Posts Tagged ‘lawsuit’
We can all look forward to some top-notch Richard Branson-flavoured pornography in the not-too-distant future if the findings of some kind of internet court that we don’t completely understand are to be believed.
As you probably know, the .xxx domain suffix was launched recently, with budding pornographers invited to snap up website names under which they could ply their powerfully erotic trade. Australian man Sean Truman swiftly snapped up the richardbranson.xxx name for reasons that we can’t be entirely sure about, but the bearded Virgin boss has had his legal eagles come down like a tonne of bricks on the shifty Aussie.
The National Arbitration Forum (no, us neither) say that as Branson owns the trademark rights for his name, Truman could not register or use the mysterious bongo-related suffix. Case closed, and we’ve now got richardbranson.xxx bookmarked. In fact, we’re refreshing it every couple of minutes. COME ON YOU SEXY BEARDED BASTARD!
We’re all aware of the thriving market for pre-owned CDs, DVDs books and games but until now we weren’t aware of anyone having the chutzpah to deal in pre-owned mp3s. They key words as we move into the second paragraph of this story are ‘until now’.
It seems that a Massachusetts-based company called ReDigi have hit upon that rather smart idea, with their website describing itself as “the world’s first used marketplace for digital music”, buying unwanted mp3 files from people and selling them on for about 50p, undercutting the likes of iTunes. Balls of steel, eh?
Not unsurprisingly, the music industry is a tad unhappy about this and EMI have been first to set their legal attack dogs on the site. The record company say that, in the act of transferring files from a seller’s computer to ReDigi’s servers, multiple copies of an MP3 are made, which violates copyright law. As you’d expect, ReDigi have pooh-pooed this claim and are describing the lawsuit as ‘meritless’.
CEO John Ossenmacher says that their receipt of mp3s is “an instantaneous, simultaneous transaction” and adds: “When our transaction goes from one person to another, there’s no copying involved in that transaction”. ReDigi have said that they will fight the lawsuit “vigorously”.
We suspect that we’re only at the very beginning of this one…
Have any of you been to see Drive yet? You were probably expecting some kind of Fast & The Furious kind of saga weren’t you? What with the title being ‘Drive’ and there being a few seconds of some fast cars in the trailer. Witness…
In truth, the film is more of a drama, focussing on the relationship between Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan’s characters, as opposed to being a smash and dash spectacular.
One American viewer, Sarah Deming, was enraged by this and has filed a lawsuit against the film’s distributors, claiming that they “promoted the film Drive as very similar to the Fast And Furious, or similar, series of movies ,” and moaning that it contained “very little driving”.
The suit continues that “Drive was a motion picture that substantially contained extreme gratuitous defamatory dehumanizing racism directed against members of the Jewish faith, and thereby promoted criminal violence against members of the Jewish faith”. We’re confused – is that what you expect from these kinds of ‘Fast And Furious’-type films or not?
Deming seeks a refund of the price her admission ticket as well as the ending of the production of ‘misleading movie trailers’ in the future. If she wins, she wants to turn her suit into a class action, allowing all disgruntled Drive-viewers to get a piece of the refund action.
There are some of you who have been using a Microsoft phone and opting out of having your whereabouts tracked. Well, there’s a chance that Microsoft has completely ignored you and spied on you all the same, tracking all the tedious places you’ve been to.
That’s what some lawsuit is claiming at least.
The legal action claims that people using a Windows Phone 7 smartphone are being tracked everytime the camera on their phone is switched on. Microsoft are declining to comment.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard complaints about something like this. Apple, Nokia and Google have also been chided for recording users’ private data. Microsoft, Nokia, Apple and Google were hauled before the US Congress to explain their privacy policies and Google Android phones were found to gather location data, however, it required explicit permission from users.
The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft’s letter to congress, which claimed that location data is collected “always with the express consent of the user”, was “false”.
The claim, filed by Rebecca Cousineau, says Microsoft are transmitting data in phones such as the HTC 7 Mozart and the Samsung Omnia 7.
Tracking is undertaken by the software giant to help “deliver more useful and relevant experiences to users”, adding; “To provide these rich experiences, Microsoft collects limited information necessary to determine the approximate location of a device. Collection is always with the express consent of the user and the goal of our collection is never to track where a specific device has been or is going.”
They add: “We believe that, when designed, deployed and managed responsibly, the location-based feature of a mobile operating system should function as a tool for the user and the applications he or she elects to use, and not as a means to generate a database of sensitive information that can enable a party to surreptitiously ‘track’ a user.”
To anyone who noticed that every paragraph started with the letter ‘T’, shame on you.
Uh-oh! Apple has been taking everyone to the cleaners about various patents that they reckon they invented for the iPad. The fist big victim was the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, getting pulled off the shelves until some sort of agreement was made.
However, it seems that Apple and their lawyers may have misled the judge who took their side by inadvertently filing flawed evidence and not providing an accurate picture of the similarity between the two devices.
It has been reported that at least one of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 pictures that Apple provided as evidence was either wrong or, worse still, manipulated. The photographic evidence submitted by Apple shows a picture of the iPad 2 and the ‘Galaxy Tab 10.1′ with the claim that the “overall appearance” of the two are “practically identical.”
Sadly for Apple, it seems that picture they submitted of the Galaxy doesn’t match with the real one. It seems someone has either accidentally or intentionally altered the aspect ratio on the image of the Samsung device, making it look more like the iPad 2.
Arnout Groen, a lawyer with the Dutch firm Klos Morel Vos & Schaap, specialized in intellectual property rights litigation, says: “This is a blunder. That such a ‘mistake’ is made in a case about design rights can scarcely be a coincidence. … The aspect ratio of the alleged Galaxy Tab is clearly distorted to match the iPad more closely. Inasmuch as this faux pas will have consequences for the case is of course up to the judge. But at least a reprimand by the German judge seems to be in order.”
Does this mean the litigation is going to be thrown out, leaving the door open for everyone else to muscle in on Apple’s domination of the tablet market, or are Apple being stupid and should trust that their product is likely to continue to rule the tablet roost?
Hola amigos. It is I, Len Dastard, retired (and imaginary) Mexican lucha libre turned full time litigation executive who loves to right for you, my hermanos y hermanas. You know the drill by now. I talk, you listen. Got that? Good. Let us not waste anymore of my time…
We first brought you news of solicitor slagging website “Solicitors from Hell” here. Briefly, the website allows disgruntled clients to leave a review of their solicitor if they believe that they have been shoddy in any aspect of their work.
Last week the Law Society sent a Letter of Claim (setting out their claim and providing evidence) to website owner Rick Cordowski insisting that he must close his site down or face legal action for defamation, harassment and breach of the Data Protection Act. The action is being brought by the Law Society on behalf of 300 individual solicitors. A spokeman for the Law Society has said “Not all solicitors defamed on the website can afford the time and trouble to bring a case themselves, and the Law Society is taking every possible step to protect our members and the public interest”.
This is not the first case that has been brought against Rick Cordowski in relation to his website. He has already been sued 16 times for libel and has an outstanding damages award against him for roughly £150,000. Rick Cordowski appealed two of these decisions last week and both of these applications were lost.
The actual concept of the website is a good one. However, one of the major problem faced by solicitors is client confidentiality. How can a solicitor address a review on a website if the review centred around a “bad result” from their case? From experience, you cannot please every single client and some cases will have an unhappy ending. However, no doubt some of these reviews are based on awful experiences and possibly a balance needs to be struck.
As soon as we hear of any further developments on this issue we will let you know.
Got an opinion on this story? Get in contact with me, Len Dastard, the greatest Mexican wrestler there never was, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Adios!
Here’s some advice – if you’re going to slag off solicitors on a website, just don’t. That’s because they’re solicitors and they know the law and they’ll probably sue you and stuff.
That’s what Rick Kordowski has just found out. His Solicitors From Hell website, which he set up following a dispute with a legal eagle, is facing legal action due to alleged defamation.
The site was launched as the go-to place for people to have a grumpy gripe if they feel they’ve been treated badly by a solicitor but now the Law Society is going after Kordowski, following on from individual claims from smaller law firms.
On the Radio 4 consumer extravaganza You and Yours programme, Law Society Chief Executive Desmond Hudson roared that the site was “littered with untruths and abusive comments”, and accused it of not giving lawyers a right of reply.
Sort of like Tripadvisor for people who sometimes wear gowns and wigs then…
EDIT: The plot thickens. Our Mexican wrestler and legal expert Len Dastard adds: “For ethical reasons, I will never set foot in a ring, metaphorical or otherwise with Solicitors From Hell head honcho Senor Kordowski. It has been reported that he has attempted to charge solicitors £299 to remove postings from his ‘website’. I find his motives questionable.”
When Samsung launched their Galaxy line of smartphones, the similarity between that and Apple’s iPhone wasn’t lost on consumers or the tech industry. In terms of the user interface, the two look very similar; in terms of the hardware, there’s more than a passing resemblance. The question is – how many ways can you build a smartphone? Aren’t there bound to be similarities?
So is there any real substances to Apple’s claims that Samsung “blatantly copied” their iPhone and iPad? Apple are hoping so, because they’ve suing Samsung for infringement of patents and trademarks.
Apple have filed their intellectual property suit against not only the Samsung Galaxy smartphones, but their tablet devices too. An Apple spokesperson said: “It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”
Unsurprisingly, Samsung strenuously deny it all: “Samsung will respond actively to this legal action taken against us through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property.”
Customs officers have been told to seize all shipments of Sony’s PlayStation 3 consoles following a patent row between the company and LG. Uh-oh!
LG, who have been quarrelling with Sony for some time now, have won a ten-day import ban on PS3s from the civil court of justice in the Hague surrounding a dispute over the playback facility for Blu-Ray discs.
Tens of thousands of the consoles have already been seized by customs and the ban looks like it will be extended which, naturally, will affect the stock available to our shops. It’ll take around a month before we start noticing, so if you’re thinking of buying a PS3, you might want to look sharp.
The row, focusing on a number of patents, could well stretch to the US too as LG really go for the jugular. The BBC report that LG are stacking the stakes high. Solicitor Michael Coyle says: “It will have to pay an astonishing amount of money if a judge rules that its patent is invalid. When a firm seeks to have goods seized they make an undertaking to pay for storage and compensation.”
If Sony win this case, this could be incredibly costly for LG indeed, who seem to be getting revenge after Sony made similar claims against them concerning mobile phone technology.
The FBI and Wikipedia and the FBI and Wikipedia and the FBI are going toe-to-toe over the use of its seal. The FBI have sent a nasty letter to Wikipedia’s San Francisco office over the “unauthorised reproduction of the FBI Seal” which is “prohibited by US law”. “Whoever possesses any insignia…or any colourable imitation thereof..shall be fined…or imprisoned… or both,” the FBI wrote.
Instead of cowering at the thought of some FBI drones going round and waterboarding the lot of ‘em, Wikipedia have flicked two fingers up and have flatly stated that they have done nothing wrong. Basically, the FBI don’t like the fact that their Wikipedia entry which, in addition to information on the US bureau, also features an image of the “Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation”.
The FBI said that this was “particularly problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting violations of restrictions by Wikipedia users”. Quite why Wikipedia have been singled out is a mystery, given that there’s thousands of websites out there which feature the logo. Wikipedia’s lawyer, Mike Godwin, has written back to the feds saying that there’s a rather large difference between the words “problematic” and “unlawful”.
“The enactment of [these laws] was intended to protect the public against the use of a recognisable assertion of authority with intent to deceive. The seal is in no way evidence of any ‘intent to deceive’, nor is it an ‘assertion of authority’, recognisable or otherwise,” he wrote. “We are compelled as a matter of law and principle to deny your demand for removal of the FBI Seal from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons,” said Mr Godwin adding that the firm was “prepared to argue our view in court.”
This could end up dramatised in a really dull daytime film! Here’s hoping!
We’ve all heard of the well-worn phrases ‘He who waits is great’ and ‘Time loves a hero’ but they haven’t got anything to do with this story. We’ve also all heard the well-worn phrase ‘Where there’s a hit, there’s a writ’ and you can add this one (about the iPhone 4) to the list – ‘When there’s a hit, and the hit is shit, there’s a deluge of writs.’
That’s what’s happening in the United States Of A, as disgruntled customers realise that they can’t get a decent reception on their new phone when they do something as stupid as, er, hold the thing. At least four different lawsuits have been launched against Apple regarding the reception issue, with the possibility that they’ll all be merged into a class action suit.
Meanwhile, a series of emails that were supposedly written by Jobsie and an enraged iPhone user have been outed as fakes. So we’ve made up our own fake exchange with the big man….
Customer: I assume there is no fix then. If this is legit, I have lost all respect for Apple… All our co-workers with Androids are just mocking us right now… This is just sickening.
Jobs: Calm down. Imagine I’m giving you a shoulder massage. There – right under the blades. You like that, yes?
Customer: I am really insulted… What arrogance… I just had dinner with 3 people who had iPhone 4s we all cant make calls without dropping. There is no rumors it is reality.
Jobs: Mmmmmmm, send me a picture of yourself. One where you don’t wear a shirt. I bet you’re ripped. Do you have any tattoos? Show them to me. Show them to Jobsie.
Customer: Stop with jackass comments. I have has every iphone made. They all had a bad signal but this is the so much worse X3.
Jobs: OMG! Are you as turned on by this as I am?
The Apple is bruised people. We repeat, the Apple is bruised!
Zahavah Levine, YouTube’s Chief Counsel has posted a blog about the spat between the company and Viacom. I say ‘spat’, it’s more like a $1 billion lawsuit.
Basically, Viacom think that YouTube have been creaming money from them and there’s a whole bunch of copyright infringement to boot.
After talking up how great and democratic they are, YouTube have said: “YouTube and sites like it will cease to exist in their current form if Viacom and others have their way in their lawsuits against YouTube.”
The Viacom vs. YouTube lawsuit (which have been made public today and you can read leaked documents here), Viacom are claiming that YouTube aren’t doing enough to keep their copyrighted material off the site.
YouTube argue that “all videos are automatically copyrighted from the moment they are created, regardless of who creates them. This means all videos on YouTube are copyrighted… The issue in this lawsuit is not whether a video is copyrighted, but whether it’s authorized to be on the site. ”
Away from all the legal gumf, the real meat of the story lies in what YouTube claim to be the dodgy practises of Viacom, stating: “For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users.”
Of course, Viacom feel differently and claim to have correspondence from YouTube which state that: “80 percent of user traffic depended on pirated videos. He opposed removing infringing videos on the ground that ‘if you remove the potential copyright infringements… site traffic and virality will drop to maybe 20 percent of what it is.” You can see the ‘smoking gun’ emails here.
There’s a lot to chew on with all this and the outcome will invariably revolve around net ‘freedoms’ and rights for the artist. This will get messy.
Vice president of legal & intellectual property at Nokia Ilkka Rahnasto said, “The basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for . . . Apple is also expected to follow this principle. By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia’s intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.”
Nokia said that it had agreements with about 40 firms (including most mobile phone handset makers) allowing them to use the firm’s technology, but that Apple had not signed an agreement.
If they pull off a big court win, it could put a huge dent in Apple’s iPhone profits. Having said that, we haven’t got a fucking clue what any of it means to be perfectly honest.
Let’s face it – there aren’t many of us who haven’t had some kind of unpleasant run-in with our bank. When you consider that we’re their customers and that their primary objective should supposedly be to serve us, the treatment some of us received from the people who we entrust our money with is nothing short of shocking.
In the USA, one man has had enough. That man is Dalton Chiscolm, who has sued his bank, the Bank of America. Why? Well, in the words of the judge who is hearing the case: “He seems to be complaining that he placed a series of calls to the bank in New York and received inconsistent information from a ‘Spanish woman.’ He apparently alleges that cheques have been rejected because of incomplete routing numbers.”
Ooh, sounds serious. So how much would you think that would be worth, in terms of a lawsuit? Couple of hundred dollars to cover the inconvenience? Nope. Mr Chiscolm is suing the Bank of America for… drum roll… 1,784 billion, trillion dollars. Oh yes.
According to experts, whose words we’re more than happy to copy and paste, that’s larger than the almost erotic-sounding sextillion dollars (a 1 followed by 21 zeros.) Chiscolm is demanding the equivalent of a 1 followed by 22 digits.
Judge Chin, who is no stranger to gargantuan sums of money, having sentenced big fat fraudster Bernie Madoff to 150 Earth years in jail, has given Chiscolm until October 23rd to justify his claims – if he can’t, the lawsuit will be heading straight into the Chin bin.
Don’t expect to see this one run and run…
We’re not experts in anything, but when it comes to identifying brands that are a complete and utter disgrace, we’re pretty sure that it’s fair to slap that particular label on Abercrombie & Fitch.
The American-founded clothing merchants are racking up a decidedly unimpressive list of gaffes, the latest coming after an US court ruled against them after one of their store staff refused to allow an autistic girl’s sister to enter a changing room and help her try on clothes.
This follows a recent employment tribunal in the UK which found in favour of an A&F member of staff with a prosthetic arm who was told to work away from the shop floor as she didn’t fit in with the company’s ‘look policy,’ which is said to cover anything from the length of women’s fingernails to what hairstyles and colours of nail polish they wear.
In 2004, Abercrombie & Fitch were in the dock for discriminating against non-white members of staff, and found to be predominantly allocating night shifts to their staff who belonged to ethnic minorities. Mind you, this is a company who once sold a T-shirt that was replete with the slogan “Wong Brothers Laundry Service—Two Wongs Can Make It White” with smiling Chinese-looking figures in conical straw hats.
But they mean well – last year, in Columbus, Ohio, Abercrombie & Fitch donated $10 million to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in exchange for the ER room to be renamed the Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center. Luckily, a protest group scuppered the plans, pointing out the company’s “appalling history of targeting children with sexualised marketing and clothing.”
Abercrombie & Fitch – undisputed masters at getting it very, very wrong.