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Weekly Issues in the News

By Geisa Balla

Viacom v. YouTube

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a June 2010 decision, which had been considered a landmark decision in setting guidelines for websites to use content uploaded by users. The lawsuit was first filed in 2007 by Viacom to stop the posting of clips of TV programs on YouTube. The case tested the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which limits the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement by users. Southern District of New York Judge Louis Stanton ruled on the case in 2010 in favor of YouTube, reasoning that YouTube could not be held liable for simply having "general awareness" that such videos might be posted, and that it does not need to monitor such activity. The decision was overturned, when Judge Jose Cabranes for the 2nd Circuit held that "a reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website." A YouTube representative stated in an e-mail: "All that is left of the Viacom lawsuit that began as a wholesale attack on YouTube is a dispute over a tiny percentage of videos long ago removed from YouTube. Nothing in this decision impacts the way YouTube is operating." Viacom, in a statement, said the appeals court "delivered a definitive, common sense message to YouTube: intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law."


Facebook v. Yahoo

Facebook filed a counterclaim against Yahoo this week in Yahoo's patent infringement litigation against Facebook initiated in March 2012 in the Northern District of California. Facebook is claiming that Yahoo is infringing upon 10 of Facebook's patents, five of which target features related to Yahoo's online advertising business. One of the allegedly infringing patents relates to Yahoo's Flickr photo sharing service, and its ability to connect with other users, to identify people in photographs and to generate personalized news feed. Facebook General Counsel Ted Ullyot said: "While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo's short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation."


Huffington Post

Southern District of New York Judge John Koeltl dismissed the lawsuit against the Huffington Post on March 30, 2012. This lawsuit was brought by unpaid bloggers for the Huffington Post, who claimed that the work of unpaid content providers for the Huffington Post gave it its value. AOL Inc. purchased the Huffington Post for $315 million last year, and the lawsuit claimed that the estimated 9,000 bloggers are entitled to about one-third of the purchase price. Judge Koeltl dismissed the lawsuit, reasoning that no one forced the bloggers to repeatedly provide their work with no expectation of being paid, and they got what they bargained for when their work was published. "The principles of equity and good conscience do not justify giving the plaintiffs a piece of the purchase price when they never expected to be paid, repeatedly agreed to the same bargain, and went into the arrangement with eyes wide open," the judge wrote. The case was dismissed with prejudice. Attorneys for the bloggers stated that they are considering their options going forward.


Gucci v. Guess

Gucci's trademark infringement trial against Guess continued this week. Gucci first sued Guess in 2009, claiming that Guess was selling items with logos that are "studied imitations of the Gucci trademark". Paul Marciano, the C.E.O. of Guess, testified on April 4, 2012, denying that his company intentionally copied Gucci's products. With regards to copying Gucci's interlocking "G"s in beige fabric, trimmed with red and green, he stated, "This kind of pattern is common in the world of fashion and it's not particular to Gucci... What I understand here, which is very frequent [in fashion], is an inspiration to create an original bag of G's with the same components. That's what design is." Yet Gucci's lawyers presented emails Marciano had exchanged with supplier Marc Fisher Footwear regarding sending Gucci fabric samples to Guess's own fabric supplier for copying.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 6, 2012 11:17 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Nike v. Reebok: Reebok takes Advantage of Tebow-Mania.

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