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It’s Official: Blogs Are Media

Forget waiting for some federal shield law to be passed: the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has determined in two separate rulings yesterday, that blogs are, in fact, media, as reported by TechCrunch.

Oh, if only Marketing Pilgrim had a category called, “Duh.” Do these decisions change anything? As I see it, all they is codify the status of blogs as “media.” Or should I say, the status of a blog as a medium. A blog has always been a medium—a way that political candidates and interested parties can communicate with the public at large.

Google Wins American Blinds Legal War of Attrition

After spending close to 4 years suing Google for trademark infringement, American Blind & Wallpaper has apparently rolled over and shown their belly in defeat.

According to Reuters, the case has been settled with Google not having to make any changes or pay American Blind a single penny. In addition to both parties paying their own legal costs…

American Blinds agreed not to sue Google “so long as Google does not make a material change in its AdWords trademark policy that adversely affects (American Blinds & Wallpaper Factory.” It also agreed not to assist other parties in suing Google.

“Google has not made and has not agreed to make any payment to (American Blinds & Wallpaper) of any kind whatsoever, whether in cash, credit or otherwise, and that Google has not agreed to change its trademark policies or any exception to how it applies its trademark policies,” the agreement said.

Viacom Once Again Abusing DMCA?

image It appears Viacom hasn’t learned its lesson after its last abuse of the DMCA takedown notice. It’s now targeting a YouTube video that includes a clip of a VH1 show, which includes the unauthorized use of video created by the person who uploaded the YouTube clip.

Confused? This should help:

  1. Chris Knight creates a funny video as part of his campaign Rockingham County Board of Education.
  2. Viacom’s VH1 takes the clip from YouTube and uses it in a VH1 segment, without Knight’s permission.
  3. Knight’s flattered and uploads the VH1 clip to YouTube.
  4. Viacom accuses Knight of copyright infringement and YouTube takes down the video.

Absurd? It doesn’t get any more ridiculous than that!

Knight is obviously feeling victimized by Viacom…

American Airlines Sues Google for Trademark Infringement

It seems Google just can’t get a break from all of the law suits.

This time, they’re facing a trademark suit filed by American Airlines for infringement by Google AdWords.

Eric Goldman has details of the filed complaint (pdf download here) and offer his thoughts on American’s decision to pursue this…

…this could be a very costly lawsuit. I also wonder if American Airlines itself has ever bought third party trademarks as keywords–plenty of keyword plaintiffs have engaged in such duplicity, and I’d be surprised if American Airlines has run a completely clean shop. Finally, it’s not in Google’s nature to retaliate this way, but I wonder what would happen if Google decided to cut off keyword advertising for American Airlines?

Facebook Asks Google to Remove Leaked Code Blog

I guarantee that if you submit a DMCA request to Google–the one you use to request copyrighted material is removed–you won’t get the same rapid response Facebook just got.

After accidentally releasing their own copyrighted code, Facebook sent Google a DMCA take down notice and the company obliged by yanking the Blogger blog that had published the code.

The anonymous owner of the original blog has started a new one, that shows the emails sent by the Blogger team.

======

As mentioned in our previous email, we work with a third party to post
DMCA notices we receive. The notice we received because of the content on
your site can be found here (once the notice has been posted):

http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=3836

Google Wants Viacom to Serve up Stephen Colbert & Jon Stewart

Stephen ColbertDo you get the feeling that the Google/Viacom $1B law suit is going to be a huge circus? No? Then you might change your mind when you learn that Google has added the names of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to the list of Viacom employees it wants to see on the stand, according to docs filed in the U.S. DIstrict Court, says CNET.

The two companies entered the names of people they each wish to depose in court, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week. Google, which acquired YouTube last October, wants to depose at least 30 people in addition to Colbert and Stewart. Among them are Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone and CEO Philippe Dauman.

Google News: Better to Receive than Give

Over at TechCrunch, Michael Arrington, picks up on a concern over Google News, raised by TechMeme’s Gabe Rivera.

One thing that bugs me: they?re now hosting original news content, yet they prohibit other aggregators from crawling it (per robots.txt restrictions and TOS). Of course Google News relies on the openness of other organizations with original news content.

image The bottom line? Google’s terms prohibit anyone from spidering or manually copying any content from the Google News service. This wasn’t a big deal when Google News was simply aggregating news from elsewhere, but it’s somewhat hypocritical now that Google News is allowing comments–and hence is now a content host themselves.

Arrington hopes this is just an oversight on Google’s part–and I do too. It’s ironic that Google fights many battles to protect its right to crawl your news content, while at the same time preventing access to its own content.