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EU green-lights 'copyright land grab' law on orphan work

EU ministers backed new laws to allow libraries, museums and universities - among other organisations - to digitise works that have become "orphaned" from their creators. The Council of Minister's formal adoption of the EU's Directive on orphan works [29-page 154KB PDF] means that member states will now have to implement the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Oct 2012
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Google Wallet: Rub our button, cough 15p for quick read

A new scheme launched by Google is allowing internet users to pay to access content on individual pages on websites. The internet giant has partnered with a select number of publishers – including Oxford University Press and Peachpit – to enable users of its 'Google Wallet' mobile payment system to buy content from individual …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Oct 2012
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Privacy guardian wants one EU rulebook on ID databases

Organisations tasked with certifying systems individuals use for inputting personally identifying information should have to abide by a "common set of security requirements", an EU privacy body has said. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) recommended that 'trust service providers', and those that issue individuals …
OUT-LAW.COM, 04 Oct 2012
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HMRC: Moving our data to the cloud will make it MORE secure

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to move data it currently stores in local offices to a new centralised government cloud computing depository in a move it says will save it £1m a year and improve on the security of its IT services. HMRC said it had signed a contract with Skyscape Cloud Services to enable it to store data in the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 03 Oct 2012
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Draft UK libel law forces websites to axe mudslinging comments

Courts would have the power to order website operators to remove comments that have already been ruled to be defamatory even if those website operators did not post the comments themselves, according to the latest revisions to the Defamation Bill. Under the Bill people who have been allegedly defamed would be able to bring an …
OUT-LAW.COM, 28 Sep 2012
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Got a data security policy? Chances are your IT bods don't know it

Advisory firm Forrester Research questioned 2,383 IT workers from five countries for a report called Understand The State Of Data Security And Privacy: 2012 To 2013, but only 56 per cent of those surveyed in North America and Europe said that they were aware of their employers' current data security policies, according to a …
OUT-LAW.COM, 27 Sep 2012
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7 English cities grab £12m for 'cash back' Green Deals

Seven English cities will receive a share of a £12m funding package to allow them to support and test the launch of the government's flagship Green Deal programme in their regions, the energy secretary has announced. Edward Davey said that the funding would enable the cities, each of which received devolved growth powers as part …
OUT-LAW.COM, 25 Sep 2012
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Scottish islanders' wave power hopes sunk by 'massive costs'

The "massive costs" faced by developers in Scotland's first Marine Energy Park to connect their wave and tidal projects to the grid could potentially hold back investment, an industry body has warned. Speaking as the Marine Energy Conference begins in Inverness, Niall Stuart of Scottish Renewables said that despite an …
OUT-LAW.COM, 24 Sep 2012
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'People will give you their data if you don't do nobbish things with it!'

Businesses stand to benefit if they grant consumers more control over how their personal data is used, a policy think-tank has said. Demos said that consumers are suffering a "crisis of confidence" in relation to information sharing, and that businesses stand to enjoy a "significant advantage" over others if they have "open, …
OUT-LAW.COM, 20 Sep 2012
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Euro watchdog: We need ONE definition of 'illegal content' across EU

The European Commission should define what is meant by "illegal content" in order enable content 'hosts' to better understand what responsibilities they have to remove or disable access to such material, an EU privacy watchdog has said. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Peter Hustinx said that hosting service …
OUT-LAW.COM, 19 Sep 2012
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Twitter to UK.gov: Web super-snoop law will trample twits' rights

Twitter has said that government plans to increase the UK intelligence services' communications surveillance capabilities could cause it to breach the privacy rights of individuals based elsewhere in the world. The micro-blogging company said that complying with the requirements set out in the government's draft Communications …
OUT-LAW.COM, 18 Sep 2012
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Experts: What ICO should know BEFORE your private info ends up in a skip

The view of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) that businesses do not require individuals' "explicit consent" in order to contract others to process their sensitive personal data is in contrast with the wording of data protection law, according to two experts. A spokesperson for the UK's data protection watchdog told …
OUT-LAW.COM, 17 Sep 2012
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Worker dumps council staff's private data in supermarket skip

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) deemed that Scottish Borders Council had been guilty of a serious breach of the Data Protection Act. The watchdog said the organisation had failed to manage the outsourcing of the personal data processing properly. The Council had arranged for a man, known only as 'GS', to "digitise" …
OUT-LAW.COM, 14 Sep 2012
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Osborne hands £80m tax break to punters drilling in 'old' oil, gas fields

A new tax break for operators of older "brown field" oil and gas fields in the North Sea shows that the government understands their continuing importance to the wider economy, an energy expert has said. Tom Cartwright of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that measures announced by the Chancellor of the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 13 Sep 2012
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ICO sets cookie-law flouters deadline - to open an HTML editor

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has set some website operators a deadline to begin efforts to comply with UK regulations that set out rules for the use of cookies. Dave Evans, the ICO's group manager for business and industry, said that some website operators had failed to "engage" with the watchdog about their use …
OUT-LAW.COM, 12 Sep 2012

Want to avoid another cookie law mess? Talk to EU bods next time

UK businesses should actively involve themselves in the debate over changes to EU law if they want to avoid problems stemming from the way those laws are drafted, an expert has advised. Technology law specialist Luke Scanlon of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that businesses can help law makers avoid …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Sep 2012
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Game devs beg UK taxman: Can we pay 30% less?

Companies involved in making video games in the UK should receive a tax break worth 30 per cent of what they owe, a trade association has said. TIGA, whose members include developers and technology firms involved in the UK video gaming industry, said a new Games Tax Relief (GTR) should be available to firms that incur costs …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Sep 2012
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Ulster Bank waves £100 at punters pummelled by RBS IT fiasco

Small businesses and personal customers that were affected by IT problems experienced by Ulster Bank can claim up to £100 in expenses incurred as a result of the problems under plans outlined by the bank. In June RBS Group announced that a "large number" of its NatWest and Ulster Bank customers, and some RBS customers, had been …
OUT-LAW.COM, 04 Sep 2012
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TripAdvisor didn't defame hotel by putting it on 'top 10 dirtiest' list

Website operators that base their rankings of goods or services on the "unverified" views of online users cannot be sued for defamation, a US judge has said. US district court judge Thomas Phillips said that although such systems may contain errors and not provide for good evaluation, they could not be labelled as defamatory. …
OUT-LAW.COM, 03 Sep 2012
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O2 looses legal torpedo at Everything Everywhere 4G monopoly

Mobile phone operator O2 will appeal against Ofcom's decision to allow a rival firm to launch superfast broadband services later this year using its existing network capabilities, according to media reports. O2 has written to the telecoms regulator to announce its intention to appeal Ofcom's decision to the Competition Appeals …
OUT-LAW.COM, 31 Aug 2012
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E-criminals nicked £205m from UK retailers last year

Online fraud and other 'e-crimes' have cost British retailers operating over the internet at least £205m in a year according to the first comprehensive study of the make-up and scale of crimes affecting e-commerce. According to figures (8-page / 590KB PDF) published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the direct and indirect …
OUT-LAW.COM, 24 Aug 2012
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Hunt vows: 'UK will have fastest broadband in Europe by 2015'

The government's pledge to provide countrywide broadband access by 2015 has received another boost from the Culture Secretary, who has promised the "fastest broadband of any major European country". In a speech at Google's Campus in East London, Jeremy Hunt said that speed was the most important aspect of the government's …
OUT-LAW.COM, 23 Aug 2012
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Facebook ordered to unmask anonymous trolls by beak

Facebook was given 24 hours to supply a court in Northern Ireland with the email addresses of account holders who used the site to post abusive messages about a Belfast company, according to press reports. Three staff members from the unnamed company have been targeted by messages on the site over a period of several months, the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 22 Aug 2012
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ICO has yet to begin probing cookie violators

UPDATED According to a freedom of information (FOI) request submitted by PC Pro magazine, 320 websites have been reported to the privacy watchdog through its online submission tool since a year's 'grace period' ended on 26 May. However, none of those sites have been investigated. "At present the information has not yet been analysed as …
OUT-LAW.COM, 21 Aug 2012
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Ready to patent that 'new' invention? Google is here to dash your hopes

The technology giant has created a new 'Prior Art Finder' which enables users to search "multiple sources" in order to review whether ideas they hope to patent are in fact novel. The tool, which "instantly pulls together information relevant" to patent applications, will enable inventors to review documents submitted with both …
OUT-LAW.COM, 17 Aug 2012
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Bitcoinica sued for $460,000 by 'out-of-pocket' punters

The operators of a website that earlier this year reported that a hacker had stolen units of virtual currency worth hundreds of thousands of pounds are being sued by four users that claim to be owed more than $460,000. According to documents submitted to a US court, four users of the Bitcoinica website have sued those involved …
OUT-LAW.COM, 16 Aug 2012
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Don't get sued or cuffed on Twitter: Read these top 10 pitfalls

Debates in Parliament, home visits from the police and distressed celebrities have all left tweeters a little unsure as to what is and what is not acceptable by law on Twitter. The list of those offending and those offended keeps growing with recent high profile reports referring to Louise Mensch, Tom Daley, Guy Adams, Steve …
OUT-LAW.COM, 13 Aug 2012
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Biz bosses 'to save £400m' as UK.gov axes green red-tape

More than 100 energy and climate change regulations are to be scrapped or improved in a bid to cut "red tape" for businesses, the government has announced. Energy Minister Charles Hendry said that, following a review, 86 regulations would be dropped completely while a further 48 regimes would be "improved". The full package of …
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Aug 2012
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Banking IT cowboys 'need whipping into shape by watchdog'

The technology underpinning the UK's financial services sector needs urgent investment if regulators are to be able to spot potential abuses and prevent future financial crises, an influential report has claimed. Intellect, the trade association for the UK technology sector, said in its report (62-page/5MB PDF) that banks should …
OUT-LAW.COM, 09 Aug 2012
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French minister: 3 strikes anti-piracy rule a 'waste of money'

The future of France's controversial "three strikes" copyright anti-infringement rule appears to have been called into question after the country's new culture minister branded the regime "expensive" and said that it had "not fulfilled its mission". In an interview with French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Aurélie Filippetti …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Aug 2012
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Using copyright to avoid Freedom of Info law? Ha, ha, NICE try!

Public bodies that disclose copyright-protected information in order to comply with a request under freedom of information (FOI) laws are not guilty of copyright infringement, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said. Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) states that public bodies must not disclose …
OUT-LAW.COM, 07 Aug 2012
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Watchdog sets rules on ad-slinging in vid-streaming services

Media companies that provide video-on-demand (VOD) services are responsible for ensuring compliance with VOD advertising rules when advertising appears as a direct result of a user choosing to view VOD programmes, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has said. Those media service providers are not responsible for …
OUT-LAW.COM, 06 Aug 2012
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Storing punters' till receipts? UK.gov wants you to hand it over

Businesses that electronically store personal data about consumers may be required to make some of that information available to those individuals "in a machine readable format" if plans under consideration by the government are followed through. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is consulting on whether …
OUT-LAW.COM, 03 Aug 2012
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British Gas parent to grab £500m North Sea gas tax break

The government has announced a new tax relief for operators of shallow-water gas fields in the UK Continental Shelf, ahead of its planned long-term gas strategy to be published this autumn. Its new £500m field allowance would, the government said, secure future investment in North Sea gas and create jobs. Centrica, the parent …
OUT-LAW.COM, 02 Aug 2012
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BT charged rivals 'unjustified' prices to use network – Appeals Court

The prices that BT charged rivals to access parts of its network to provide services to their subscribers were not justified, the Court of Appeal has ruled. The Court rejected claims by BT that the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) had not acted in accordance with EU telecoms laws when it considered whether what it had charged …
OUT-LAW.COM, 01 Aug 2012
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Sellers flogging vid games to underage kids face jail, unlimited fine

Traders which supply video games without displaying the age rating could face two years in jail and an unlimited fine. Under the new regime, effective from yesterday and introduced by the Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012, the Video Standards Council (VSC) will take over responsibility for regulation of most video …
OUT-LAW.COM, 31 Jul 2012
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Cloudy punters can't rely on 'certified' CSPs for data protection

A new online platform that enables prospective users of cloud computing services to assess the security features of registered cloud providers is to be welcomed, the UK's data protection watchdog has said. Amazon has become the latest cloud provider to publish details (42-page/475KB PDF) of how it ensures the security of …
OUT-LAW.COM, 30 Jul 2012
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UK ISPs promise punters 'full' and 'open' internet 'access'

A number of UK internet service providers (ISPs) have signed up to a voluntary code of practice that generally requires them to ensure that they are offering "full and open internet access" to their customers. BT, BSkyB, O2 and TalkTalk are among 10 ISPs to commit to the Open Internet Code of Practice (9-page / 52KB PDF). …
OUT-LAW.COM, 26 Jul 2012
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Commission to Euro biz: Show us your breaches

EU businesses could be required to flag up any breaches of their "network and information systems" under a new "strategic" action plan to combat cyber security problems across the trading bloc. The European Commission is planning to draft new laws on cyber security that could introduce a requirement for businesses to report when …
OUT-LAW.COM, 25 Jul 2012
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France: Forcing Google to police YouTube is a non-non

Google does not have to proactively remove copyright infringing content that has been re-posted on YouTube because such a measure would breach EU law, France's highest court has ruled. The Court of Cassation said it would be "disproportionate to the aim pursued" for Google to prevent online postings of infringing videos from …
OUT-LAW.COM, 24 Jul 2012
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Gov must act on 'innocent' web-browsing copyright timebomb

The government should legislate rather than wait for the UK or the European courts to rule on whether internet users have to pay to browse websites, a UK media monitoring business has said. James Mackenzie, commercial director of Cutbot, told Out-Law.com that businesses and internet users could both suffer if the government …
OUT-LAW.COM, 23 Jul 2012
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Expert: EU Microsoft competition fine could reach $7bn

Microsoft could face a fine of up to $7bn (£4.49bn) if EU competition regulators find that the company failed to comply with a "critical remedy" it agreed to implement in 2009 to alleviate concerns that it was acting anti-competitively, an expert has said. The European Commission has opened an investigation into whether …
OUT-LAW.COM, 19 Jul 2012

UK's tax-funded boffinry to be published FREE for all

Analysis Universities will be provided with funding to ensure that their academics' research papers are made more widely available, the government has said. The government broadly backed recommendations contained in a report by the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings in its policy aimed at supporting 'open …
OUT-LAW.COM, 18 Jul 2012
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Gambling site's 'no strings attached' offer had strings attached

The UK's advertising watchdog has banned an online betting advert for free bets because the company behind it did not make clear that users needed to accumulate certain winnings before the money could be withdrawn. The advert for online casino 888.com contained information that was not properly qualified and omitted details …
OUT-LAW.COM, 13 Jul 2012
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Expert: BA doesn't need permission to google your face

British Airways (BA) may not need passengers' consent in order to identify them using images available on the internet, an expert has said. Data protection law specialist Danielle van der Merwe of Pinsent Masons (the law firm behind Out-Law.com), said that the company could argue that it is in its legitimate interests to process …
OUT-LAW.COM, 12 Jul 2012
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Watch out, Apple: HTC ruling could hurt your patent income

Apple may review its patent licensing and enforcement strategy in light of a ruling by the UK's High Court last week, an expert has said. On 4 July the High Court ruled that three European patents that Apple sought to rely on in legal proceedings against HTC were invalid and that the Taiwanese device manufacturer had not been …
OUT-LAW.COM, 11 Jul 2012
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Gov: How can renewable power peddlers take on UK's Big 6?

The government is seeking views on how it can reduce the barriers to entry in the electricity market for smaller renewable energy generators. The call for evidence follows reports that these companies are finding it harder to obtain guarantees that companies will purchase their power. The government has published a call for …
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Jul 2012
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ISP CAN cut off pirates with 'three strike' rule, says Irish beak

Four music record companies have won a court order in Ireland overturning a ban placed on an anti-piracy policy operated by the country's largest internet service provider (ISP). In December last year Ireland's data protection watchdog had issued an enforcement notice banning Eircom from operating its 'three strikes' system. The …
OUT-LAW.COM, 03 Jul 2012
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Gah! EU data protection will STIFLE business, moans gov.UK

The European Commission has not calculated the full costs to businesses of changes to the EU data protection regime, the Government has said. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said that the Commission's assessment on the impact its draft General Data Protection Regulation would have on businesses does "not properly quantify the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 02 Jul 2012
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No need to comply with data laws if it's too difficult - EU ministers

Organisations will not have to abide by data protection laws if it would be too difficult, time-consuming and use up too many important resources to check whether information they hold is personally identifiable, the EU's Council of Ministers has proposed. The Council has outlined some revisions (112-page/575KB PDF) to the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 28 Jun 2012