February 2010 Quick Links

By Eric Goldman


* Mavericks Recording Co. v. Harper (5th Cir. Feb. 25, 2010). 17 USC 402(d) precludes an innocent infringement defense in P2P downloading case when the record companies place proper copyright notices on their works. This is consistent with language from BMG v. Gonzalez in the Seventh Circuit.

* Perfect 10 and Amazon settle on confidential terms; Perfect 10 v. Google will keep going. Previous blog coverage of this case (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

* Veoh won in court (1, 2, 3) but still got knocked out of the marketplace.

* Project DoD, Inc. v. Federici, 2010 WL 559115 (D. Me. Feb. 11, 2010). In a 512(f) lawsuit I blogged about in December, the judge upheld the magistrate report dismissing for lack of personal jurisdiction because the plaintiff had moved and no longer had ties to Maine.

* MCS Music America, Inc. v. YAHOO Inc., 2010 WL 500430 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 5, 2010). MCS sued Yahoo over infringement of its songs, and the court says that it can only get statutory damages for each song infringed. This means that if Yahoo performed 8 different covers of the song, MCS is only entitled to statutory damages for one infringed work.


* Monex Deposit Co. v. Gilliam, 2010 WL 325570 (C.D. Cal. Jan, 25, 2010). The courts says a gripe site called “MonexFraud.com” may cause initial interest confusion of the Monex trademark. Are you kidding me?

* Typographically erroneous phone numbers always struck me as a much greater problem than “typosquatters.”


* Jacobsen v. Katzer settles.

* Asch Webhosting, Inc. v. Adelphia Business Solutions Investment, LLC (3rd Cir. Jan. 25, 2010). 3rd Circuit upholds consequential damages waiver in B2B Internet connectivity contract. Prior blog discussion.

Blogging/Social Networking Sites

* Cats & Dogs Animal Hospital v. Yelp (C.D. Cal. complaint filed Feb. 24, 2010). The plaintiffs allege that Yelp violates California B&P 17200 by using a pay-for-play scheme.

* Rick Frenkel speaks about his Troll Tracker blogging days.

* In re Perry, 2010 WL 374770 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Feb. 3, 2010). Emailing links to a third party’s defamatory blog constituted “publication” of the blog for defamation purposes. The court doesn’t discuss 47 USC 230 at all!

* Cunningham v. West Virginia, 2010 WL 415257 (S.D. W.Va. Jan. 26, 2010). MySpace does not impermissibly discriminate against sex offenders.

* Evans v. Bayer, 2010 WL 521119(S.D. Fla. Feb 12, 2010). A student’s off-campus creation of a Facebook Group called “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met” may not be an appropriate grounds for school discipline.

* Snowball fight leads to a rampage at Macy’s? Blame Facebook!

* Marshall v. City of Savannah, 2010 WL 537852 (11th Cir. Feb. 17, 2010). A probationary firefighter posted an official fire department photo on her MySpace page. After a reprimand, the employment relationship deteriorated and she was fired. The 11th Circuit affirms the dismissal of her discrimination and retaliation claims.

* BoingBoing gets an anti-SLAPP win–including its attorneys’ fees–in a defamation lawsuit over one of its blog posts. The anti-SLAPP ruling.

* Berkery v. Estate of Stuart, 2010 WL 610631 (N.J. Super. A.D. Feb. 23, 2010). “The investigative function an author performs is not substantively different from an investigative journalist. The dispositive element is not the form of the investigative process. In an era marked by a diminution of the classic newsmedia and the print investigative journalist and the proliferation of investigative reporting in media such as cable television, documentary journalism-both televisions and movies-internet reporting and blogging, the need for protection remains the same. Whether Hornblum was writing a book, news article, a screenplay or a blog, the substance of his body of work remains the same.”

Search Engines

* After some innuendo about Microsoft’s role in harassing Google on antitrust/competition issues, Microsoft effectively admits as much. Also see this Wall Street Journal article on the Microsoft-Google tussles.

* Search Engine Land: Google AdSense Using Search History In Contextual Matching

* Munger v. State, 2010 WL 537641(N.C. App. Feb. 16, 2010). Rejecting a taxpayer challenge against a NC law designed to provide financial incentives for Google to build a facility there.

* Lengthy Wired article on Google’s algorithm.

* Nature: Chinese researchers don’t want to lose access to Google. My blog post on this topic.

* Business Insider: In Case You Had Any Doubts About Where Google’s Revenue Comes From


* Thomas O’Toole: Does “No Contract” Really Mean No Contract?

* MediaPost: Start-Up Links 65 Million IP Addresses To Users, Readies Targeting Platform. This is not going to end well.

* More troubling words for online advertisers from FTC BCP Director David Vladeck.

* Zelotes v. Rousseau (Conn. Grievance Committee). Attorneys participating in an Internet lead generation system that allocated leads geographically didn’t violate the attorney Rules of Professional Conduct.

Online Crimes

* F.T.C. v. Pricewert LLC, 2010 WL 329913 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 20, 2010). FTC gets a default injunction against an Internet access provider that allegedly provided connectivity for activities such as child pornography, botnets, spyware, and viruses.

* US v. Little. The Eleventh Circuit disagrees with the Ninth Circuit regarding the appropriate geographic scope to measure the obscenity of Internet material.

* 3 Google executives were convicted in Italy of criminal privacy violations for a user-uploaded video to Google Video. NYT article. Google’s response. A refresher on the Felix Somm conviction from 1998.

* Online ticket sellers are getting the smackdown. Criminal prosecutions of online ticket brokers who allegedly played dirty in jumping the queue. The FTC cracks down on Ticketmaster and warns other online ticket sellers.