QuickLinks 168 - 9 September 2000
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Legal and regulatory issues
- AOL gives French unmetered access (FT) AOL is offering its subscribers unmetered internet access in France, but not in the UK, because it claims France's telecoms regulation is more difficult to deal with than the UK's.
- Bertelsmann's Italian venture gets EU approval (CNET) Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Italy's No. 1 book and magazine publisher, and Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media company, won European Union clearance for their venture to sell books and music via the Internet.
- Commission gives green light to France Telecom's acquisition of Orange (RAPID) The European Commission has granted regulatory clearance to France Telecom's acquisition of sole control over the British mobile phone operator Orange subject to the sale by Orange of its shareholding in Belgium's third mobile operator, which it owns with KPN of the Netherlands.
- EU to Object to AOL-Time Warner Merger (Reuters) European regulators have reached a preliminary conclusion that America Online proposed acquisition of Time Warner would create a dominant company that could hurt competition.
- European Competition Day - Paris, October 17th 2000 (Europa) The second European Competition Day dedicated to the citizens information on competition policy will be organised in Paris, on October 17th.
- EU - Publication of full texts of Competition decisions (Europa) Full text of the merger decisions: ACS / SONERA VIVENDI /XFERA TELEFONICA / ENDEMOL TELEFONICA / TERRA /.
- USA - AOL Deal Under FTC Scrutiny (Wired) The Federal Trade Commission wants major changes in America Online's proposed purchase of Time Warner before approving the deal. Also see AOL deal with Time Warner faces US hurdles (Independent) and F.T.C. Lawyers Pressing for Concessions From AOL and Time Warner (AP).
- USA - Microsoft faces first class action law suit (Financial Times) A Californian judge allowed a class action against Microsoft to go to court, to decide charges that the Seattle-based software company used its alleged monopoly to overcharge consumers.
- USA - Microsoft Told to Pay Million to Small Rival (New York Times) Questioning the truthfulness of statements made by Microsoft's chairman, William H. Gates, a federal judge has awarded $1 million in punitive damages to Bristol Technologies, a small Connecticut company that brought an antitrust suit against Microsoft.
- Commission authorises Telefónica's joint venture with Tyco (RAPID)
- EU - Commission clears UK mobile telephony joint venture between Hutchison, NTT DoCoMo and KPN Mobile (RAPID)
- Ruling against MP3.com could cost $118 million (CNET News.com) A federal judge found that MP3.com willfully infringed the copyrights of Seagram's Universal Music Group, opening the company to enormous potential damages in one of the first trials to address the legal boundaries of Internet music distribution. The judge said the online music company must pay $25,000 per violation stemming from its My.MP3.com "music locker" service. see unofficial text of Judge Rakoff's ruling and also previous ruling UMG Recordings, Inc., et al. v. MP3.com, Inc. United States District Court, Southern District of New York May 4, 2000 (GigaLaw.com). see also Court rules MP3.com 'liable'
- Dutch papers fail in internet copyright case (FT) Leading Dutch newspapers failed to prevent an online news service from providing direct links to articles on newspaper websites. PCM, publisher of most of the country's national dailies, had sought an injunction against the recently established Kranten.com, whose site consists largely of news headlines. see also Dutch Publisher Accepts Landmark 'Deep Link' Ruling (Reuters).
- Record Label Threatens Australian Web Site Over Song Link (Newsbytes) Record label BMG Australia Ltd, part of the giant Bertelsmann media empire, has threatened to sue the owners of an Australian Web site over a link to a famous song by artist John Farnham.
- USA - Assessing Linking Liability (New York Times) According to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District, in Manhattan in the highly-publicized DeCSS case, a link can be bad or good. It mainly turns on whether the linker's intent is laudable or not. See also DVD suit defendant pushes legal envelope A federal judge issued an injunction barring 2600 News from posting the DeCSS program, a program that lets people copy DVDs (digital video disks). The judge also ordered 2600 News to remove links to other sites where copies of the DeCSS program can be found. The site removed its hyperlinks to DeCSS sites. But it left the addresses of the sites themselves up.
- USA - Judge Rules Against Ticketmaster in "Deep-Linking" Case (GigaLaw.com)
- "Safe Harbor" decision published (Official Journal) Commission Decision of 26 July 2000 pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the adequacy of the protection provided by the safe harbour privacy principles and related frequently asked questions issued by the US Department of Commerce OJ L 215 25 August 2000 p 7. see also Decisions re Switzerland and Hungary.
- Judge rules on Toysmart (AP) A federal bankruptcy judge declined to place advance conditions on the proposed sale of the customer list of bankrupt Internet toy retailer Toysmart.com.
- USA - Contending with COPPA Confusion (Wired)
- Commission plans to clear bank certification network (RAPID) The European Commission has intends to clear agreements between a number of major European and US banks to set up a joint venture called Identrus, a world-wide network for the authentication of electronic signatures and other aspects related to financial and e-commerce transactions.
- Domain Boom in Germany (internet.com) By the weekend, over 3 million Internet addresses will be registered in Germany. The 1 million line was only crossed in October 1999. The number of .de domains has thus more than tripled in just 11 months.
- Droits sur les noms de domaine internet: l'OMPI donne tort à EasyJet (AFP) Le Centre d'arbitrage de l'Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI) a tranché en défaveur de la compagnie aérienne britannique EasyJet dans une affaire d'utilisation abusive d'un nom de domaine sur l'internet. See also
Webmaster Granted Benefit Of The Doubt In Domain Dispute (BizReport) An arbitrator umpiring a dispute over rights to the Internet domain name Easy-Jet.com has decided that a British discount airline should have had more damning evidence on hand if it expected to take the address away from a UK-based Web developer.
- France Télécom débouté par l'OMPI sur les Pages Jaunes (Reuters) France Télécom a perdu son procès portant sur les adresses de sites web"pagesjaunes.com" et "pagesjaunes.net", annonce l'Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI).
- France's Le Monde Wins Rights to Internet Address (AP) The French newspaper Le Monde won the rights to the Internet address www.le-monde.com under a U.N. procedure designed to curb "cybersquatting."
- Geographic Domains on Shaky Ground (TheStandard.com) In a landmark decision, the World Intellectual Property Organization says Barcelona can reclaim its domain name. compare St Moritz case (rejected - the arbitrator found no bad faith and that the owner may have a legitimate interest in the name. There is no discussion of the "confusion" argument raised in the controversial barcelona.com case)
- Parody sites sucked into cybersquatting squabbles (CNET News.com) Protest and parody sites that register Internet addresses based on trademarked corporate names are increasingly coming out on the losing end in domain name disputes, according to a review of arbitration records.
- Sex.com Ruling: It Wasn't Stolen (Wired) U.S. District Court Judge James Ware dismissed a theft claim - technically called a "conversion" claim - for hijacking sex.com, ruling that Web domains aren't property, and therefore can't be stolen.
- E-Commerce Patent War Looms (Newsbytes) A small Virginia company on the verge of snaring a patent for computerizing international trade has begun warning other firms that it may soon demand licensing fees for a range of cross-border e-commerce transactions.
- EU - Regulators clash over online protection rules (Silicon) European ecommerce regulators are set to clash over consumer protection rules for ecommerce. The European Council wants to make firms selling over the web beholden to the consumer laws of the buyers' country. However, the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee decided by one vote to change this jurisdiction, so a company can only be sued under the laws of its registered country. see Proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters COM(99) 348.
- Civic Exchange in Cyberspace (Center for Interdisciplinary Research) Bielefeld (Germany), October 23/24, 2000. What exactly are the possibilities of using the Internet to support political activities in the information society? Where in particular do the democratic potentials of the new communication technologies lie? Are we really heading towards a cyber democracy?
- Hotlines lead the way in U.K. Internet cleanup (CNN) A series of hotlines aimed at cleaning up the Internet have resulted in thousands of sites being removed from servers in the U.K. Since launching in 1996, hotlines run by the U.K.-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) have been instrumental in getting more than 25,000 potentially illegal items, mostly child pornography, removed from servers.
- Australia - Safety on the Net (DCITA)
- Industry criticism delays UK internet bill (Financial Times) The UK government abandoned its attempt to rush through rules on employers' monitoring of employees' e-mails ahead of the October 2 introduction of the Human Rights Act, after ferocious industry criticism.
- Japan's Police Gain Right to Tap Phone, E-Mail (industry Standard) Japan's police have gained the right to eavesdrop on telephone calls and fax messages and access e-mail accounts in the course of their investigations into serious crimes. These are defined by the law as crimes involving illegal drugs, weapons, organized group illegal entry into Japan and organized murders.
- USA - Court limits federal wiretapping powers (CNET News.com) A federal judge in Washington blocked the expansion of federal wiretapping powers, saying the the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) threatened individual privacy. The court did leave in place a provision that will require mobile phone carriers to let authorities pinpoint which antenna cell phone callers are using.
- Hatemongers online (Nua Internet Surveys) Analysis, Weekly Editorial
- Neo-Nazi Web Sites Reported to Flee Germany (
Agence France-Presse) German far-rightists are transferring their Internet sites to access providers in the United States in order to evade a crackdown by German authorities.
- Germany - Initiative gegen Missbrauch des Internet durch Nazis gegründet (de.internet.com) Der Verein gegen missbräuchliche Nutzung im Internet, N@IIN (No Abuse In Internet e.V.), ist in Berlin offiziel gegründet worden. Siehe auch Medien starten Web site gegen Rechtsextremismus (Reuters) .
- Germany - Kein Webspace für Neonazis (dpa) Der Internetdienstleister Puretec GmbH hat den Vertrag mit einem Berliner Verlag gekündigt, der auf den Servern des Unternehmens das Angebot der NPD-Bundesgeschäftsstelle in das Internet gestellt hat.
- Germany - L'Allemagne traque les nazis en ligne (Libération) La chasse à l'extrême droite est devenue une forme d'activisme civique.
- Germany - Plötzlich sind alle gegen Nazis - im Internet (Telepolis) Aber viele Initiativen, die es schon länger gibt und von denen das Problem ebenso lange erkannt und angegangen wurde, haben nie eine Unterstützung erfahren
- Germany - Provider sollen für Nazi-Seiten haften (Süddeutsche Zeitung) Der Innenminister von Nordrhein-Westfalen, Fritz Behrens (SPD), will gegen den Zugang zu Nazi-Internetseiten im Ausland vorgehen: Die deutschen Internetprovider seien haftbar, wenn sie den Zugang zu solchen Seiten herstellten. Diese Rechtsposition gilt unter Experten als nicht durchsetzbar. Siehe auch Strafen für Provider für rechtsextreme Internetseiten (dpa) .
- Germany - Unerreichbar? - Neonazis, die aus dem Ausland hetzen (de.internet.com) Ein Großteil der in Deutschland gesperrten Nazi-Homepages weicht gegenwärtig zu Providern in die USA aus. Der deutsche Verfassungsschutz behauptet, gegen solche Maßnahmen machtlos zu sein. Doch deutsche Neonazis machen sich auch durch Handlungen im Ausland strafbar und könnten hierzulande verhaftet werden. de.internet.com sprach mit einer Sprecherin des Verfassungsschutzes über die ungenutzten Möglichkeiten bei der Beobachtung von Nazis. Siehe auch Bayern: "Zero Tolerance" für Neonazis im Internet (Der Spiegel) . Medienminister Erwin Huber greift die Bundesregierung an, sie täte nicht genug gegen Rechtsextremisten im Internet.
- Australia - Safety on the Net (DCITA) NetAlert, an advisory service that includes a toll free national help line and an informative website to help Australians manage Internet content access with greater certainty has been launched.
- USA - New Web Site To Teach Kids Netiquette (BizReport) The Justice Department and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) launched a new Web site, the Cyber Citizen Partnership designed to help teachers and parents steer tech-savvy youngsters away from the dark side of the Internet. The Web site offers a variety of resources for teaching kids the Internet's legal rules of the road.
- USA - Deutsche Telekom plays with regulatory fire (CNET News.com) Deutsche Telekom showed no fear of its foes in Congress as it moved to continue its purchase of wireless systems in the United States, in spite of a House hearing and upcoming floor action in the Senate. Just a month after announcing its plans to acquire VoiceStream Wireless for $50.7 billion, the German telecom giant said it plans through VoiceStream to purchase U.S. cell phone company Powertel for $5.75 billion.
- Auction by German Government Nets $50 Billion for Wireless Licenses (New York Times) The most expensive telecommunications auction ever ended when six companies bid a total of nearly $50 billion to win licenses for a new generation of wireless communications in one of Europe's largest markets. siehe auch UMTS-Sieg bedeutet Segen und Fluch für die Lizenz-Gewinner und Hintergrund: Die Gewinner der sechs UMTS-Lizenzen (Heise Online)
- France outlines 3G license award process (Reuters) France will award four third-generation UMTS mobile phone licences on the basis of 14 criteria, scoring candidates out of a possible total of 500 points. voir aussi Mobiles de 3ème génération : lancement de l'appel à candidatures (ART).
- India opens domestic long-distance to competition (Total Telecom) The Indian government has kept its promise of opening up the national long-distance telephony market. The key policy guidelines include the unrestricted entry of operators, a one-off entry fee of US$23 million (1 billion rupees), a bank guarantee of US$93 million, a non-exclusive license for 20 years, and a 15% revenue-sharing agreement with the government.
- India unveils rules for private Internet gateways (Reuters) India unveiled rules for cable-based private Internet gateways which demand strict monitoring of their operations by the government. The rules require payment of an annual fee of two million rupees to the government to cover the costs of monitoring and reiterate that voice traffic will not be allowed on the Internet.
- Belgium - Une seule zone tarifaire au royaume de Belgacom (Le Soir) Le 1er octobre, l'ex-RTT allégera la facture de tous. Sa méthode: transformer la Belgique une seule zone téléphonique. Fini le découpage de la Belgique en zones téléphoniques. Pour Belgacom, le pays est un et indivisible. Côté tarifs de l'appel, s'entend. Voir aussi Belgique: Belgacom ouvre son réseau de téléphonie locale (Reuters).
- EU - Luxembourg lagging with "rights of way" (RAPID) The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Luxembourg for failing to comply with Community legislation requiring the authorities of the Member States to authorise the deployment of telecom networks across or via areas in the public domain, such as motorway or rail networks - a principle known as "rights of way".
- UK - Charges for unbundled local loops (Press release) Oftel published Access to Bandwidth: Conclusions on charging principles and further indicative charges, the detailed principles that it will use to determine wholesale charges for unbundled local loops. Oftel intends that the final wholesale prices to operators should be set at a level which will encourage competition in DSL services while preserving the incentive for investment in alternative networks such as cable and wireless local loop.
- UK - Oftel 'fails on competition' (Daily Telegraph) OFTEL, the telecoms regulator, was strongly criticised for failing to bring about effective competition in the UK internet market. The Internet Service Providers' Association said David Edmonds, Oftel's director-general, was mistaken in his belief that adequate regulation was in place to bring about competitive flat-rate internet services.
- USA - An even-handed signal (Financial Times) William Kennard, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, insists that the the US does not restrict European access to its orbital telecommunications market.
Market & Technology
- Tiscali close to completing takeover of World Online World Online, the Dutch internet provider, has been bought by Tiscali of Italy. The deal, expected to be structured as a share swap, creates Europe's second largest internet access company behind Germany's t-online, an offshoot of Deutsche Telekom.
- New strain of "Love" virus steals passwords (CNET News.com) A new strain of the infamous "I Love You" virus has hit some businesses located in Europe and in the United States. The virus, "VBS/LoveLetter.bd," runs a program that steals passwords from an infected computer and displays see a résumé for "Knowledge Worker, Zurich," written in German.
- New Web attack tools exploit chat technology (CNET) New attack software has been discovered that uses Internet relay chat to deliver crushing loads of traffic to victim computers and could put the launch button within reach of almost anyone.
- A cure for e-mail overload (Network World) Tired of slogging through hundreds of e-mail messages each day? An emerging technology called Sieve touts a simple, universal way to create filters for sorting, deleting and forwarding e-mail messages before they enter your inbox
- New weapon in child-porn wars (MSNBC) A new software program could potentially revolutionize crime-fighting efforts to crack down on Internet child pornography. Using a sophisticated searching technique, the program extracts unique identifiers from images and within minutes is able to find copies of those files anywhere on a hard drive or the Internet.
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