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Spamhaus Fine Reduced From $11.7M To $27K 378

eldavojohn writes "In 2006, anti-spam crusader Spamhaus was sued for 'defamation, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and interference with existing contracts' after blocking 'promotional e-mails' from e360. What with the case being in Illinois and Spamhaus being a British outfit, Spamhaus didn't bloody care. So, e360 was awarded $11.7 million in damages, which was later thrown out in an appeals court with a request for the lower court to come up with actual damage estimates instead of the ridiculous $11.7 million. (e360 had originally stated $135M, then $122M, and then $30M as sums of damages.) As a result, the actual damages were estimated to be just $27,002. While this is a massive reduction in the fine and a little bit more realistic, I think it is important to note that Spamhaus is a service that people proactively utilize. They don't force you to use their anti-spam identification system — it's totally opt-in. And now they're being fined what a foreign judge found to be 'one month of additional work on behalf of the customers' to a company they allegedly incorrectly identified as spam. Sad and scary precedent."

Comment Re:Guessing how this is going to turn out... (Score 1) 242

Where exactly does a Web site "do business"? Geolocation is far from perfect, and while Google may have facilities in Europe, essentially all Web sites are available there, so even your local pizzeria with a brochureware Web page is potentially subject to Italian prosecution just like Google. Or French. Or Saudi. Just ask Dow Jones, which was successfully sued in Australia under Australian law for defamation based upon an article on the Barrons.com Web site.

The Internet is without borders, but the law isn't. That's the real challenge here, and it's one that is becoming more and more problematic for companies of all sizes, in all industries, as they expand their online operations. {ProfJonathan}

Comment Re:Guessing how this is going to turn out... (Score 1) 242

As the poster of the original article, I'll point out that assuming that "plain text" is "the most protected form of speech going" is a very US-only attitude. Protected speech implies *something* protecting it, in the US' case the First Amendment to the Constitution, plus 200+ years of court opinions interpreting that amendment. There was *nothing* guaranteeing that US courts would define online content, whether plain text or video, as "speech" of any kind, nor that forum hosts would be immune from liability for such content posted by 3rd parties (witness the Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy case, which led Congress to adopting the very broad 47 USC 230 to both overturn Stratton Oakmont and help the nascent Internet industry thrive).

This current case, and the others like it, set up a potential countermovement away from allowing user-posted content including that which I'm typing right now, a countermovement that could, if it grows, stifle the value of the Internet as a many-to-many communications medium. {ProfJonathan}


Submission + - Google Privacy Counsel Facing Criminal Charges

ProfJonathan writes: "According to this story in the IAPP's Privacy Advisor, Google's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, is facing criminal charges in Italy for defamation based upon a user's posting of a video to Google Video. Mr. Fleischer was on his way to the University of Milan for a speaking engagement when he was met by Italian law enforcement officials. As with the 1997 case of Compuserve's Felix Somm and the 2006 arrest of the CEO of BetOnSportsUK in Texas during a layover on a trip to Costa Rica, this case once again highlights the risks faced by executives and employees of online companies whose activities may be legal and protected in their own countries, but illegal elsewhere in the world. Troubling, and worth watching. {Jonathan}"

Comment Re:WTF (Score 1) 648

It wasn't that Superman didn't press charges; it was that by the time Superman needed to testify against Luthor in court, he'd left the Earth (chasing, if the prequel comic is to be believed, a rumor of Krypton that was started by the self-same Lex Luthor for that very purpose). {ProfJonathan}


Submission + - DS Games for Pre-readers?

ProfJonathan writes: My daughter just got a DS from the grandparents for her 6th birthday. She's only beginning to read, but wants a bunch of games of her own rather than just playing her older brothers' games. She got Nintendogs with the DS, so that's taken care of, but other relatives are asking what she might want. Can anyone recommend some good DS games that don't require reading skill, that might be age-appropriate and interesting for a 1st grade girl? Thanks. {ProfJonathan}

Submission + - Google News and Censorship: Is this a Pattern?

Jon Meyer writes: The Google YouTube handling of Nick Gisburne is very similar to their News page's handling of Uruknet.

According to Alexa, the web-ranking organization, Uruknet is highly rated as an Iraqi news source. Yet, with no convincing reason, in late January Google delisted Uruknet from Google News. A campaign to restore Uruknet to Google News is underway. See this link for the full story.

Does the YouTube incident, Uruknet and Google's recent defusing of Google Bombs indicate the search giant is entering a new phase of more strident and direct information censorship?

Submission + - Do current Copyright laws still allow for backups?

Ka D'Argo writes: I had a conversation with a associate of mine about making backups of software or music cd's. This person says under the new laws with DRM, copyright and fair use, you as a consumer are no longer allowed to copy in anyway such things. I say, as it's been for god knows how long, you are still able to make a backup of something you legally own. Common sense even says, it's yours to do with as you please if you legally own it (aside from distributing copies for example). So what's the deal? Under current laws that may or may not have been updated lately, can a consumer make a backup copy of a piece of software or music cd?
The Internet

Submission + - Whois tool to find all domain names by owner?

jezor writes: "There used to be tools like AskReggie that allowed you to search the whois registries by owner's name rather than by domain name, to find out all the domain names owned by a particular person or entity. Are there any of those tools available today and, if so, what are they? Much obliged. {Prof. Jonathan}"
Puzzle Games (Games)

Submission + - UK Man Wins Grand Prize in Perplex City.

OnlyJedi writes: "Andy Darley, one of 50,000 players of the Alternate Reality Game "Perplex City", has won a 100,000 GBP (200,000 USD) prize for finding the Receda Cube. The cube, found in a wood in Northamptonshire, was found by gathering clues both in the game and in the real world. Mr. Darley commented, "As I pulled the Cube from the sticky, wet clay, and even afterwards as I was waiting to return the Cube, all I could think about was how bizarre the whole thing really was." A new version of the game is expected to start soon."

Submission + - Mice Cured of Autism

noahisaac writes: "My brother just sent me an article he posted for the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation about a cure for Rett Syndrome, a form of autism. According to the article, researchers successfully re-introduced a fully functional version of the MECP2 gene into mice that had been born with damaged MECP2 genes. Contrary to their expectations, the mice improved. From the article, "restoration of fully functional MECP2 over a four week period eradicated tremors and normalized breathing, mobility and gait in mice that had previously been fully symptomatic and, in some cases, only days away from death." The ramifications for people suffering from Rett Syndrome are obvious, but mutations of the MECP2 gene are also believed to be the cause of "classic" autism, and a number of other neurological disorders."

Submission + - Hacking the Cable Modem review

s1axter writes: ""First let me say that I am thoroughly impressed with both the author and the information content. Hacking the Cable Modem is part textbook and part tutorial, steeped in a plot straight from Hollywood. DerEngel weaves a narrative in the exploration, exploitation and modification of an embedded system with the story of some of the first cable modem hacks in the 90s."

Geeksinside.com Review of Hacking the Cable Modem can be found here http://geeksinside.com/reviews/reviewView.php?ID=1 "

Submission + - The Pirate Bay blocks Swedish ISP

Scarblac writes: "Swedish political party Pirate Byran (Bureau of Piracy) and torrent siteThe Pirate Bay today launched a campaign to force the swedish ISP Perspektiv Bredband to resume connectivity to the net and stop blocking their users access to the Russian music site allofmp3.com. Perspektiv notes in its own press release that their blocking of allofmp3 is a moral move, not a legal one, since allofmp3 is legal in Sweden. The Pirate Bay want to put pressure on them to stop censorship and hopes others will join their campaign."

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