Tag Archives: protection

Network Solutions sued for Poaching Domains

According to the suit and Network Solutions internal policies, after a customer searches for a .com domain on Network Solutions’ web site, the domain would be "purchased" by Network Solutions. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) established a grace period, whereby consumers could purchase a top level domain name (TLD), and return the domain within five days fo purchase, establishing a domain name purchase grace period.

This grace period has been exploited by registrars, who purchase TLDs to measure their profitablity, only to return the ones that are less profitable.

Network Solution calls its policy a “consumer protection measure,” and claims it is necessary to prevent customers from losing prospective domains to “front-runners,” who monitor domain search logs and quickly buy up searched domain names for themselves, hoping to sell them back to their original searchers.

Once purchased by Network Solutions, the domains can then cost as much as $34.99, or any price Network Solutions deems appropriate. The temporary purchasing of the domain forces users, for a period of four days, to purchase their domain through Network Solutions and at the inflated price..

Microsoft Bids for Yahoo

After an unsolicited $44.6 billion bid by Microsoft to purchase outstanding Yahoo shares on February 1th, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection House, Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) has stated that a confidential briefing will be held with his panel in the coming weeks.

Additionally House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) are holding a February 8th hearing on internet competition.

Microsoft and Yahoo both operate in essentially the same arena: Google’s shadow. A merger between the two companies could bring Google its first real competition in the internet advertising market.

Yahoo is said to still be undecided as to how to proceed forward, CEO Jerry Yang sent a letter to his 14,300 employees stating that "There's obviously been a lot of talk about Yahoo in recent days, and we won't let it distract us from pursuing our transformation strategy" and assuring them that the board is working in "a complex and evolving landscape", with the help of outside advisors. The letter goes on to mention “strategic alternatives”, leading some to believe Yang’s Yahoo is not for sale – voluntarily, anyway.

Copyright: What is it?

Copyright applies to almost any and every area of work, but can not be used to replace patent or trademark. In otherwords, copyright just protects a final product, as in a painting, or a poem, but will not protect a technique or method, such as how the painting was created, a business methodology, or a working piece of machinery. These will often fall under patent law.

A few points to remember about copyright and the legal system in the United States is that it is generally speaking the first to create and not the first to file. What that means is if you create the work first, but someone else registers the "copyright" with the United States before you, that someone else's rights are not above yours. You as the creator, as long as you can demonstrate that you created your work before the other artist will be recognized as the copyright holder.

Another point is that the amount of protection given can sometimes be tied to the amount of commercial value a product has. So, although technically speaking an email someone writes would and could be copyrighted, because it has little if any commercial value, the protection given by the courts and the law would be minimal. Similarly, a poem or book written but never published, although it hasn't been published yet, it would definetly be viewed as a potential valuable work, and could be protected vigorously.

Lastly, copyright must be boiled down to an actual piece of work or creation. You cannot copyright an idea in your head of how something will look or what the poem will be, write it down, draw it, create it. Do whatever you have to do to get it out of your head and on to a tangible medium.


Safe Harbor for Websites

The DMCA provides in section 17 U.S.C. section 512(c) several “safe harbor” provisions for service provider's connection to infringing online materials. These safe harbor provisions are usually applicable when a service provider is either unaware, unable to be aware, or unable to regulate the content that is being transmitted or shared. However, the DMCA safe harbor provisions were initially intended to protect for Web Hosts and service providers, and not necessarily the web sites themselves, but that was before the introduction of user content based websites such as YouTube, Myspace, Craigslist, and many others.

However, the DMCA does require that service providers adopts and utilizes policies to both terminate repeat infringers and apply standardized acceptable procedures in the prevention of copyright infringement.

If you are planning on developing, operating, or maintaining a website which authorizes, encourages, our utilizes user generated content, there several things which one should take into account in regards to protecting yourself from law suit.

1. Ensure that your website and its use falls under the specifications of the DMCA “safe harbor” provisions, whether that be section 512(c) or any other provision.

2. Develop a policy and procedure in which the website is able to remove content which has been flagged as infringing material and notification of both the content provider and the user who submitted the infringing material.

3. Let your site take its natural course. In other words, it would behoove the website owner to minimize the control of material submitted by users on the website. The more control the Owner and maintainers of a website exert, the more the owner/maintainer will be responsible for the content which users upload.

4. Do not target any revenue generating plans at infringing or potentially infringing content. One of the major downfalls of Grokster were the advertisements which encouraged users to infringe on copyrighted materials.

5. Do not directly infringe either by content posted by the owner or maintainer of the website, or encouraged. If you encourage infringement or post the content yourself, it is more likely that a court will deny any “safe harbor” provision protections.

6. Attempt to the largest degree possible the licensing of content from providers. The more licensing agreements a website is able to sign, the less likely someone will bring suit.

Please consult an attorney for any specific advice in regards to the DMCA, or Website Compliance.


*This article was written by Jeffrey C. Neu, Esq. an Internet and Technology Lawyer in New Jersey.