Intellectual Property Laws & the Internet

The growth of the Internet has put pressure on traditional intellectual property protections such as copyright and patent. Some forms of information, when made accessible on the Internet, are easily copied. Because the costs of copying are low and because copying is often anonymous, publishers have often responded with more aggressive enforcement of existing intellectual property rights and with calls for extensions of those rights to cover additional content, new media and new forms of access.

Copyright Issues Related to the Internet
The technology of the Internet provides a new medium for dissemination of information, and this new medium presents numerous challenges to traditional norms of copyright law. Most fundamentally, the Internet provides a means of nearly effortless and essentially perfect duplication and dissemination of works such as texts, pictures, audio-visual material, and other authorship for which copyright law provides certain exclusive rights to owners.

Trademark and Related Issues
Businesses and other organizations are accessible to one another over the Internet by particular World Wide Web addresses, known as “domain” names. Because of the unstructured nature of the Internet and particularly the Web, users often locate organizations by searching for domain names that correspond to the organization’s name. Not surprisingly, numerous disputes have arisen where companies with similar names, or manufacturing the same types of products, have wanted to adopt similar or identical domain names.

Patent Law and the Internet
Unlike the copyright and trademark issues brought to the fore by the rising popularity of the Internet, fundamental patent law norms are not subject to challenge by the Internet. The Internet’s popularity has spawned tremendous interest in certain patents related to enabling technology for the Internet. The growth of the Internet has provided certain new tools for patent research and analysis that were not previously available.

Trade Secret Law Developments
The law of trade secrets continues to have strong application in Internet-related industries, but the very nature of the Internet makes maintenance of trade secret information inherently difficult. Since information can be disseminated over the Internet almost effortlessly, once information finds its way onto the Internet it will be extremely difficult to claim trade secrecy for such information.

In conclusion
Different treaties have provided different levels of protection or address only specific limited issues in countries around the world. In some countries, the signing of the treaty is sufficient to give direct effect to the protections, which can then be relied on by nationals of other states. The internet so far lacks the infrastructure to fully secure ones’ intellectual property rights.
Q. Who would police the implementation of intellectual property laws worldwide?
Q. Which nation’s law will take precedence over the other in case of infringements?
Q. Why doesn’t UN create a global infrastructure to combat the issue?
Q. What are the qualifications for protection?
Q. What are the possible limitations on rights?
Q. What steps can individuals take to protect their creation?
Q. What technological advancements have been made to identify and block copied content of various media?

What is your view on the benefits of such legal procedures and what is the gain to the business community in general? Please share your comments.

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9 Responses

  1. This post has evolved from discussions posted at “Case study – Global copyright and defamation laws and judgments ( https://pklawyers.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/case-study-1/ )”. As Moderator I would like to encourage greater participation particularly from qualified professionals for their suggestions and guidance on both the technology related issues and legal related issues in this topic; so if you have any suggestions as to how to generate greater involvement such as individually inviting relevant lawyers or methods of getting participation from groups please share.

    Thankyou
    Pakistan Legal Guy
    pklawyers@gmail.com

  2. How to get more involvement from Copyright and domain name community. You can reach likeminded people in the field by posting a comment and invite on other blogs on copyright issues–(a few of the good ones are listed below)
    http://community.livejournal.com/copyright/
    – Then there’s the http://copyrightlitigation.blogspot.com/index.html
    – which was made by the author of the Copyright Litigation Handbook
    http://copyrightreadings.blogspot.com/ is a Bibliography of current articles on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the TEACH act and other copyright issues
    http://tmcentlawforum.blogspot.com/ The Trademark, Copyright, and Entertainment Law Forum is brought to you by The Law Firm
    http://www.blogtoplist.com/rss/copyright.html
    http://tmexpress.blogspot.com/
    http://copyfight.corante.com/ which covers: “intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.”
    http://canton.elegal.ca/ he’s a “business lawyer and trade-mark agent with a practice focusing on technology issues and technology companies.”
    http://techlawadvisor.com/blog/ TECHLAWADVISOR.com was founded in August 2002 as an outlet to discuss the vast amounts of intellectual property meets technology mis-information on the internet
    http://techknowledgyblog.squarespace.com/welcome/ authored by a technology lawyer a member of a law firm’s Intellectual Property & Technology Division
    http://www.iplitigationblog.com/ is by a law group
    http://johndozierjr.typepad.com/dozierinternetlaw/ again by a law firm and offers: “an unbiased, balanced perspective on the Law of the Internet:
    http://www.copyrightreform.us/

    Then if you want to generally get greater exposure of you’re Blog, you can optimize it by putting all points about your cases into the blog’s ‘title and meta-data’ so whenever some one searches on a search engine for those keywords you blog page will appear in the search results. How do you do this? Read up here http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-beginners-checklist-for-learning-seo , Step by step seo tips . Also How about submitting your blog to a directory website, all you need to do is paste your blogs’s url into their forms and write a brief description. A few useful forms are on this directory list http://www.web-directories.ws/Niche/Legal/ , http://www.onewaytextlink.com/links.php?type=free

  3. I went through the SNR’s counterclaim of copyright violation and it doesn’t appear right.

    There are 3 instances of copyright violations reported by SNR. They ordered 3 papers on Feb 1st, 7th & 9th 2008 on websites they claimed to be owned by Axact. Now the copyright registration application was filed for all 3 papers only on Feb 5th 2008 just as the papers were being ordered. (See para 36, 38, 44 and 48 of counterclaim).

    Why would a company only file a copyright for 5 papers? The 3 papers being contested were present on their website http://www.papernut.com. In all instances of copyright violations a representative of SNR ordered a term paper from some website and that website returned the term paper copied from the SNR website. It means that just before placing the order they registered the copyright solely for these papers, showing how confident the defendants were the copyright violation would occur.

    This website, http://www.papernut.com, itself only carries a total of 5 papers and is a non-functional website with all linked pages and navigation icons leading to the same page. Whether you click “order” or “contact” or “FAQ” or any other link you will land on a page which contains links to the 5 sample papers, and was uploaded on an old domain name. Has anything ever been sold by this website? It seems that these registrations and perhaps even this website were just formed for the purpose of filing the counterclaim and were only done in February after the realization that they could not defend against the complaint filed by the Plaintiff.

    Basically, they established a website having no other purpose than to just have those papers as samples. Then they placed orders on 2 websites which they were sure will plagiarize all their orders from their website http://www.papernut.com . It all happened the way they expected it to happen.

    Doesn’t it show their own link with those 2 websites rather than Axact’s? Why and how they added around 550 websites when the total violation according to them occurred from 2 websites. And how can an order club together around 550 sites solely on the basis of IP? Has Student Network Resource registered any copyright for any paper ever before February 2008? Their copyrights were violated only after 2 months of Axact’s filing a defamation lawsuit against them. In fact this violation was not there even till their filing of the counterclaim. This occurred just before they filed the amended counterclaim and included all copyright violations in the amended counterclaim. Isn’t this all fishy????

  4. Wow what investigavtive legal work!

  5. Why not have a centralised database of all Trademarks, copyrigths, patents in a very easy to use format that can be used by the general public to check these things or before anyone starts a business.

  6. These discussions and comments regarding precedents are aimed towards finding a legally justifiable reasoning for this judgment. Let me clarify this. Let’s look at the bigger picture.
    The Judge Freda L. Wolfson used to work at the same firm, Lowenstein, as the defendant’s lawyer Peter L. Skolnik.

    As per New Jersey Code of Judicial Conduct this is grounds for disqualification of the judge, which the judge should have done herself. So I find it surprising that the plaintiff’s attorney did not raise the issue. I’ve highlighted the relevant sections of the Code below.

    C. Disqualification. (see R. 1:12-1) (1) A judge should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where: (a) the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer or has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding; Writing to the judge to try and sort this out won’t work.

    D. Remittal of Disqualification. A judge disqualified by the terms of this Canon may not avoid disqualification by disclosing on the record the disqualifying interest and securing the consent of the parties. [the remittal varies from state to state for example according to the Florida Supreme Court code there can be remittals of disqualification by the terms of Section 3E, where the judge may disclose on the record the basis of the disqualification and may ask the parties and their lawyers to consider, out of the presence of the judge, whether to waive disqualification. If following disclosure of any basis for disqualification other than personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, the parties and lawyers, without participation by the judge, all agree the judge should not be disqualified, and the judge is then willing to participate, the judge may participate in the proceeding. The agreement shall be incorporated in the record of the proceeding.]
    So the NJ code of conduct is amongst the strictest, as it doesn’t even allow for a waiver of this disqualification.

    However, the Judge Freda Wolfson has taken this case in utter disregard of the above-mentioned provisions. In such a scenario one can file a complaint against the judge in this regard through the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, it’s a simple procedure

    http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/acjc/how_to_file_complaint.htm and the form is at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/acjc/11166_acjc_complaint_form.pdf

    There are other avenues and remedies for this sort of ‘practice’ and I am a very competent Lawyer in this field. If you would like further information on the options open to you to rectify this, I can further guide you personally or on email but not on this forum

  7. How can the order be applicable to other companies like domain registrars and web hosting companies, when they are not even mentioned as parties and have no clue about a suit. This would never be allowed under Pakistani law. This order means that means any that supplier, contractor has to research each potential client it deals with to make sure there are no such orders against the potential client because these orders will be binding on them as well?

  8. You’re right, in Pakistan, a judicial order (in civil action) applies only to parties to the suit or theirs agents, employees, assignees and/or a person acting on behalf of any party to suit. Same principle is applicable in U.S as well with the exception of Principle of privity. This principle allows the U.S court to apply the judicial order upon all those who are in privy with the party to lawsuit. However, the interpretation of this principle varies accordingly with the circumstances and nature of the case including the facts and law points involved.

  9. Speaking of Mal-practice – I have strong doubts about the professionalism and of all Lawyers and Judges involved in this case – someone mentioned earlier that Napolitano has a mal-practice suit against him. But did you know the firm itself, New York law firm Dreier, LLP, with offices across the US has filed for bankruptcy http://news.lp.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/bankruptcy/dreierllp121608ch11.html.

    And that’s not all – Marc Dreier, who is the founder and managing partner of that law firm Dreier, has been arrested in Canada with criminal charges that allege that he was scamming approximately $100 million from hedge funds by falsely claiming that he represented a real estate developer “offering to sell notes…at a substantial discount.” The S.E.C. itself charges that “[s]ince at least October 2008, Dreier has been offering the bogus securities of unwitting legitimate issuers to hedge funds.” No wonder they withdrew from their cases the founder was too busy setting up $100mn dollar scam. Read more about and about Marc Drier’s arrest here http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/crim/usdreier120408cmp.html

    It was unfortunate for Axact to have hired a law firm that was corrupt and was on the verge of bankruptcy and filed chapter 11 within just a few months off backing off from the case. This kind of a firm can go to any length to make quick bucks.

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