October 01, 2013

How To Erase Information Posted Online

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The state of California recently enacted a law that requires websites, mobile applications, and other online service providers that provide services online aimed at minors, and collect their information, to provide these minors an option to delete or remove the information they post. It essentially allows minors to have an online eraser. This bill has been nicknamed the "Eraser Button Bill" in California and would provide a major legal avenue for any minor who wishes to have information they made available on a website, mobile app, or any online service, be deleted or removed. All too often minors, especially when they reach the age of maturity, wish that they could remove things they posted online. This regret only grows as a younger generation continues to mature, especially since that younger generation grew up using online media. While there are social media providers like Twitter and Facebook that already give people a delete button option, not all websites offer this, especially with the required notification to minors of this eraser option. California has typically led the way with privacy legislation, including that which mirrors some of the protection under the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

It will be interesting to see if this legislation gets signed into law. If it does, perhaps the next legislation may not pertain only to minors. Internet users regularly contact internet attorneys wondering how they can remove information they have posted. While some websites will cooperate and will remove it at the request of the poster, or even make such removal function available to the user itself, not all websites currently allow that. This becomes particularly problematic when allegedly unlawful content is posted online, whether it be defamatory, invasion of privacy, or some kind of infringement. Recognizing that laws are being consistently being passed to address various online issues including the potential to erase online content, it is critical for any internet attorney and any individual or business entity looking to have any information posted online deleted.  

September 30, 2013

Obtaining IP Address Information From An Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Comcast

So, you can see the IP address of the person who posted information about you on the internet, infringed your copyright, used your trademark without permission, or posted internet libel about you on a website, social media site, or blog. Now what do you do? Identifying an account holder through an IP address is certainly possible. An internet law attorney will understand how to go about matching an IP address to a real person. There is good news and bad news for clients. 

The bad news is that more often than not you have to file a law suit in order to get suppoena power. You need to send the subpoena to the ISP identifyng the IP address and the exact date and time at which the relevant internet activity occurred. They can then tell you who the account holder is for that IP address. There are two types of IP addresses. First, there are static IP addresses, which are assigned to a single account holder and don't change. Seconds,there are dynamic IP addresses which the ISP will rotate amongst various customers depending on who wants a connection. As long as you have a date and time for a dynamic IP address, the ISP can tell you who was using that address at any particular time.

Filing a law suit can be an expensive endeavor with attorney's fees ranging between five and twenty thousand dollars typically to get through the subpoena process. There are a lot of variables which affect the overall attorney fee, even when your primary goal is to locate or identify a particular person related to an IP address.

Keep in mind that you also may have to identify not only the account holder but the person who was using the account at the particular time. If the account is a business account, then anyone working at that business could have been using the internet at that time. There is subpoena data by which you can identify which computer generated a particular internet transaction that may or may not require another subpoena

The good news is that sometimes IP addresses can be linked to people in other ways. An internet attorney who understands the back end of the internet will be able to do their own research and potentially identify the person without having to send the subpoena. If the IP address is a static IP there are databases will sometimes list the account holder specifically. 

Contact an internet lawyer for more information about how to sub poena an internet service provider for IP address account holder information. 

List of the Top Ten Internet Service Providers:

  1. Comcast
  2. AT&T
  3. Time Warner Cable 
  4. CenturyLink
  5. Charter
  6. Verizon
  7. Cox
  8. Optimum
  9. Frontier
  10. Suddenlink

July 31, 2013

Unsolicited Text Messages, E-Mails, and Other Correspondence

Marketing is absolutely critical in today's day and age. However, it is important to recognize that the sending of any unsolicited text message, e-mail, or other correspondence can subject one to various forms of liability. While many have heard of the CAN-SPAM Act, others may not be as familiar with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, also known as the TCPA. The TCPA does not have some of the same liability maximums as the CAN-SPAM Act, and therefore could subject any entity who violates its provisions to significant monetary damages. Class Action lawsuits across the country have sought and recovered millions of dollars as a result of the unsolicited sending of text messages, e-mails, phone calls, or faxes. Understanding the rules of the TCPA and how to comply with them can help insulate your company from liability. However, it is also critically important to understand that the rules as promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, are set to change in October 2013.

In particular, whereas the exception for an established business relationship was often times relied upon to show compliance with the TCPA, the FCC is set to require businesses to obtain unambiguous written consent before making any automated telemarketing phone call or automated text message, e-mail, or fax. This requirement will have far reaching implications in the consumer marketing and advertising industries. Recognizing these pitfalls, entities have often times outsourced the marketing services to a third party. However, in light of the possibility for the vicarious liability under the TCPA, not only do the advertising companies need to be aware of the TCPA's requirements but the businesses utilizing such advertising companies and telemarketers must also. Noone wants to be responsible for $500.00 for each violation of the TCPA, which could balloon to $1500.00 for each willful violation. Therefore, prior to sending any unsolicited text message, e-mail, phone call, fax, or any other correspondence, you would be well served speaking with an internet attorney who understands the TCPA.

 

 

July 12, 2013

Wondering what a Google Subpoena Response Looks Like?

Google and a variety of other ISPs and online service providers regularly respond to subpoenas by citing the Stored Communications Act.  Here is what a Google subpoena response looks like. 

Google Subpoena Objection Letter

April 18, 2013

Class Action Certified in John Doe v. PositiveSingles.com and SuccessfulMatch.com Case

Contact for us more information on this Class Action

Green & Noblin, P.C. and Traverse Legal, PLC were able to obtain an order granting motion for class certification in the John Doe v. PositiveSingles.com and SuccessfulMatch.com class action.  The court granted class certification for approximately 9,346 members of PositiveSingles.com and SuccessfulMatch.com, many of whom signed up through defendant's affiliate marketing scheme, finding that joinder of all members would be impracticable, class action is well-defined and the questions of law and fact common to the class predominate.  The class action certification order is included below. 

Order Granting Class Certification

 

The common questions to this class action are as follows:

1. Whether Defendant's ommision of the names of over 1,000 different websites that link to the profile information entered into each ofhte individual websites was a material nondisclosure;

2. Whether Defendant's use of privacy and exclusivity langauage in its websites soliciting members was rendered misleading by the failure to disclose all of the websites that would link to each member's infomration;

3. Whether the use of language in the terms of service suggesting that the information "may" be available to other sites was rendered misleading by the fact that the information was in fact immediately accessible on over 1,000 other sites;

4. Whether the Defendant's conduct was unfair because the harm it caused fat outweighed the utility of having 1,000 undisclosed websites;

5. Whether the Defendant's conduct violated the CLRA;

6. Whether the terms of the Terms of Service were unconscionable by virtue of granting a worldwide, perpetual right to modify and edit and otherwise exploit the user's information or by purporting to limit the CLRA statute of limitations to one year, which is substantively unconscionable as a matter of public policy.

A federal class action is being prepared.  If you are a registered user of PositiveSingles.com or any other website indicating that it is "powered by PositiveSingles.com" during the 4-year period ending on October 1, 2011, you will likely be a member of this class action.  Contact Traverse Legal for more information by clicking here

January 17, 2013

Social Media Policy Considerations

With more and more states banning employers from accessing password protected social media accounts, it is critically important for businesses to understand what is and is not permitted when it comes to social media in the workplace.  Michigan is the most recent state to enact legislation to prohibit employers and schools from asking applicants, employees, and students for their online passwords or account information in order to access private internet and email accounts, which includes social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, or other sites.  Anyone who breaches this law may face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine.  Michigan is not the only state to have enacted such legislation.  California, Maryland, and Illinois have also enacted such legislation. 

While this kind of legislation is important for businesses to be aware of, it's equally important for businesses to understand that they would be well served to draft a social media policy for their workplace.  Drafting such a policy, idealy with the help of an internet lawyer, will allow the business to clearly identify what is acceptable and unacceptable usage inside and outside of a business workplace.  It will also detail such things as what happens to the social media accounts when the employees employment is terminated.  A properly drafted social media policy should comply with privacy laws, such as those mentioned above that continue to be regularly enacted. Without a social media policy, it may be difficult to discipline an employee or terminate an employee based upon social media activity.

Continue reading Social Media Policy Considerations >>
September 12, 2012

Legal Compliance for Mobile App Developers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published a new guide for app developers on how to market their products legally.  This guide provides mobile app developers basic information regarding how they collect, use, and disclose information from users.  The title of the guide, “Marketing Your Mobile App: Get it Right from the Start,” discusses the importance of truthful advertising and privacy considerations.
Continue reading Legal Compliance for Mobile App Developers >>
August 31, 2012

How to Subpoena a Web Hosting Company

The internet is still the Wild, Wild West, and it's so easy for people to post information, to upload information, to review, to comment that there are a lot of things that happen on the internet that are very difficult to trace.  That is to say, to find out who did it and so if it is something that is a defamatory comment that someone has posted about you.
   
You're trying to figure out who said it, or someone has stolen your copyright protected material and engaged in copyright infringement by posting that copyright protected material on their website or some other website.  Then you have to find out who they are.
   
The same issue can arise in the trademark infringement context, where people are using your trademark.  But they've registered a domain name which incorporates your trademark, and they're using a privacy or proxy service to hide their identity.  

Continue reading How to Subpoena a Web Hosting Company >>
August 13, 2012

Financing for Internet Startups: Part 1

Clients of mine often ask, “What kind of financing is available for internet startup?” Well, there’s really three areas of financing that are available at the early stages. The first is angel investment. Angel investment is early stage investment, or sometimes called seed round investment, and an angel investor can basically be anyone, it can be family member. A lot of times, it is a high wealth individual and it can also be other entrepreneurs. 

Welcome to Internet Law Radio where we discuss the hottest topics in Internet law.  If you are facing an Internet law issue, cyber law complaint, web site or e-commerce issue, we have an Internet lawyer ready to help

Hello, and welcome to Traverse Legal Radio.  My name is John Di Giacomo, and I am an attorney with Traverse Legal, where I practice in the areas of copyright law, trademark law, general internet law, business and corporate law, online defamation and other related areas. 

And today, I’d like to talk to you a little bit about financing for internet startups.  And I’m going to label this Part 1 of a discussion on things to think about as an internet startup seeks financing. 

Continue reading Financing for Internet Startups: Part 1 >>
July 19, 2012

What to do in the Event of a Security Breach

The federal government is also discussing and introducing bills regarding data security and breach notification requirements. In fact, the latest, known as the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2012, is one moving through government right now. So, the question becomes, what must a company do in the event that a security breach occurs? Now, there are many things that a company needs to do once they receive notice that a security breach has occurred.

Welcome to Internet Law Radio where we discuss the hottest topics in Internet law.  If you are facing an Internet law issue, cyber law complaint, web site or e-commerce issue, we have an Internet lawyer ready to help. 

This is Internet Law Attorney, Brian Hall, with Traverse Legal, PLC. Today, I'll be discussing what to do in the event of a security breach. Most states, and I believe it's approximately 46 out of 50 states, have passed security breach notification laws. The federal government is also discussing and introducing bills regarding data security and breach notification requirements. In fact, the latest, known as the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2012, is one moving through government right now. So, the question becomes, what must a company do in the event that a security breach occurs? Now, there are many things that a company needs to do once they receive notice that a security breach has occurred.

Continue reading What to do in the Event of a Security Breach >>
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