Articles Posted in social-networking

Judges know fair use and parody when they see it. Especially when it comes to South Park‘s “distinct animation style and scatological humor” as seen through the eyes of a 4th grade character.

That was the conclusion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Circuit today (read it below) when it affirmed a trial court judge’s July 2011 decision to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit over the viral “What, What (in the Butt)” internet video by the singer Samwell.

Here is why the decision is an important victory for parody, satire, and fair use on the Internet.
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Zynga, the online game maker of multimillion-dollar blockbuster games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and Words with Friends, sued French gaming company Kobojo today for trademark infringement over the company’s Pyramidville game (see it below).

At issue are Zynga’s trademark claims to all games ending with ville, the French word for town or village. Sacré bleu!

Zynga appears to be facing an uphill battle, however. Last month the USPTO sent the company a suspension letter halting the game maker’s attempt to trademark the word Ville. on hold.
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A federal appeals court in New York reversed a lower court ruling in Viacom’s copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube and Google over user uploads of thousands of popular TV shows like South Park and ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

“A reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website.”

The new decision (read it below) reverses the June 23, 2010 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granting summary judgment to YouTube and Google.
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Facebook’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s lawyers told a federal court yesterday that convicted felon Paul Ceglia’s latest discovery requests should be put on hold, and that Ceglia’s lawsuit claiming a fifty-percent (50%) ownership stake in Facebook should be dismissed.

Lawyers at Gibson Dunn were emphatic that the court should not “perversely reward [Ceglia] for his ongoing efforts to derail the discovery process” by keeping his lawsuit alive.

Perhaps more importantly, they argue, Ceglia’s failure to dispute that emails he sent in 2004 to a then assistant attorney general at the Illinois Attorney General’s office “conclusively proves that the [disputed] Work for Hire Document is a fake.”
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Facebook filed its answer and counterclaims against Yahoo! today in the Silicon Valley patent battle between the social networking giant and the fading portal.

Yahoo filed its patent lawsuit three weeks ago, and Facebook fired back a salvo of patent infringement counterclaims right back at the portal.

Facebook claims that Yahoo is violating the following patents:
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In an outrageous misunderstanding of students’ off-campus free speech rights, an Indiana school district expelled a high school senior just three months shy of his graduation for tweeting an F-bomb from home at 2:30 AM.

Austin Carroll says that he sent the offending F-bomb tweet from home, from his own computer. He concedes that he agrees with the district that his tweet was inappropriate, but says he “just did it to be funny.” The Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community School District (the ‘District’) was not amused, claiming that he tweeted from school.

The school says that it reportedly learned about Austin’s tweet when he was online in school.

Even if the tweet was made off campus, it still doesn’t appear to have violated the school district’s “Responsible Use Policy” (the ‘Policy’) that is largely focused on integrating technology into classroom instruction, and making students pay for repairing damaged school notebooks and iPads (read it below).
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Watch out, Facebook users. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network giant recently modified the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (i.e., Terms of Service [‘TOS’]) to now allege that Facebook claims trademark rights to the word ‘Book.’ (Read it below)

Oh, and in case you forgot, Facebook also claims intellectual property rights to the words ‘Face,’ Poke, and ‘Wall’

Take a look for yourself:
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A new federal class action lawsuit (see below) charges that a host of well-known social media, app, and mobile device companies stole “literally billions of contacts” from users’ personal address books by illegally ‘harvesting’ personal data on the sly, without their knowledge or consent.

The 152-page complaint seeks monetary damages under both federal and Texas state law that could be enormous, injunctive relief, equitable relief “to mandate fixes to these mobile devices and apps” to stop alleged privacy violations, as well as attorneys fees and expenses.
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Facebook can be a nifty tool for spouses and divorce lawyers investigating suspicions of infidelity. Facebook itself can also tip you off to unfaithfulness by, for example, suggesting friends who are also married to your own spouse.

One Washington State husband, Alan Leighton O’Neill née Alan Leighton Fulk, is learning that the hard way. He faces bigamy charges (read them below) after Wife No. 1 learned about Wife No. 2 via Facebook’s friend suggestion tool.
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The federal judge presiding over the lawsuit by plaintiff Paul Ceglia, the convicted felon claiming to own half of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, just ordered Google to divulge Ceglia’s Gmail account data and logs by March 5, 2012

Ceglia’s email accounts are at the heart of this lawsuit. Some were known, many were only recently discovered by lawyers for Zuckerberg and Facebook after an electronic forensics investigator learned about four previously previously unknown webmail accounts held by Ceglia. The electronic discovery could shed light on whether or not the contract he claims gives him a fifty-percent ownership stake in Facebook is real, or the fabrication that Facebook and Zuckerberg’s lawyers say it is.
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