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Domain Names of Well-Known People

An arbitrator under the WIPO domain name dispute resolution policy has held that Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay for ten years, has no remedy against someone who registered several domain names relating to a possible attempt by Ms Whitman to run for governor of California in 2010. The report on OutLaw.com has a link to the decision itself.

Some of the domains were megwhitmanforgovernor.com and meg2010.com.

The essence of the decision is that Ms Whitman did not have a custom of commercial use of her name and thus had not established a ‘common law trademark’ in it. Mere fame was . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Mandatory Reporting of Child Pornography in Ontario

The Ontario Legislature yesterday passed Bill 37, the Child Pornography Reporting Act, 2008.

The bill was somewhat amended in Committee, notably to tie the definition of child pornography more closely to the Criminal Code definition (though it’s still not identical). You can see the amendments here and the bill as amended in Committee here.

People who commented on the bill on the ULC-ECOMM list in the spring were sceptical of its benefits and of its practicality. No member of the Legislature shared any such doubts, apparently. All three parties supported the bill.

The penalty for not reporting child . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Anti-Spam Bill Reintroduced in the Senate

Senator Goldstein has reintroduced his anti-spam bill in the Senate, as of last month. It is now Bill S-202. A similar bill (I have not compared them) was on the order paper before the last election. (It’s interesting that Senate bills die too when elections are called, considering that the Senate is not elected and the Senators all continue in office despite elections for the House of Commons. Yes, I understand the principle, but its application is not inevitable – though it is not going to change, either.)

You can read the Senator’s comments as he began second reading debate . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Australia Will Criminalize Identity Theft

Internet Law News this morning reports that Australia will propose national legislation to criminalize identity theft.

I am not sure I understand the story. Presumably Australia has laws against fraud. The story mentions using another person’s credit card and stealing personal information to open bank accounts and take out loans in the name of the victim. Would not such actions already be illegal? They certainly would be here.

It is arguable that it should be illegal simply to acquire the personal information, without actually using it – but then would protective or limiting measures be needed to prevent abuse, or . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Virtual Worlds but Real (?) Property

The Register has an interesting report on crimes in virtual worlds.

According to a study [PDF] by the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), there is a lot of crime in virtual worlds, and it can be lucrative.

Quoth the author of the study: “While annual real-money sales of virtual goods is estimated at nearly €2bn ($2.51bn) worldwide, users can do very little if their virtual property is stolen. They are a very soft target for cybercriminals.”

There is of course an action plan – indeed a 12-step program – one step of which is “Clarification of virtual property . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Internet Defamation? Count the Readers

An English court has recently held that the fact that a defamatory comment has been published online does not mean that anyone has read it. The plaintiff must show that the comment has been accessed as well.

In the English case, Brady v. Norman [2008] EWHC 2481 (QB), described on OutLaw.com, the question was one of qualified privilege, and whether some people without an interest in knowing the information had nevertheless been given access to it.

While this is reminiscent in some ways of the Bangoura case in Ontario, where the only visitors to the online defamation appeared . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

The E-Communications Convention — in Australia

The Australian government has just started a public consultation on the desirability of ratifying the UN E-Communications Convention in that country. The page containing the public notice also offers a link to the consultation paper in PDF or Word.

The American Uniform Law Commission (formerly NCCUSL) has a Committee to study implementation of the Convention in the US. The working group met recently to discuss options for implementation.

In Canada, there appears to be little action since the Uniform Law Conference meeting on the topic in August. Professor Gautrais’ paper on the impact of the Convention on Quebec law . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

EU Web Businesses Must Have Phone Numbers or Fast Contact Forms

According to Out-Law.com this morning:

Companies have to provide a means of contact on their websites in addition to their postal and email addresses, the European Court of Justice has ruled. A telephone number, or a contact form that is answered within 60 minutes, were deemed acceptable.

This holding flows from the E-Commerce Directive, which says that companies:

“shall render easily, directly and permanently accessible to the recipients of the service and competent authorities, at least the following information:

(a) the name of the service provider;

(b) the geographic address at which the service provider is established;

(c)

. . . [more]
Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Disclosing Encryption Keys and IP Addresses

European courts have had something to say lately about whether disclosing encryption keys would amount to self-incrimination, and whether disclosing an IP address involved an undue disclosure of personal information.

An English court (R. v. S and A [2008] EWCA Crim 2177) held that compulsory disclosure of an encryption key was not improper. Out-Law.com has the story:

“In this sense the key to the computer equipment is no different to the key to a locked drawer,” said the judge. “The contents of the drawer exist independently of the suspect: so does the key to it. The contents may

. . . [more]
Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Encrypting Personal Information

The states of Nevada and now Massachusetts require that holders of personal information must encrypt that information. Nevada imposes this requirement on businesses with respect to some kinds of information — names associated with social security numbers or various other kinds of access codes. Massachusetts imposes the requirement on everybody and applies it to storage on mobile devices and transmission through open networks.

A memo by the Chicago firm of Wildman Harrold describes both laws and gives citations.

Do we need this kind of rule in Canada? PIPEDA and its provincial counterparts require holders of personal information to keep it . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Cell Phones, Location and Privacy

Two stories on cell phones, with a question or two:

1. An article from London Review of Books (“Short Cuts” by Daniel Soar) on how cell phone location records and use records can categorize the users — for marketing, for finding terrorists (or people who may be terrorists …), etc.

Is there a cure for this, besides just using land lines? Or is it a problem, rather than an opportunity?

2. A judicial decision in US district court [opinion of Magistrate Judge | order on appeal] saying that the state needs reasonable and probable grounds before . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Can Wikipedia Be a Source of Evidence?

Badasa v. U.S.: Here’s a US immigration case in which the US government offered information from Wikipedia to support its argument about the status of Ethiopian travel documents. The appeals court eventually found that this was not a good source of evidence, and sent the matter back for reconsideration.

ArsTechnica has the story.

Does this sound right to you? Would a print encyclopedia be any better?

I don’t see in this story any concern about the hearsay nature of the evidence — like that of any website, pretty well, surely — though that might depend on the use being . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list