Cyberlaw

Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgCheck it out here.
We haven’t had a chance to read the whole transcript yet. We’ve spent the afternoon chasing down bonus news and mystery smells.
But if you have read it, and have some reactions or favorite parts, please share them in the comments. Thanks!
Update: The Washington Post comments on Judge Posner’s foray into cyberspace in this article.
The Second Life of Judge Richard A. Posner [New World Notes]
Posner: First Judge in Cyberspace [Eminent Domain via How Appealing]

* I think I may be the only New Yorker who regularly watches local channel NY1 — I just can’t get enough of Pat Kiernan’s deadpan delivery, especially of the more frivolous items. What would he say (and too bad he can’t) about this doctored photo of his colleague “BBB”? [New York Post via Gothamist]
* Because monkeys are people too. [AP via Yahoo! News]
* The lesson learned is to move if you live near a dam. (I am amazed at my restraint in the face of such a punnable word, but hey, this is pretty serious.) [New Orleans City Business via Ernie the Attorney]
* Anyone who hasn’t been ripped on in cyberspace is either in a coma or hasn’t come out of his Y2K bomb shelter. I bet these guys would love to be able to claim a cause of action. [Findlaw]

* “[P]rosecutors will be investigating the backdating of stock options by companies for ‘years to come.'” [WSJ Law Blog]
* “A state appeals court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit by a boy who wanted to compete on his high school’s girls’ gymnastics team.” [Sports Illustrated]
* Anna Nicole gets booted from another ex-boyfriend’s mansion. [CNN]
* DHS wants to know what you eat on the airplane… [CNN]
* … and your boss wants to know what your IMs say (e-discovery). [MSNBC]


* It’s not slander if you call him a balding pervert. Or her an opportunist (and probably a desperate one at that — this is really scratching the bottom of the barrel, honey). [Page Six]
* Quakers like to keep their lawsuits confined to townhouse meetings. If you think you knew this because you saw Witness, you are guilty of lumping together all the religious denominations of rural Pennsylvania, and that’s just wrong. [Point of Law].
* The most obscure Baldwin brother, Daniel Baldwin, steals a car — and then some. (Volokh Conspiracy]
* Mitchell Stein, Esq., is one unhappy dog owner. And if you were him, you wouldn’t want this to happen to your dog, would you? On the other hand, it might stop it from humping your leg. [New York Times]

crescat sententia logo above_the_law.jpg
Here’s the most important part of this post: If you’re a reader of the most excellent Crescat Sententia, please note that IT HAS MOVED.
The new, correct address is http://www.crescatsententia.net/. If you go to the old address, you’ll see what looks exactly like the old blog. But that is NOT the Crescat Sententia blog.
Here’s the backstory, from Will Baude:

In September, without my knowledge or consent, our old domain was purchased by a Search Engine Optimization firm that intends to make money by either reselling the domain for a pretty penny to somebody greedy for its pagerank, or by using that pagerank to sell links to sites eager to trick Google. The webpage up there now is not this blog (it’s an old cache that he will have to take down soon), and this blog is the current and future home of crescat.

Because of the switcheroo, I can’t post a notice over there telling everybody where we’ve gone, so we’re reliant on people updating their blogrolls, and on word of mouth. With your help, hopefully we can minimize the disruption this has already caused.

I thought about taking this as a sign that it was time to turn in and give up, but I think this whole episode was a vindication of some principle like loss aversion. I’m not ready to go yet, and when I am, it will be on other terms.

Please, please, spread the word. WWW.CRESCATSENTENTIA.NET.

When Will Baude emailed the owner of the company that acquired his domain name, he was told to take a hike. The owner expressed a willingness to sell the domain name back to Will — for an exorbitant, extortionate price.
Those of you who blog probably realize what a total nightmare this is. Our sympathies go out to our blogging brethren at Crescat.
There’s some great discussion of this issue over at Concurring Opinions (incl. the comments). See here, by Dan Solove, and here, by Kaimipono Wenger.
Moral of the Story: Website owners and bloggers, remember to renew your domain names — early and often.*
* With Christmas approaching, here’s an ATL holiday shopping tip: Domain names make great gifts. The person you purchase the domain name for may not use it immediately. But it’s nice for them to know that, should they ever want to start up a blog, personal website, or business website, their domain name is reserved for them.
(Yeah, we’re dorks — we bought our parents their domain names for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year.)
The Remains of Crescat [CrescatSententia.net]
Quote of the Day [CrescatSententia.net]
Crescat Sententia’s Exploited Domain Name [Concurring Opinions]
Slimy SEO’s invade the Blawgosphere (Part II) [Concurring Opinions]

tube metal sheet tube above the law above the law above the law atl atl atl.jpgMove over, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer. There’s a new “Tube” case on the block.
YouTube is being sued — but not by a company asserting a copyright claim. From the AP:

A company that shut down its Web site because it was overwhelmed by millions of people looking for YouTube has sued the online video-sharing portal.

Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp. said the cost of hosting its Web site — utube.com — has grown significantly in the last two months. “We’ve had to move our site five times in an effort to stay ahead of the youtube.com visitors,” said Ralph Girkins, Universal Tube’s president.

The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court, asks that YouTube Inc. stop using the youtube.com or pay Universal Tube’s cost for creating a new domain. It did not specify damages.

So Universal Tube, seller of used tube-making machines, expects YouTube, about to be acquired by Google for $1.65 billion, to relinquish one of the most well-trafficked web addresses on the internet? We don’t think so. They would much rather pay Universal Tube the $8.99 it would cost to register a new domain name at GoDaddy.com.
We haven’t read the complaint, and we profess no expertise in this area of law. But the lawsuit strikes us as… odd. What’s the cause of action here? It doesn’t seem like a conventional trademark or cybersquatting case, since presumably (1) YouTube has a valid trademark in YouTube, and (2) it properly occupies the domain name YouTube.com. If you’re familiar with this case, please enlighten us, in the comments or by email.
Update: Check out this enlightening comment, which addresses some of our questions.
One more thing. Why doesn’t Universal Tube make lemonade out of these cyber-lemons? Again from the AP:

The confusion took off a couple of months ago, [company president Ralph] Girkins said. The company, with just 17 employees, got 68 million hits on its site in August, making it one of the most popular manufacturing Web sites.

Sixty-eight million hits a month? People would KILL for traffic like that. Why not slap up a few paid third-party advertisements on UTube.com, to monetize some of that monster traffic, and use the ad revenues to beef up your capacity? Or cover UTube.com almost entirely with ads, move the operations of Universal Tube to an entirely separate website, and put up a prominent link on UTube.com referring confused customers to your new site?
Just wondering…
Ohio Company Utube.com Sues YouTube [Associated Press via WSJ Law Blog]

squatting woman.jpgFederal judges are lucky in that they don’t have to run for office. Because campaigns for judicial office can get so undignified. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via TortsProf Blog):

A Madison County official and Democratic Party stalwart said Tuesday that he is unapologetic about Internet hijinks that are drawing criticism from supporters of Republican Appellate Judge Steve McGlynn.

County Public Defender John Rekowski last year registered a website named www.citizensformcglynn.com. McGlynn’s campaign committee is Citizens for McGlynn. Rekowski uses the Web address to redirect visitors to the site of McGlynn’s political opponent, Circuit Judge Bruce Stewart of Harrisburg.

Stewart faces McGlynn, a Belleville lawyer appointed to the 5th District Appellate court last year, in a heated contest for an open seat on the court.

Here’s what Rekowski — the County Public Defender, and therefore a lawyer — had to say for himself:

“People cyber-squat all the time,” Rekowski said. “I’m an American citizen, and I can do as I please.”

Well, yes. But then they get sued under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
(But query whether the ACPA would apply on these facts. We’re not saying that it would; we’re just observing that it’s silly for Rekowski to defend himself by saying that cybersquatting is commonplace and that he can do as he pleases.)
Web Tactic on Foe’s Behalf Upsets appellate court candidate [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Aren’t Judicial Elections Fun? [TortsProf Blog]

goldmansex goldman sex goldmensex goldman sachs.JPGPartners at top investment bank Goldman Sachs take home an average of $7 million a year. But not content with that, they’ve decided to chase after a small businessman, who’s just trying to make an honest living.
From the WSJ Law Blog:

[Goldman Sachs is involved in an] ongoing battle with Goldman Advertisement BV, a Netherlands-based adult-entertainment directory…. Goldman argued [in a National Arbitration Forum proceeding] that goldmansex.com would cause confusion and contained links to objectionable “adult” material. The NAF agreed with the investment bank, and goldmansex.com is no more.

Say it ain’t so! Who would confuse the world’s leading investment bank with a porn providers’ directory? (Our big brother blog, which covered this story back in July, agrees.)
“Goldman” is a last name that strikes us as pretty generic, and “sex” is, well, sex. GS’s position strikes us as weak, whether viewed from a cybersquatting or trademark law perspective. And there’s more:

Rob Muller, the owner of goldmansex.com, tells the Law Blog in an email that the name has nothing to do with the investment bank; instead, it came from his nickname “Goldman,” which his friends gave him because they “thought I was always lucky in my life.”…

After the NAF ruling, Muller pressed his luck and continued to use another domain name it owned — goldmEnsex.com (emphasis added). Last week, according to Muller, he received a fax from the NAF informing him that Goldman Sachs had started a new proceeding against his company.

Frivolous litigation arbitration. Why can’t the banking behemoth just laugh it off, and let poor Rob Muller go on his merry way? Consider this:

“Goldmansex was in a completely different business than GS, with no chance of confusion, we were not referring to Goldman Sachs on our website, the site had a complete different look and feel and we own a valid trademark in the domain name,” says Muller. “The only similarity between Goldman Sachs and Goldmensex is the verbal equivalence.” He adds: “Furthermore Goldmensex is not a porn site; it is an advertisement portal for adult entertainers offering information very similar to information offered by Google and Yellow Pages.”

And the verbal equivalence isn’t even that great. “Goldman Sachs” sounds like “Goldman Sex” only if you pronounce it with a really heavy Russian accent.
This is so wrong. Rob Muller needs your help, ATL readers. Anyone looking for a good pro bono [sic] project?
After Taking Down Goldmansex, Goldman Takes On Goldmensex [WSJ Law Blog]
There Is No Sex in Goldman Sachs [DealBreaker]

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