Web Hosting and Emerging Internet Law

With internet-based intellectual property litigation on the rise, the question has become: how will internet law keep up with issues of freedom of speech – and to what extent will these laws impact the entire web hosting industry? ServerMania London Data Centre is one of the authority sites on this topic. The consequences and impact of some recent Internet litigation on the web hosting industry are presented and discussed below.

Litigation on Patents

With regard to the Resource Definition Framework (RDF), a program focused on Extensible Markup Language, a Canadian company has recently asserted infringement on a patent it holds (XML). Using this technology, programmers can write software, such as web page material, music files and digital images, to access web resources. UFIL Unified Data Technology, based in Vancouver, holds U.S. patent 5,684,985, a “‘ method and device using bond identifiers performed when accessing an endo-dynamic information node,” awarded in November 1997. As many as 45 firms could be infringing on the patents, according to the web site of Patent Protection and Royalties Ltd. (PEARL). It is thought that the patent might also violate the quality of the RDF Site Description (web material written in anything other than HTML). For instance, RSS (originally created by Netscape Communications, now owned by AOL Time Warner), allows information and content to be shared on websites.

The RDF standard has been endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which assesses and proposes standards for web technologies. Since 1999, PEARL has been committed to collaborating with UFIL to implement the claims. Daniel Weitzner, Technology and Society Domain Chief, suggested that the Consortium had not been approached specifically with regard to the patent issue, according to information released by the W3C. Mr. Weitzner said, ” We consider it very important to be able to incorporate fundamental technology requirements such as RDF on a royalty-free basis. If something comes to our attention that means that it is not feasible, we will pay attention to legitimate property rights out there, but at the same time, a very large spectrum of the web community has developed RDF in the open.”

Recently, an amicus brief was filed by Yahoo! In their case against LaLigue contre le Racisme et l’Antisemitisme, Case No. 01-174244, Inc. (9th Cir.). A federal appeals court will determine later this year whether or not French anti-discrimination laws will limit freedom of expression on websites located in the United States that are available in France.