If you are a trademark owner, and you find that someone else has registered a domain name identical or confusingly similar to your own trademark, you may consider filing a domain name dispute before a special arbitration centre (or before a regular court). Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for domain name disputes UDRP (short for Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy) is the adequate dispute resolution scheme for the so-called “generic top-level domains” (gTLDs). These domains include the following domains: .aero, .asia, .biz, .cat, .com, .coop, .info, .jobs, .mobi, .museum, .name, .net, .org, .post, .pro, .tel, and .travel. Under the UDRP...
In this article, I summarize how you can recover a .eu domain name. A .eu domain name can be challenged either via a specific ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) procedure or in a regular court. ADR procedure for .eu domain name disputes In practice, most people choose for the ADR procedure, because of its effectiveness and its speed. Also, the ADR procedure is relatively cheap when compared to a regular court procedure. An ADR procedure may especially be appropriate in case of speculative and abusive registrations of .eu domain names. Czech Arbitration Court (CAC) for .eu domain name disputes ADR disputes about .eu domain names are handled by the...
Under E.U. law, personal data can only be gathered under strict conditions. Those who collect and manage personal information are bound by a duty to protect it from misuse and to respect certain rights of the data owners. The EU Data Protection Directive of 1995 (Directive 95/46/EC) established specific rules for the transfer of personal data, both inside and outside the EU. However, since the draft of the 1995 rules, a vast range of technological developments have seen the light. It is now commonly recognized that the current data protection principles are in need of an urgent update. Also, differences in implementation of the rules in the EU member states have given rise to...
In this article, I summarize the different ways to recover a Belgian “.be” internet domain name. In Belgium, there are two ways to recover a domain name that is registered by someone else. The first way is the “alternative dispute resolution” (“ADR”) service provided by Cepani (for .be domain names) or ICANN (for .com, .net and .org domain names). The second way is through the Belgian Courts (for .be domain names and for other domain names if registered by persons with a residence or an establishment in Belgium). For the purpose of this article, only action through Cepani’s dispute resolution service and the Belgian Courts is reviewed (I will treat the ICANN...
The basic rules on freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Belgium are enshrined in the Belgian Constitution. The majority of Belgian media-related legislation concerns audiovisual media, rather than the written press or the internet. The rules on audiovisual media are passed by the Community Parliaments (i.e. mainly the Flemish Parliament and the Parliament of the French Community). The Federal Belgian Parliament is responsible for indirect state subsidies, copyright legislation and telecommunications policy (including satellite reception and terrestrial networks). The protection of freedom of expression and freedom of the press under the Belgian Constitution Below...
Indirect subsidies for Belgian media Indirect state aid for Belgian media comes mostly from the federal Belgian government. Examples are a zero VAT tariff for newspapers; reduced postal tariffs for newspapers; amounts spent on government advertisements (though these are not only federal); free train and bus tickets for journalists; etc. Direct financial state support through public advertisements is an important source of revenue for some media outlets. The figures for indirect state aid are larger than those for direct state aid, but there is a lack of transparency with regard to these figures. Indirect state aid is believed to amount to a total of 353 million Euros per year in...
This article published in the Belgian law review 'Auteurs & Media' (in French) discusses a court case in Belgium where the administrator of a discussion forum on the internet was sued because of the presence of allegedly libelous or defamatory messages on the forum. The author of the article comments on the decision rendered by the Court of First Instance of Antwerp in three times. The first issue addressed by the court was the question whether the administrator could invoke the exonerations from liability provided by Belgian (and EU) law, given the fact that the forum was a free (non-paying) forum. The judge also had to decide on the correct legal qualification of the activities of an...
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sent several letters to search engine companies (such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, Ask.com, Bing, Blekko and DuckDuckGo) asking them to better distinguish between advertising and natural search results. The FTC notes that in recent years, it has become less easy for searchers to identify paid search results as advertising. This is especially the case with advertisements located immediately above the natural search results (‘top ads’). Half of searchers do not recognize ‘top ads’ According to a recent survey quoted by the FTC, nearly half of the internet searchers fail to recognize ‘top ads’ as distinct from natural search results. These...
Les initiatives législatives adoptées au début des années 2000 pour régler la question de la responsabilité des intermédiaires de l’Internet n’ont pas pu anticiper l’évolution constante de la société de l’information. Aujourd’hui, un grand nombre de prestataires de services sur Internet sont confrontés à l’incertitude qui plane quant à leur responsabilité à l’égard d’informations qu’ils ne produisent pas eux-mêmes. La première question examinée dans cet article porte sur la qualification des activités d’un gestionnaire d’un forum de discussion : s’agit-il d’activités d’hébergement, de simple transport ou bien d’édition ? Enfin, il revient au juge de trancher la...
This week, France made an impressive U-turn on the way it handles P2P piracy on the internet. In a decree of 8 July 2013, the French government overturned the provision in the Intellectual Property Code that allowed a court to suspend one's internet access in case of illegal downloading of copyrighted works (more precisely, in the case of "négligence caractérisée" - see below). Under the new law, those accused by the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet (Hadopi) of illegal downloading, will no longer risk losing their internet access. The new system shifts the focus to imposing fines rather than disconnecting people from the...
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