Typing Facebook.com on a roller coaster just got so much easier! A U.S. District Court in California has awarded Facebook a victory against several so-called typosquatters–companies that buy domains names similar in spelling to big websites, then profit off of users’ terrible typing skills.
More than 100 domains that involved variations of the word Facebook (i.e. facesbook.com, facebof.com, or our favorite, facebookforteens.com) were found being controlled by just a few companies with names that sound like they were ripped from a Law and Order script (lookin’ at you, Domain Inc.). They didn’t respond to allegations of violating the social network’s trademark for profit, so Facebook was awarded a default judgement of $3 million in statutory damages.
Last August, TechCrunch broke the story of Shirley Hornstein, a Photoshopping fabricator who ingratiated herself into Silicon Valley circles by name-dropping nonexistent connections. Her behavior eventually prompted Founders Fund to file a complaint to stop her from claiming she worked for them.
Following that report, Betabeat published claims that Ms. Hornstein, a former roommate of TechCrunch community manager Elin Blesener, was also guilty of credit card fraud, duping at least one former employer (Giftiki) as well as personal friends. Billing statements–provided by a friend who urged Ms. Hornstein to seek help–showed that “Shirls” used a stolen credit card to buy a plane ticket twice.
Ride or Die
With all the excitement over last week’s decision to test out taxi apps in New York City, another technological step forward got overlooked. During a meeting at its Beaver Street headquarters last Thursday, the Taxi and Limousine Commission also unanimously voted in favor of new rules for those credit card swipers and “entertainment systems” (scare quotes necessary) in back of your cab, referred to as T-PEP.
Sex in the Valley
When last we left Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, matters had reached the inevitable long, slow legal slog to determine whether the suit would ever see court. However, Ms. Pao was still getting up and going to what must’ve been the most awkward office environment since M.A.S.H, as Read More
Last week, GroupMe*, the popular group messaging app acquired by Skype in late August–filed a complaint in Southern District of New York against Groupie, another New York City-based startup. Their stated motive: to “remove the ‘cloud’ of uncertainty” around the GroupMe trademark.
In the filing, GroupMe stops just short of calling Groupie a trademark troll. Funny, we’re more accustomed to hearing about the patent kind.
Apple in Your Eye
No sooner had Apple announced a $60 million settlement in a longstanding dispute with a Chinese firm over the trademark for “iPad,” than another lawsuit has reared its head.
In the first instance, Proview Technologies alleged it trademarked iPad in mainland China 12 years ago. The second suit is a little harder to take seriously.
In a settlement agreement for a class action lawsuit filed yesterday, Facebook agreed to give users more control of their face. According to the terms of the agreement, which still needs to be approved by the judge, users will now be able to opt-out of having their likeness appear in a type of ad Facebook calls “Sponsored Stories,” says Reuters.
Back in December, Betabeat got a copy of a leaked document that showed how Sponsored Stories would feature the name of friend and the friend’s profile picture and an indication that they “liked” the advertiser in question. The social network thought it had a sweet new revenue stream locked up seeing as users are more likely to click on something when they see their friends’ face attached to it as an endorsement.
The sun was still setting when The Observer rounded the corner under The High Line for IAC’s Internet Week closing party, co-hosted by Aereo, a provocative new startup that will allow users to view broadcast content on their computers, smartphones and tablets. Off the drab West Side Highway, the Frank Gehry-designed building shimmered like a landing dock for a space ship–as if the top could twist off and whir its way into the atmosphere. Will Arnett and Wilmer Valderrama walked the red carpet. Dolled-up in pale pink, Allison Williams (the Miranda to Lena Dunham’s Carrie) took Barry Diller’s elbow as she navigated the crowd.
As the origin myth has it, Mr. Diller’s transformation from a Hollywood mogul to Internet soothsayer for this new digital era started with an Apple PowerBook. “No question that his relationship with his little screen, which is irritating to everybody in the room, has altered his life,” his closest confidante and now wife Diane von Furstenberg told The New Yorker some years back.
It was the early ’90s—right around the time Rupert Murdoch refused to make Mr. Diller a principal at Fox, the fabled fourth network Mr. Diller pioneered when competitors insisted that three would do just fine.
Over The Aereo
The Aereo legal saga continues. Not content to wait for a decision regarding their ongoing lawsuit, the Hollywood Reporter reports that broadcasters want a preliminary injunction against Aereo and they want it now. That means they have to prove “a likelihood of success and the prospect of irreparable injury.” The tone of the legal proceedings, therefore, have taken on something of an apocalyptic cast.
Their argument goes that the company’s mere existence is enough to threaten broadcasters’ business model. From the tone of statements earlier this week, they’re about ready to go looking for Aereo’s plug if the judge doesn’t do something, anything, to take care of this. If Aereo gets away with their over-the-air workaround, cable and satellite distributors won’t be so willing to shell out for retransmission rights. And that means television may never be the same again. They do understand that sounds like a good thing, right?
When Copyright's Wrong
Earlier this week, New York Magistrate Judge Gary Brown issued a landmark ruling in one of the many mass-BitTorrent lawsuits for copyright infringement, calling the lawsuit a “waste of judicial resources” for insufficient evidence to identify copyright infringers, reports TorrentFreak.
The copyright holders were launching their claims with just an IP address. The copyright holders use that IP address ask the courts for a subpoena, which they then use to ask Internet service providers to hand over personal details about alleged offenders.