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Yahoo Sued for Obliging Chinese Government

Yahoo is being sued by the wife of a Chinese dissident over the company’s release of information to the Chinese government. She’s claiming her husband “has been tortured in the Chinese prison where he is being held,” and holding Yahoo responsible.

Ling is seeking damages under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act, two statutes under which U.S. companies have been sued for allegedly aiding in human rights abuses overseas,

Yahoo originally claimed they were simply abiding by the laws of the countries they operate in. As for this case?

Yahoo said in a statement that it has not had time to review the lawsuit and could not comment on it. It added that it was “distressed that citizens in China have been imprisoned for expressing their political views on the Internet.”

Google’s North Carolina Tax Breaks May Spark Lawsuit

The cynic in me can’t help but focus on the awesome publicity that Bob Orr is going to get by leading a group that plans to sue over the tax breaks, given to Google, as an incentive for building a data center in Lenoir, NC.

Orr, who is running for governor and plans to resign from the institute this month, said the suit will challenge the constitutionality of the exemption. He said the measure is illegal because it gave special treatment to one company, “which would seem to run counter to the fact that there be uniformity in the tax law.” The suit could be filed by month’s end, he said. Officials with the state Department of Commerce and attorney general’s office declined to comment.

Google, Google, Google

It’s somewhat of a slow news day, at least when it comes to the search engines – they’re all in NYC for Search Engine Strategies. While we may hear some announcements later in the week, here are three Google items worth a quick look.

  1. Techdirt is spot on with their attack on the publishing industry’s claims that Google “stealing” their content. If publishers are so worried about this, go ahead and ban Google’s spiders from indexing your content. You’ll no longer have to worry about those pesky critters and the hundreds of millions of people that use Google each day! Let me know how that works out for ya!

Why O’Reilly’s Blogger’s Code of Conduct Must Die

If you’re a long time reader of Marketing Pilgrim, you’ll know my unease with anyone trying to define blogging; who should and shouldn’t blog; and, especially, talk of a “bloggers code of conduct.” So, you can imagine that my Monday morning is not off to a good start, when sipping my coffee I see Tim O’Reilly’s attempt to draft a code of conduct for bloggers.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand his intent. What happened to Kathy Sierra, is not an isolated incident, and perhaps bloggers should look at means to protect themselves (and others) from blog trolls looking for a fight. But, as I’ve said before, any attempts to define or restrict blogging, will ultimately suck the life out of it, and kill much of the momentum we have going on.

Jailed Blogger Finally Freed After Making Deal

We wanted to give you some good news on the continuing saga of jailed blogger Josh Wolf – he’s finally a free man.

According to CNET, Wolf agreed to hand over the video he had shot of an anarchist protest in San Francisco on July 8, 2005, and also answer two questions posed by prosecutors.

The questions were whether he knew the identity of the person who threw an object at the police car during the protest, and if he could identify the person that Officer Pete Shields, injured during the protest, was pursuing at the time. Wolf said he answered “no” to both. He agreed to answer the questions because “there was nothing to be given by them,” said.

Yahoo Click Fraud Suit Settled…Finally!

If you have a good memory, you’ll recall Yahoo’s sweet click fraud settlement deal, which would hold the company to just $5m in legal fees and a review of click fraud activity back to 2004. If you don’t have a good memory, that’s why we’re here!

Anyway, the courts have made the settlement final – at a breathtaking pace of 9 months – and the settlement will stand, “as called on the field.”

EFF Sues Viacom to Prevent Abuse of DMCA

You already know that Viacom is suing YouTube for a gazillion dollars for copyright infringement, but now the cable company is facing a backlash over its careless use of the DMCA.

Nate Anderson reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation – a nonprofit group that looks to protect digital rights and free speech – is suing Viacom for its misuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Among thousands of DMCA takedown notices sent out, is one of a Stephen Colbert parody video that the EFF claims doesn’t violate any copyright laws.

The video does contain clips from “The Colbert Report,” but the EFF argues that these qualify as fair use, since parody has a well-recognized copyright exemption. “Our clients’ video is an act of free speech and a fair use of ‘Colbert Report’ clips,” said EFF staff attorney Corynne McSherry in a statement…