By now, most have us have heard about the massive MegaUpload raid in New Zealand brought on by a team of US and international law enforcement that resulted in the arrest of its founder (Kim Dotcom) and high-level employees (but not rapper/”CEO” Swizz Beatz), the shuttering of its website, and the forfeiture of assets belonging to the arrestees including luxury cars and mega televisions. The arrest of Mr. Dotcom was finally able to occur after New Zealand police cut him out of a safe room in his mansion.
Because MegaUpload.com was one of the most trafficked websites in the world, the shock waves have been reverberating around the Internet over the last few days.
Good news-we have opened up comments without moderation. I will still check comments, but they should post immediately.
October is looking to be really busy with a conference, a trial, and an IP course. Don’t worry – nothing will stop us from posting fresh news and analysis all of the time. As I mentioned in a previous post, we will also be one of two law firms exhibiting at ad:tech in New York.
With that, here is this week’s edition of the Five for Friday:
First, another silly lawsuit was thankfully dismissed. This one is compliments of a Washington lawyer who sued Facebook for leaving a page up for too long that advocated violence against Jews. Notwithstanding the fact that the content of the page was obviously disgusting, the Plaintiff’s complaint was that the page was left up for too long (it was taken down). I do understand where this Plaintiff is coming from. Often times, large internet companies are not responsive when the technology they unleash onto the public is utilized by those with less than pure purposes. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like a lawsuit would help anyone here….especially not one in which a Plaintiff was claiming 1 BILLION dollars in damages.
You can read more about the case over at the BLT.
We have not addressed it too much on this blog yet, but trade secrets are always a litigious area in intellectual property.
Now comes word out of a trial involving insider trading that someone at Samsung (which was in Apple’s iPad supply chain) leaked the existence of the iPad before it was known.
Unfortunately, ever since Hurricane Irene, our office has not had internet service. Apparently a card in Verizon’s central office blew out that affected our company and a few other businesses around the Tysons Corner area where our office is located. Watching the three stooges over the past week trying to remedy the situation has been frustrating and time consuming. The worst part is that Verizon essentially has no idea when internet service will be restored – it could even be weeks. Needless to say, we cannot stand for something like that happening to us or to others and we took matters into our own hands. More on that in the blog post following this one in a bit.
Also, my guest blog for Daniel Sharkov’s website appeared this week. His site is great – offering a wealth of practical advice for bloggers and non-bloggers alike. My guest blog, which gives tips for lawsuit-free blogging is here.
Now, we of course, present our weekly Five for Friday post where we touch on five interesting internet law stories (and sometimes non-legal stories).
We’ve spoken a bit about copyrights already on this blog and plan on doing so quite a bit more in the future. In our practice, we have seen many American companies damaged by the sale of pirated and bootlegged material on the internet. This material can range from a new movie or song to pharmaceutical products. The main issue surrounding this loss of billions of dollars to American creators is that usually the owners of the rogue websites, if not the domains and the hosting companies supporting these websites are found outside of the U.S., which greatly limits the power of the Department of Justice and copyright holders to prevent the sale of illegal material.
WikiLeaks has leaked itself. As reported in Der Spiegel,
Since the beginning of the year, an encrypted file has been circulating on the Internet containing the collection of around 251,000 US State Department documents that WikiLeaks obtained in spring 2010 and made public in November 2010.
So, all the information carefully redacted by news organizations has now leaked out because of the extreme carelessness of the WikiLeaks “organization.”
Further reading here (English): http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,783084,00.html
Last week Google announced it settled the US investigation into its advertisement practices in which Canadian pharmaceutical companies and resellers were able to target US citizens through Google Adwords.
Google has long denied liability, but in the settlement agreement, Google did not just give up $500 million – it also took the unusual step of admitting liability.
Worse still, the WSJ reports that the Government is convinced that Larry Page knew of the illegal practices for years, yet allowed them to continue.
The money quote from the article:
“Larry Page knew what was going on,” Peter Neronha, the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney who led the probe, said in an interview. “We know it from the investigation. We simply know it from the documents we reviewed, witnesses that we interviewed, that Larry Page knew what was going on.”
This would help explain why Google settled for such a large amount and admitted liability.
EDIT: The WSJ notes that individuals could still be subject to prosecution, though that is unlikely.
A former IT worker for the United States subsidiary of a Japanese pharmaceutical company availed himself of some free McDonald’s wifi connection in Georgia (and possibly an irresistible $1 sweet tea) to hack his former employer’s computer system.
According to msnbc.com, in doing so, he successfully deleted the contents of 15 virtual servers (the equivalent of 88 non-virtual servers). On those servers, were the company’s e-mail and Blackberry servers, “its order tracking system, and its financial management software.” The attack effectively froze the company’s operations for days costing it more than $300,000 in damages.
It is pretty unbelievable that one employee could have so much power over a company’s IT infrastructure – especially one who no longer works there. This is a strong reminder that every company needs to re-examine to ensure they are not so vulnerable to a any one individual.