With Internetbased intellectual property issues, the issue has become: how will Internet law adhere to freedom of expression and to what extent will these laws affect the web hosting industry as a whole? The conflicts of some new Internet litigation, and its impact on the hosting industry, are presented and reviewed below.
Recently, a Canadian company has committed a violation of a patent that it possesses with respect to the Resource Description Framework RDF, an Extensible Markup Language XML software. With this technology, programmers can write software to access web resources, such as webpage content, music files and digital photos. Vancouverbased UFIL Unified Data Technologies, holds U.S. Patent 5,684,985, a method and apparatus utilizing binding identifiers executed upon access of an endodynamic information node, granted in November 1997. According to the claims and royalty Ltd. PEARL website, as many as 45 companies can breach the patents. It is assumed that the patent may also violate the RDF Site Summary standard web content written in something other than HTML. For example, RSS originally developed by Netscape Communications, now owned by AOL Time Warner allows websites to exchange information and content.
The World Wide Web Consortium W3C, which evaluates and recommends standards for web technology, has approved the RDF standard. PEARL has been committed to working with UFIL to enforce claims since 1999. According to information from W3C, Daniel Weitzner, Technology and Society leader Domain indicated that the consortium had not been contacted directly about the patent issue. Weitzner said: We think it is quite important that basic technical specifications such as RDF can be implemented on a royaltyfree basis. If something comes to our attention that indicates that this is not possible, we will pay attention to legitimate ownership there, but at the same time, RDF was developed openly by a wide range of web communities. Freedom to Speech Problems
An amicus card was filed recently by Yahoo !, Inc., in his trial against LaLigue Contre le Racisme et AntiSemitism, Case No. 0117424 9th Cir.. Later this year, a federal prosecutors court will decide whether French antidiscrimination legislation can limit freedom of expression on USbased websites available in France.
In 2000, a court in Paris ruled that Yahoo! The site was violated French right because the users offered some Nazi artifacts for sale. In order to enforce the order, French plaintiffs must seek enforcement from a US court. In response to Yahoo! sought a declaratory verdict and a federal district court argued that the execution of the French scheme would violate the first amendment. The case is now on appeal. Yahoo! The case raises the question of whether the Internet should be governed by myriad local censorship laws from around the world. US courts have agreed that the Internet should get the highest degree of First Amendment protection. Web.coms patent and intellectual property rights with hosting company Hostopia
In July 2006, Atlantabased web hosting, managed email, ecommerce and online business applications giant, Web.com,
entered into a nonexclusive license agreement with hosting company Hostopia.com Inc., which gives Hostopia the right to two of Web.coms patents for five years, on a nontransferable basis. Web.coms portfolio of 19 registered and many ongoing US patents relates to several core technologies that are crucial to the web hosting industry.
Licensed patents generally include web development and web hosting control panels. Under the agreement, Hostopia will pay Web.com a royalty equivalent to 10% of its gross US retail revenues for five years. In addition, the companies have entered into a crosslicensing agreement where Web.com was granted rights to thousands of HTML and FLASH site maps and a license for additional intellectual property rights in the future at no additional cost. The companies have also agreed on a mutual association not to sue for patent infringement.
Spokesmen for Web.com had this to say regarding the license agreement with Hostopia.