27 January 2011

All Quiet On The IP Enforcement Front?


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Intellectual Property Zonephoto © 2008 Robert Nunnally | more info (via: Wylio)

As recently as on 22 December last year the European Commission issued its long awaited report on the application of Directive 2004/48/EC that deals with the enforcement of intellectual property rights (“IPRED”). The report represents a very interesting read and is accompanied by another, no less interesting, paper – the Commission staff working document. I strongly recommend reading those two records or, alternatively, the analysis thereof outlined in this very blog post.

If you are still reading this article, I assume you are definitely aware of the IPRED and I will skip its introduction. And since the above documents almost sound a charge against the Internet and its users, I will limit my explanation only to the Internet relevant issues.

Not surprisingly, the Commission stresses on the difficulties rightholders have been experiencing while pursuing IPR infringers on the Internet. Accordingly, those difficulties are attributable to “the relative anonymity of the Internet” as well as to the fact that the IPRED “does not sufficiently address this constantly growing, serious problem”. The latter appears somewhat inconsistent, since the IPRED equipped rightholders with a set of strong weapons – the so called right of information and the specific injunctive relief. The staff working document refers to the right of information as “an important tool for the rightholders to pursue … IPR infringements committed via the Internet such as illegal file-sharing of protected works through peer-to-peer protocol.” Further, and with respect to the injunctive relief the same document reads “Internet service providers, being the intermediaries between all the users of the Internet, on the one hand, and the rightholders, on the other, are often placed in a compromising position due to the infringing acts of their customers….It results from Member States’ reports that injunctions against intermediaries are used relatively often as the infringers are often unknown.

No doubt, these measures were clearly adapted to bring “intermediaries” (mainly Internet service providers, ISP) down to knees so they eventually provide the rightholders with the personal data of infringers on the Internet. So where are the difficulties?

Hmm, let us think about this one: what used to be the shield that (nearly always) managed to block rightholders’ weapons’ attacks?

Bingo, it is the law on privacy and data protection!

Indeed, the Commission notices that in some member states, pointing out Spain and Austria, ISP are practically not in the position to disclose the relevant information  in infringement proceedings. The reason therefor would often lie in that ISP are under data protection obligations resulting in the erasure of the data they might have previously gathered.

This is the point where the Commission touches the sore spot of the IP enforcement on the Internet – the fairly notorious conflict between the fundamental right to property and that to privacy. The Promusicae landmark decision is quoted as Community law’s requirement to fairly balance those two rights. However, this is followed by a caveat stating that “the European legal framework on the protection of personal data/privacy on the one hand and enforcement of intellectual property rights on the other is neutral, in that there is no rule that would imply that the right to privacy should generally take precedence over the right to property or vice versa” . I understand it like Commission’s reluctance to enter the territory of the Court of Justice of the European Union. What do you think?

Interestingly, but the Commission is very careful and even anxious on data retention. Nevertheless, their statement evidences that the purpose of data retention has never been directed to perpetrators of “serious crimes”, but rather to file-sharers.

A word should be dedicated also to the current absence of harmonized protection through criminal law. The Commission submits the fact that almost all member states provide for criminal measures to protect IPR, but the national definitions and level of penalties vary. That is, in the view of the EC, a “serious obstacle and may hinder the cross-border cooperation between the law enforcement agencies.”

All in all: the report has many bad news to tell. What could be its impact on the Internet users? Well, I guess that the Commission will initiate a new legislation to deal with the points and outcomes made in the report. Consequently, we should prepare to face more stringent civil sanctions, data protection undermining information requests and harmonized criminal measures.

Will they be capable to fight “Internet piracy”? I doubt it, unless the entertainment industry comes up with suitable lawful offerings. It is odd, but even the report admits that “file-sharing of copyright-protected content has become ubiquitous, partly because the development of legal offers of digital content has not been able to keep up with demand, especially on a cross-border basis, and has led many law-abiding citizens to commit massive infringements of copyright and related rights in the form of illegal up-loading and disseminating protected content.”

In the end, is there anything that Internet users can do in order to prevent the impact of the report? Yes, there is! You can all participate in the consultation the Commission set up on the report.

Raise your voice, because it is not all quiet on the IP enforcement front!

 

Did you find this article informative, helpful or entertaining? If yes, do not forget to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it!

23 January 2011

Why Net Neutrality Matters


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Do you support the view that all content flowing through the Internet should be treated equally?

If yes, you are certainly familiar with the ongoing net neutrality debate in the United States. For those that have never heard of it, I recommend to have a butcher’s at this primer written by Rich Greenfield. You see, the issue goes back to as early as 1996, but appears to have attracted a huge medial attention in the last couple of months. Why?

That is what I asked myself and went through some reads, the most of which available online. So, I would like to share the information I gained with you.

It appears that net neutrality has a twofold characteristic: it is about quantity and quality. The qualitative aspect would regard the content and the quantitative – the service availability in terms of speed, performance and pricing.

In the US, net neutrality is commonly defined as “the notion that broadband Internet service providers should not be allowed to show preferences to certain providers of content or types of content by supplying them with faster service” (Ashley Packard, Digital Media Law, 67). This definition covers rather the qualitative aspects and corresponds to the common standards established in the European Union. Europe is known to have put much effort in regulating both, the quantitative and the qualitative aspect. These are the standards I grew up with, so, initially I could not really figure out the controversy so arising.

Well, the key might lie in that in the 1990s the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began to treat broadband Internet service providers (ISP) favourably in comparison to, say, common carriers. In the result, such ISP have been under no obligation to share their conduits with competitors and have thus benefited from the lack of quantitative regulation. The US Supreme Court’s ruling in Brand X is considered to have cemented that state of affairs.

Besides, ISP had begun to also determine whether or not to convey certain content through their networks. They had, so to say, entered the area of the qualitative net neutrality. Having gained certain advantages by virtue of the missing quantitative regulation, they might have been willing to shape their service also in qualitative terms.

That seems to have been the point where the ball got really rolling. And when customers complained that Comcast secretly blocked their access to BitTorrent, the FCC decided to act and sanctioned Comcast. FCC grounded its order in the Internet Policy Statement it had issued already in 2005 in order to guarantee consumers unfettered access to all legal Web content, applications, and services. Comcast argued FCC would not have authority to regulate an ISP’s network management practices and eventually won before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

However, FCC did not give up and adopted new rules thereby claiming “an important step to preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation, investment, job creation, economic growth, competition, and free expression.” How dou you think did the ISP community perceive this act? Well, not necessarily in the affirmative. This time it was Verizon that undertook to challenge the newly issued rules, thereby applying  the successful recipe of the overstepped authority.

Having read that far, what do you think? What might be ISPs arguments to oppose net neutrality? I doubt they would claim changes merely in quantitative terms. Would the assumption that ISP attempt to limit the freedom and openness of the Internet be permissible? I could not figure it out why they should do so. Otherwise Verizon seems very reluctant to provide for cogent reasons why they oppose net neutrality.

For the time being and in contrast to the development in the US, the European Union Commission has managed to defend the concept of net neutrality. They have recognized that there is one Internet and that it should remain open and interconnected regardless of the technologies and services users rely on to access it.

While I understand that quantitative shaping network management might even be necessary, I would never accept a qualitative one. An ISP would then be in charge as to what content I would access. Such an effect would be even fortified by the fact that the market is likely to fail curing discrepancies so arising. You remember – many ISP are not obliged to share their networks with competitors. I could not just walk away from my ISP and sign with another.

Therefore I care for net neutrality. Actually, anyone using the Internet must care about net neutrality.

Otherwise there is a fair chance that we cede ground to persons like Mr Neil Berkett, the CEO of Virgin Media and they make the decisions on our behalf. And, believe me, that will not be necessarily to users’ benefit. Why? I guess that if you ask them, he will say “this net neutrality thing is a load of b****cks!”

 

Did you find this article informative, helpful or entertaining? If yes, do not forget to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it!

21 January 2011

Of Sushi and Data Protection


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Just ordered a large set of sake sushi on the phone.


Credit: Ricardo Bernardo

Again, I had run a long day and needed some refreshment. I rang up, could order pretty fast and felt well-served.

Besides one thing.

They knew who I was and where I lived. I was not even supposed to tell them my name… Strange, I thought, and started speculating how could those guys have obtained my personal data. Could that be, since I have ordered there already? However, what was even more worrying: what were/are they going to do with that?

Why am I concerned? Because I do not like to represent a record in a database whose existence I could not even assume. This is the reason why data controllers have an explicit obligation to obtain data subjects’ (written) consent prior to processing their data. Otherwise such processing is not lawful according to our fancy legislation on data protection.

To the best of my knowledge, I have never allowed the sushi restaurant to process my data. In order to be absolutely sincere, I checked their website while composing this blog post. Their general terms and conditions are just as silent as the fish they make sushi of.

It is funny, but data protection provisions were once introduced to oppose the dealings of state agents. Nowadays data traders are their primary objective and that does not surprise, since data are considered tradable commodities. Some of them are – depending on their exposure to the public – deemed really precious.

So, I will let those sushi makers know of their lack to comply with stringent law. I thought of writing them an email so I will not forget to tell them how good their sushi was.

Did you find this article informative and helpful? If yes, you might want to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it.

18 January 2011

Open source governments


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Video: The DoD makes it official: open source IS commercial software.photo © 2010 opensource.com | more info (via: Wylio)

In the course of my work I am here and there asked to advise on open source software (OSS) matters. But for whatever reason, since the beginning of 2011 I had to almost daily read, write or listen to something related to OSS. In the most cases, the OSS in question was somehow connected to a use in the public sector. So, I decided to write a blog article on that.

For the mere sake of clarity and for those readers not familiar with what open source software is – take a look at the definition issued by the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

Most people hardly know it, but open source software is everywhere: it is in computers, smartphones or even refrigerators. The industry discovered it long ago and has successfully deployed it since then. As a consequence of the commercial success, as early as 2001 governments started demonstrating their interest in using OSS. In 2003 the municipality of Munich, being the first worldwide, started the LiMux project that aimed to migrate that city’s 15.000 desktop clients from Windows to Linux. The floodgates opened wide and many others followed the Bavarian approach.

Now, some years after that event, OSS is present on the realms of numerous governments around the world. Not only that, many countries have issued legislation to even foster the spread of OSS. Likewise, the European Commission considers it the digital fuel behind their e-government projects. Very recently, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed the federal government agencies to switch to free and open source software by 2015.

An interesting development, is it not?

Besides, the OSS triumph has raised several legal questions. Legal writers have spent tons of both, analog and digital ink to determine whether “government’s acquisition of OSS is subject to public procurement law” or “the installation of OSS within different offices of the same agency constitutes a distribution or a conveyance in the sense of GNU/GPL“. The most of those questions have still not been satisfactorily answered or tested in court.

Either way, I am happy as to governments’ decision to embrace and endorse OSS. Still, there are many steps to take. But in a decade, one might turn around and say “wow, what a giant leap for mankind”.

Did you find this article informative and helpful? If yes, you might want to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it.

16 January 2011

Happy birthday, Wikipedia!


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

hands wikipedia aussiegallphoto © 2009 Johann Dréo | more info (via: Wylio)

Wikipedia turned 10 these days. Officially, 15 January 2001 is considered the Wikipedia Day, though Wikipedia’s predecessor Nupedia went online as early as on 9 March 2000.

I decided to throw my 2 cents on Wiki since I regard it one of humanity’s most important achievements in terms of free access to information and spread of knowledge. It has also been a main drive behind the free culture movement and has heavily influenced the whole Web 2.0 thing. During the last decade Wiki has proven the so called wisdom of crowds theory correct and demonstrated people’s ability to contribute to the enhancement of knowledge. No wonder, Wiki is nowadays one of the major sources of information. Moreover, Wiki has become an identifier, a trade mark. Think of how many other sites use the predicate “wiki” to promote their content.

However, it is not all sunshine and roses. Anyone’s ability to edit or contribute has been used to question Wikipedia’s reliability as a source of information. Some corporations and individuals managed to create entries to present them or their businesses in a specific light. Others did not only attempt to influence public opinion, but to tarnish the image of (potential) adversaries. The Wikipedia wars were born.

Nevertheless, in the outcome Wikipedia is and remains an achievement. An achievement whose sustainability we all have to foster, maintain and protect.

Did you find this article informative and helpful? If yes, you might want to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it.

13 January 2011

Customer Repulsion Management


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

M-TELphoto © 2006 B K | more info (via: Wylio)

What is a customer relationship management (CRM)? Wikipedia calls it a “widely implemented strategy to, by means of technology, organize, automate, and synchronize business processes to find, attract, and win new clients as well as to nurture and retain those the company already has.”

How do I come across CRM since it is not really within the scope of the Reguligence Weblog? Well, the last couple of weeks I have read a lot and, when I write “a lot” I mean a lot about the troubles that the customers (subscribers and prepaid users) of the largest Bulgarian mobile network M-Tel have been experiencing since September 2010.

Unfortunately and unlike my usual way of blogging, I can provide the audience with just very few other than Bulgarian-written evidences. I was somewhat upset when I examined the Bulgarian news portals issuing news in English and had to realise that, for whatever reason, they had omitted to cover this story.

Reportedly, the troubles have commenced with M-Tel’s deployment of a new CRM solution provided by Amdocs and resulted, inter alia, in inflated bills and customers’ inability to control their credit balances.

That all happens, one could assert. This is true and, as part of their risk management strategies, operators should have crisis management plans in order to control such events. In this connection customer relationship management in the sense of customer satisfaction is just vital. One could not stress that often again.

Obviously, this is the field where M-Tel just fizzled out. That not enough, they demonstrate an absolute unpreparedness to in general terms maintain  CRM towards their customers. For instance, customers unhappy about M-Tel’s failure to provide certain services cannot just terminate their contracts asserting material breach. Instead, customers must go through a real cascade of sections contained in both, M-Tels general terms and conditions (GTC) and customers’ individual contracts. By means of an example, section 52 of M-Tel’s GTC provides for customers’ right to terminate upon 7 days written notice. However, that warranty is always prejudiced by conditions stated in individual contracts. Unfortunately, such contracts are not retrievable on the Internet. Why, one might ask? M-Tel claims confidentiality and the Bulgarian competition protection authority acknowledges it. But maybe the real reasoning lies in that those individual contracts provide for an automatic renewal upon their expiry, unless customers terminate with 30 days written notice before said expiry. Such notice, if submitted earlier or later than 30 days in advance, would not match the requirement and the contract would renew for an additional year.

Unbelievable, huh?

The only downer on the horizon is the fact that upon numerous complaints and, as late as today, the Bulgarian consumer protection authority started formal proceedings against M-Tel’s business practices. I hope that the authority in question, although equipped with just an edgeless sword by the Bulgarian legislator, thumbs down M-Tels performance and obtains an improvement for their plagued customers.

Otherwise M-Tels CRM will be referred to as “Customer Repulsion Management”.

 

Did you find this article informative, helpful or entertaining? If yes, do not forget to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it!

12 January 2011

From Russia with (trade mark) love: a reprise


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Image: “Jing old bells” by Madalena Pestana on Flickr

2123780794_e902b15754_z

About a year ago I blogged on the “Christmas” trade mark that the Russian bank Vostochny Express managed to register. In that post I expressed some doubts as to the registrability of the trade mark in question. Well, I must admit that was really surprised when I found out that Vostochny Express succeeded to defend its trade mark at court in Moscow.

The bank has brought an action before the Moscow Court of Arbitration (a court competent in commercial matters) against another bank, Bank Rossisky Capital, that had used the word “Christmas” on its website. Claimant alleged the use on the website was one in commerce and thus infringing claimant’s rights in the trade mark.

Surprisingly to me, but the court found that defendant’s use was capable of creating confusion between both banks’ products and services. Consequently, the court ordered the defendant to cease using the word “Christmas” in connection with its products and services.

All this would be quite funny if it was not absurd. Like other enterprises, banks also advertise their products and services, especially loans, more extensively during Christmas time. Since the essential function of a trade mark is to identify the origin of product or service, “Christmas” clearly fails to serve as such identifier. It simply cannot distinguish one bank’s business from that of another.

Vostochniy Express’ trade mark registration is definitely amiss and even borders with abuse of law.


Did you find this article informative, helpful or entertaining? If yes, do not forget to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it!

My test in blogging fitness


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

3836H2FGVXMP

WordPress advertise their new initiatives “Post a Day 2011” and “Post a Week 2011”.  I will take up the challenge since I decided to blog more often, however with the effect of shorter blog posts.

Blogging everyday might not be (always) feasible, but just once a week clearly undercuts my personal target which is  to catch up with the period when I used to produce up to three blog posts a week.

Either way or other, I will rely on the support of the Reguligence Weblog’s readers – keep on telling me what subjects should I cover and how often would you like me to do that.

11 January 2011

Hunted on Facebook, drafted by the Israeli Defense Forces


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Soldiers and the priest_1937cphoto © 2007 James Emery | more info (via: Wylio)

I am always curious to read news and articles related to social media networks and privacy. The last one I got aware of deals with Israeli women’s attempts to escape their duty to join the  military service alleging some religious reasons.

However, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) did not accept those allegations with just a good faith. Moreover, the IDF officers sought for applicants’ profiles on Facebook that possibly showed them being not that devoted to God. Reportedly, they were successful.

For me this incident is important for two reasons. First, it represents just another alert to all users of social media networks that ignore the consequences of sharing personal data with the world at large. Second, it comes at the same time with the EU Commission’s decision to declare Israel “an adequate” country in terms of data protection. Not that such an incident could not have happened under the jurisdiction of an EU member state, but the coincidence is somewhat symptomatic.

Now, what is the moral of the story? Once again, beware of what you share with others and do neither underestimate nor neglect the consequences. Last but not least, do not blindly trust in Commission’s choices as to a state of data protection adequacy.

 

Did you find this article informative, helpful or entertaining? If yes, do not forget to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it!

4 January 2011

Warden calls DMCA for help against briskly Glider


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Blizzcon 2008photo © 2008 Oracio Alvarado | more info (via: Wylio)

I must take the chance to win World of Warcraft (WoW) players as readers of the Reguligence Weblog! Believe it or not, but in MDY Industries vs Blizzard Entertainment and Vivendi Games the US Court of Appeals for the ninth Circuit delivered an interesting decision that deals with some copyright aspect of this successful role-playing game. In particular, the Court had to determine whether MDY’s level-up enabling software called Glider infringed Blizzard’s copyright and other rights under DMCA’s sections 1201 et seq.

Everyone who has played either of Blizzard’s computer games knows that they are based on a so called “leveling-up“. The latter is both, desirous and quite time-consuming for players. Since Glider’s purpose is to play WoW for its owner and level him or her up, it represents an add-on computer game bot to WoW. On the grounds of their End User License Agreement (“EULA”) and Terms of Use (“ToU”) as well as on the introduction of Warden, an anti-bot technology, Blizzard served MDY with a cease-and-desist letter demanding that MDY immediately ceased selling Glider. As a response, MDY brought an action for declaratory judgment to establish that Glider does not infringe Blizzard’s copyright or other rights.

In the first instance the District Court for the District of Arizona found MDY liable for secondary copyright infringement, violations of DMCA §§ 1201(a)(2) and (b)(1), and tortious interference with contract.

However, the 9th Circuit reviewed de novo and found that

  • the ToU’s forbiddance against bots were covenants rather than copyright-enforceable conditions, hence MDY did not infringe Blizzard’s copyright, and
  • since Warden effectively controlled access to WoW’s dynamic non-literal elements, MDY was liable under § 1201(a)(2) with respect to WoW’s dynamic non-literal elements.

In spite of the above, the 9th Circuit denied MDY’s liability under § 1201(b)(1) for Glider’s circumvention of Warden since Warden did not effectively protect a right of Blizzard under the Copyright Act.

The Court reasoned this result with the textual differences between §§ 1201(a) and (b).

§ 1201(a)(2) prohibits the circumvention of a measure that “effectively controls access to a work protected under this title,” whereas § 1201(b)(1) concerns a measure that “effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or portion thereof.”

Accordingly, the 9th Circuit read § 1201 (a) as extending a new form of protection distinct from traditional copyright infringement, i.e., the right to prevent circumvention of access controls to copyrighted works.

Finally, why is this decision of a legal significance?

I suggest that we honour it for its clear-cut between § 1201’s two distinct types of claims.

Last but not least, it should read like a warning to all developers of computer game bots: creators of computer games are given an extra weapon to fight you!

 

Did you find this article informative, helpful or entertaining? If yes, do not forget to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it!