April 2008

Impersonating a Consumer Criminalized in UK

April 30th 2008

Word-of-mouth marketing, including blogging and using “brand ambassadors,” will face legal restrictions in the UK starting May 26, when seeding positive messages online without making the origin of the message clear becomes a criminal offense. Specific penalties haven’t been spelled out, so it will likely take a test case, reported to the Office of Fair Trading […]

Are Your Tires Spying On You?

April 28th 2008

As a result of a mandate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), beginning September 2007, all cars and trucks sold in the US must have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Here’s how it works: there’s a sensor, usually in the valve stem, that monitors information like pressure, temperature, and whether the tire is […]

Copyright Infringement 101 – Take Notes!

April 25th 2008

Remember taking lecture notes in college? Did you ever think you were violating copyright law? Well, according to University of Florida professor Michael Moulton, you were. And you might just as well burn those CliffsNotes, too. Over the years, companies have sprung up to assist lazy or hung-over students with lectures by taking notes in their […]

EMI Demands Music Files Stored Online

April 24th 2008

Music giant EMI is demanding that music file storage company MP3tunes turn over all music stored on its servers. Apparently, EMI is demanding this irrespective of who owns, or published, the music. What is unclear is what “hand over” means in this context. Clearly, though, it does mean EMI seeks to violate the privacy and personal […]

Does Promotional Media Have a Leash?

April 23rd 2008

Universal Music Group (UMG) is suing Troy Augusto, owner of Roast Beast Music Collectables, who sells promotional CDs on eBay. UMG claims promo CDs are for personal use only and, according to the agreement contained thereon, cannot be redistributed —including being sold, given away, or even thrown away. The discs are usually sent out to […]

Dave Wieneke likes Marketo Interactive Marketing Platform

April 22nd 2008

Editor’s note: this post isn’t about the web and law – but it’s of interest to anyone trying to gain high-value customers online, which certainly includes some lawyers. I’m excited about the capabilities of a Bay Area start-up firm called Marketo. I became one of their early customers last year, and was complimented to have […]

Google, Genetics, and Your Privacy

April 21st 2008

Has Google finally stepped over the “Do No Evil” line? Over the past few months, Google has invested in two DNA-mapping companies: 23andMe (a company created by Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s wife) and Navigenics, which maps genetic data and screens for anomalies. In theory, information of a predisposition towards a certain disease could be made […]

Feds Want DNA from the Accused, Not Just the Convicted

April 18th 2008

Currently, federal authorities can only collect DNA from convicted criminals. That may soon change, so that anyone arrested for a crime, or merely detained, can be forced to provide a DNA sample. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is fronting the legislation, which was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee recently. The argument is that the new […]

Website Puts Spotlight on Congressional Staff Finances

April 17th 2008

Are you curious about how lawmakers spend money on their own offices? The website LegiStorm publishes publicly available financial details, including salaries and expenditures on Congressional staffers, in an attempt to keep our complex government transparent to citizens. However, even public scrutiny shold have its limits. You might want to take a look at the […]

REAL ID Revolt Spreads: Good News for Online Privacy

April 14th 2008

This week, Alaska and Idaho passed laws that prohibit the state from taking measures to comply with the REAL ID act of 2005.  That now makes nine states who refuse to participate in the new federal identity system, which is due to start operation in about a month. My friend and former state government colleague, Dazza […]