September 2005

Communications Decency Act. Traffic Power.Com has sued Aaron Wall, owner of the Search Engine Optimization Blog, alleging defamation and misappropriation of trade secrets.

Assuming that the offending material was not written by Wall himself (but rather by one of his posters), the defamation claim against him is likely to be barred by the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA), which provides in part:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

If Wall is not the publisher or speaker of the offending words, he cannot be liable for their publication on his blog.

Although the term “interactive computer service” (ISC) is poorly defined, the courts have held that it includes not only traditional ISPs, but also web site hosts such as AOL. It’s hard to see why the definition shouldn’t extend to blog site owners.… Read the full article

Geico and Google Settle Lawsuit

by Lee Gesmer on September 9, 2005

Trademark. Geico and Google have reported a settlement of the trademark suit we reported on on August 19th.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.… Read the full article

Copyright, DMCA. My partner Joe Laferrera has written a Client Advisory discussing the 8th Circuit’s decision in Blizzard Entertainment v. Jung, where the court held that the defendant’s efforts to reverse engineer Blizzard’s Internet gaming network in order to provide a competing, alternative network had (a) violated Blizzard’s shrink-wrap agreement, which prohibited reverse engineering, and (b) violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This is an important case in the rapidly developing jurisprudence of the DMCA. As well, it demonstrates once again the courts’ apparent willingness to enforce shrink-wrap licenses, and to permit copyright owners to use those licenses to override rights otherwise permitted by the Copyright Act.

  • Read the case here.
  • Read the Advisory here.
Read the full article