Airbnb sued for birdhouse marketing campaign

Airbnb rival HomeAway has filed suit against the peer-to-peer housing rental startup, saying a recent birdhouse campaign was an attempt to confuse consumers.

HomeAway, which sports a birdhouse as its company logo, alleged that Airbnb's birdhouse marketing campaign -- the display of 50 custom-made birdhouses depicting popular Airbnb rental properties -- is trademark infringement, travel site Skiff reported Friday. While Airbnb does peer-to-peer vacation rentals, HomeAway is a traditional online vacation rental service.

Airbnb didn't comment on the suit specifically, but said in a statement to CNET that the marketing campaign, titled "Every Traveler Deserves a Home,&… Read more

Judge: NSA phone surveillance is legal and a 'vital tool'

A US district judge on Friday dismissed the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit against the government's top spy agency, ruling that bulk collection of telephony metadata by the NSA is lawful.

In June, the ACLU filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of phone records, arguing that the practice violates Americans' First and Fourth Amendment rights. The ACLU sought a preliminary injunction to stop the government's phone-surveillance program and to have all of the collected data deleted.

In his ruling Friday in ACLU vs. James R. Clapper, US District Judge … Read more

Judge: Facebook lawsuit over botched IPO can go on

The saga over Facebook's bungled initial public offering in May 2012 continues. US District Judge Robert Sweet has ruled the lawsuit can continue -- despite Facebook and bankers' intentions to get it thrown out, according to Reuters.

The social network became embroiled in this extensive legal battle shortly after its $16 billion IPO last May. The company's stock opened on the Nasdaq priced at $38 a share and, aside from a slight uptick right at the start, proceeded to plummet in the days and weeks following.

Dozens of shareholders sued Facebook claiming it failed to disclose in the … Read more

Google deepens involvement in open-source patent effort

Expanding its involvement in an open-source legal defense effort, Google has joined the board of the Open Invention Network, an organization that cross-licenses patents to try to reduce the risk of lawsuits against those using Linux and another open-source software projects.

Google previously was an Open Invention Network associate member but now joins Sony, Red Hat, Novell, IBM, Phillips, and NEC with the higher level of involvement.

"Linux now powers nearly all the world's supercomputers, runs the International Space Station, and forms the core of Android. But as open source has proliferated, so have the threats against it, … Read more

Aereo to broadcasters: Supreme Court? Bring it on

Aereo on Thursday said it will not oppose broadcast television companies' petition for the US Supreme Court to rule on the legality of the online service that streams over-the-air programming.

"While the law is clear and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and two different federal courts have ruled in favor of Aereo, broadcasters appear determined to keep litigating the same issues against Aereo in every jurisdiction that we enter," Chief Executive Chet Kanojia said in a statement. "We want this resolved on the merits rather than through a wasteful war of attrition."

Television broadcasters in … Read more

Judge dismisses Samsung suit seeking to ban iPhone 4 sales

Apple's older iPhones and iPads will still be allowed for sale in South Korea.

A judge for the Seoul Central District Court dismissed a lawsuit on Wednesday that was brought by Samsung and aimed to ban sales of Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad 2, according to Reuters. Samsung's claim was for more than $95,000 in damages.

"We are disappointed by the court's decision," a Samsung spokesperson told CNET. "As Apple has continued to infringe our patented mobile technologies, we will continue to take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights.&… Read more

Hotfile forks over $80 million to settle MPAA copyright suit

Another digital locker appears to be on the verge of biting the dust.

Hotfile agreed on Tuesday to pay $80 million to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the Motion Picture Association of America. It was also ordered to cease all operations unless it instituted "digital fingerprinting" copyright filtering technology.

Hotfile is an uber-popular cyberlocker reportedly operated by Florida resident Anton Titov. The site made a business out of offering digital file storage and letting users swap files. The MPAA has alleged that Hotfile was "one of the 100 most trafficked sites in the world."… Read more

Tech sector hiring more women, data shows... or is it?

Though women's battle for equal pay rages on (thanks Batgirl; see the video below), a new government study suggests tech companies are seeing past gender bias and hiring more women than men.

According to, which reported on data out this week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 60,000 new jobs in the tech industry, 60 percent of the positions went to women.

"Companies have been focusing on getting more women into technology for a long time," Shravan Goli, president of Dice, said. "This year those efforts appear to be paying off … Read more

Snapchat CEO: Classmate may deserve something for the idea

Snapchat is battling a lawsuit from a self-dubbed co-founder who wants part of the company, and a comment from CEO Evan Spiegel may have given him some ammunition.

In the suit filed in February of 2013, Reggie Brown claims that he was the third co-founder of Snapchat and that fellow co-founders Spiegel and Bobby Murphy cut him out of any stake in the company. As related by Business Insider, Brown testified in an April deposition that he came up with the idea for an app that deletes photo messages and told Spiegel about it.

In response, Spiegel called it a &… Read more

Judge dismisses authors' case against Google Books

A federal judge has dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit that an author group brought against Google, concluding that books are like Web pages when it comes to indexing them and displaying small excerpts in search results.

The Google Books project has indexed millions of books, digitizing them without copyright holders' permission, and the Authors Guild sued over the fact. But U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in New York rejected that argument, granting on Thursday Google's motion for summary judgment.

See below for a copy of the full opinion.

He agreed with Google's assertion that showing "snippets&… Read more