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
: Jayne v. Google Internet Search Engine Founders, 2007 WL
2852383 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 27, 2007)
2. AdWord advertising on copyright-infringing lyric
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.
5. In short
We have seen several lawsuits over the use of
copyright protected material in Google News. Most of them are settled now.
But AP has found a new target. The news agency is suing Verisign in the
District Court for the Southern District of New York, over the company's
unlicensed use of AP news stories (Associated
Press v. Moreover Technologies, Inc., 07 CIV 8699 (SDNY complaint filed
Oct. 9, 2007)). The suit relates to Verisign-owned news aggregation site
Moreover. The lawsuit says: “Defendant are reproducing, publicly displaying,
caching and archiving AP’s articles on Defendant’s service without AP’s
For more information see: Goldman,
AFP v. Google News Redux--AP v. Moreover, Technology & Marketing Law
For those of you, who are still interested in
every court decision on Metatags and Adwords in the USA: Check out
S & L Vitamins, Inc. v. Australian Gold, Inc., 2:05-cv-1217 (E.D.N.Y.
Sept. 30, 2007) and see Goldman,
Yet Another NY Court Says Keyword Ads & Metatags Aren't TM Use in
Commerce--S&L Vitamins v. Australian Gold, Technology & Marketing Law
TV-Links.co.uk, a TV and movie link sharing
website, was full of links to pirated
shows on sites like YouTube, MySpace Video, DailyMotion etc.
The site was recently shut down and the owner arrested in the UK. See:
TVLinks Shut Down By Authorities | Owner Arrested On Copyright Violation
Hanson Industries LLC v. Google Inc., 5:05-cv-03649-JW (N.D. Cal. Aug. 21,
2007), See Goldman, Eric,
Google's AdWords Contract Upheld Again, But Advertiser Lawsuit Against Google
Continues--CLRB Hanson v. Google, Technology & Marketing Law Blog
6. Google Street View - Privacy Concerns in
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.
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
entries in German. All
four Links & Law websites (.com /.de /
.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.
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
Die Verantwortlichkeit der Suchmaschinenbetreiber nach dem Telemediengesetz,
Beilage zu MMR 8/2007
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
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
Privacy Chiefs to Query Google On Data Collection, Storage Policies, Electronic
Commerce & Law Report 2007, 496-497
Confirms FTC Review Of Proposed DoubleClick Purchase, Electronic Commerce & Law
Report 2007, 514
Exam of Google-DoubleClick Deal Should Order Use of "Opt-In" Data Policy, Groups
Say, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 554-555,575
Will Limit Retention to 18 Months In Response to EU Officials' Data Concerns,
Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2007, 574
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
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,