Monday, December 24, 2007

House of Blues Files Trademark Infringement Suit

The well-known venue for blues music, House of Blues, has filed a $2 million trademark infringement suit against a Lousiana company for using its name without authorization.

Since 1992, House of Blues has operated numerous clubs in cities across the nation as a “Southern-style juke-joint.” Additionally, House of Blues has used its trademark in themed gaming areas at casinos, on televised poker tournament, websites, and promoting concerts.

The House of Blues learned of defendant Leonard Douglas’s Baton Rouge House of Blues in April 2007. A cease-and-desist letter was sent and there was no reply.

The complaint includes actions based on federal and state trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition.


MPAA Wins Ruling Against TorrentSpy


A US District Court ruled in favor of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in a case against the operators of TorrentSpy.com. The judge based the default judgment on tampering with evidence by the defendants.

TorrentSpy is a central location to find files distributed on the peer-to-peer network BitTorrent. The MPAA filed the suit based on the distribution without a license of its member companys’ copyrighted material on the TorrentSpy website. TorrentSpy has contended that because its servers are located in the Netherlands, it is protected by Dutch law from having to turn over server logs and other information.

In May, a US Magistrate judged had ruled that TorrentSpy must preserve server data logs held in random access memory (RAM). In the ruling on December 15th, the court found that subsequent to the ruling in May, TorrentSpy “engaged in widespread and systematic efforts to destroy evidence and have provided false testimony under oath in an effort to hide evidence of such destruction.” TorrentSpy has indicated that it destroyed the evidence in order to protect consumer privacy.

While not directly addressing the merits of the MPAA’s case, by supporting the previous ruling, the court’s decision might expose private information about website users inother civil lawsuits.


Protecting Internet Commerce

The New York Public Interest Research Organization, a group I was one of the founders of 35 years ago while a college student, has launched a new website to help computer users safeguard their privacy information and avoid internet scams.

The group awards “Screen Door,” and “Steel Door” Awards after evaluating how well websites protect their consumer’s personal information. Netflix.com and ralphlauren.com received a Steel Door awards for superior protection. Disneyshopping.com and homedepot.com received Screen Door awards for poor protection of personal information. http://www.cyberstreetsmart.org/privacy/shopping/shopping01.html

Visit the site at: http://www.cyberstreetsmart.org/index.html