It’s tough to describe what access to the Internet has meant to our contemporary society, especially in terms of technological progress in our country and across the world. It can easily be said that the spread of Internet-based technologies has revolutionized our society and brought about the birth of what many consider to be the Information Age. Free and open access to a wide array of informational resources and software application through the Internet is now widely used in corporate, governmental and private individual situations to connect people and organizations to valuable communication networks.
It’s this incredible value intrinsic to the Internet that has been central to the debate over net neutrality. What was a fairly esoteric term just a few months ago has lately jumped to the forefront of the American political debate, thanks to newly proposed regulations set forward by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Just several days ago Tech Crunch reported that the FCC had received some 647,000 comments relating to its activities associated with net neutrality, a staggering sum. And thanks to glitches with the comment system, the announced yesterday that it would be extending the deadline to provide comments until midnight on Friday, July 18.
With all this in mind we wanted to take some time to look at this issue, which could affect all users of the Internet, from various angles to give our readers an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of what’s at stake. At the core of the debate is government oversight of private Internet networks, and whether free access to all online resources is a basic right of all Internet users.
Amazon.com, Inc. has billed parents and other account holders for millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children, according to a Federal Trade Commission complaint filed today in federal court.
The FTC’s lawsuit seeks a court order requiring refunds to consumers for the unauthorized charges and permanently banning the company from billing parents and other account holders for in-app charges without their consent. According to the complaint, Amazon keeps 30 percent of all in-app charges.
Amazon offers many children’s apps in its appstore for download to mobile devices such as the Kindle Fire. In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Amazon violated the FTC Act by billing parents and other Amazon account holders for charges incurred by their children without the permission of the parent or other account holder. Amazon’s setup allowed children playing these kids’ games to spend unlimited amounts of money to pay for virtual items within the apps such as “coins,” “stars,” and “acorns” without parental involvement.
While I suspect that the 90 minute discussion will cover a great many things, the conversation starter for the panel is this: Can a company write a blog or does it need to be written by the owner, or some other high profile individual within the company, in order to achieve the maximum benefit?
One of the primary reasons for undertaking a blog is to engage in business development of one kind or another. Assuming that is the goal then it is absolutely essential, in my opinion, for their to be an actual person, or multiple identifiable people, doing the writing.
Searching online is increasingly one of the first things people do when they are looking for information. In order to develop business through a blogging strategy it is essential to tap into this phenomena, which is now the modern day equivalent of going to the Yellow Pages. But the Yellow Pages could only ever tell you so much about a company, what they offered, and virtually never provided any price information. It was also extremely difficult to convey expertise in a static advertisement, and impossible to do so only with a name and phone number listing. The Internet, of course, has changed everything.
The United States Federal District Court for the District of Nevada has dismissed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a foreign Internet poker site in a ruling that signals a rather substantial win for Internet businesses at large. The decision narrows the types of contacts that would confer general jurisdiction against foreign companies. The case is Best Odds Corp. vs iBus Media Limited, docket number 2:13-cv-020080RCJ-VCF.
Nevada-based online poker news site Best Odds Corp. sued the Isle of Man-based iBus Media Holdings for infringement of its MacPoker ® trademark, claiming that the Nevada courts had general jurisdiction over iBus Media’s poker news sites. Best Odds pointed to the defendants’ media kit, which alleged a significant U.S. presence. The court disagreed that these promotional statements conferred general jurisdiction over iBus Media.
In a June 4, 2014, ruling Judge Robert C. Jones granted iBus Media Holdings’ motion for dismissal of Best Odds Corp.’s trademark infringement lawsuit. Judge Jones said the plaintiff failed to make a case that Nevada courts had general jurisdiction over the foreign-based iBus Media, citing the Supreme Court’s recent Daimler AG v. Bauman decision, which Jones said “clarified that the reach of general jurisdiction is narrower than had been supposed in lower courts for many years.”
Yahoo! Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is one of the most recognizable names in the area of American computing corporations. The company’s flagship website, with its various search engine, mapping, news, finance and social media software tools, services millions of Internet users every day. This summer, the company may be looking to ramp up its activity in video sharing services; there has been a lot of talk in various technology publications surrounding the company’s plans to unveil an online video service to rival YouTube in terms of better ad rates and contracts for content creators. The upcoming IPO for Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, of which Yahoo! owns a minority stake, may net the corporation $10 billion to $15 billion.
The Companies We Follow series here at IPWatchdog has focused on this multinational corporation a couple of times in the past, and we’re returning again for another look at some intriguing developments in Internet-based technologies. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is regularly issuing patents to as well as publishing patent applications filed by Yahoo! every week. What we found in our most recent search includes some incredible innovations which a variety of businesses and individuals will likely soon be able to use through Yahoo!’s online website.
We start today’s check into Yahoo!’s innovations with an in-depth look at one patent application describing an online marketplace for advertising services which can be bought for business purposes. This marketplace enables advertising services to bid for rates and can analyze consumer interactions with a business website to suggest effecting online marketing tools. Other patent applications describe various other software tools for business purposes, including one system for providing advertisements which are optimized for mobile device screens.
As more devices are networked via wireless Internet, the complexity of managing such devices over the air has increased. This Mformation patent portfolio, which will be auctioned at the end of July 2014, addresses the challenges of managing the enormous amount of communication and interactions of mobile devices over wireless networks.
The portfolio to be auctioned includes 12 issued U.S. patents, 12 currently pending U.S. patent applications, 5 issued foreign patents and 43 currently pending foreign patent applications. It should be noted, however, that this portfolio does not include the patent asserted by Mformation against RIM – U.S. Patent No. 6,970,917.
Washington– The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force will host roundtable discussions in cities around the country on several copyright Internet policy topics, as part of the work envisioned in the Green Paper. The purpose of the roundtables is to engage further with members of the public on the following issues: (1) the legal framework for the creation of remixes; (2) the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; and (3) the appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the contexts of individual file sharers and of secondary liability for large-scale infringement. The roundtables, which will be led by USPTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will be held in Nashville, TN on May 21, 2014, Cambridge, MA on June 25, 2014, Los Angeles, CA on July 29, 2014, and Berkeley, CA on July 30, 2014. The meetings were called for in the Task Force’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economyreleased last year.
In the Green Paper and subsequent requests for public comments on October 3, 2013, the Task Force stated its intention to hold roundtable discussions on these issues. On December 12, 2013, the Task Force held a day-long public meeting to discuss the issues identified for its further work in the Green Paper, which included panel discussions on remixes, the first sale doctrine, and statutory damages, as well as other topics. The purpose of the planned roundtables is to seek additional input from the public in different parts of the country in order for the Task Force to have a complete and thorough record upon which to make recommendations.
On March 14, 2014, the United States Department of Commerce announced that it is asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) to begin discussions on a transition proposal for replacing the Department with a non-governmental entity to serve as steward of the Internet’s Domain Name System (“DNS”). The Department’s announcement (the “Announcement”), and accompanying question-and-answer guidance, signals an effort to accelerate the transition to private-sector leadership of and supervision over the technical coordination of the DNS, which has proceeded sporadically since the late 1990s, when the Executive Branch set privatization as the eventual goal. The Department said it was acting “[t]o support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking and governance.” News reports have described speculation that the timing of the Announcement suggested a desire to pare back the U.S. Government’s role in Internet management in the aftermath of publicized disclosures of classified information involving foreign intelligence collection by the National Security Agency.
Also on March 14, ICANN announced that it was “inviting governments, the private sector, civil society, and other Internet organizations from the whole world” to participate in the development of the transition proposal. ICANN noted that the “responsibilities to be transitioned include the procedural role of administering changes to” the DNS and “to the authoritative root zone file–the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains–as well as serving as the historic steward of the unique identifiers registries for Domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters.”