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 Update 34: November 11, 2005


1. Never use headlines without permission in Japan...

Japan's best-selling newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, was awarded compensation from the small Internet firm Digital Alliance Corp. that used its news headlines without permission. The Intellectual Property High Court, a special branch court of the Tokyo High Court, ordered the company to pay about 237,700 yen (2,000 dollars) to the Yomiuri. According to the court the use of news headlines as text for links to the articles was illegal.

The Yomiuri filed the case with the Tokyo District Court in December 2002. It lost the case in March 2004 as the lower court ruled that Internet users can read headlines for free online and therefore should be able to use the service freely.

  • October 10, 2005, Headline links can be dangerous in Japan, CNet:
    "U.S. courts, by design or default, have generally taken a laissez-faire approach to the digital republication of printed works as long as it adheres to longstanding brick-and-mortar copyright law."


2. Google rebrands its free GMail web service in the UK

Google voluntarily dropped the Gmail brand in the UK following a trademark dispute with Independent International Investment Research (IIIR) ,who has been using the "G-Mail" name for its Pronet subsidiary's Web-based e-mail product since May 2002.  

Although Google replaced "Gmail" with "googlemail" in Great Britain, a lawsuit is still looming: Shane Smith, chairman and chief executive of Independent II Research, asserts that the dispute about the ownership of the rights to Gmail is by no means over, because Google's decision to change the name of its email services to Google mail relates solely to the UK. IIIR announced it would still pursue Google for damages and that it expected the US search engine to drop Gmail worldwide.

Earlier this year, Google lost the right to use Gmail in Germany, following a dispute with Daniel Giersch, who had registered 'Gmail - und die Post geht richtig ab' with the German Patent Office in 2000.


  • October 19, 2005: Leyden, John, Google loses its G-spot, The Register:
    "A trademark dispute has forced Google to re-brand its Gmail web mail service in the UK. Existing users get to retain their Gmail address (at least for now) but from Wednesday onwards new UK users will be given a Googlemail email address instead."

  • October 19, 2005, Google muss auch englisches Gmail umbenennen, Heise:
    "Auch in England muss Google seinen Freemail-Dienst Gmail nach einem Markenrechtsstreit umbenennen."


3. Google Print - copyright infringement by scanning books?

Five publishing houses - McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education and Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons - filed a suit in New York against Google Print. Under the program, Google plans to scan and index millions of copyrighted books taken from the collections of the three universities Harvard, Stanford and Michigan. The suit seeks a declaration that Google infringes on the publishers' copyrights when the Web search leader scans entire books without permission of copyright owners. Google claims, that the scanning of the full text of the books is necessary to create a searchable catalogue of the books located within the libraries' collections. Only snippets of copyrighted works will be available through the search engine. There are no plans to make full copies of copyrighted works available without their owners' permission.
In September, the Authors Guild joined with three US writers - Herbert Mitgang, Betty Miles and Daniel Hoffman - to file a similar lawsuit. The Authors Guild filing was a class-action lawsuit that seeks damages, the publishers' suit seeks a declaration that Google is committing copyright infringement by scanning books (also see Update 33)


  • October 20, 2005: Sherriff, Lucy, Publishers join forces to sue Google, The Register:
    "The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is suing Google over its plans to make scans of millions of books available online."

  • October 19, 2005: Italie, Hillel, Publishers Sue Google Over Scanning Plans, ABC News:
    "Just weeks after a leading authors' organization sued Google for copyright infringement, the Association of American Publishers has also filed suit against the search engine giant's plans to scan and index books for the Internet."


4. Do we really need warning banners on all search engines?

The European Parliament Sept. 7 called for action to protect children from inappropriate content on the Internet. In adopting a report from Marielle De Sarnez on the protection of minors and human dignity, the Parliament inter alia made the (non-binding) recommendation to oblige search engines to post warning banners  drawing attention to possible dangers and to the availability of telephone hotlines.

Member States are to submit a report to the Commission on measures taken in application of this Recommendation two years after its adoption. By 31 December 2008, on the basis of the reports submitted by the Member States, the Commission will submit to the European Parliament a report on the implementation and effectiveness of the measures laid down in this recommendation, identifying any additional measures which may be necessary, including binding legislation at European level.

Text adopted by Parliament,


5. Office Depot v. Staples - A new AdWords lawsuit

Office Depot has filed suit against rival office supply giant Staples in a U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, FL, for improperly purchasing online search engine ads that redirected potential customers to the Staples Web site. The suit charges Staples with trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, and deceptive trade practices. This case is slightly different than the Adwords lawsuits we have already seen:

  • Office Depot is suing Staples for taking out Google text ads on the name of a brand they're shutting down in the US, Viking.

  • Almost all previous lawsuits around adwords involved the complaining company suing Google rather than the advertiser in question. In this case, the suit is against Staples.




6. Court Documents in the Perfect 10 v. Google / case

Perfect 10's motion alleges that Google - under the guise of providing a “search function,” -  is directly copying, distributing, and displaying thousands of Perfect 10 copyrighted images despite receiving extensive notice of infringement, and is linking those images to infringing third party websites that themselves display thousands of additional Perfect 10 images.  Links & Law mentioned the lawsuit in Update 25. Here are links to the court documents:


7. Court Documents in the Authors Guild v. Google lawsuit

Authors Guild filed a lawsuit against Google Inc, alleging that Google's unauthorized scanning and copying of their works through its Google Print Library Program is willfull copyright infringement (see Update 33).

Also see: Band, Jonathan, The Google Print Library Project: A Copyright Analysis


New in Legal Resources

  • Thomas Stadler, Redaktioneller Link auf Anbieter von Software zur Umgehung von Kopierschutzmaßnahmen, JurPC Web-Dok. 126/2005, Abs. 1 - 33

  • Kaufmann, Noogie, Metatagging - Markenrecht oder reformiertes UWG?, MMR 2005, 348-352

  • Junker, Abbo, Die Entwicklung des Computerrechts in den Jahren 2003/2004, NJW 2005, 2829, 2830

  • Stopp, Ulrich, Die Systematik der Haftungsregelungen in §§ 8-11 TDG und ihre prozessuale Bedeutung, ITRB 2005, 186-190

  • Rath, Michael, Zur Haftung von Internet-Suchmaschinen, AfP 2005, 324-333

  • Libertus, Michael, Umfang und Reichweite von Löschungspflichten bei Rechtsverstößen im Internet, ZUM 2005, 627-631

  • Google Library Project Temporarily Halted to Allow Copyright Owner Response, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 826-827

  • German Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Requiring News Agency to Remove Link, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 792

  • Long-Awaited Opinion in GEICO Case Highlights Flawed Survey Methodology, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 812

  • Chinese Search Site Ordered To Cease Offering Links to Sound Recordings, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 901

  • Google AdWords Draws Another Lawsuit; New Action Alleges Unfair Competition, Fraud, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 902-903

  • Perfect 10' Litigation Revisits Fair Use of Thumbnails Under Kelly v. Arriba Soft, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 863-864

  • Negligence, Unjust Enrichment Claims Dismissed in Google "Clickfraud" Litigation, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 874

  • Authors Guild, Authors Allege Google's Online Card Catalog infringes Copyrights,  Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 935-936

  • Becker, Jeffrey / Patel, Purvi, Recent Trademark Challenges in Cyberspace and the Growth of the Initial Interest Confusion and Nominative Fair Use Doctrines, Computer Law Review and Technology Journal, Vol IX, 1-39

  • Band, Jonathan, The Google Print Library Project: A Copyright Analysis





The Links & Law website is updated regularily, so  check back for updated information and resources about search engine and linking issues.

You are currently in the archive with older news. A complete list of the updates can be found here!

Latest News - Update 71

Legal trouble for YouTube in Germany

Germany: Employer may google job applicant

EU: Consultation on the E-Commerce-Directive

WIPO Paper on tradmarks and the internet

The ECJ and the AdWords Cases



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