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New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:
1. PRODUCTION GRAPHICS: Pro Photo Edges 2. EXPLORING XML: Weaving the Web of News 3. MOTHER OF PERL: Mac Daemons in Perl 4. 3D ANIMATION WORKSHOP: Superscape Reborn in Web 3D 5. NEW LINKS: Affiliate Programs 6. INTERVIEW: GigaLaw.com's Doug Isenberg 7. NET NEWS: * Andreessen's Cloud Cover Lifted * It's independence day for XML * AltaVista Updates Search Engine * Hillary Hires an I-Builder * Keeping up with the dot-coms
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. PRODUCTION GRAPHICS: Pro Photo Edges
The Web is a visual place, and photographs can tell a compelling story. Captivate your visitors with these gilt-edged techniques. By Wendy Peck.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. EXPLORING XML: Weaving the Web of News
The hyperlink is the Web's killer feature - will the news feed be XML's? Our XML expert takes a look. By Michael Classen.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. MOTHER OF PERL: Mac Daemons in Perl
No need to feel left out, Mac-lovers. Continuing with the Perl daemon series, guest writer Brian McNett cooks up a Mac daemon alternative with a little spice from Chris Nandor.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 4. 3D ANIMATION WORKSHOP: Superscape Reborn in Web 3D
Superscape sheds VRML in favor of an innovative new approach to the fluid field of Web 3D. By Robert Polevoi.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 5. NEW LINKS: Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs have exploded in popularity. Ideally, it's a win-win situation - merchants get more business, webmasters get to add more services to their sites, and everybody gets paid.
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If you've been developing Web sites for a while, you've no doubt hired a lawyer or two (I know we have). Protecting your rights, and making sure others are also protected, is more of a challenge in the fast-paced low-cost-to-copy world of the Net. That's where a lawyer can come in handy. We interviewed Doug Isenberg, an attorney specializing in "Internet Law," about his new site, GigaLaw.com, and some common issues that webmasters face.
WR: Tell us what areas of the law you'll be concentrating on with your new site.
ISENBERG: GigaLaw.com is a site whose primary audience is web designers, programmers, graphic artists and other Internet and technology professionals who need a source of legal information that will better enable them to do their jobs.
In general, GigaLaw.com focuses on "Internet law" -- a broad topic that includes issues such as intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets); free speech/First Amendment (defamation, libel and slander); general computing (software licensing, outsourcing, hacking, etc.); and business law (company formation, taxes, contracts, confidentiality agreements, insurance, hiring a lawyer, etc.)
Internet law is important to anyone engaged in a business related to the Internet. And, because this area of the law is new, it's also changing quickly. Therefore, it's important to keep informed about the latest developments. GigaLaw.com stays on top of the cutting-edge technology law issues -- but we cover the basics, too.
WR: Tell us how the new cybersquatting law affects us?
ISENBERG: This law, formally known as the "Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act," was passed by the U.S. Congress late last year in response to the proliferation of "cybersquatting," that is, the practice of registering someone else's trademark or name for the purpose of selling it to them. Prior to this new act, U.S. law provided little help for the rightful owners of some trademarks - in part because traditional trademark laws were written before cyberspace even existed!
The new anticybersquatting act is discussed in an article on GigaLaw.com, "Battling Cybersquatters: New Tools for Trademark Holders" (at http://www.gigalaw.com/articles/kubiszyn-2000-02-p1.html). It will also be discussed in more detail in forthcoming articles. Among other things, the act generally prohibits a person from registering, trafficking in or using a domain name that, under certain circumstances outlined in the act, is identical or confusingly similar to a distinctive trademark or is identical or confusingly similar to or dilutes a famous trademark. A full copy of the act is on the GigaLaw.com web site (at http://www.gigalaw.com/library/anticybersquattingact-1999-11-29-p1.html).
Already, the act has been invoked in numerous disputes, but there's some controversy over whether it's a good law, depending on who you ask. At the very least, this much is clear: In the short term, the new anticybersquatting act will lead to more lawsuits between trademark holders and domain name registrants.
In addition to the new law, there's also a new domain name dispute policy in effect that applies under certain circumstances. This policy could help avoid some lawsuits. The policy is discussed in detail on GigaLaw.com in "New Domain Name Dispute Procedure Takes Effect" (at http://www.gigalaw.com/articles/stewart-2000-02-p1.html).
WR: If a company owns the trademark to a name, is it entitled to the matching domain name?
ISENBERG: Like many aspects of the law, the answer is, "it depends." It may depend on what law applies (is the lawsuit in the United States or another country?); it may depend on what type of trademark is involved (is it federally registered and, if so, when was it registered, when was it first used and in connection with what goods or services is it used?); it may depend on the similarity between the trademark and the domain name (are they identical or slightly different?); it may depend on whether the trademark is famous; it may depend on what top- level domain is at issue (is it ".com" or one of the less-popular country-specific domain names such as ".uk"?); and many other factors.
If you're asking whether it's possible for the owner of a trademark to "take away" a domain name from its current registrant, the answer is, yes, under certain circumstances, but not always. A lot depends on whose rights arose first and whether the domain name and the trademark are being used in connection with the same services. (For example, Delta Air Lines appears content to let Delta Financial Corporation use the domain name delta.com.) As with all legal matters, the only way to fully evaluate a particular case is to have a lawyer investigate the specific facts and the relevant law, because every case is different.
WR: We once got a trademark from Tunisia to protect the WebReference name (as Network Solutions recognized international trademarks, and Tunisia qualified). Does this still work?
ISENBERG: A Tunisian trademark is less important today than it was in the past, at least for domain name purposes. Under a now- outdated domain name dispute policy from Network Solutions (when NSI was the sole registrar of the .com, .net and .org top-level domains), certain trademark holders could get certain domain names placed "on hold" (and therefore unusable) by presenting evidence of a "federal" trademark registration, that is, a trademark registered at the national (not state) level. Well, the trademark registration process in the United States can be quite time-consuming (it's not uncommon for a couple of years to pass between the date of application for a trademark and the date it actually gets registered), in part because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a rigorous registration process. Many countries with strong intellectual property protection laws have similar delays. Tunisia, on the other hand, has been said to issue trademark registrations quickly, sometimes within 24 hours. Therefore, under the old NSI policy, a person or company that wanted to prevent someone else from using a particular domain name could, under the right circumstances, obtain a Tunisian trademark registration quickly and persuade NSI to place the domain name "on hold."
Fortunately, thanks to the development of the law in this area, and the implementation of a new domain name dispute procedure, a "quickie" Tunisian trademark registration is now of little value for domain name purposes - although ultimately it's impossible to predict what weight a court might give to that kind of trademark registration.
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So, what should a webmaster do to best protect his works? First, respect the law; don't copy other people's code just because yours can be (or has been) copied. Second, take strong affirmative steps to protect your work under the law by registering your own intellectual property; it may be a hassle, but it will let others know you take protection seriously - and, in some instances, you'll need registrations to enforce your rights in court anyway. Third, don't let anybody rip you off; if you know someone is illegally copying or using your work, use the law to your advantage, preferably with a lawyer's assistance.
WR: How much of an article can someone else use under fair use?
ISENBERG: The doctrine of "fair use" under U.S. copyright law is very tricky to understand and apply -- even for lawyers! In general, the fair-use doctrine says that it is OK to copy someone else's copyrighted work "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research." The relevant statute lists four factors that must be considered in determining whether fair use exists --
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes, (2) the nature of the copyrighted works, (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Different courts apply the factors differently, and some courts have considered additional factors, too.
The fair use doctrine allows book reviewers, for example, to quote limited portions of a book in their reviews without committing copyright infringement. The same could apply under certain circumstances to a publisher using someone else's material on a web site. But just how much (if any) can be copied without breaking the law? Unfortunately, there's no hard and fast rule. That's why it's usually better to ask permission before copying instead of assuming that you're OK under the fair-use doctrine.
WR: What do you think of Lawrence Lessig's new book, "Code And Other Laws of Cyberspace"? Do you think open source curbs the government's ability to control cyberspace?
ISENBERG: I've heard Professor Lessig speak, and I've read his book and interviewed him about it. (A transcript of the interview is published on GigaLaw.com at http://www.gigalaw.com/bookshelf/code-p1.html .) The book is very interesting, touching on all of the important Internet law issues of the day - intellectual property, privacy, free speech, etc.
But the book, and Professor Lessig himself, is very philosophical and somewhat controversial. For example, in the interview I conducted with him, he said that intellectual property lawyers are hindering the potential of the Internet. But without strong intellectual property laws (and lawyers to enforce the laws), perhaps some pieces of cyberspace would never have been created. While Tim Berners-Lee - the "creator" of the World Wide Web - may be exceptional for creating something without expecting financial gain, many people are motivated by the rewards they can obtain by their labors (software, web sites, graphics, writings, etc.). "Open source" and the law can co-exist, but only time will tell how peacefully.
WR: Thanks for your time.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 7. NET NEWS: Andreessen's Cloud Cover Lifted, It's independence day for XML, AltaVista Updates Search Engine, Hillary Hires an I-Builder, Keeping up with the dot-coms
>Andreessen's Cloud Cover Lifted
Loudcloud, the secretive company co-founded by browser wunderkind Marc Andreessen, will unveil plans Monday to become the infrastructure provider to thestars of business-to-business commerce. And the outsourcing continues. http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB20000207S0007 Techweb.com, Feb. 7, 2000
>It's independence day for XML
DataChannel and WebVision seek to put an end to DTD incompatibilities with two news products designed to eliminate potential conflicts between various XML naming schemes. http://www.zdnet.com/pcweek/stories/news/0,4153,2433302,00.html ZDNet.com, Feb. 7, 2000
>AltaVista Updates Search Engine
AltaVista Co. Monday enhanced its flagship search engine by adding audio, video and image-specific searches. The updated search engine includes a targeted MP3/audio search, video search and image search. http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,1087,3_300421,00.html InternetNews.com, Feb. 7, 2000
>Hillary Hires an I-Builder
Two days before the official launch of her U.S. Senate campaign, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has officially joined the Internet culture. Rodham Clinton relaunched her site with help from New York- based Internet strategy firm KPE. http://www.hillary2000.org http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/0,1151,9554,00.html The Industry Standard, Feb. 7, 2000
>Keeping up with the dot-coms
Fearing dot-coms will steal their workers, employers are offering generous raises to their employees to keep them in the fold. http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/cth290.htm USA Today, Feb. 7, 2000
That's it for this week, see you next time.
Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Cook Assistant Editor, WebReference.com email@example.com
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