Links & Law - Information about legal aspects of search engines, linking and framing

Hyperlink & Search Engine Law News  Decisions & Court Documents Worldwide Legal Resources (Hyperlink & Search Engine Law Articles) Linking Law Cases Search Engine Law Publications by Dr. Stephan Ott Technical    Background


Update 52: November 1, 2007

1. Stephen Jayne v. Google Internet Search Engine Founders

Probably the funniest Google lawsuit of the year: Stephen Jayne v. Google Internet Search Engine Founders. Jayne claimed that when turned upside down the name Google spells his social security number! Well, what kind of compensation seems appropriate? Jayne asked for five billion dollars! Unfortunately for him, a court in Pennsylvania dismissed the complaint. Surprise, surprise: The court could not find a valid assertion that Google's behavior is somehow a violation of the law or the Constitution... 

  • "Must read" PDF: Jayne v. Google Internet Search Engine Founders, 2007 WL 2852383 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 27, 2007)


2. AdWord advertising on copyright-infringing lyric websites

Lawyers representing the NMPA (National Music Publishers' Association), the leading trade association representing U.S. music publishers, have met with Google to discuss the problem of AdWord advertising on copyright-infringing lyric websites. They want to stop copyright infringers from making money. According to US Today, Google said in a statement: "We take copyrights very seriously. In accordance with our policy, we disable ads on websites in our content network when we are made aware that they appear next to copyrighted content. Copyright holders who find their copyrighted material appearing next to Google ads can find more information about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down requests on our AdSense website. Hundreds of thousands of website publishers responsibly abide by our policies and we're committed to preventing those who don't from using our program."


3. Google "wins" trademark case against ABWF

Big win for Google. The company  settled a long-running trademark infringement lawsuit over trademark protected keywords that trigger the display of ads with American Blind and Wallpaper Factory, which was scheduled to go to trial in the U.S. District Court for Northern California in November. Google agreed not to make any changes to its AdWords trademark policy that would adversely affect American Blind in exchange for the company’s dropping its claims. The settlement included no payment.

Google Inc. v. American Blinds & Wallpaper Factory Inc., 5:03-cv-05340-JF (N.D. Cal. settled August 31, 2007)

4. American Airlines sues Google over keyword ads

Welcome to the next AdWords lawsuit! American Airlines has become the most high-profile company so far to sue Google over keyword advertising.

By bringing a lawsuit against Google, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, the company wants to stop competitors from using trademarks to trigger their own advertising on Google.

"Without authorization or approval from American Airlines, Google has sold to third parties the 'right' to use the trademarks and service marks of American Airlines or words, phrases, or terms confusingly similar to those marks as 'keyword' triggers that cause paid advertisements, which google calls 'Sponsored Links' to appear alongside the 'natural results," the lawsuit said.

  • American Airlines v. Google, 4:07-cv-00487 (N.D. Tex. complaint filed Aug. 16, 2007)

On October 24, 2007, the court has denied Google's motion to dismiss American Airlines' lawsuit.

Also see:

5. In short


6. Google Street View - Privacy Concerns in Canada

On May 25, 2007, Google released Street View, a new feature of Google Maps which provides 360° panoramic street-level views of various U.S. cities. On this date, the feature only included five cities, but has since expanded to fifteen, with plans for more U.S. and Canadian cities in the future. The application raises privacy concerns because of its close-up views of city streets and recognisable shots of people. Images showing people beeing arrested, sunbathing and urinating in the public, have been found by users (see e.g. 10 bizarre sights in Google Street View).

The new feature probably meets U.S. privacy standards because the U.S. has a long tradition of treating public spaces as truly public. But the new feature might not be legal in countries with stricter privacy laws. Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act (PIPEDA) e.g. requires private companies to obtain consent of consumers to collect, use or disclosure their personal information. In order to comply with Canadian laws, Google is willing to blur identifiable faces and license plates. But according to Margaret Ann Wilkinson, a professor of law and information and media studies at the University of Western Ontario, this might not be enough: "If an individual can be readily identified by his or her body, clothing or location, it might still be considered a violation."

The Google cam-cars have already been spotted in London suggesting that Street View will be extended to Europe. 


7. Links & Law started on November 1, 2002 and turns 5 today!!!

Since starting Links & Law in 2002, I have published 22 articles in German law journals, most of them related to hyperlink and search engine law, I have updated this website more than 50 times and have written more than 900 blog entries in German. All four Links & Law websites (.com /.de / .info / .org) together had 720.000 visitors last year. I expect them to have about 1.000.000 this year. When I began work on Links & Law in September 2002, I had hoped for 100 visitors a week and had never expected that Links & Law would become such a long running project. For those who don't know, I earn my money as a civil servant and I'm currently concerned with the law of severely disabled persons! So I'm probably one of the most popular "hobby internet law experts." Thanks to Links & Law I have been invited to Brussels to attend an EC funded project (Legal-IST) dealing inter alia with the liability of internet intermediaries, I have been the chairman of one of the workshops in an international internet law conference, and was contacted by many people over the years, including students, law professors, webmasters, attorneys, radio stations and newspapers.

It is still very exciting to see how internet law in general and search engine law in particular develops. So Links & Law probably will continue for a few more years. I'm currently experimenting with blogger software, so there might be some changes to Links & Law in the near future.

I very much welcome any suggestions for the future development of Links & Law and joined projects.

So happy birthday Links & Law!



New in Legal Resources

  • Allgrove, Ben / Ganley, Ben, Search Engines, Data Aggregators and UK Copyright Law: A Proposal, E.I.P.R. 2007, 227-237

  • Ullmann, Eike, Wer sucht, der findet - Kennzeichenverletzungen im Internet, GRUR 2007, 633-639

  • Advertisers Not Liable for AdWords' Broad Matching of Key Words to Protected Phrases, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 458

  • Magistrate Rules That Keyword Purchases, Metatag Use, Are Not "Use in Commerce", Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 459

  • EU Privacy Chiefs to Query Google On Data Collection, Storage Policies, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 496-497

  • Google Confirms FTC Review Of Proposed DoubleClick Purchase, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 514

  • FTC Exam of Google-DoubleClick Deal Should Order Use of "Opt-In" Data Policy, Groups Say, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 554-555,575

  • Google Will Limit Retention to 18 Months In Response to EU Officials' Data Concerns, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 574

  • At Meeting, EU Data Privacy Officials Pledge To Probe Data Retained by All Search Engines, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 601-602

  • Denis-Leroy, Laurence, Liability for Adwords Services in France, CRI 2007, 65-68

  • Laurent, Philippe, Brussels High Court confirms Google News' ban, Computer Law & Security Report 2007, 290-293

  • Horak, Michael, Die Platzierung von nicht sichtbaren Keywords zwecks Bewerbung von Leistungen als Markenverletzung am Beispiel der Keywords in Google AdWords, MarkenR 2007, 240-245

  • Berberich, Matthias, Anmerkung zu LG Erfurt - Thumbnails, CR 2007, 393-394

  • Schuster, Fabian, Die Störerhaftung von Suchmaschinenbetreibern bei Textausschnitten ("Snippets"), CR 2007, 443-446

  • Stögmüller, Thomas, Markenrechtliche Zulässigkeit kontext-sensitiver Werbung im Internet, CR 2007, 446-453

  • Anderl, Axel, Anmerkung zu ÖOGH - Keyword Advertising, MMR 2007, 499-500

  • Sieber, Ulrich / Liesching, Marc, Die Verantwortlichkeit der Suchmaschinenbetreiber nach dem Telemediengesetz, Beilage zu MMR 8/2007




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



Masthead/Curriculum Vitae
Copyright © 2002-2008 Dr. Stephan Ott 

All Rights Reserved.