Diritto dei Prodotti Digitali

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COMUNICAZIONE DIGITALE | Università degli Studi di Milano

Yahoo v Facebook: brevetti e social network

The escalating war between technology companies over intellectual property, that has already swept up the smartphone and tablet sectors and high-tech stalwarts such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Samsung, RIM, and others, reaches the social media stage.
Yahoo says it owns patents for as many as 20 technologies used by Facebook, that include online advertising social networking, privacy controlling, and messaging. “Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property. We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights” the company said. Patent fights are nothing new in Silicon Valley, with the realm of smartphones having become the most visible backdrop for such battles. Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility last year largely to get access to the phone maker’s intellectual property. And a consortium of companies led by Apple and Microsoft paid $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 patents held by Nortel, the defunct communications equipment maker.

Twitter: la giurisprudenza nordamericana ancora divisa tra tutela della reputazione altrui e libertà d’espressione in rete

A federal judge ruled that prosecuting a man for writing harassing tweets directed at a prominent Buddhist religious leader violated the tweeter’s First Amendment rights. The target of the harassment, Alyce Zeoli, is “an enthroned tulku or reincarnate master who was enthroned in 1988 as a reincarnate llama.” The defendant, William Cassidy, became involved with Zeoli and her religious sect in 2007, but they eventually had a falling-out. Cassidy evidently became embittered, and in 2010 he began a campaign of harassment against Zeoli on Twitter and on a blog hosted by Blogspot. The tweets ranged from the merely vulgar to arguably threatening. The federal government found the messages sufficiently disturbing to indict Cassidy for violating a 2006 anti-stalking law that prohibits the use of an “interactive computer service” to cause “substantial emotional distress.” The government claimed that Zeoli “feared for her safety,” and “has not left her house for a year and a half, except to see her psychiatrist.” Cassidy argued his prosecution violated the First Amendment. And in a last ruling, Judge Roger W. Titus agreed.

Twitter, nuovo caso di diffamazione online

The High Court in Cardiff heard the Twitter libel case between two councillors.

A councillor is to pay £3,000 and costs to a political rival for posting a libellous comment on Twitter. Caerphilly county councillor Colin Elsbury had claimed that Eddie Talbot had been removed from a polling station by police during a by-election in 2009. Town councillor Mr Talbot said the untrue claim left him open to ridicule.

Mr Elsbury agreed to pay compensation and legal costs and to publish an apology via Twitter, the High Court in Cardiff heard.

Mr Talbot was a Caerphilly town councillor seeking election to the county council as an independent in the by-election held in Caerphilly’s St Martin’s ward in June 2009. Mr Elsbury, the Plaid Cymru candidate and eventual winner, wrote on his Twitter page on the day of the poll: “It’s not in our nature to deride our opponents however Eddie Talbot had to be removed by the Police from a polling station.”

Mr Talbot’s solicitor Nigel Jones told the court that the implication of the Twitter statement was that his client had been forcibly removed for criminal or disreputable conduct, adding that the allegation was completely untrue and defamatory. The man targeted by the tweet – who came second in the closely-fought six way by-election – says the statement left him open to ridicule.

The High Court heard that Mr Elsbury had agreed to pay Mr Talbot £3,000 in compensation, to publish an apology on his Twitter site, and pay legal costs, understood to be substantial.