Marketing Pilgrim's "Legal" Channel

Sponsor Marketing Pilgrim's Legal Channel today! Get in front of some of the most influential readers in the Internet and social media marketing industry. Contact us today!

Judge throws out Gmail privacy case and it’s another legal victory for Google

cat peeringGoogle’s lawyers are taking a vacation next week now that two big lawsuits are off the table. Yesterday, Google settled a 7-year lawsuit with Viacom over copyright issues. Today, a judge tossed out a class action suit involving privacy and Gmail.

Privacy and Gmail, you say? Excuse me while I throw a Jumbo Shrimp on the barbie.

The issue stems from Gmails habit of scanning your mail in order to send targeted advertising. . . I mean. . . protect you from spam. Gmail users said that this was an invasion of privacy so a small group tried to file a class action suit on behalf of a larger body of users.

According to Bloomberg, a win could have resulted in damages of $100 a day per person for violating federal wiretap law.

Viacom and Google finally settle their ongoing lawsuit

google-viacom

The lawsuit that has been going on since THE.BEGINNING.OF.TIME is finally over. Google and Viacom have (not so) quietly settled their dispute.

Phew, That Was Close! Court Rules You CAN Link to Another Web Site

Link or Cake?It almost seems crazy that we even need a court ruling on this, but the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that it is legal to link to another web site.

Google’s sphincter just relaxed a little.

I mean, can you imagine an internet where we needed to get permission before linking to each other? Google, for one, would have to shut down immediately. Fortunately, the courts–at least this European one–have obviously read the legal text, “How to state the bleedin’ obvious” and ruled on a case where some journalists where claiming that a link to their story infringed on their copyright.

The plaintiffs wanted to be compensated for the hyperlinks placed by Retriever because, they alleged, the defendant infringed on copyrights by linking to the articles without paying the copyright holder…

Twitter Teeters Between Informed Users and Government Censors

Twitter transparency tweetRunning a giant social media company is tough. You’re responsible for keeping a member’s secrets secret but you also have to respond when the government and law enforcement come knocking. In order to satisfy both sides, companies comply with legal requests but then disclose these requests in broad terms to users. They call it transparency but it’s more like a foggy window pane and the fog is getting thicker.

Both Facebook and Twitter released their latest transparency reports this week but as far as US data goes, they’re not very informative. And this comes on the heels of an agreement by the US Justice Department that allows social media sites to disclose “more” information. They can now report the number of National Security Letters (NSLs) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) separately but only in groupings of 1,000.

Google Managers Could Face Life Imprisonment for Defamation…

Freedom of Speech…in India.

…for the words of a Blogspot.com customer.

Whaaat?

No, seriously. The WSJ is reporting on a case now before the Indian Supreme Court that will effectively decide if Google (and others) can be held “liable for criminal activities on its network.”

The case against Google was brought by Visaka, which makes corrugated cement and asbestos fiber sheets, after an anti-asbestos blog hosted by Blogspot contained allegations Visaka was being protected because it was backed by leaders of the ruling Congress party. Visaka said it had no connection to the party and filed a case charging Google India with criminal conspiracy, defamation and publishing content that is defamatory.

Did a Judge Just Void Your Right to Post Anonymous Reviews?

anonymousIf you’ve ever posted a negative review online–especially on Yelp–then news from the Washington Times might give you cause for alarm.

A Virginia court has just ordered Yelp to hand over the names of seven reviewers who left anonymous, negative reviews on the Yelp profile of a company called Hadeed Carpet Cleaning. The owner claims that the reviews cannot be matched to any existing customers and therefore must be fictitious. On those tenuous grounds, a judge in Alexandria agreed with him.

Of course,  Yelp’s legal team is pitching a conniption:

“Hadeed really did nothing to justify the need for the identity of the Does in this case,” said Mr. Levy, who works at the D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen. “It’s going to make it more difficult for the marketplace of ideas to get valuable information about companies.”

The Last Two Men in the World to Realize Facebook Has No Privacy File Suit

Facebook Spies?Now here’s something novel, a tech giant being sued because of privacy violations.

Only this time, it’s not Google.

Two men have filed a law suit claiming that, get this, Facebook is violating its user’s right to privacy. Now, we’re accustomed to using the word “privacy” in the same sentence as Facebook, but there’s usually a “lack of” “no” or “we don’t need no stinkin” also included in said sentence. It should be pretty common knowledge that anyone that uses Facebook should do so without any expectations of privacy–no matter what the company’s actual privacy policy says. I know I always cringe when someone sends me something sensitive via a private Facebook message, because it’s just not that private.

Anyway, back to our two intrepid litigants…