Is Skype to be Joltid by Kazaa Developers? Was the $2.6 Billion eBay Purchase of Internet Telephony made without the underlying P2P Software ?

Loz Blain at Gizmag.com covers the strange dispute between Skype and Joltid under the headline: Licensing issues threaten to shut Skype down for good:

When eBay bought Skype from Joltid in 2005, the whopping US$2.6 billion price tag didn’t include the Global Index peer-to-peer software that the world’s biggest Internet Telephony system is based on….

[E]xcerpt[s] from a quarterly report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission explain … eBay’s tenuous position [inter alia] … :

‘Joltid has alleged that Skype should not possess, use or modify certain software source code and that, by doing so, and by disclosing such code in certain U.S. patent cases pursuant to orders from U.S. courts, Skype has breached the license agreement.’

techdirt has a very informative posting in the same vein about Skype Founders Claim eBay No Longer Has A Right To Skype’s Core Tech in which they write:

Apparently, the claim is that Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis and a separate company they ran, Joltid, only licensed the underlying technology to eBay/Skype for a limited time — and that deal has now concluded. The two companies are scheduled to fight this out in court….

How the hell did eBay make a deal and not make sure it had either purchased (entirely) the core underlying technology or had a guaranteed perpetual license that couldn’t be revoked? … you have to wonder if it’s actually true.

In the meantime, since there are questions about how eBay can rebuild Skype’s underlying core technology without violating the many patents in the space, it makes you wonder if eBay may be forced to simply buy someone else’s technology.”

As Loz Blain writes, this legal dispute is a problem for IPO plans of eBay:

[T]his legal challenge could completely shut Skype down – so naturally enough, that black cloud will scuttle any IPO plans that eBay had to raise money from its difficult child.

If eBay is able to come up with an alternative platform that keeps Skype’s customers happy while abandoning Global Index and not causing any IP issues then it can go ahead with an IPO. But this is a herculean undertaking that even eBay admits it’s not very confident about. Given it’s already a cash sink for eBay, you’d have to wonder if the company is likely to throw big dollars at developing or acquiring another technology.

But if June 2010 comes around and eBay hasn’t sorted anything out, and the court case starts looking like it’s going Joltid’s way, then suddenly Joltid will be in an excellent position to put in a bargain-basement offer to buy Skype (and its projected US$1 billion 2011 revenue) back from eBay and laugh all the way to the bank.

With the future of the world’s favorite Internet Telephony service at stake, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out.”

In any event, this is a bizarre development – not unusual for this treacherous legal field – where the creators of the world’s worst offending illegal file sharing applications are now themselves relying on intellectual property law to protect their alleged IP rights.

The court proceedings in the Joltid case are scheduled for June, 2010.

Joltid is a company which was initially affiliated with Kazaa, a file sharing application used mostly for illegal music piracy. As written at the Wikipedia:

Kazaa and FastTrack were created by Niklas Zennström, Janus Friis, and Priit Kasesalu (all of whom were later to create Skype and later still Joost). It was introduced by their Dutch company Consumer Empowerment in March 2001, near the end of the first generation of P2P networks typified by the shutdown of Napster in July 2001….

Consumer Empowerment was sued in the Netherlands in 2001 by the Dutch music publishing body, Buma/Stemra. In November 2001, the court ordered Kazaa’s owners to take steps to prevent its users from violating copyrights or else pay a heavy fine. Consumer Empowerment responded by selling the Kazaa application to a complicated mesh of offshore companies, primarily Sharman Networks, headquartered in Australia and incorporated in Vanuatu….

Kazaa’s legal issues have ended after a settlement of $100 million in reparations to the recording industry. Kazaa, including the domain name, has since been sold off to Brilliant Digital Entertainment, Inc. Kazaa currently operates as a monthly subscription service that allows users to download unlimited songs for $19.98 and listen to them on up to three other computers. However, songs downloaded with Kazaa are not playable on portable devices, and cannot be listened to without an active subscription to the service.

Some users still use the old network on the unauthorized versions of Kazaa, either Kazaa Lite or Kazaa Resurrection, which is still a self-sustaining network where tens of thousands of users still share unrestricted content. This fact was previously stated by Kazaa when they claimed their FastTrack network was not centralized (like the old Napster), but instead a link between millions of computers around the world.

However, in the wake of the bad publicity and lawsuits, the number of users on Kazaa Lite has dropped dramatically. They have gone from several millions users at a given time to mere hundred thousands or now just tens of thousands. Before, all users were combined on the same FastTrack network, with some using the ad-supported Kazaa, and others using Kazaa Lite and other non-authorized versions all sharing countless songs, movies, etc. The size of the lawsuits Kazaa settled is said to only have been insignificant compared to the amount of media that was illegally duplicated and delivered to millions of users on Kazaa prior to the suit.

Without further recourse, and until the lawsuit was settled, the RIAA actively sued thousands of people across the USA for sharing copyrighted music across the network. College campus networks were also a focus of the RIAA’s many lawsuits. Many of these cases are still in the process of being settled or are headed for trial. Although the lawsuits were mainly in the United States, other countries also began to follow suit….

Kazaa has, from early on, been suspected of installing malware onto users’ computers. Sharman, Kazaa’s home company, claims that the products are not adware and do not collect personal user information. At one time, the part of the Kazaa code which was considered adware was an optional part of the Kazaa program, albeit one technically difficult to omit during installation. Since the allegations have surfaced, however, the code has been bundled into the main Kazaa software, and it is not possible to uninstall it. Also, spyware detection and removal software has frequently failed to delete the code without special actions taken by the PC user. Spyware components detected and deleted by removal programs will often render Kazaa unusable and require reinstallation of the program. This forces the user to allow these programs on their computer to keep Kazaa working. The malware cannot be ended with conventional methods, and the Windows Task Manager must be used.

Given its shady background, it is little wonder that Joltid has only a one-page web presence without any contact details or addresses outside of an email address info@joltid.com that might be used to inform the Joltid owners what one thinks about their threat to shut down Skype.

In the case of Joltid we have here – in our opinion – another typical IP instance of overly greedy intellectual property rights holders who are prepared to try to hold a good share of the world’s communication population (480 million registered Skype users) for ransom simply because of their own petty personal selfish interests. We have little patience with such philosophies.

IP rights holders in general must be told time and again in strong and stern judicial language that intellectual property rights do not somehow bestow world imperial rights upon them.

Indeed, quite apart from the legal issues, IP rights holders who have already pocketed $2.6 billion for the Skype sale but who still have no qualms about threatening a shutdown for the community of Skype users should in fact – in our opinion – be permanently exiled from the global technological community.

Alas, the realities of the digital world are neither just nor fair, and the founders of Kazaa and Skype are already long off on another project, Joost, financially supported by a bevy of eager venture capitalists whose sole business is the prospect of multiplying dollar signs.

That is the true face of modern technology: cash rules.

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Auto Clunker Plan Update : Car Allowance Rebate System to be Extended by $2 Billion as House Passes Emergency Funding : Senate Approval Pending

Matthew L. Wald reports at the New York Times that House Votes for $2 Billion Fund to Extend ‘Clunker’ Plan.

What Goes on Here? Cash for Clunkers Auto Rebate Program Runs Out of Money While Bankdog Millionaires Stuff their Pockets with Bailout Money

Slumdog Millionaire – the rags to riches story of a Mumbai slum child – won eight Oscars at the 81st Annual Academy Awards in 2009, including best film of the year.

Based on recent reports about billions of dollars in bailout money paid out as “bonuses” by banks to their employees in spite of the financial crisis which many of the bonus recipients surely helped to create, we suggest a “rich to richer” U.S. cinema sequel with the title “Bankdog Millionaire“.

Many newspapers have already picked up the facts upon which the “bankdog” story could be based. In the New York Times article, for example, Louise Story and Eric Dash report in Big Banks Paid Billions in Bonuses Amid Wall St. Crisis that:

All told, the bonus pools at the nine banks that received bailout money was $32.6 billion, while those banks lost $81 billion.”

The various news reports rely upon a report just released by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo under the title “No Rhyme or Reason: The ‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’ Bank Bonus Culture“, which concludes on the basis of a probe into the way that big banks operate that:

When the banks did well, their employees were paid well. When the banks did poorly, their employees were paid well. And when the banks did very poorly, they were bailed out by taxpayers and their employees were still paid well,” Cuomo said in a summary of the investigation. “Bonuses and overall compensation did not vary significantly as profits diminished.

The Los Angeles Times writes:

The attorney general’s report — subtitled, “The ‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’ Bank Bonus Culture” — focuses in part on the 2008 bonuses paid by major banks that received government capital under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

He found that Citigroup Inc., for example, paid out $5.3 billion in bonuses for 2008 even though the bank lost $27.7 billion and needed $45 billion in TARP capital to bolster its balance sheet.

A total of 783 Citigroup employees got bonuses of at least $1 million, Cuomo said.

Merrill Lynch & Co., which lost $27.6 billion for the year, paid bonuses of $3.6 billion, according to Cuomo’s tally.”

Those are bank rip-offs which make normal criminal “bank heists” look like chicken feed.

At the same time – just to put things into the proper financial and political perspective – the paltry $1 billion that the U.S. government allocated for the nationwide “Cash for Clunkers Auto Rebate Program” to get the automotive industry moving again was used up as an amount in the first week of operation. Matthew L. Wald (with Katharine Q. Seelye as contributor) at the New York Times in ‘Clunkers’ Auto Rebate Plan So Popular That It’s Broke writes:

New-car shoppers appear to have already snapped up all the $1 billion that Congress appropriated for the “cash for clunkers” program, leading the Transportation Department to tell auto dealers Thursday night to stop offering the rebates.

Apparently it is more important to funnel billions of dollars into the bank accounts of the greedy.

Essentially, when all is said and done, the “bailout banks” and other big banks and investment banking houses are operating as self-service pots of gold for their top echelons, who smilingly stuff their pockets with their bank’s money, relying on what they of course claim are legitimate bonus contracts – made by them, but which contracts are actually designed for those top echelons to massively misappropriate the assets of investors and depositors – and now the bailout taxpayers – by cleverly premeditated plans of what amounts to nothing more than passively collusive corporate embezzlement. The Legal Dictionary at Free Dictionary defines embezzlement:

There was no crime of embezzlement under the Common Law. It is a statutory crime that evolved from Larceny. Whereas larceny requires a felonious trespassory taking of property at the outset, embezzlement is a wrongful appropriation subsequent to an originally lawful taking. Embezzlement is, therefore, a modification of larceny designed to cover certain fraudulent acts that do not come within its scope. Although they are mutually exclusive crimes, larceny and embezzlement do overlap slightly under statutes in some states.

Embezzlement was created by the English legislature, which designated specific persons who might be liable for the offense. These were essentially persons entrusted with another’s property, such as agents, attorneys, bankers, and corporate officers.

The English definition of the offense is followed in the United States. Statutes do not usually list the persons who might be liable but, instead, generally describe the offender as a person entrusted with, or in possession of, another’s property.

Exorbitant bonus contracts bearing no reasonable relationship to the salary of employees or to the actual services or benefits performed are merely cloaked embezzlement agreements – and recipients of the money know full well they are ripping off their depositors and investors.

This is corporate corruption in its most highly developed state. Monies are not embezzled secretly, but are rather misappropriated in gigantic quantities right in front of everyone’s noses under the cover of legitimacy.

It is a nearly foolproof scam for the inner circle of bankers – who are aided by the incompetent ignorance of many of the popularly elected – and increasingly ill-qualified – representatives in Congress, who sometimes seem to prefer to waste their time on religious rather than secular issues or, for example, on senselessly grilling Supreme Court nominees ad nauseam rather than properly legislating the nation’s affairs.

Perhaps people in Congress should be given CLE lessons in the difference between true entrepeneurial capitalism – which should continue to be rewarded – and blatant bank theft – for which many of these bonus recipients should probably be compensated with a term in jail.

The odds that anything will improve in the near future are however quite small and all signs point toward the continued plundering of America by a small and rapacious minority of greedy yahoos (in the Gulliver Swift sense) and their clueless legislative and regulatory enablers.

Willful Unauthorized File Sharing (Downloading & Distribution) of Music is Copyright Infringement : Fair Use is NOT a Defense for Online Piracy

In the landmark Tenenbaum file sharing case, liberal U.S. Federal Judge Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, a Clinton appointee who is certainly one of the more modern of today’s judges as a blogging federal judge – see also Slate and Sentencing Law and Policy) – whose legal career is marked by devotion to women, minorities, and the poor – has nevertheless ruled in favor of intellectual property rights that unauthorized music file downloading and distribution is NOT a “fair use” exception under the copyright laws.

Music piracy (viz. unauthorized file sharing or file swapping) or any other kind of willful intellectual property (IP) piracy (downloading and distribution) online is thus clearly a form of illegal copyright infringement and there has really never been any serious doubt about this as a matter of law.

And yet, because illegal filesharing is costly to detect and difficult to enforce at law, music piracy especially is so widespread that the Institute for Policy Innovation has calculated that IP piracy is costing the U.S. economy many billions of dollars a year:

The True Cost of Copyright Industry Piracy to the U.S. Economy

The True Cost of Motion Picture Piracy to the U.S. Economy

The True Cost of Sound Recording Piracy to the U.S. Economy

Therefore, several years ago, the much maligned RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), representing recording companies that are in part fighting for their ultimate economic survival, engaged in a campaign to bring legal causes of action against the worst offenders among the file sharers, a campaign which has now ended, except for any active remaining legal cases.

As written at Wired in January, 2009:

Last month, the RIAA announced it was abandoning its file sharing legal campaign, which has targeted more than 30,000 individuals but would continue with cases already in the pipeline. Most cases settled out of court for a few thousand dollars.…”

One of the remaining music filesharing legal cases involving P2P (peer to peer networking) is “the Tenenbaum case“, a civil – not a criminal – action against a Boston University graduate student – a doctoral candidate.

Mike Harvey writes at the Times Online:

The major recording labels accuse Joel Tenenbaum, 25, of Providence, Rhode Island, of downloading and distributing songs from bands such as Green Day and Aerosmith through the Kazaa peer-to-peer site….

The recording industry in America has typically offered to settle cases for about $5,000, though it has said that it stopped filing such lawsuits last August and is instead working with internet service providers to fight the worst offenders. Cases already filed are proceeding to trial.

Jaikumar Vijayan writes at Computer World:

Tenenbaum, 25, was sued for copyright infringement by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2007. His case shot to prominence last fall when Harvard law school professor Charles Nesson announced he would represent Tenenbaum in his fight with the RIAA. The trade group claims to have found more than 800 songs stored illegally in a shared folder on Tenenbaum’s computer, although the lawsuit only identifies 30 of those songs. The statutes under which Tenenbaum is being sued allow for statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement or up to $4.5 million if the maximum penalties are applied in this case.

The Tenenbaum case is only the second RIAA music lawsuit to go to trial. The other case ended last month with a federal jury in Minnesota assessing damages of $1.92 million against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a woman accused of illegally distributing 24 copyrighted songs. The award for the RIAA was nearly nine times the original $222,000 fine levied against her in an earlier trial. That award had been overturned on technical grounds.”

Lawyers for Tenenbaum have informally stated that they are without a real defense as a consequence of the rejection of the fair use defense by the trial judge, Nancy Gertner, so that the case will now turn on the damages issue, which will be decided by the jury, but also there, Tenenbaum does not stand much of a chance, since the law is clear.

For details, see Ben Sheffner at ars technica and Copyrights & Campaigns, where he has a comprehensive discussion of the case.

Richard Korman at ZDNet Government has commented on the broad arguments raised by Tenenbaum’s counsel, Harvard Law professor Charles R. Nesson, writing irreverently:

Perhaps the Harvard team was more interested in making a broad alternative restatement of copyright law than in parsing Joel’s admissions in a way that would have allowed them to preserve some remnant of fair use. Maybe that’s what happens when academics waltz into the courtroom?”

Nesson of course is “trying” the RIAA and the legal system more than “defending” his client per se in an area of law where no absolute legal solution has yet been found for the unique intellectual property problems that the Internet raises. In addition, one must be aware of an op-ed written in the Harvard Crimson by Nesson and Wendy M. Seltzer titled Protect Harvard from the RIAA, which isolates the controversial core of the problem involved in the Tenenbaum case from the standpoint of educational institutions:

Students and faculty use the Internet to gather and share knowledge now more than ever….

“[N]ew deterrence and education initiatives” from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) threaten access to this vibrant resource. The RIAA has already requested that universities serve as conduits for … “pre-litigation letters….”

[T]hese responses distort the University’s educational mission. They impose financial and non-monetary costs, including compromised student privacy, limited access to genuine educational resources, and restricted opportunities for new creative expression….

[W]hen copyright protection starts requiring the cooperation of uninvolved parties, at the cost of both financial and mission harm, those external costs outweigh its benefits. We need not condone infringement to conclude that 19th- and 20th-century copyright law is poorly suited to promote 21st-century knowledge. The old copyright-business models are inefficient ways to give artists incentives in the new digital environment.

Both law and technology will continue to evolve….

The University’s educational mission is broader than the RIAA’s demands. We don’t have all the answers either, but rather than capitulating to special interests, we should continue to search for fair solutions that represent the University’s mission, its students, and the law in a way that educates students to be leaders of the digital 21st century.

The problems that Nesson and Seltzer address are by no means “academic”: see EFF, Engadget (with list of top 25 universities receiving infringement notices from the RIAA).

The RIAA countered with its stance on music piracy:

Q: What is the RIAA’s official stance on digital music piracy?

…. When you go online and download songs without permission, you are stealing….

The law is quite clear here….

Q: How much money does the recording industry lose from piracy?

… [M]usic piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year, 71,060 U.S. jobs lost, a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and a loss of $422 million in tax revenues, $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes….

Q: Has the RIAA stopped filing lawsuits against individuals?

In light of new opportunities to deter copyright infringement, the record industry was able to discontinue its broad-based end user litigation program…. On a parallel track, we have been able to reach a separate agreement in principle with several leading ISPs on a graduated response program for repeat offenders when they are caught engaging in illegal activity online….

Q: What would the RIAA like people to know about the lawsuit program now that it has ended?

The program was designed to educate fans about the law, the consequences of breaking the law, and raise awareness about all the great legal sites in the music marketplace. Like any tough decision, there are trade offs. On balance, the legal marketplace is far better off because of the program….

Q: What is your strategy with colleges now that you are no longer sending pre-litigation letters?

That process has not sufficiently changed beyond ceasing to file new lawsuits…. Over the course of the past couple of years, as the technology to detect online theft has improved, we have sent an increased number of notices to universities….

It’s also important to note that we know college students are some of the most avid music fans…. Like students, we are huge fans of music and want to see a thriving music community that continues to develop exciting new bands for current and future generations.

Q: What does the RIAA consider the university’s responsibility to be in curtailing file sharing? What happens when a university does not cooperate in mediating offenses by students?

… We believe that university leaders have a responsibility to acknowledge campus piracy, to take steps to prevent the theft from occurring in the first place, and to demonstrate leadership in teaching students that music has value and there are right and wrong ways to acquire it….

Q: What steps can colleges and universities take to address piracy on its networks?

Educational institutions are uniquely positioned to shape student attitudes toward copyright….

Q: Is it still illegal to download music on P2P sites like LimeWire, BitTorrent and Ares?

Absolutely….

For more political controversy see e-Commerce and TechLaw.

CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion and JoelFightsBack.com side with Tenenbaum against the RIAA.

PlagiarismToday keeps general track of trial progress.

A related technical idea is the idea of “dark nets”, private nets of the future graphically imaged at p2pnet.net news as follows and showing the difficulties which IP protection will face in the years ahead:

Associated Press (AP, A.P.) to Require Licensing Agreements for News and Headlines : Thomson Reuters & OpenCalais New Content Economy

We posted previously at LawPundit about the Commercial Use of Newspaper Headlines Without Permission [as] Copyright Infringement in Japan. There is little doubt under the world’s copyright laws that the same standard applies in other countries as well.

TeachingMedia writes:

What are the pressures on news organizations today; how is news made and who makes it; what is the function of a gatekeeper of news; how is news received and understood?

Let’s be frank. It is a rare website or blog that “makes” original news. For that, the resources available to websites and blogs are simply too small. Almost all bloggers are accessories to the news, functioning as pundits who comment on basic news events sourced elsewhere – with exceptions of course.

A syndicated RSS feed from a blog is however no different than a syndicated newspaper column, except that a blog will generally use “news” material produced by news organizations as the basis for its commentary, rather than vice versa.

The fact is that the bulk of the “real” news is made by journalism professionals, i.e. the journalistic “big boys”, like the AP or Reuters (now part of Thomson Reuters, the world’s world’s largest international multimedia news agency).

The Association Press (“AP”, “A.P”) is by several standards of measure the largest news organization in the world, operating as “a not-for-profit cooperative with more than 4,000 employees working in more than 240 worldwide bureaus [and] owned by its 1,500 U.S. daily newspaper members.

According to Richard Perez-Pena in his July 23, 2009 article at the New York Times, the A.P. Cracks Down on Unpaid Use of Articles on Web, the Associated Press is no longer going to stand idly by and let its work be used for commercial purposes by others without just compensation. As Perez-Pena writes:

Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used.

We agree with the newly declared A.P. policy – which will only minimally affect normal non-profit blogs, who generally will not require a license to quote AP materials – but that policy will demand licenses (and payments) from those using their headlines and news reports commercially.

The salaries for the AP news staff and for the infrastructure that supports them has to be funded somehow and their work must be paid.

Thomson Reuters has taken a somewhat different approach in its attitude to content syndication with its support of OpenCalais where it is written that “Calais is a rapidly growing toolkit of capabilities that allow you to readily incorporate state-of-the-art semantic functionality within your blog, content management system, website or application.” Take a look.

Judge Posner Stands Corrected at LawPundit for Using Faulty Reasoning Regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009

Via Debra Cassens Weiss at the ABA Journal in Posner Questions Behavioral Economists and Proposed Credit Regulator we go to federal appeals judge Richard Posner and his WSJ editorial Treating Financial Consumers as Consenting Adults in which he criticizes a “paternalistic” Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 asking:

Is the choice among such alternatives really beyond the cognitive competence of the average home buyer? Is three minutes the limit of his attention span?

As you should know, Judge Posner, and as the 140 character limitation on messages at the popular Twitter microblogger amply prove, the answer to your question is “yes”. How long have you been a judge that you do not know this? Just look at the TV fare that your “average man” watches – as Berlusconi has said, the intelligence level of a 14-year old marks the average citizen.

Judge Posner queries us in closing:

Behavioral economists are right to point to the limitations of human cognition. But if they have the same cognitive limitations as consumers, should they be designing systems of consumer protection?

Judge Posner, by the same logic of your reasoning, should YOU be challenging the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009 and judging the nation’s laws?

By your very challenge, you are implicitly using “your reputation as an expert” to challenge something that “other experts” want to implement. If you challenge their right to call upon that expertise, then that same challenge applies to your own expertise as well.

Indeed, by the same faulty reasoning that you employ, we might as well be living in caves, as some of the groups that are terrorizing the world apparently desire – why strive to improve the world and make the world better? It will all turn out differently in the end anyway.

No, in spite of all human limitations, history proves that it is better that we as humans and as a nation continue to try to improve things rather than to let everything fall into a heap just because we are not perfect.

Hence, in spite of all the cognitive limitations that experts also have, it is surely desirable to have experts try to make sensible rules about contracts which your average layman has as good as NO CLUE about. We call that an ultimate form of “consumer protection”.

Twitter and the Matter of Twitter-User Hijacked Names : What about the Names of Law Firms ?

Martha Neil at the ABA Journal Legal Technology Law News Now in her July 17, 2009 article asks

Did BigLaw Snag Twitter Usernames, or Were They ‘Twitterjacked’?

citing to a Law.com Legal Blog Watch posting by guest blogger Bruce Carton, “editor of Securities Docket, an online publication that tracks securities litigation and enforcement developments on a global basis.

We posted previously about Twitter as a service that is prospering in part because its users are apparently permitted by the Twitter management to “hijack” trademarked names of reputable companies, organizations and individuals and to use them as “their” Twitter names.

See

Twitter and Trademark Infringement : LawPundit Trademark Stolen at Twitter : LawPundit Responds by Registering Name EvanEvWilliams : Tit for Tat

The Trademarked LawPundit Name has been Stolen at Twitter which is Criminally Abetting Identity Theft : Here is our Complaint to Twitter