Traverse Internet Law is an internet lawyer firm specializing in the law of the web. While many online legal commentators and online “internet lawyers” and “professors” are either biased, have an agenda to pursue, or simply do not understand the technical and business aspects of the web.  The firm represents both sides of disputes and at Traverse Internet Law we are often testing the arguments on both sides. This blog is about damages…damages that could flow from liability resulting from online activities. We give the same advice and guidance to plaintiffs and defendants. At Traverse Internet Law our focus is on balancing the competing and complex issues of doing business online.

Traverse Internet Law continues to monitor the Courts for decisions and judgments of legal import. A federal jury on Friday returned a judgment in favor of the Recording Industry Assocation of America against a Boston University graduate student for $675,000 for copying 30 songs. This is the second big judgment entered recently against copyright infringers of music online. Charles Neeson, lawyer for the defendant, had asked the jury to return a minimal judgment and send a message out to the music industry to stop pursuing these types of cases. The jury did not agree, and at Traverse Internet Law we continue to believe that the best approach when caught with infringing materials is to consider negotiating a resolution rather than risking both financial ruin (the defendant is threatening bankruptcy) and, just as importantly, reputational devastation from all the attendant publicity.

Traverse Internet Law‘s John W Dozier Jr, author of Google Bomb , a book about online defamation on your bookstore shelves September 1, 2009, reports that five former employees of a Guess Jeans founder have been awarded $370 Million by a Los Angeles jury for defamation related to comments contained in emails and other communications sent by the defendant, Georges Marciano. Mr. Marciano is currently running for California governor. Traverse  Internet Law will continue to monitor developments.

Traverse Internet Law reports that a South Carolina state court has awarded Scott Brandon $1.8 million in damages for defamation arising out of statements published on a Myrtle Beach based blog. Brandon, who is the head of an ad agency, sued in 2008 claiming that Wizeman was the author of Myrtle Beach Insider and that Wizeman had defamed him by publishing a June 2007 post calling him a “failed lawyer” and criticizing one of his ad agency’s campaigns. Traverse Internet Law reports on significant online defamation cases that lead to monetary judgments.

The $1.8 million award came after Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein assigned a “special referee” to determine damages and the court official, acting in place of the Judge, recommended an award to Brandon of $800,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000,000 in punitive damages.

Traverse Internet Law continues to see judgments in excess of $1 Million for online defamation and Mr. Dozier’s upcoming release date for the “Google Bomb” book detailing this incredibly complex area of law is set for release September 1, 2009.

Traverse Internet Law reported on its main blog portal that a federal jury in Texas has returned a $12.5 Million Judgment against conspirators involved in launching a “sucks site” against ORIX Capital Markets. The award was for $2.5 Million in compensatory damages and $10 Million in punitive damages.

Traverse Internet Law is a big proponent of using the conspiracy laws to hold all participating in mobosphere attacks responsible legally.

Traverse Internet Law runs into many web developer/client disputes. Oftentimes the problems are governed by the terms of the contract in place. However, Virginia has passed Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA), which requires web designers and developers to design, build and deliver a project “in accordance with industry standards and practices.”

A Virginia jury recently award $1,138,500 to Blue Line Media, Inc. against its web developer, Redmon Group, for violating this standard of care. At Traverse Internet Law we regularly counsel clients on how to establish appropriate performance standards and measurement benchmarks with an eye towards preventing a project failure.

Traverse Internet Law reports that a federal court in Northern California has awarded Verizon $50,000 per confusingly similar domain name registered by OnlineNIC, a registrar and the owner of the names. All 663 domain names sued upon were alleged to either be close misspellings of the Verizon name or contain the name itself. Verizon is part of a not for profit coaltion fonded last year that fights cybersquatting.

At Traverse Internet Law this case is helpful for those who push the envelope with domain name ownership. At $50,000 per domain name, which the Judge found to be a reasonable award, the practice of cybersquatting as a business strategy can get pretty costly.

Traverse Internet Law reports today that a self styled “free speech advocate” has been ordered to pay a Court judgment of $30,000, and the Ontario Court of Appeal added another $10,000 in legal costs in a decision confirming the award. The defendant had earlier reported that the Appeal Court judges were “snapping and confrontational” during his hearing earlier in the week. At trial, the Judge described the defendant’s defamatory attacks against the lawyer as a “steady diet of diatribe and insults, couched in half-truths and omissions…” and rejected a free speech and fair comment defense. The defendant posted on his “free speech” website that he is $17,500 behind in legal bills, and he is trying to raise money to pay his bills, the judgment, and/or appeal again to the Supreme Court. At Traverse Internet Law we are seeing a pronounced trend among the Courts to view claims of “free speech” with increasing skepticism in an apparent response to the realities of the impact of the veritable tidal wave of false and damaging online personal and business attacks.

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