byrd, the “lead fraud” case. Also, the ruling has some interesting discussion about whether a competitor who clicks on a competitor’s ads in AdSense is guilty of a tort of “click fraud.” The court says not in this case.

* TRUSTe is converting from a non-profit to a for-profit company.


* ACLU v. Mukasey (I’ve lost track of the number of AGs who have been the named defendant in this lawsuit). The Third Circuit struck down COPA for the third time.

* PC Magazine: RIP Usenet, killed by the New York AG office’s campaign against child porn traded on USENET.


* A bizarre article on “Internet trolling” in NYT Magazine. With its rambling and scattered discussion, I have no idea what the author defines as trolling. However, the article did bring to mind a much better 1994 article from Wired, The War Between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats.

* Steinbuch v. Cutler, 2008 WL 2622853 (E.D. Ark. July 1, 2008). The court denied a motion to transfer the long-running case to DC.

* If a caffeine-addicted blogger goes off about your business, it’s risky to fight back.

* Mike Masnick: Keeping The Benevolent Dictators of Silicon Valley Honest

* Wed, Aug. 13, 1-2 Eastern time, David Donoghue, Evan Brown and I will be doing an ALI-ABA teleseminar about the latest developments in 47 USC 230. Details. Mention coupon code TSPV02EG and save $30.