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Posts tagged legal

Supreme Court rejects Amazon appeal; New York affiliate program sales tax law stands
December 2, 2013 | 4:14 pm

A few years ago, states started passing laws requiring Amazon to pay sales tax if it offered affiliate marketing programs in their state, rather than only being required to pay them if it had physical facilities there. This resulted in Amazon cutting off its affiliate programs in any state that passed such a law (such as my former home, Missouri). Amazon finally fought New York’s law to the Supreme Court—and the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, meaning that the appeals court decision affirming the law will stand. Amazon has been pushing for the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which...

Judge Dismisses Authors’ Case Against Google Books
November 14, 2013 | 4:09 pm

google booksWell, the lengthy legal battle over Google Books may be coming to a close. According to cNet, U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in New York rejected authors' arguments against digitizing books without copyright holder permission, and he granted Google's motion for summary judgment. I'm sure Chris Meadows will chime in on this since he's more up on copyright law and this sort of thing than I am, but I did find this quote interesting: In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other...

Renting Textbooks from Amazon? Better Not Cross State Lines…
August 18, 2013 | 3:39 pm

AmazonA poster at Mobile Read alerted me to this shocking story from Inside Higher Ed, about a new textbook rental program. The article warns of a clause in the textbook rental fine print that restricts users renting through Amazon's Warehouse Deals, Inc, from moving the textbook out of the state in which it was initially purchased. From the article: "At first glance, the restriction doesn’t seem to make much sense. But to those who have been following Amazon’s aggressive efforts to avoid charging state and local sales tax, the reasoning behind it becomes clearer. Kenneth C. (Casey) Green, founding director of the Campus Computing...

FBI Can Activate Android Microphones, Record Secretly
August 3, 2013 | 12:34 pm

FBIIt’s no big secret that the U.S. government can use some extreme methods in order to maintain justice and security for the nation by gathering information on suspects. Even before Snowden leaked all the NSA data, most of us had a pretty decent idea that the U.S. government has always been keeping a watchful eye over everyone. The shock from the leaks likely came from the scope and depth of all the information-gathering and spying. If you think the government couldn’t possibly dig even deeper, guess again. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI uses custom-designed hacker tools to spy...

Apple to Allow Rival E-Book Retailers to Provide Direct Links to Content
August 2, 2013 | 6:41 pm

I didn't see this coming, although in hindsight, I should have. The DOJ and 33 state attorney generals just published their proposed remedies in the Apple price fixing case. Most of it was expected: ending existing contracts with retailers and appointing an external monitor to ensure they don't slip again. But check out this one: "Apple will also be prohibited from entering into agreements with suppliers of e-books, music, movies, television shows or other content that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple’s competitor retailers may sell that content. To reset competition to the conditions that existed before the conspiracy, Apple...

Penguin Cries Uncle for the EU
July 27, 2013 | 1:10 pm

PenguinFresh from covering itself with ignominy through Author Solutions, Penguin has promised it will play nice in Europe over pricing, with an offer to the European Union to end the price-fixing practices highlighted by the recent Apple anti-trust case in the US, which the European Commission deemed acceptable last week. "After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple AAPL +0.57% and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for e-books," announced Joaquín Almunia, the European Commission vice president in charge of competition policy. All the other publishers under investigation, Hachette Livre...

BREAKING: Online Pornography To Be Blocked In All UK Households
July 22, 2013 | 12:09 pm

pornographyThe BBC is reporting that prime minister David Cameron is introducing new measures that will block all 'online pornography' from UK households. The block will initiate at the level of the Internet service provider (ISP), and will be a default setting unless customers specifically opt out to enable this content. Cameron is also calling for 'horrific' search terms (including "rape pornography") to be automatically banned, for everyone. The BBC's article used generous scare quotes throughout to editorialize about how stupid this plan is. For example, on questions regarding the technical feasability of such a plan, they had this to say: "He told...

G20 Tax Reform Plans May Close Amazon Loophole
July 20, 2013 | 6:38 pm

AmazonThe variable tax geometry that has generated so many headlines, consumer complaints and politicians' soundbites across Europe lately about Amazon could potentially be cut back soon, as the G20 nations line up behind an Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) plan that condemns existing international cross-border corporate tax arrangements. "National tax laws have not kept pace with the globalisation of corporations and the digital economy, leaving gaps that can be exploited by multi-national corporations to artificially reduce their taxes," states the OECD’s release on its Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). Introduced at the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting...

Judge Cote: Apple Did Conspire to Raise E-Book Prices
July 10, 2013 | 12:51 pm

AppleJudge Denise Cote has ruled on the Apple e-book case. And the verdict? "The plaintiffs have shown that the publisher defendants conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, and that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy," Cote said. "Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the spring of 2010," she added. [caption id="attachment_90285" align="alignright" width="125"] Judge Denise Cote[/caption] So Apple lost their case, which does raise the question of why they decided to fight it. When all the publishers settled, it would be...

Judge Cote finds Apple guilty of colluding with publishers
July 10, 2013 | 11:00 am

AppleWell, that was sudden. Just a couple of weeks into the expected couple of months a ruling might take, Judge Denise Cote has issued a 160-page ruling (PDF) finding Apple guilty of violating anti-trust laws in colluding with publishers to raise e-book prices. A sentencing hearing will be held later. I haven't had time to go through the ruling completely yet—I'm still at work, on break—but it looks like she's put a lot of thought into it. Needless to say, Apple will appeal, so this won't be over for some time. But in the meanwhile, here's some more lovely schadenfreude to...

Google Books appeals court ruling denies Authors Guild class action status, demands ruling on fair use
July 1, 2013 | 8:52 pm

Hey, remember the big e-book trial? No, not that one, the other one. The latest news to come out of the courts about the big Authors Guild vs Google case is that the Second Court of Appeals has sided with Google in putting a hold on Judge Chin’s decision that the Authors Guild could have class-action status to represent all authors who had been wronged by Google. Perhaps the more interesting part of the decision, however, was why they did it. The Second Court said that they felt the question of class action status was premature at...

Former unpaid interns sue Gawker for back wages
June 22, 2013 | 1:45 pm

gawker_logoUnpaid interns are one of the forces that make the Internet go ‘round, but that may soon change. Just a few days after a ruling in a Fox Searchlight movie studios case, in which unpaid interns were used as menial gofers, three former unpaid interns have filed suit against media blog Gawker, alleging that they spent more than 15 hours a week working on Gawker blogs but weren’t paid anything. The suits are based on a 1947 Supreme Court ruling stating that internship positions shouldn’t displace regular workers, and should be aimed at benefiting the intern in some way...