November 2007

New York’s Ham-Handed Attempt at Taxing Internet Commerce

November 27th 2007

Article update: the New York law to require web sites to collect sales tax has been signed in to law, ands it is now drawing lawsuits from e-commerce sites. ——– Last week, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer introduced–and quickly withdrew–plans to require Internet retailers who use affiliate marketers in that state to collect sales tax […]

Is Real Estate Anti-Competitive?

November 21st 2007

I recently sold a house in a market where all brokers with access to the Multiple Listing Service required a 6 percent commission. The agents had signed agreements to charge a standard commission in order to have access to MLS. Local laws prevented rebating any portion of that fee. It seemed anti-competitive at the time, and […]

Unique Gift Ideas for Lawyers or Geeks of Any Age

November 19th 2007

1. Posters and Reproductions of Historic French Patents Just in time for the holidays, the French Patent Office suggests giving historic patent illustrations. Presented as posters or copies of original applications, these distinctive prints will stand out as unusual gifts for equally distinctive recipients.

Tiffany vs. eBay: Responsibility and Competition as a Trademark Case

November 14th 2007

In a potentially precedent-setting trial, Tiffany & Co. has sued eBay for contributory trademark infringement, claiming the online auction company allowed the sale of counterfeit Tiffany jewelry on its site. The case is likely to turn on whether, as Tiffany charges, “eBay turns a blind eye to fraud,” or whether eBay’s responsible moves to prevent and aid in […]

Facebook’s Social Ads: Risking a Huge Privacy Slapdown for a Big Ad Upside

November 13th 2007

Facebook’s latest roll-out saw CEO Mark Zuckerman flanked by a cadre of blue-chip advertisers, new Microsoft investment, and a big new idea. Facebook says it’s positioned to drive “product demand” and create a potential new 400-billion-dollar-a-year marketing channel through Social Ads. The plan is to use members’ online statements and actions as content, to be included […]

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November 13th 2007

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Google Sued by Northeastern University and Start-Up

November 12th 2007

Northeastern University apparently holds a patent on techniques for parallel data processing, useful in dividing search requests between multiple computers. It exclusively licensed the 1997 patent to a Waltham-based start-up, Jarg Corporation. Lawyers who had seen a presentation on Google’s data search processes tipped off Jarg executives to the possibility of infringement. There are several factors […]

Got Subpeonas? New Database of Online Speech Threats

November 11th 2007

Harvard’s Citizen Media Law Project has introduced its newest service, a Legal Threats Database to catalog the growing number of lawsuits, cease and desist letters, and other legal challenges faced globally by those engaging in online speech.   It organizes cases using standard forms to make it easy to check their status and trial details.  So […]

Truly Fair Disclosure: RSS First, Before the Press Release

November 8th 2007

“I wonder how far off we are from ceasing to issue traditional press releases altogether… after all, no news agency could possibly suggest they reach a greater portion of the planet than the internet.”                                            – Jonathan Schwartz, CEO & President                                               Sun Microsystems Sun Microsystems President Jonathan Schwartz announced on his corporate blog that financial […]

More than Second Life: Virtual Worlds Provide Choices, Challenges

November 7th 2007

Part 2 in a series of 3.  (Read Part 1 | Part 3 ) In addition to the popular Second Life (SL), how many of these virtual worlds exist? Gobs, and it’s getting more gobby every day. The folks over at have a chart that describes a number of the more well-known virtual worlds. Still […]