Web Law 101An Overview of Internet Law Presented by Andrew M. Jaffe For the Akron Bar Association December 10, 2010 Copyright 2010 Andrew M. Jaffe
Andrew M. Jaffe Attorney at Law 3359 South Smith Road Fairlawn, OH 44333 (330) 666-5026 email@example.com fax (206) 203-3649 www.netlaws.usAndy received his J.D. from the University of Akron School of Law where he served on the LawReview and has been a licensed attorney since 1977. He received his B.A. in Economics fromMiami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1973. For the past eight years he has limited his practice toInternet Law.Mr. Jaffe has represented clients in dozens of Internet law suits. More importantly, he haskept numerous clients from creating legal problems for themselves with proactive counseling ontheir Internet activities.E-Commerce Internet Marketing has become a closely regulated industry. Now everybusiness needs an experienced attorney to guide them through the maze of this emerging legalfield, and individuals need to know their rights when dealing with companies in web relatedtransactions.
Primary Internet Legislation• The Communications Decency Act (1996) – U.S. attempt on controlling Internet pornography which has largely been overturned by the courts. However, Section 230 of the CDA has been expanded by the courts as an important protection for online service providers and users from actions against them based on the content of third parties• The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (1998) – Makes U.S. copyright law consistent with WIPO, creates Safe Harbor for website owners.• The Internet Tax Freedom Act (1998) - Bars federal, state and local governments from taxing Internet access or from imposing discriminatory Internet-only taxes such as bandwidth taxes. This act does NOT affect sales tax.• The Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) (1998) – Creates strong guidelines for the online collection of personal information from children under 13 years of age.• The Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) (1999) - Protects trademark owners from acts of cyber piracy by those who have bad faith intent in using a domain name to profit from another’s trademark.• The Can-Spam Act (2003) – Provides guidelines for the sending of Unsolicited Commercial Email.• California Online Privacy Protection Act (2003) – In absence of a federal law, CA provided the driving force prompting firms to provide online privacy policies.• Safe Web Act (2006) - provided the FTC with new powers to cooperate with foreign law enforcement agencies.• Numerous FTC Guidelines – The FTC has issued many guidelines for Internet use including its guidelines for the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (2009).
AOL Brings Phenomenal Growth to the InternetIn the late 1990’s AOL placed discs in the Sunday supplements and becomethe largest ISP in the country with 25 million members and then purchasedTime Warner. AOL is now a 2nd rate ISP and is not likely to last into the nextdecade.
Internet Growth Catches Old Media By SurpriseThe very newspapers who profited from delivering the AOL discs are nowsuffering from Internet news outlets. Over the past 5 years many newspapershave folded and most are mere images of their former selves.This year General Electric sold NBC – Internet broadcasting is hurtingtelevision and the networks are likely to become just as antiquated as thenewspapers.
It All Starts With A Web Site WebLaw101.com
URL - Uniform Resource Locator = Domain Names• The use of URLs is for the addresses of web pages on the World Wide Web such as http://www.WebLaw101.com. The domain name or IP address gives the destination location for the URL. The domain name = the IP address. HOW DOES TRADEMARK LAW PROTECT DOMAIN NAMES?• The domain name system was invented to allow internet users a way of accessing specific computers on the Internet through easily remembered names. Domain names have become a valuable property in today’s Internet economy. Consequently, trademark owners have been quick to use the courts when they feel others have taken domain names they are exclusively entitled to use.• In addition to existing trademark legislation, in 1999, congress passed the Anti- Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) to protect trademark owners from acts of cyber piracy by those who have bad faith intent in using a domain name to profit from another’s trademark.• There is now over fifteen years of case law concerning ownership rights in domain names, much of which is extremely fact specific. It has not been easy for the court system to fit the cyber world into existing Trademark law. However, once a court found a domain name registrant was acting in bad faith they found a reason to prevent the continued use of the domain by the registrant even if they had to create new trademark law reasons.• Recently, ICANN has developed a dispute resolution procedure as an alternative to filing suit for trademark owners. Again, whether the registrant acted in bad faith will be a large factor in the ultimate resolution.
Trademark And Domain Names• Ninth Circuit Cases Offer Guidance on Trademark Rights ... Two Very Different Rulings From One Judge• Chief Judge Alex Kozinski held that use by a small web-based education and information business of the name “eVisa” in a domain name was not allowed because it could dilute the value of the trademark owned by the credit card company Visa International. But less than two weeks later, the same judge held that an auto broker’s use of “Lexus” in its domain name was a permissible fair use of Toyota’s mark. A comparison of the two cases offers important guidance on the limits that apply to one’s use of a famous brand name in business. Visa International Service Association v. JSL Corp.• The court held that the website www.evisa.com (operated by JSL, a non-competing internet- based “multilingual education and information” company) diluted Visa International’s “Visa” trademark.• Dilution, unlike infringement, requires proof that the mark is “famous and distinctive,” that the defendant started using the mark in commerce after the mark became famous and distinctive, and that the defendant’s use of the mark is likely to “dilute” the value of plaintiff’s mark. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. v. Tabari• Defendants sold Lexus cars online at websites they called www.buy-a-lexus.com and www.buyorleaselexus.com.• In most cases, infringement involves a defendant who used the plaintiff’s mark in connection with the defendant’s different (often competing) product, in a manner “likely to confuse” the public. But in this case, the Defendants used the Lexus mark only to describe the actual Lexus product, not their own competing product. (As the court noted, “when they say Lexus, they mean Lexus.”) The main issue, therefore, was whether the Defendants ’ use of the Lexus mark would “inspire a mistaken belief” by consumers that the Defendants were “sponsored or endorsed” by the trademark holder, Toyota. The Judge wisely ruled not.
Creating Your Terms of Service• Below are the sections recommend for your TOS. These are your terms, change them to match the terms and conditions as you want them to apply.• Title Begin your TOS with the title and then place your company name and contact info below. If you operate under an LLC or Corporation be sure that the TOS makes that clear. Example: Terms of Service Web Law 101, LLC 3359 South Smith Road Fairlawn, Ohio, 44333 206-426-6905 firstname.lastname@example.org• Welcome (and party names): Welcome to the web site of Web Law 101, LLC, dba weblaw101.com (hereinafter “We”, “Us”, “Our”) and thank you for considering Our products and services.• Acceptance - The TOS is a contract, you need the visitor to accept the terms: By checking the “I Agree” button You agree to the terms and conditions of this Agreement which, along with the consideration of the mutual promises You and We make to each other below, becomes a binding contract between You and Web Law 101, LLC, dba weblaw101.com.
Creating Your Terms of Service Pg 4DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACTAs provided for in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act: If You feel any content on this web siteviolates Your copyrights please contact our designated agent: Andrew Jaffe3359 South Smith Rd.Fairlawn, OH 44333Fax: (206) 203-3649 by fax or regular U.S. mail (not by email) with the following information:A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of anexclusive right that is allegedly infringed.Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrightedworks at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of suchworks at that site.Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringingactivity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and informationreasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact You, such as anaddress, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which You may becontacted.A statement that You have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complainedof is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
Creating Your Terms of Service Pg 5DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT (cont)A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury,that You are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedlyinfringed.Once We have received Your complaint We will:Remove or disable the identified infringing material (but maintain a copy for later use);Promptly notify the subscriber with a copy to the complaining party that We have removed ordisabled access to the material; andWe will inform the subscriber that they may submit a counter-notification regarding the claimedinfringing material.Counter Notification - To be effective under this subsection, a counter notification must be awritten communication provided to the service providers designated agent by fax or regular U.S.mail (not email) that includes substantially the following:A physical or electronic signature of the subscriber. Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled andthe location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled.A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the materialwas removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removedor disabled.
Creating Your Terms of Service Pg 6DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT (cont)The subscribers name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that the subscriberconsents to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which thesubscriber’s address is located, or if the subscribers address is outside of the United States, forany judicial district in which the service provider may be found, and that the subscriber willaccept service of process from the person who provided the counter notification or an agent ofsuch person.Upon receipt of a counter notification We will promptly provide the complaining party with acopy of the counter notification, and inform that person that it will replace the removed materialin 10 business days; and We will replace the removed material and cease disabling access to itnot less than 10, nor more than 14, business days following receipt of the counter notice, unlessOur designated agent first receives notice from the person who submitted the notification thatsuch person has filed an action seeking a court order to restrain the subscriber from engaging ininfringing activity relating to the material on the service providers system or network.
Creating Your Terms of Service Pg 7WARRANTYYOU WARRANT THAT AT ALL TIMES YOU WILL BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS AGREEMENT ANDTHAT YOUR USE OF ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US WILL NOT VIOLATE FEDERAL OR STATE LAW.OUR SERVICE IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS. YOU EXPRESSLY AGREETHAT USE OF ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK. TO THE FULLEST EXTENTPERMISSIBLE PURSUANT TO APPLICABLE LAW, WE DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND,WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY WARRANTY OFMERCHANTABLITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. WE DONOT MAKE ANY WARRANTY THAT OUR SERVICE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, OR THATANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE, OR ERROR FREE, ORTHAT DEFECTS, IF ANY, WILL BE CORRECTED; NOR DO WE MAKE ANY WARRANTY AS TO THERESULTS THAT MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE USE OF ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US OR AS TOTHE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED THROUGH ANY SERVICEOFFERED BY US. YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT ANY MATERIAL AND/OR DATADOWNLOADED OR OTHERWISE OBTAINED THROUGH THE USE OF ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY USIS AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION AND RISK, AND THAT YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FORANY DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEM OR LOSS OF DATA THAT RESULTS FROM THEDOWNLOAD OF SUCH MATERIAL AND/OR DATA. WE DO NOT MAKE ANY WARRANTYREGARDING ANY GOODS OR SERVICES PURCHASED OR OBTAINED THROUGH OR FROM US ORANY TRANSACTIONS ENTERED INTO BY USE OF OR THROUGH ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US.NO ADVICE OR INFORMATION, WHETHER ORAL OR WRITTEN, OBTAINED BY YOU FROM US ORTHROUGH ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY NOT EXPRESSLY MADEHEREIN. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN WARRANTIES, SOSOME OF THE ABOVE EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
Creating Your Terms of Service Pg 8LIMITATION OF LIABILITYUNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL WE OROUR PARENTS, SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, ORSUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, OR CONSEQUENTIALDAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE USE OR THE INABILITY TO USE ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US,OR FOR THE COST OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS AND SERVICES, OR RESULTINGFROM ANY GOODS OR SERVICES PURCHASED OR OBTAINED, OR MESSAGES RECEIVED, ORTRANSACTIONS ENTERED INTO BY MEANS OF OR THROUGH ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US, ORRESULTING FROM UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ALTERATION OF YOUR TRANSMISSIONS ORDATA, OR OTHER INFORMATION THAT IS SENT OR RECEIVED OR NOT SENT OR RECEIVED,INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, USE, DATA, OR OTHERINTANGIBLES, EVEN IF WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. YOUALSO AGREE THAT WE SHALL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE TO YOU, OR TO ANYONE, FORTHE STATEMENTS OR CONDUCT OF ANY THIRD PARTY ON OR ARISING FROM USE OF ANYSERVICE OFFERED BY US. IF YOU ARE DISSATISFIED WITH ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY US YOUREXCLUSIVE REMEDY IS TO DISCONTINUE USE OF THE SERVICE WITHOUT REFUND OF ANY KINDWHATSOEVER.
Creating Your Terms of Service Pg 9• INDEMNIFICATION You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold Us and Our parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, employees, agents, and suppliers, and their respective affiliates, officers, directors, employees, and agents, harmless from any claim, action, demand, or damage, including reasonable attorneys fees, made by any third party or governmental agency arising out of or related to Your use of any service offered by Us or Your violation of this Agreement, including without limitation, claims or suits for libel, violation of rights of privacy or publicity, interference with property rights, trespass, violations of Federal or State Law, including but not limited to, Can-Spam violations or the Federal Trade Commission’s Telephone Sales, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, patent infringement or plagiarism. We may, at Our sole discretion, assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter subject to indemnification by You. The assumption of such defense or control by Us shall not excuse any of Your indemnity obligations.• FORCE MAJEURE Neither party shall be liable for delays or nonperformance of this Agreement caused by strike, fire or accidents, nor shall either party be liable for delay or nonperformance caused by lack of availability of materials, fuel or utilities or for any other cause beyond its control.• ASSIGNMENT You may not assign Your rights or obligations under this Agreement without Our prior written consent.
Creating Your Terms of Service Pg 10• RELATIONSHIP OF THE PARTIES The parties to this Agreement are independent contracting entities and there is no partnership or agency relationship between them.• INTENDED FOR USERS OVER 18 (13?) Our web site is intended for use by individuals 18 years of age or older only. If You are under the age of 18 please leave this site immediately.• TERM OF AGREEMENT Either party may terminate this Agreement at any time, for any reason or for no reason.• MODIFICATION We reserve the right to modify this Agreement at any time by a conspicuous posting on Our web site or by sending You an email notification. If You do not agree with the modification to this Agreement Your sole remedy is to cease doing business with Us.• NOTICES TO US All notices to Us under this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be delivered: a) by express overnight courier; or c) by United States Mail, registered or certified, return receipt requested, postage prepaid to the address recorded above for Us. Notices shall be deemed received on the date of personal delivery, the date of actual receipt as indicated on the delivery notice or return receipt, or the date the receipt is refused; whichever is earlier.• GOVERNING LAW The parties agree that this Agreement and its terms and conditions shall be subject to and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Ohio. The parties consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue for any claim for enforcement of this Agreement in the state or federal courts of Summit County, Ohio.
Creating Your Terms of Service Pg 11• SEVERABILITY If any provision, or portion thereof, of this Agreement is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid under any applicable statute or rule of law, You understand and agree that such invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the Agreement and understand and agree that We may substitute for the invalid provision a valid provision which most closely approximates the intent and economic effect of the invalid provisions.• AGREEMENT This Agreement sets forth the entire agreement between the parties. You acknowledge and agree that You have reviewed this Agreement in its entirety, and every part thereof, and that You understand the Agreement. You further acknowledge and agree that You have had the opportunity to review this Agreement and otherwise consult with Your independent counsel as to the Agreement.• ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES YOU HEREBY AGREE TO THE USE OF ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES, CONTRACTS, ORDERS AND OTHER RECORDS AND TO ELECTRONIC DELIVERY OF NOTICES, POLICIES AND RECORDS OF TRANSACTIONS INITIATED OR COMPLETED THROUGH THE SITE OR SERVICES OFFERED BY US. FURTHER, YOU HEREBY WAIVE ANY RIGHTS OR REQUIREMENTS UNDER ANY STATUTES, REGULATIONS, RULES, ORDINANCES OR OTHER LAWS IN ANY JURISDICTION WHICH REQUIRE AN ORIGINAL SIGNATURE OR DELIVERY OR RETENTION OF NON-ELECTRONIC RECORDS.
Copyright OverviewA copyright is the exclusive property right granted to the author or creator of original works.Despite what some people think -- if it is posted on the Internet it already belongs tosomebody.WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT?A copyright is the exclusive property right granted to the author or creator of original worksincluding literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.HOW ARE COPYRIGHT RIGHTS ACQUIRED?Copyright is Secured Automatically upon CreationThe way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. No publication orregistration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. There are,however, certain definite advantages to registration.Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is “created” when it isfixed in a copy for the first time. “Copies” are material objects from which a work can be read orvisually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books,manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape, or microfilm.WHAT WORKS ARE PROTECTED?Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression.The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of amachine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories: literary works, musicalworks, including any accompanying words, dramatic works, including any accompanying music,pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works, soundrecordings, architectural works. These categories should be viewed broadly. For example,computer programs and most “compilations” may be registered as “literary works”; maps andarchitectural plans may be registered as “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.”
Copyright Overview contWHAT IS NOT PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT?Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. Theseinclude among others:1. Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded.)2. Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents.3. Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration.4. Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources).
Copyright Overview contTRANSFER OF COPYRIGHTA copyright owner’s exclusive rights may be transferred, but the transfer of exclusive rights is notvalid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights. Transfer of a right on anonexclusive basis does not require a written agreement.COPYRIGHT REGISTRATIONIn general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basicfacts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection.Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright.Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides severalinducements and advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among theseadvantages are the following:1. Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.2. Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.3. If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.4. If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.5. Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.
Defamation –Libel and SlanderSection 230 of the Communications Decency Act grants you immunity for the tortuous acts ofothers committed on your web site. This is good news for website operators who host blogs,forums, social networking, etc. on their sites.Defamation is a false attack on a person’s character or good name which damages theirreputation. Defamation is called libel if it is in hard copy form and slander if is a result of thespeaker’s oral words.The elements that must be proved to establish defamation are that the statement:1. Was published to an outside party;2. Is a false statement of fact;3. Is understood to concern the defamed party and will tend to harm their reputation; and4. Must have been made with actual malice if the defamed party is a public figureThere are many affirmative defenses to an acquisition of defamation including the truth of thestatement, that the statement was merely the defamer’s opinion (but merely labeling astatement as your “opinion” does not make it so - Courts look at whether a reasonable reader orlistener could understand the statement as asserting a statement of verifiable fact.) Further,some jurisdictions have retraction statutes that provide protection from defamation lawsuits ifthe publisher retracts the allegedly defamatory statement.
Defamation –Libel and Slander Pg2Immunity Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA)Your Web Site’s Safe HarborIn 1996 the U.S. Congress passed the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to regulatepornography on the Internet. An amendment to the act, called Section 230, was added incommittee and passed as part of the act. Much of the CDA has been overturned since it waspassed in 1996, however, Section 230 has become landmark legislation which the courts haveliberally construed and upheld.Section 230 is entitled, “Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensivematerial” and provides that the operator of a web site is not liable for the postings of others ontheir sites – in effect granting immunity from any civil action. Even if the web site performstraditional editorial functions such as editing, deleting or choosing which posts are presented onthe web site it is not liable for the statements of others. Caution: You can go too far; and if youare aiding and abetting the defamation you can be held liable.Furthermore, the courts have liberally construed Section 230 and expanded the safe harborImmunity beyond defamation to most tort causes of action. Today Section 230 of the CDA canbe used as a defense to almost any tort action with a good chance of success. However, Section230 specifically excludes the immunity for criminal prosecutions, intellectually property law,state law, or the Communications Privacy Law.You need do nothing to create your safe harbor, the immunity is granted by statute. However,beware of invalidating your Immunity by putting promises in your Terms of Service which couldoverride Section 230. For instance, if you had a term which provided for putting a posting insuspension while you conducted an investigation, and you did nothing; while Section 230 wouldgrant you immunity on any tort claim, you would not have immunity from a breach of contractclaim.
Email Marketing Laws – The Do’s and Don’ts of Can-SpamUnder the act it is a felony punishable with jail terms, fines and forfeitures:1. To use proxies or relays to send your mail,2. To falsify your header (by definition, you are falsifying your headers if you purposely disguise the e-mail’s origin), or3. If you falsify the registration information when buying domains or setting up e-mail accounts, or when registering for IP addresses.The act goes on to list civil penalties unless you take the following actions to conform to therequirements of the law:1. Your header information and registration information has to be true and correct.2. You must have a valid from address, registered with true and correct information.3. You cannot use a subject line that would be likely to mislead the recipient about the contents of the e-mail.4. You must have a conspicuous opt-out mechanism which works for 30 days after the mailing is completed. (This can be at your website).5. You must honor your opt-outs within 10 days of request.6. Your message must have a conspicuous identification that it is an advertisement.7. The message must contain a valid physical postal address of the sender.8. You must not use recipient addresses that were obtained using an address harvester or by means of a dictionary attack. (Triple damages apply.)9. You cannot use automated means to register for multiple e-mail addresses.10. Sexually orientated material will require special marks of content.11. Customers who know their products are being sold in violation of the act are also held to be liable.12. There is really no way for an individual to sue a spammer under this act, only the State or the Feds, or an ISP that has suffered a loss. The act supersedes State internet laws, but with many exceptions.
Internet Issues Affecting Employment LawEmployer Liability for the Online Conduct of Employees.I. Almost every employer provides its employees with Internet access on the job. I. Respondeat Superior - Employers are vicariously liable for negligent acts or omissions by their employees. II. Negligent Entrustment –An employer can be found liable for negligent hiring, retention, supervision or training even without provision of any dangerous instrumentality to the employee. III. Importance of Authorized Use Policy.II. Potential Grounds for Employer Liability. I. Criminal Activities. I. Transmitting or receiving child pornography. II. Sexual predators. III. Misappropriation of Confidential Information IV. Copyright Infringement V. Employees downloading music, videos, etc. I. P2P suits by RIAA & MPA against businesses VI. Sexual Harassment - Hostile work environment based on employees: I. Viewing adult materials on their computers. II. Emailing inappropriate or offensive materials around the office. III. Discrimination. IV. Defamation. V. Libel VI. Employee sabotage.
Internet Issues Affecting Employment Law Pg 2 I. Duty to act if employer becomes aware of use of company technology for improper illegal purposes. I. Doe v. XYC Corp., 382 N.J. Super 122 (App. Div. 2005). I. Court held company had duty to investigate once it was on notice that employees were accessing porn. II. Blakey v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 164 N.J. 38 (2000). I. Continental held liable for Electronic Bulletin Board comments by male pilots concerning female pilots. II. Potential immunity defense for employers via Communications Decency Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. § 230. I. Section 230(c) (1) – immunizes interactive service providers when information provided by another information content provider. I. Delfino v. Agilent Technologies, Inc., 145 Cal. App. 4th 790 (2006). I. Court granted employer’s motion for SJ on grounds that they were immune.
Internet Issues Affecting Employment Law Pg 3 I. Immunity under CDA Sec. 230. I. Statute pre-empts state and local law. II. Covers all types of interactive computer services including blogs, forums, listservers as long as content comes from 3d parties. III. Statute has been used primarily in defamation cases, but has been extended to protect publishers in privacy, misappropriation and even negligence suits. I. Doe v. MySpace 474 F. Supp. 2d 843 (W.D. Tex. 2007. I. sexual assault case that grew out of a social network contact. IV. Doesn’t cover criminal charges, intellectual property claims.
Internet Issues Affecting Employment Law Pg 4 Employer Monitoring of Employees’ Online Conduct outside the Workplace. I. Significant risks to employers for employees’ off-duty conduct on the internet. I. Disclosure of proprietary information. II. Damage to employer’s reputation. III. Damage to Public image. IV. Torts i.e. intentional interference. V. Inappropriate relationships with competitors. II. Risks to taking action against employees based on off-duty conduct. I. Common law privacy. II. Lifestyle Discrimination laws. I. About 30 States have Lifestyle Discrimination laws.
Internet Issues Affecting Employment Law Pg 5 I. Public employers must be aware of First and Fourth Amendment rights. I. Curran v. Cousins, 509 F.3d 36 (1st Cir. 2007). I. Freedom of speech issues by public employees. II. Quon v. Arch Wireless, 529 F.3d 892 (9th Cir. 2008). I. Arch Wireless sanctioned for releasing files. II. City sanctioned for reading employee texts despite AUP authority because supervisors said City would not review. II. Retaliation issues under certain laws, i.e. Railway Labor Act, NLRA. I. Can’t terminate for discussing salaries & employee policies. III. Potential protections under whistleblower laws, i.e. Sarbanes-Oxley Act.I. Claim for termination in violation of public policy, i.e. where employee blogs regarding safety issues at work.
Internet Issues Affecting Employment Law Pg 6I. Employer Use of Social Networks, Blogs, and Other New Technologies. I. New Media Problems. I. Productivity drain. II. Employers should monitor their own blogs, sites, etc. very carefully. I. Blakey v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 164 N.J. 38 (2000). III. Risks of Employer Use of the Internet as a Recruitment and Applicant Information Tool. I. Limits to how employers can use the information they acquire. 1. Privacy, First/Fourth Amendment issues may equally apply to applicants. 2. Potential trouble if employers use pretext or fabricate an identity to penetrate a candidate’s social network (particularly with respect to privacy issues). 1. Becoming aware of a fact that puts an applicant in a protected class will make it difficult to prove that such information did not affect the employment decision. 2. Information found on the internet is not always accurate.
Web Law 101An Overview of Internet Law Presented by Andrew M. Jaffe For the Akron Bar Association December 10, 2010 Copyright 2010 Andrew M. Jaffe
Andrew Jaffe Attorney at Law Practice Limited to Internet Law Our Practice Areas include:Terms of Service and Privacy PoliciesWeb Site Trademark & Copyright issuesDomain DisputesDefamation, Slander and Libel IssuesCan-Spam Act of 2003 - Education,Compliance and AuditsCan-Spam LitigationTelemarketing RulesISP Relationships FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION
Andrew M. Jaffe Attorney at Law 3359 South Smith Road Fairlawn, OH 44333 (330) 666-5026 email@example.com fax (206) 203-3649 www.netlaws.usPractice Limited to Internet Law