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ICT Law Blog
Sunday, March 30, 2008
  Irish ISP sued over file-sharing by users | OUT-LAW.COM
Ireland's biggest internet service provider (ISP) is being sued by the four biggest record labels over illegally downloaded music. The labels are demanding that Eircom take action to prevent its network being used to share copyright-infringing material.

JK Rowling sues to block fan site's Harry Potter book | OUT-LAW.COM
The publisher of an encyclopaedic website cataloguing the complex world of Harry Potter has been sued by the books' author JK Rowling, even though she has actually used the site in her own research.

Top retailers breach email footer laws, says survey | OUT-LAW.COM
Some of the UK's biggest retailers are failing to fulfil their legal obligations in their email marketing, a study has found. CD WOW!, Game, Topshop and Waterstone's were amongst the companies which failed the tests set by an internet marketing consultancy.

JK Rowling sues to block fan site's Harry Potter book | OUT-LAW.COM
The publisher of an encyclopaedic website cataloguing the complex world of Harry Potter has been sued by the books' author JK Rowling, even though she has actually used the site in her own research.

English BBC News Articles Now Online in China
People in China are able to access English language stories on the BBC News website in full, after years of strict control by Beijing. The Communist authorities often block news sites such as the BBC in a policy dubbed the 'great firewall of China'.

Turkey Blocking Access to Multimedia Web Software
The Turkish government has been blocking access nationwide to Slide Inc. and its popular multimedia Web software after a local court ruled the site let users post photos and stories insulting the Turkish republic's founder, the company said. Slide joins Web services such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace that have been barred by countries including Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand and China for offering Web services that violate national laws restricting political speech.

Security Lapse Exposes Personal Facebook Photos
A security lapse made it possible for unwelcome strangers to peruse personal photos posted on Facebook Inc.'s popular online hangout, circumventing a recent upgrade to the Web site's privacy controls. The Associated Press verified the loophole Monday after receiving a tip from a Byron Ng, a Vancouver, Canada, computer technician.

Judge OKs Settlement Over Second Life Sex Toys
A dispute over sales of virtual sex toys has resulted in a real-life slap on the wrist for a Texas teenager. Eros LLC, a Tampa Bay-area company that creates virtual sex scripts in the online world Second Life, sued Robert Leatherwood, 19, last year claiming he copied, displayed or distributed Eros products without permission.

Number of Personal Data Breaches Rose 40% in 2007
Despite the public outcry over identity theft, the loss of personal information still appears to be on the rise. Experts say the number of reported 'breaches,' where sensitive personal data such as credit card numbers or financial information is lost or stolen, increased more than 40 percent last year.

Website Lets Hackers Exploit Flaw in Excel
Researchers at Symantec said they've spotted a Web site that tries to exploit computers lacking one of the recently issued patches for versions of Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program. The vulnerability involves a malicious Excel file that when opened can allow a hacker to execute other code on a PC.

Google Investors Seeking Ban on Censorship
A group of Google investors is proposing that the Internet company create a committee on human rights and establish policies that forbid it from engaging in censorship. Google will let shareholders vote on the measures at its May 8 annual meeting, according to a regulatory filing.

Use of trade mark in search engine ad infringed, rules US court | OUT-LAW.COM
A US court has ruled that a company infringed a rival's trade mark when it sponsored the term 'Smart Money Clip' in Google's search engine and displayed the term as the headline of the advert.

Pre-contract negotiations don't change meaning of defined term, says Court of Appeal | OUT-LAW.COM
A property developer has been refused the right to use evidence of contract negotiations to change the definition of a term in the contract, despite the fact that a judge said the evidence was in the developer's favour.

Monday, March 24, 2008
  Media 24 fined over defamatory report
Media 24, publishers of City Press newspaper, was on Monday ordered to pay prominent ANC politician and medical doctor Zweli Mkhize R150 000 damages for a defaming him in a report in March 2007.

Man Gets 51 Months for Online Identity Theft
A Seattle man was sentenced to 51 months in prison for using file-sharing software to steal people's identities and buy merchandise under their names. Calling Gregory Kopiloff a 'highwayman in the virtual world,' U.S. District Judge James Robart declined a defense recommendation for a two-year sentence.

Facebook Introduces New Privacy Controls
Facebook said it is introducing new privacy controls that give users of the fast-growing social-network site the ability to preserve social distinctions between friends, family and co-workers online. Facebook executives told reporters at the company's Palo Alto, California headquarters of changes that will allow Facebook's more than 67 million active users worldwide to control what their friends, and friends of their friends see.

Dalai Lama Wants Chinese Ban of YouTube Investigated
People all over China are reporting that YouTube access has been blocked, possibly in connection with a Chinese government crackdown on Tibet. The Dalai Lama called for an international investigation of the crackdown, as Tibetan rioting against Chinese rule spread to other provinces.

Syria Orders Internet Cafes to Identify Users
Syrian authorities have ordered Internet cafe users to reveal their identity, the latest measure in their 'iron censorship' of cyberspace, a Syrian monitoring group said. Security officials ordered Internet cafe owners this week to take down the names and identification cards of their clients as well as the times they come and leave, Mazen Darwich, head of the Syrian Media Centre, told Reuters.

Governments Struggle with Disclosing E-mail Messages
While e-mail and text messaging has become a hugely popular way to communicate throughout society, governments at all levels are often unwilling to let the public see the e-mails of their elected officials. Officially, e-mails in all but a handful of states are treated like paper documents and subject to Freedom of Information requests.

Public Officials Find Text Messages Not Private
Those supposedly private messages that public officials dash off on their government cellphones to friends and colleagues aren't necessarily private after all. Courts, lawyers and states are increasingly treating these typed text messages as public documents subject to the same disclosure laws -- including the federal Freedom of Information Act -- that apply to e-mails and paper records.

P2P Technology Gains Acceptance Despite Illegal Uses
The technology best known for pirating movies, music and software online is increasingly being adopted by businesses as a cheap way to get video content to customers. But 90 percent of P2P downloads are still of illegally copied content, according to David Hahn, vice president of product management at SafeNet Inc., which tracks the networks.

Bush Wants Billions to Spend on Fighting Cyberattacks
A sudden spike in the number of successful attacks against federal government information systems and databases has led President Bush to propose a multibillion-dollar response. The number of incidents reported to the Department of Homeland Security rose by 152% last year, to nearly 13,000, according to a new government report.

Friday, March 14, 2008
  Web publisher fights to save comment forums from trade mark suit | OUT-LAW.COM
A US online publisher is fighting to keep its product review forums alive in the face of a trade mark lawsuit that seeks to ban the use of one company's product name.

Fox News loses domain name fight after late trade mark filing | OUT-LAW.COM
Fox News Network has failed to win control over a domain name that is almost identical to one of its television station names because it did not register its trade marks early enough.

Law Society backs in-house lawyers in privilege battle at ECJ | OUT-LAW.COM
The representative body for lawyers in England and Wales is seeking to intervene in a European case which will decide whether communication between a company and its in-house lawyers can be confidential.

Belfast judges quash libel verdict over rotten restaurant review | OUT-LAW.COM
A newspaper which published a restaurant review describing a restaurant's atmosphere as smoky and joyless and its cola as flat has had a £25,000 libel judgment against it quashed.

Third of online shops undermine consumer rights, says OFT | OUT-LAW.COM
Nearly a third of retail websites surveyed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) are breaking laws designed to protect shoppers.

ISPA ADSL complaint close to conclusion
The ISPA Competition Commission complaint against Telkom – which relates partly to ADSL - is close to reaching an outcome.

ISPA ADSL complaint close to conclusion
The ISPA Competition Commission complaint against Telkom – which relates partly to ADSL - is close to reaching an outcome.

Largest South African websites
With nearly one million broadband users in South Africa the Internet is fast becoming the medium of choice for information and news. While many people still think of the Internet as a place for email and Internet banking, a growing group of more sophisticated users are doing everything from shopping to share trading online.

Thursday, March 13, 2008
  Yahoo! wins sponsored links ruling in High Court | OUT-LAW.COM
Yahoo! did not infringe a businessman's rights by displaying adverts for other companies when users entered his trade marks as search terms. The High Court dismissed a lawsuit against the web giant as being 'totally without merit.'

R2bn GSSC tender questioned
A R2 billion GautengOnline education project is shrouded in controversy, amid speculation of irregularities during the evaluation and awarding of the tender.

MobiTV Seeks to Shut Down Web Forum | AP | 03/07/2008
MobiTV Inc., which provides TV services on Sprint Nextel Corp. cell phones, is trying to shut down a Web forum that is carrying instructions on how to get access to its channels for free.

Email scam: Pay the money or die!
New Zealand authorities issued a warning on Monday about an international email 'hit-man scam' that warns recipients they will be killed if they do not pay thousands of dollars to a cyber extortionist.

Software Counterfeiting Brothers Imprisoned | Threat Level from
A U.S. judge sentenced two brothers to prison Friday for selling over the Internet 'massive amounts' of counterfeited software from Adobe Systems, Autodesk and Macromedia.

N.Y. Governor Spitzer Linked To Online Prostitution Ring -- Eliot Spitzer -- InformationWeek
Court papers show the federal wiretap investigation relied heavily on cell phone records and ISP addresses.

Judge Orders Online Tobacco Seller to Pay Fine
A judge in Boise has ordered an Internet tobacco seller to pay a $163,225 fine for violating state cigarette-sales laws. Scott Maybee, of Salamanca, N.Y., was accused of violating state law by selling cigarettes not listed on an Idaho directory and by selling cigarettes at retail without obtaining a tobacco permit from the Department of Health and Welfare.

R.E.M. to Debut Album Online -- for Free
Forget the traditional radio premiere: R.E.M.'s new album, 'Accelerate,' is set to debut on the social networking application iLike. The roll-out, the first of its kind for a major act, will allow fans to stream and share 'Accelerate' in its entirety beginning March 24, a week ahead of the album's April 1 U.S. release date.

Paramount Pictures to Let Movie Clips Be Used Online
Paramount Pictures will become the first major studio to make clips from thousands of its movies available for use on the Internet. The unit of Viacom Inc. is teaming with Los Angeles-based developer FanRocket to launch the VooZoo application on Facebook.

YouTube Not Liable for Punitive Damages to Viacom
A U.S. District Court judge ruled that Viacom Inc. may not seek punitive damages in a $1 billion copyright infringement suit filed last year against Google Inc. Viacom sued Google in a New York court roughly one year ago, alleging 'massive' copyright infringement because of the frequent appearance of Viacom-owned shows such as those on its Comedy Central network on Google's popular YouTube video sharing service.

EBay Criticizes "Organized" Attacks in Romania
eBay is decrying the lack of interest in cybercrime by authorities in countries such as Romania, Russia, and China. The online auction site pinpoints these three countries as the source of the majority of phishing e-mails that target eBay users for personal and account details.

Domain Name Sold for Record Nearly $10 Million
The domain name has reportedly been sold for the highest cash price ever reported: $9,999,950. A spokesperson for the buyer said the deal closed in January fulfilling a purchase agreement that had been signed in October 2007 and that all new content would soon be placed on the domain.

"Virtual Protests" Target Internet Censorship
Thousands of people are taking part in 'virtual protests' against countries accused of censoring the Internet. For its first Online Free Expression Day, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has created virtual versions of nine public spaces.

Dutch Court Sentences Three for E-mail Extortion
A Dutch court sentenced three members of a Nigerian gang to up to four years in prison for extorting tens of thousands of euros from victims who answered e-mails promising a stake in unclaimed inheritances. A spokeswoman for the Haarlem court said judges sentenced one man to four years on charges of fraud, money-laundering and membership of a criminal organization, while two others were sentenced to 18 months and 13 months respectively.

UK clamps down on travellers
South Africans travelling to Britain may soon have more than possible visas to worry about. The British government is pressing European governments to help it collect the personal data of every traveller entering, or leaving, the island state – including credit card and mobile phone numbers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
  Google penalises slow-loading ads
Google is planning to crack down on web ads which have landing pages that take too long to load. The search firm will add a penalty to the 'Quality Score' used to determine the placement each ad receives when matched with a search result.

Hackers Exploit Adobe Reader Flaw
Security Fix has learned that at least one of the security holes in the popular Adobe Reader application that was quietly patched by Adobe this week is actively being exploited to break into Microsoft Windows computers.

Hackers Exploiting Facebook, MySpace Plug-ins
If you use Internet Explorer (versions 6 or 7) to browse the Web, listen up: Criminals are starting to exploit security holes in several widely installed IE plug-ins to plant invasive software when users are coerced or tricked into visiting one of several Web sites.

Are the watchers being watched?
Not even MPs are exempt from the surveillance state they have created, notes regular columnist Bill Thompson.

Facing the future Facebook style
Regular commentator Bill Thompson ruminates on the inevitability of Facebook being in the news in 2008

BBC NEWS | Technology | The high cost of a good reputation
Auction site eBay doesn't trust sellers to behave honestly. Bill Thompson isn't surprised.

The battle against the botnet hordes
On 11th February a US teenager who used the online nickname of 'Sobe' pleaded guilty to delinquency charges resulting from his surreptitious installation of adware on hundreds of thousands of computers.

Ad system 'will protect privacy
Two respected privacy campaigners have praised the user protection measures of a controversial online advertising system about to be deployed in the UK.

College student accused of cheating using Facebook
first-year Ryerson University student is being accused of cheating after helping to run an online study group on Facebook.

Chinese hackers: No site is safe
They operate from a bare apartment on a Chinese island. They are intelligent 20-somethings who seem harmless. But they are hard-core hackers who claim to have gained access to the world's most sensitive sites, including the Pentagon.

Free ADSL local bandwidth trial continues
MWEB’s free local bandwidth trial – which provides their ADSL subscribers with free local usage after they have reached their cap – is to continue.

E-Commerce: Creating Virtually Unique Fashions Online
Buying made-to-measure clothing online is quite popular worldwide today. In the near future, we will also be able to give women the option of tailoring items to ensure a perfect fit according to their specific body measurements, rather than just ordering according to one uniform size,' said Iris Ben-David, CEO and founder of StyleShake.

E-Commerce: Creating Virtually Unique Fashions Online
Buying made-to-measure clothing online is quite popular worldwide today. In the near future, we will also be able to give women the option of tailoring items to ensure a perfect fit according to their specific body measurements, rather than just ordering according to one uniform size,' said Iris Ben-David, CEO and founder of StyleShake.

Future Tech: Capturing the Elusive URL: There's Gotta Be a Better Way
In Japan, you can use your cell phone as an electronic wallet; you can use RFID; you can use all kinds of things -- but you have to have something that's transmitting information,' said In-Stat research director Jim McGregor. While capturing URLs from print would not be feasible, having the ad broadcast information that could be captured on the mobile device would work, McGregor added.

Man Sues Students Who Sued Him Over Postings
A University of Pennsylvania law graduate who lost a lucrative job offer after he was linked to Web sites that crudely discussed female law students has countersued two of the women subjects. Anthony Ciolli's libel suit charges that the Yale Law School students sued him although they knew he did not control the message boards at either, where he was an editor, or at a now-defunct site that ranked the looks of top women law students.

MobiTV Trying to Shut Down
MobiTV, which provides TV services on Sprint Nextel cellphones, is trying to shut down a Web forum that is carrying instructions on how to get access to its channels for free. MobiTV sent a letter to, asking the site to take down links that provide MobiTV streams from Fox News, MSNBC, Animal Planet and other networks when entered in the Web browsers of certain phones.

Judge Praises Microsoft for "Dramatic" Changes
The judge presiding over Microsoft's U.S. antitrust compliance commended the company for recent steps designed to make its documentation more accessible to open-source programmers. At a periodic court hearing with company and government attorneys, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said she found the changes 'very interesting' and 'dramatic.

Monday, March 10, 2008
  Panda predicts malware trends
Panda Security warns that the avalanche of malware designed to steal money from Internet users will affect platforms that have not previously been targeted by cyber-crooks.

What is holding broadband back?
The Broadband Summit held in Sandton provided a platform for industry experts to discuss the factors that are holding broadband back in South Africa.

Software pirates stealing from local channel
The effects of software piracy are felt throughout the South African IT distribution channel. While local and international software developers are also victims of software piracy, it is local distributors and resellers supplying the end-user that are most adversely affected by software piracy.

Friday, March 07, 2008
  Messaging users complain more
There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a self-regulating industry, says Pieter Streicher, MD of

Minister says ‘no' to VANS licences
This issue of why value added network services (VANS) were not being granted class electronic communications network service (ECNS) licences was brought up before communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri yesterday.

Interception answer bugs DA MP
Democratic Alliance MP Mike Waters says he can't get the police or National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to say if they have been bugging his mobile phone.

Is Telkom breaking the law?
Telkom’s install dates may be in conflict with the ADSL regulations which require installations within 30 days.

An adult channel on DSTV?
Multichoice has recently launched a survey to ‘further investigate their subscribers' preferences’ with regards to an adult channel or adult content.

What is holding broadband back?
Industry experts recently shared their thoughts on what is hindering a true broadband explosion in South Africa.

Yahoo! wins sponsored links ruling in High Court | OUT-LAW.COM
Yahoo! did not infringe a businessman's rights by displaying adverts for other companies when users entered his trade marks as search terms. The High Court dismissed a lawsuit against the web giant as being 'totally without merit.'

Eskom joins online fray
Eskom has been widely advertising a new Web site,, which offers a dedicated discussion forum where those affected by load-shedding can air their views. Some of the comments made so far on the site include advice on using renewable energy sources, tips on how to learn more about power outages, as well as general rants and raves about Eskom's service.

Free download of novel lures readers
"Random House is in the business of selling books, so what's it doing giving away a book, or at least its contents?

Law evolving as divorces drag in digital evidence
Marietta divorce attorney Stephen Worrall increasingly sees clients come to his office and excitedly tell him: 'You won't believe what I found on my wife's e-mail.

Gauteng scores half a billion IT budget
Gauteng finance MEC Paul Mashatile believes ICT is key to the province's future and in his budget vote this morning, he puts his money where his mouth is.

Facebook battle over racist video
Condemned for living in the hostel that spawned a racist anti-integration video, some students at the University of the Free State's Reitz residence are desperate to keep their website free of 'bitter' pro-integration opinions.

Teen charged for cyber crimes
A New Zealand teenager allegedly at the centre of an international cyber crime network appeared on Friday in court where he was charged with computer hacking crimes.

Man pleads guilty in stadium dirty-bomb hoax
A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty on Thursday to creating an Internet hoax that claimed 'dirty bombs' would be set off at seven U.S. football stadiums, prompting a security scare, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey said.

HK celeb's nude pics lead to more arrests
China has arrested two more people for posting nude photos of Hong Kong pop stars on the internet, state media said.

Germany puts up firewall
Germany's Constitutional Court erected a legal firewall around computers on Wednesday, ruling that covert break-ins by the police were only legal in cases of grave danger.

Judge: Wikileaks gets its domain name back
After spending more than three hours hearing arguments from a raft of attorneys--two representing the Swiss bank that fought to get the site's plug pulled and about 10 who have been trying to get the site back online--a federal judge here has ruled in favor of Wikileaks.

UK Gay Website Triumphs in ‘Cyber Squatting’ Case
In what will be seen as refreshing news for the internet community, a ‘cyber squatter’ has not only relinquished a domain name he has been sitting on for four years, but has also been refused payment of the $12,000 fee he was demanding for it by the official escrow-holding intermediaries.

Industry safe from data Bill
Wireless and Internet service providers, already under threat of prepublication censorship under looming amendments to the Film and Publications Act, should not be affected by the Protection of Personal Information Bill, should that become law.

Teens, At school
Children and adults worldwide are facing a threat far more serious than bullying on the playground – cyber-bullying. It's faceless, immediate and dangerous, and growing on a daily basis.







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