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cyberlaw informer #59

Welcome to the 59th issue of the Mishpat Cyberlaw Informer - 

Law on the Internet newsletter from

This newsletter is sent only to subscribers. If you no longer 

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In this issue:

1. Introduction

2. Copyright Protection of Software

3. ICANN Elections 

4. Cyberlaw resource review

5. Computer & Internet law news and updates



1. Introduction


I would like to welcome the many new subscribers who joined the Cyberlaw

Informer since the previous issue. 

A special welcome is sent to the many subscribers who joined thanks to a

recommendation in the FraudInfo newsletter. If you are not yet a

FraudInfo subscriber, you can learn more about it by reading this

issue's resource recommendation.

The new Mishpat.Net directory is now available, including a new data

structure with more than 1,450 law-related categories.

Since collecting the information to include in all those categories is a

complicated and time consuming task, many of the categories are

currently empty. You can help creating the new directory by recommending

resources that you think should be included. All you have to do is click

on the "Add a Resource" link in the relevant category, and then fill in

a simple form.

Other categories (such as countries starting with the letters A,B,

patents and more) are full with many links to legal resources, in some

cases more then any other directory.

This issue's feature article is a guest article by Elina Mangassarian

about copyright protection of software. Elina brings a truly

international account of technology law - she is a graduate of the

Moscow State University Law School (Russia) and University of Leiden

(Holland) and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the U.S.

The article is a chapter from a paper about international perspectives

of intellectual property protection in a technological environment. The

full article (40 pages) is available, in (Microsoft Word format) at:

As usual you will find the cyberlaw news and the resource review

sections at the end of this newsletter. 

I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter. Comments, tips, and articles

are always welcome. Send them to

The Mishpat Cyberlaw Informer Archive (issues 1-57) is located at:

Feel free to use any of the material, or forward the newsletter to a

friend. Just don't forget to mention that they can subscribe to the

Cyberlaw Informer by visiting

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2. Copyright Protection of Software


By Elina Mangassarian

1. General Remarks on Methods of Protection


It is obvious that the new technological developments need to be

sufficiently protected by legislation. Because of the global character

of the developments in the area of computer programs, databases and

telecommunications, legal protection is extremely important for any

person who deals with these items.

The main difficulty is connected with the necessity of protection of

information and, consequently, with the means of accumulation, using,

storage and dissemination of information. Therefore, the legal

instruments in this field are very specific and are still discussed.

Generally speaking, computer software (which involves computer

programs), databases, information itself and information technology is

covered by following types of legal protection: 

(a) by patents;

(b) by copyright;

(c) by provisions against the violation of trade secrets;

(d) by rules on unfair competition;

(e) by rule of contracts;

(f) sui generis protection.

Although these legal instruments have already been provided by the legal

systems in most of the countries, the specific character of subject

matters leads to the necessity of revision of the current legislation.

This was the reason for detachment of computer law and law of the

information technology as separate branches of law. The brief review of

what the computer law involves, will be given further.

2. Computer Law and Copyright Protection


The appearance and development of computers and computer technology was

the basis for creation of computer law in general. As Chris Reed fairly

noted, "computer law continues to present new and varied set of

challenges to lawyers, both practitioners and academics, as rapid

advances in computing and communications technology are adopted by

industry and commerce and integrated into everyday activities... This

increasing interest in computer law derives form the rapid advances in

the information technology industry".

There are a lot of discussions on the determination of link between

'computer law' and 'information law'. The main positions on this issue

may be summarized in a following way: 

(a) there is no principal distinction between these branches of law

because computer law assumes the legal protection for information which

is operated through computer; 

(b) there are no such separate branches of law and all these items are

covered by existing legal instruments like copyright, patents and by

legislation which protects the trade secrets; 

(c) computer law is that branch of the law which regulates information



The last point of view is very logical and complete because it is

obvious that in practice computer law will always cover the information

but it is not necessary for the 'information law' to be dealing with

computers (information, in general, may be kept in any other form).

Therefore, it should be highlighted that the unifying aspect of computer

law is that it examines the technological aspects of information - i.e.,

it is the law which governs information processing as such.

3.Software as Subject for Copyright Protection


(a)What is software?

For granting legal protection in respect of software it is necessary to

provide more or less uniformly admitted notions of what software and

which conditions should be fulfilled in order to be legally protected. 

This problem, obviously, is not new: there were discussions on the

national level and there are still a lot of schools of thoughts on this

issue from the international and common European law perspectives. As it

has already been mentioned above, the term 'computer software' applies

to computer programs and other materials prepared in connection with the

use of computers. Computer programs are the most important kind of

computer software.

However, the legal definition of software cannot be given without

technical determination of this term which is also very complicated. As

it is pointed out by Chris Reed, "a complex piece of software may well

consist of a number of programs... Some writers distinguish between

programs (the specific executable code models) and software (the

complete set of programs plus documentation)". But under his opinion,

the term 'software' should be used 'interchangeably' for both of these

elements otherwise it could create a lot of complications in practice.

Under the TRIPs agreement, Article 10 provides the principles of the

legal protection of computer programs and compilation of data - the term

'software' is not used in this document. Therefore it could be assumed

that 'computer programs' are considered as software.

Under the European Community legislation the Software Directive provides

precise definition of the software. Although, as it was expressed by

Christopher Millard in his article, these documents "shed much light on

the definitional question", the preamble of the Directive provides, in

particular, only the functional criterion of determination of computer

programs: "the function of a computer program is to communicate and work

together with other components of a computer system". As it can be

concluded, this statement provides definition of software, but in a

narrow way - only in respect of computer programs and only from the

functional side.

However, the definition of 'computer programs', given by the Directive

is also not very precise. For instance, Article 1.1 of the Software

Directive is a little more explicit in stating that "for the purpose of

this Directive the term 'computer programs' shall include their

preparatory design material".

Generally speaking, the term 'software' has much more broader

connotations than 'program'. 

This fact must be reflected in the relevant legislation because it is

very important for the protection of users' rights, rights of the owners

of software and for the producers of software.

For comparison , under the US approach, software means "a set of

computer programs, procedures, and possibly associated documentation

concerned with the operation of a data processing system, e.g.

compilers, library, routines, manuals, circuit diagrams".

Thus, the legal notion of software is still questionable. It could be

one of the most reasonable suggestions that "the answer is that at least

where software is supplied on a physical medium it should be regarded as

physical property, like a book or a record..." From this point it is

possible to draw a conclusion that at the present time copyright

protection for the software is much more effective and the copyright

legislation thus allows to make more or less precise determination of

this very specific and developing subject matter.


(b) Copyright and software - general remarks

Copyright is, in essence, a right given to authors or creators of

'works', such as books, films or computer programs, to control the

copying or other exploitation of such works. But, as Christopher Millard

pointed out, "in addition to controlling the making of copies, the owner

of copyright in a work has the exclusive right to control publication,

performance, broadcasting and the making of adaptations of the work".

At present, there are two main types of protection of software (computer

programs). From the one side, most of legislative acts, both

international and national, extend copyright protection to computer

programs, considering them as 'literary works'. From the other hand, the

rights of creators of software are determined as sui generis rights

which are covered due to 'computer law' as separate branch of law.

The main question which arises with copyright protection of computer

programs and software in general concerns the acts against which

protection is needed. These acts involve not only the making of copies,

but also the use of the software in the control of a computer.

For the last element, copyright in its existing form does not grant

effective protection, "since copyright laws normally only confer

protection against the making of copies and public performance of works

protected by copyright, but not against the execution of the work".

Therefore it is obvious that in order to ensure full protection against

unauthorized use, it may be necessary to amend the existing copyright


(c) Copyright and software under the EC law

Within the European Community these amendments were made. It is

necessary to note that the EC as a part of its Single Market program has

produced legislation harmonizing many of the laws affecting the computer


The Software Directive has harmonized the legislation in the area of

protection of computer programs. The role of copyright protection of

computer programs within the EC is considered to be prevailing.

As Christopher Millard notes, "of particular significance to the

computer industry is the availability and scope of copyright protection

for software products".

However, some commentators have queried whether copyright is an

appropriate means of protection for computer software.

Nevertheless, in the European Commission Green Paper, issued in 1988,

the view was expressed that copyright is the most appropriate form of

protection for computer programs. This document was considered as a

basis for adoption of a Directive of Software Protection. 

It should be highlighted again that article 1(1) of the Directive

provides that computer programs are protected under copyright law as

literary works. It also requires Member States to include preparatory

design material in the definition of computer programs. But the

Directive contains no definition of 'computer program'. The reason is

considered to be obvious: by not defining this notion, the Directive

avoids limiting the definition of computer programs to current


However, the seventh recital of the Directive determines what should be

understood under the term 'computer program' which "shall include

programs in any form, including those which are incorporated into

hardware". This is a rather wide definition which allows to cover any

type of software which will be elaborated in future and thus, will

extend to new forms of computer technology. 

As Guy Tritton notes, "in keeping with the laws of copyright, the ideas

and principles which underlie any element of a computer program

including those which underlie its interfaces are not protected by

copyright". Thus, for instance, an algorithm is not protected but the

language code which is used to incorporate such an algorithm into a

computer program is protected.

With adoption of the Software Directive, the protection of computer

programs as well as any other form of software becomes more and more

powerful and effective. But even once the Directive has been implemented

in all member States, differences will remain. As Guy Tritton noted,

these include the definition of a "computer program", the test for

"originality", the meaning of "adaptation", the copyright in

computer-generated works and the authorship of commissioned software.


(C) Elina Mangassarian 2000

The full article (40 pages) is available, in (Microsoft Word format) at:

Elina Mangassarian is a recent graduate from Moscow State University Law

School, Russia, and University of Leiden, The Netherlands, with specific

areas of interest in Intellectual Property Law and International Trade.

She is currently residing in the United States where she is pursuing her

Ph.D. research.



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3. ICANN Elections


* ICAAN At-large election *

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which

administers the Internet's addressing system, held it first public

election to select five members to the international board that

administers the Internet addressing. The election, which was conducted

by, was held over a 10-day period.

The direct election of five international representatives to the group's

19-member board, each from a different geographical district, was

intended to allow individual Internet users more input into ICANN's

decision making process.

Of the 158,000 individuals who registered as ICANN at-large members,

approximately 34,000 people actually voted, a result election organizers

attributed to technical problems and potentially a lack of interest in

the actual election (many joined At-large in order to influence the

ICANN process through its working groups, not only by electing board


The winners are:

* North American region - Karl Auerbach, a researcher in the Advanced

Internet Architectures group at Cisco.

* Latin America/Caribbean region - Ivan Moura Campos, chief executive of

Akwan Information Technologies in Brazil.

* Europe - Andy Mueller-Maguhn, a self- employed journalist and

consultant in Germany.

* Asia/Pacific region - Masanobu Katoh, an employee of Fujitsu in Japan.

* Africa - Nii Quaynor, an employee of Network Computer Systems in


At least two of the new board members are known to be critical of the

current ICANN process and activities.

The full results are available at:


4. Cyberlaw resource review


This week's resource is FraudInfo at published by

the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) at

CFE is an international, 25,000-member professional organization

dedicated to fighting fraud and white-collar crime. 

FraudInfo is a leading resource for detecting, preventing and reporting

fraud. The site includes information geared towards consumers,

businesses and anti-fraud professionals.

Information available at includes fraud news (in

association with Lexis-Nexis), reference to online resources, courses,

software, articles and more.

The weekly FraudInfo newsletter includes online fraud news, resource

reviews, tips, book reviews and more. Subscribe at:

If you would like to recommend an Internet legal resource, please send

the details to Full credit is given to


You can also recommend resources at the online bulletin board

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5. Cyberlaw news and updates


Mishpat Cyberlaw Informer brings you the latest news about online and

computer law, with links to the full reports available on the web.

Top news


* AOL Time Warner merger wins European antitrust approval *

After winning European approval, America Online (AOL) and Time Warner

may reach a deal on their planned merger with the U.S. Federal Trade

Commission (FTC) by month's end. The deal will combine AOL's vast

Internet services with Time Warner's myriad of content and programming. 

AOL must satisfy the FTC that the new company will permit competitors to

rent space on its cable lines so consumers have an array of choices for

Internet service. Another issue concerns AOL's dominance of instant

Internet messaging systems (AOL owns Instant Messenger and ICQ which are

incompatible with others).

* EMI, Time Warner drop merger plan *

Time Warner and EMI Group have called off their $20 billion joint

venture in the face of opposition from European regulators, removing a

major obstacle to Time Warner's larger combination with America Online.

The Time Warner-EMI deal would have created a giant music company,

reducing the number of major record companies in the world from five to


* U.S. selects Rijndael - a Belgian encryption system *

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Standards Institute ended a three-year

search for a new encryption technique by selecting Rijndael, named after

its two Belgian creators Vincent Rijmen and Joan Daemen. Rijndael will

replace the 25-year--old encryption standard known as DES that has been

cracked by cryptographers. There is no cash award, and the creators, who

met as university students, have agreed to make the algorithm freely


The algorithm, which has been publicly available for more than a year,

can be plugged into many kinds of software for sending email or managing

computer files. Institute officials said that they expected to see the

first commercial products incorporating Rijndael to appear within days.

The Standards Institute estimates that today's computers would take

approximately 149 trillion years to decrypt such a message. With current

advances in computer technology the new standard should be effective for

30 years, that is as long as the so called "quantum computers" - that

are supposed to change the notions of computing - do not become a


* Did OpenTV invent One-Click Shopping *

In the same week that and were back in

court arguing over the "one- click" method of checking out of online

stores, a third company claimed the right to the "invention". OpenTV,

which creates software for interactive applications on television

set-top boxes, claims it has filed an application with the U.S. Patent

and Trademark Office to expand a patent it first filed in 1994 and which

it claims spelled out the fundamentals of one-click shopping three years

before submitted its patent claims.

OpenTV's patent, titled "Apparatus For Transmitting and Receiving

Executable Applications As For A Multimedia System" includes the storage

of consumer data on a TV set-top box so that users can navigate

interactive-TV applications without having to manually enter personal

information.'s patent describes a similar one-click approach

to pre-filling online forms based on customer information stores in its

own databases.

* China issues "Big brother" rules *

China issued new Internet restriction including control on foreign

investment in Chinese Internet companies, and making companies

responsible for any content on their sites that subverts state power,

hurts reunification efforts with Taiwan, Spreading rumors, gambling,

porn, and "harming ethnic unity" - a term used to prosecute suspected

Tibetan independence activists and members of spiritual movements.,1283,39192,00.html

* ICANN warns against new TLD pre-registration *

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) Names

Council warned that some companies offer pre- registration in Internet

domains that do not exist. In a November meeting the ICANN board is

expected to approve a handful of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

Intellectual Property


* Bill to limit business method patents *

U.S. Congressmen introduced a bill that would make several changes to

the business method patent process. Such patents would be harder to

obtain, and easier to challenge. One of the important changes is

creating a rebuttable presumption of non-obviousness for an invention

that uses a computer to implement a known business practice. The bill

would also create a new, expeditious, and inexpensive opposition


* U.S. Supreme Court turns down PlayStation injunction *

The U.S. Supreme Court will not consider the dispute between Sony and

Connectix whose software allows people to run Sony PlayStation games on

personal computers. The court, without comment, let Connectix continue

selling its Virtual Game Station until a lower court rules on Sony's

claim of unfair competition.,1367,39209,00.html

An article about the 9th Circuit court of Appeals, lifting the

injunction, was published in Cyberlaw Informer #45 available at the

online archive.

* Cyberpatrol hack appeal rejected *

An appeal by several people posting mirrored versions of the Cyberpatrol

hack has been rejected due to a lack of standing. The appeal was filed

by people not involved in the original case, and this is a technicality

judgment rather than an examination of the merits of the case. Full

decision at:

* Is hyperlinking patented?

British Telecom's hopes of enforcing its U.S. patent on Internet

hyperlinking may be over, due to old movie clip which includes a prior

demonstration of hyperlinking in 1968, 8 years before BT's patent. Movie


* Times Square CBS logo leads to lawsuit *

The owners of the landmark Times Square building from which the

glittering New Year's ball drops each year, sued CBS Broadcasting.

People watching CBS on new year's eve saw a depiction of Times Square

that didn't exist - the building was emblazoned with the CBS logo, even

though the building carried ads for NBC, Budweiser and Panasonic. 

When CBS noticed that anchorman Dan Rather would be broadcasting from a

location that would show the Times Square NBC logo, they used digital

technology to make it appear to viewers that the building had a giant

CBS logo. Now the owner of the building filed suit alleging that CBS

engaged in unfair competition, deceptive trade practices and trespass.

* Digital Divas claim victory over Microsoft *

Digital Divas, a small women's technology group, claims victory over

Microsoft. Stacy Elliot, a Microsoft consumer product manager whom the

company titled its official 'Digital Diva' is relinquishing her title

after the Digital Divas threatened to sue the Microsoft for trademark

infringement. Elliot, who tours the country dispensing advice on

technology to first-time computer users, will now be called Microsoft's

'Digital Lifestyle Adviser'.

* Trademarking Ebook *

Gemstar-TV Guide International applied to trademark the word EBook as

well as the name "Gemstar Ebook". Gemstar is not the first company to

attempt to trademark the term, but it is by far the biggest company to

make such a move. The term e-book has a generic meaning referring to

electronic versions of both fiction and nonfiction titles.,1284,39232,00.html

* Novell wins $2.4 million in piracy damages *

Myung Ge, a South Korean OEM, has been ordered by a Utah district court

to pay $2.4 million damages to Novell, after it was found guilty of

counterfeiting software.

* Sega threatens gaming sites *

Sega sent out a series of cease-and-desist letters to websites for

copying their documentation and the artwork that accompanies their games,1282,39218,00.html

* Microsoft sues alleged Atlanta pirates *

Microsoft sued three Atlanta-area firms that allegedly sold counterfeit

versions of the Windows operating system and other Microsoft products.

* Philips sues over communication chip patent *

The U.S. unit of Royal Philips Electronics filed a lawsuit, alleging

that six rivals infringed on a technology that helps computer chips

communicate with one another.

* Nortel, Lucent sued for alleged patent infringement *

Nortel Networks, Lucent, and 13 other telecommunications equipment

manufacturers were sued by a Litton Industries for allegedly infringing

a patent for a fiber amplifier used in fiber-optic transmission. Sales

of fiber amplifiers for land networks is expected to total $390 million

this year.

Domain names


* Ecards caves in *, a small Canadian Internet greeting card company is giving up

its name to settle a lawsuit in which U.S. won a $4million

jury verdict against it. Ecards will change its address to

E-cards claimed Ecards broke California and U.S. competition law because

its almost identical name had supposedly confused consumers.

* Celebrities win domain names *

French actress Isabelle Adjani and Grammy Award winner Sade won the

rights to their domain names after WIPO arbitrators ruled in their favor

in cybersquatting cases.

The interesting case is that of Helen Folsade Adu, who uses the stage

name Sade. was registered by Quantum Computer Services which

offers Internet users personalized email addresses via its sites where

they can select and assign themselves a "novelty" address. It registered using the alias "The Sade Internet Fan Club". The arbitration

panel found that Quantum intentionally attempted to attract, for

commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood

of confusion. It used a false name purely for the purpose of trading on

Sade's goodwill.

(Free registration with the NY Times required)

* BBC wins *

The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) won the right to the domain A WIPO arbitrator found that the registrants acted in bad


* Southern Australian government - a political cybersquatter *

A staff member of the South Australian Government Premier John Olsen has

been cybersquatting by registering the domain name of Opposition Leader

Mike Rann. Simon Cope, a junior policy officer in the Premier's

Department, registered the website

* First Singaporean domain dispute settles *

Singaporean website operator Hardware Zone's lawsuit against Sim Lim

computer shop Video-Pro was settled. The shop, which added the .sg

(Singapore's country top level domain suffix) to Hardware Zone's for its own site name, agreed to pay $10,000 to

Hardware Zone, and transfer the address. Its defamation and copyright

infringement counter-suit was also resolved.

* Canadian Justice Minister wins domain name *

Canadian Justice Minister Anne McLellan won domain names bearing her

name. An arbitrator ruled that a Calgary Internet service provider, had

both registered and was using and in

bad faith and had no rights or legitimate interest in the names.

* Buchanan sues over domains with links to porn *

Several sites with domain names that include Pat Buchanan's name (the

U.S. Reform Party presidential nominee) link to pornographic sites.

Buchanan is now suing the site owner.,2294,500267556-500415789-502562228-0,00.html

* Yahoo wins 50 domain names *

Yahoo Inc. won 50 domain names, many of them based on misspellings of

its trademarks. The domain names include, and

Cyber crime


* - burglars' heaven *, a site that connects victims of a burglary with the

people who have their property is coming under law enforcement attack.

The site connects "finders" whose identity is kept secret, victims, and

insurance companies. It has been operating in the U.S. and Denmark for

several months, and is now expanding into the UK.

* Web sex scam *

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan blocked two British citizens who

allegedly cashed in on remote dialing to sexually explicit sites.

Thousands of US consumers were billed an average of nearly $250 last

month for videotext services that they did not know had been accessed

through their telephone lines. To use the system, special dialing

software had to be downloaded. Once activated, the downloaded program

disconnected from the normal Internet service provider; dialed a number

assigned to Madagascar and directed the Web browser to a site featuring

sexually explicit material on a server in the US. Charges for the remote

link were $3.99 a minute.

* Italian police stop Mafia online banking fraud *

Italian police say they cracked a Mafia-led organization accused of

planning to steal $680 million through an online bank fraud. Police said

they managed to bust the ring before the money was transferred thanks to

phone tapping.

* Florida online crime report *

Florida law enforcement launched an online database that will allow

users to check and see if someone they know is a wanted criminal or if

items they want to buy are stolen. Any stolen item found can be reported

by simply clicking on it to send an e-mail tip to the police.



* Italian Web-TV suspected of inflating number of subscribers *

Shares of the Italian Web TV company Freedomland were suspended on

Milan's Market after magistrates opened an investigation into suspected

false accounting and share-price rigging. The company is suspected of

having artificially inflated the number of its clients when it was

seeking a stock market listing.,1151,19132,00.html

* Emulex suspect pleads no guilty *

Mark Simeon Jakob, 23, accused of staging the stock hoax that sent the

Emulex stock down $2.5 billion, pleaded not guilty to charges of

planting false information. A U.S. magistrate set trial date to Nov. 21.

* Fox and settle *

Fox News Network settled a lawsuit against financial news site and the company's top shareholder, fund manager James

Cramer, over the site's cancellation of a weekly TV show the two

companies jointly produced. TheStreet canceled the show that bore its

name after Fox barred commentators from discussing stocks they own. As

part of the settlement TheStreet agreed that it will not produce a

similar financial show for any network until May 1.

* Australian banned from giving online investment advice *

The New South Wales Supreme Court (Australia) permanently banned the

operator of The Chimes website from dealing in securities or giving

investment advice without licenses required under the Corporations Law.



* FTC wants more privacy regulation *

Robert Pitofsky, head of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gave

commercial sites a C+ grade for protecting online privacy. Pitofsky

urged Congress to give his agency new powers to ensure compliance with

fair notice, choice, access and security. FTC proposed legislation would

require sites to provide clear notice of their information practices and

offer consumers choices on how their personal information is used beyond

that for which it was provided.

* Senator introduced a "Spyware Control Act" *

U.S. Sen. John Edwards introduced legislation that would force software

manufacturers to notify consumers when their products include spyware -

bits of code that transmit information about the user's surfing habits

back to the software company.

* customer info published online *

A disgruntled former customer launched and posted the personal data of 100 people who

registered domain names through The site operator lost

several domain names he registered trough, including, in arbitration rulings. While is

outraged, the client information is publicly available through Whois


* Suit against MAPS gets go-ahead *

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Socrates Manoukian ruled that

Black Ice, a New Hampshire company, could pursue its claims against the

Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS), an anti-spam organization set up to

help ISPs screen SPAM email. Black Ice, a software maker, threatened

legal action over being placed on the MAPS Blackhole List.

Online Speech


* Professors drop teacher review site defamation suit *

Two California professors dropped a lawsuit against an online teacher

review site they claim called them foul names such as 'insane', 'drugged

out', and 'sex maniacs'. The professors say they decided to drop the

case due to legal costs. Under the agreement, the two teachers will pay

the American Civil Liberties Union $10,000 in attorney's fees.,1283,39258,00.html

* Senators can't update sites during elections *

Current regulations forbid U.S. Senate offices from updating their Web

sites within 60 days of primary and general elections. The rule was

supposed to discourage unfair politicking on Senate Web sites but

critics claim that it is instead denying citizens valuable legislative


* Briton will pay for defamation *

The High Court in London ruled that David Frankl sent defamatory

messages to his former employer. Frankl was ordered to pay 26,000 pound

as damages plus costs estimated at between 50,000 and 100,000 pounds.



* Priceline under Connecticut AG investigation *

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal opened a consumer fraud

investigation into Priceline's name-your-own-price service. The

Connecticut Better Business Bureau kicked out Priceline as a member two

weeks ago because of the number of customer complaints.

* Online wine sales - finally resolved *

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 371-1 to let states' attorney

generals seek an injunction in federal court to stop illegal shipments

of alcohol into the state.

* Motorola wants end-user consumer data *

Independent dealers are being told by Motorola that they must turn over

their proprietary customer data or lose the right to sell Motorola's

popular two-way radios. The dealers fear that Motorola plans to use the

data to sell directly to customers.,4586,2637528,00.html

* Texas AG files suit against *

The Texas Attorney General filed a lawsuit against accusing

it of committing false, deceptive and misleading acts by operating an

illegal pyramid promotional scheme. Meanwhile, BigSmart is fighting

message board posters who criticized the company publicly, over the same

allegations included in the Texas AG complaint.

I want to thank Robert Burtis for sending this information.



* Australian online gambling ban defeated in senate *

A planned one-year ban on the issue of new Internet gambling licenses in

Australia was defeated in Senate by a vote of 33 for and 33 against. The

Interactive Gambling (Moratorium) Bill would have imposed a

retrospective, one-year ban on the issue of any new licenses for online

gambling operations. During that year, the feasibility and effects of a

total ban would be examined.

* First U.S. legal gambling site *

The first legal U.S. online gambling site,, has been

approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to distribute sports wagers

online within Nevada.

* U.S. Supreme Court turns down ISP-Common Carrier case *

The U.S. Supreme Court will not consider a lawsuit brought against

America Online by several subscribers who said that the company should

be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a common

carrier in order to be subject it to federal rules on privacy rights and

copyright protection.

* Disney accessed confidential AOL information *

Walt Disney has been barred by the U.S. Federal Communications

Commission (FCC) from reviewing sensitive documents filed by AOL and

Time Warner about their merger, until assuring it will honor

confidentiality agreements. A lawyer representing Disney at the FCC sent

an email to other company staff with information from internal documents

submitted by AOL. The lawyer realized his mistake within an hour but

Disney, which opposes the AOL-Time Warner merger, waited five days to

report the breach.



* Microsoft sued over alleged worker bias *

Microsoft is being sued by Monique Donaldson, a former program manager,

who says that a job evaluation process discriminates against black and

female employees.

(Free registration with the NY Times required)

* Microsoft gets slow pace trial *

The Court of Appeals set the schedule for Microsoft's antitrust appeal,

giving Microsoft almost all the time it asked for. The parties will file

their final briefs on February 9th 2001. Oral arguments are planned for

the very end of February.,1283,39396,00.html

* AOL suits not limited o Virginia *

Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw said that America Online (AOL) users

who sue it should not be forced to transfer their lawsuits to the

company's home state of Virginia because it is "unfair and

unreasonable", since many small amount lawsuits are for sums much lower

than travel costs.

* Gateway sued over not so free Internet access *

A class-action suit was filed in California, charging that Gateway

misled customers when it offered free Internet access to users who

purchased the company's products, but did not warn customers that many

of them fell outside of the provided local access numbers, which meant

that they paid long-distance fees for going online.

That is all for this time,

Yedidya (Didi) M. Melchior 


The Cyberlaw Informer

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