class-action lawsuit filed in May 2006 against
Yahoo! Inc. accused the company of engaging in "syndication fraud"
against advertisers who pay Yahoo to display their ads on search results and on
the Web sites of partner pages. The suit claims that Yahoo also displayed the
ads via spyware and adware products and on so-called "typosquatter" web sites
that capitalize on misspellings of popular trademarks or company names.
Google has also been hit with a lawsuit for the alleged sale of "low quality"
ads on parked domains and error pages. The complaint alleges that
Google is guilty of "unjust enrichment" by promising high-quality ad
placements and then serving a substantial portion of ads on low-quality
sites. Plaintiff Levitte claims that 16,3 % of all the clicks in his
campaign came from such sites, but not a single one of those clicks led to a
conversion. The suit seeks class-action status for everyone in the US with
an AdWords account over the last four years.
week later, online retailer RK West filed a similiar lawsuit against Google. The
complaint alleges that the company purchased ads without realizing they would
appear on parked domains.
Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed suits against Fomdb.com and
Movierumor.com, alleging contributory copyright infringement and inducement
of copyright infringement, because they provide links to
copyright-infringing copies of movies.
"These sites contribute to and profit from massive copyright infringement by
identifying, posting, organizing, and indexing links to infringing content
found on the Internet that consumers can then view on-demand," said an MPAA
this year, the MPAA settled two similiar cases against Showstash and
Cinematube. The defendants admitted that they were liable for infringement.
Showstash agreed to a payment of 2.7 million US-Dollar and Cinematube 1.3
million US-Dollar. The ruling in the
Cinematube case reads: "Defendant has engaged in contributory
copyright infringement and inducement of copyright infringement by actively
searching for, identifying, collecting, posting, organizing, indexing, and
posting on his website (www.cinematube.net) links to infringing material,
which has been posted on thirdparty websites".
3. Information Commissioner: Street View no violation of privacy laws in
is expected to launch its controversial Street View feature in Great
Britain later this year. After several complaints from citizens and due
to opposition from privacy advocates, the Information Commissioner's
Office took a closer look at the service and finally gave it his
blessing: "We are satisfied that Google is putting in
place adequate safeguards to avoid any risk to the privacy or safety of
individuals, including the blurring of vehicle registration marks and
the faces of anyone included in Street View images. Although it is
possible that in certain limited circumstances an image may allow
identification of an individual, it is clear that Google are keen to
capture images of streets and not individuals."
Individuals can also complain about identifiable pictures and have them
Cars have been spotted in several European countries in the last few
months including Spain, Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain.
The advertisement of products
and techniques to aid in the selection of an unborn child's sex is an
offense under India's "The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic
Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act". But Google India, Yahoo
India and Microsoft still serve ads that claim to help in the selection of a
child's sex. Following a complaint, India's Supreme Court asked the search
engines to respond to the charges.
commentators agreed that the principles were a good start for the discussion,
but also critized several aspects. Google said the principles are overly
burdensome and too broadly defined.
As in Europe, Google sticks to its opinion that the IP adress
is not a personally identifying information. The paper does not
differentiate between personally identifying information and not personally
identifying information.This would be a big problem: Principle 3 e.g.
requires affirmative express consent for material changes to an online
should they be asked for their consent?
Principle 4 would either require the affirmative consent, or
simply prohibit, collection of sensitive personal data for behavioral
advertising. Google criticises that "sensitive data" is not defined: ”As
a result, Principle 4 would not allow Google to collect a search query for
“cancer treatment” or “alcoholics anonymous” from unauthenticated users
because we do not have any relationship with an unauthenticated user and we
have no way to obtain that user’s consent – affirmative and express or
otherwise – prior to collecting the search query."
6. Fraudulent Ad Charges - Almeida
Google offers advertisers two types of ads. The first is a search ad. When
an user uses Google to search for a specific term, Google will display the
ads of advertisers who have bid for those particular keywords. The second
type of ad is contextual based ads. These ads are shown on third party
web sites that have content that matches the keywords bid on by the
advertiser. When signing up, the advertiser has to select the maximum daily
budget and the maximum CPC bid. The advertiser has two choices "Default CPC
bid" and the "CPC content bid". Next to the "CPC content bid" input is the
word "optional". According to a lawsuit brought by Almeida advertisers who
left the optional content bid section of the form blank believed they were
opting out of content advertisement. This expectation was supported by the
fact that users were not given the option of opting out of content bids
during the advertising campaign creation process. So Almeida claims that
Google fraudulently concealed the fact that advertisers would be charged for
the third-party content ads even if they did not complete the portion of the
sign-up form. He alleges that Google's actions constitute an unfair or
deceptive practice within the meaning of California Business and Professions
Code sections 172000 et seq.
According to the U.S. District Court for the
District of New Jersey, a trademark placed in a single metatag designed to
advertise a company's ability to service a rival's product is nominative
fair use (Synscort
Inc. v. Innovative Routines Int'l Inc., D. N.J., No. 04-3623, April 30,
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin held that
a company may proceed with a trademark infringement claim against a
company that allegedly resold its products without authorization and
purchased keyword ads containing the trademarked terms.
Process Inc. v. Total Health Dis. Inc. E.D.
Wis., No. 06-803, June
6, 2008). According to the ruling, defendant has not established that
its sales are protected by the nominative fair use doctrine. (A commercial party may be entitled to a nominative fair use defense when
it uses a mark holder’s trademark to describe the mark holder’s product
provided the commercial party meets the following three requirements:
(1) the product or service in question must be one not readily
identifiable without use of the trademark; (2) only so much of the mark
or marks may be used as is reasonably necessary to identify the product
or service; and (3) the user must do nothing that would, in conjunction
with the mark, suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark
holder.) Defendant made statements suggesting that it was affiliated
with the plaintiff. Documents showed that defendant has reffered to
plaintiff's 75th anniversary and described its accomplishments using
first-person pronouns "we" and "our". For more information see: Goldman,
Klein, Susanne, Search Engines and Copyright - An
Analysis of the Belgian Copiepresse Decision in Consideration of British and
German Copyright Law, IIC 2008, 451-483
Travis, Hannibal,Opting Out of the Internet in
the United States and the European Union: Copyright, Safe Harbors, and
International Law (August 12, 2008). Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 83, No. 4,
2008; Available at SS