BOSTON--A federal judge in a Massachusetts district court gave the founders of college-based social networking site ConnectU two weeks to revise the complaint that they have filed against Facebook, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and four other early employees of the fast-growing social network. The ConnectU founders, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and their fellow 2004 Harvard graduating classmate Divya Narendra, have accused Zuckerberg and his company of stealing their code and business plan when Zuckerberg was casually employed as a programmer for ConnectU in the 2003-2004 academic year.
We all heard the stories about the Recording Industry Association of America lawsuits and the mostly college students who found themselves in the crosshairs several years ago.
Many people are opposed to music piracy, but far fewer actually agreed with the RIAA's heavy-handed legal approach.
Among dissenters is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against RIAA member Universal Music Publishing Group after the company asked that a home video be removed from YouTube due to copyright infringement. The video features 18-month-old Holden Lenz dancing to Prince's "Let's Get Crazy" and runs for a total of 29 seconds. Following Universal's complaint, the video was removed by YouTube and remained offline until recently.The EFF points out that, "Under federal copyright law, a mere allegation of copyright infringement can result in the removal of content from the Internet." This legal framework mandates that services take down material that may actually be completely lawful or protected under fair use, and this situation is the impetus for the suit.
If indie cinema hero Wes Anderson--of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums fame--directed a quirky courtroom drama, there's a chance that it might bear some resemblance to what could unfold at Wednesday's impending showdown between social-networking sites Facebook and ConnectU.
The backstory of the legal squabble, after all, in which the three founders of college-centric start-up ConnectU have accused Facebook czar Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their business plan and code, reads like classic Anderson.
It's a melange of gossip about upper-crust Silicon Valley, allegations of old-school Ivy League skulduggery and an oddball cast of characters that ranges from … Read more
Tomorrow morning, I'll be heading from New York to Boston to sit in on the dismissal hearing for the lawsuit that social networking site ConnectU has filed against current Silicon Valley darling Facebook. It's a long-running drama that goes back to when the founders of both sites were students at Harvard, and no one's entirely sure how it's going to turn out.
I'll have a story on the subject on News.com very soon. In the meantime, here's what some other news outlets have been saying in the weeks leading up to the case: … Read more
In 2004, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed suit against Deborah Foster, an Oklahoma resident, alleging that her computer and her ISP account had been used to download and trade copyrighted recordings illegally. As usual in these suits, the RIAA offered to settle the case for a few thousand dollars.
Except that Deborah Foster knew she hadn't done anything wrong, and refused to pay up. After some initial discovery, the RIAA began to suspect that Deborah's adult daughter, Amanda, was responsible for the alleged downloads, and it added Amanda's name to the suit. But Deborah … Read more
In what appears to be the first such occurrence, the recording industry must foot nearly $70,000 in legal bills incurred by an Oklahoma woman whom it unsuccessfully accused of "vicariously" aiding copyright infringement.
Until Monday's ruling in this case, called Capitol v. Foster, the Recording Industry Association of America had never been ordered to pay attorneys' fees as part of its ongoing battle against allegedly illicit file swapping, according to attorney Ray Beckerman, who has been tracking such suits at the blog Recording Industry vs The People.
The RIAA, for its part, said in a statement … Read more
Here's something that shouldn't surprise many people: The video journalist who has been in a closely watched legal tussle with YouTube is also peeved at Apple.
Bob Tur is famous in Los Angeles for buzzing around the city in his helicopter and filming historical (and often bizarre) moments, such as O.J. Simpson's slow-speed Bronco chase, oodles of high-speed police pursuits and the beating of a trucker at the beginning of the Los Angeles riots. A year ago this month, he filed a suit against YouTube, claiming the company encouraged copyright violations on its site.
He's … Read more
An appeals court in Pennsylvania has affirmed a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit was filed by Gordon Roy Parker, a writer who claimed the search giant infringed on his copyright by archiving a Usenet posting of his and providing excerpts from his Web site in search results. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled over a year ago that under case law, Google's activities were akin to those of an Internet Service Provider and thus did not constitute copyright infringement by automatically archiving a copy of the Usenet … Read more
Visto erased one of its patent lawsuits Tuesday, settling all claims against Seven in exchange for a licensing deal.
Last year Visto won a jury verdict against Seven, as well as $7.7 million in damages and an injunction against the sale of Seven's products that was stayed pending appeals. At the time Seven had expressed hope of overturning Visto's patents, but it has since thrown in the towel and will now license Visto's patent portfolio, the two companies announced in a press release Tuesday.
Sound familiar? It seems that patent lawyers are making just as much … Read more
When it comes to class action shareholder lawsuits, the name Milberg Weiss & Bershad could strike fear and contempt among many Silicon Valley companies and a number of Fortune 500 players.
Today, as former partner David J. Bershad pleads guilty to a federal conspiracy charge and will pay a $250,000 fine and forfeit $7.75 million, corporate America may be feeling a bit smug.
Bershad acknowledges that "he and others agreed to conceal from judges in state and federal courts Milberg Weiss' secret payment arrangements with named plaintiffs in class actions and shareholder derivative actions," the United … Read more