Michael H. Sproule

Michael H. Sproule, a partner with the New York law firm of Akabas & Sproule, focuses his practice on intellectual property (particularly licensing, trademark and copyright practice) and corporate law. His experience includes work with both traditional and new economy clients in fields such as technology, the Internet, media and entertainment. A software programmer himself, Mike is interested in all aspects of technology and its impact on law and our society.



The Alter Ego Advantage: Why Nom de Guerre by Populus Reduces Online Vulnerability

Written on
September 29th 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

Everyone needs a nom de guerre. While we enjoy the ability to interact more directly with others, an increasingly connected world makes it harder to maintain a sphere of personal, protected space. We have become vulnerable to exposure in surprising ways illustrated by some recent events: • Users of AOL’s web search engine recently discovered that AOL publicly released their search histories. Released without any directly-identifying personal information, ... More...

Lies, More Lies, and Google

Written on
July 28th 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

An interesting case is winding its way through U.S. District Court in California. KinderStart is a search engine service aimed at young children. KinderStart has sued Google, alleging that Google has hurt KinderStart’s business by giving its website a low ranking in Google’s search results. KinderStart claims that Google is deliberately targeting it with a low ranking, because KinderStart is a Google competitor. KinderStart has recently suffered a set back in ... More...

Big Brother Wants You!

Written on
June 7th 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

The latest news from the Justice Department is Uncle Sam wants you! to enlist in the War against Terror. More accurately perhaps, the government wants your data, and if you don’t give it up voluntarily, then they’ll come get it. For law enforcement, our digital age is a double-edge sword. On the one hand, digital communication has made it easier to engage in a variety of criminal activities. Whether it’s terrorists ... More...

The Browser Hordes: Why Microsoft’s Search Engine Box Will Spark the Next Browser War

Written on
May 2nd 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

2006 will see the launch of a new war over web browsers or, more precisely, a war over a search-engine search box. For the first time, Microsoft will launch a browser, Internet Explorer 7, that incorporates a search box directly into the menu interface. Already, Microsoft, with its own MSN search service, and MSN’s rivals, Google and Yahoo!, have started to stake out positions to vie for control over the ... More...

Segregating Smut: How a Bill Isolating Adult Content Affects E-Marketing

Written on
March 28th 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

Two U.S. Senators have just introduced a new bill, the Cyber Safety for Kids Act, intended to protect children from harmful material. As with prior laws regulating adult content online, the new bill from Sen. Max Baucus and Sen. Mark Pryor raises interesting questions about the regulation of speech on the Internet. In fact the new act may be unconstitutional, but there may be good reason for the Internet industry ... More...

The Internet in the Public Interest

Written on
February 22nd 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

Major Internet service providers, America Online and Yahoo!, have announced plans to begin charging large volume emailers for the privilege of sending email to the service providers’ customers. Not surprisingly, the plans are controversial. There is something about the idea of charging for sending email, even spam that seems to run counter to the ethos of the Internet. Charging for email erects a barrier to access in a medium that from ... More...

Repeating History: Internet Marketing Laws and Outlaws

Written on
January 10th 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

Karl Marx is said to have once remarked, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” In the history of Internet marketing we’ve clearly arrived at the farcical stage of the game. Almost as soon as any new technology has arrived on the Internet, marketers have been quick to exploit it — often in unsavory of ways. Email led to spam. Cookies led to privacy-invasive consumer tracking. Downloadable software toolbars ... More...

Adware Kills People

Written on
January 4th 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

There’s new news in the struggle against spyware: The TRUSTe organization recently announced a new initiative directed at adware, called the Trusted Download Certification Program. By partnering with Yahoo!, AOL and others, TRUSTe aims to stamp out abusive adware practices, particularly the secretive installation of adware programs on users’ desktops. In simplest terms, the certification program is a set of best-practice guidelines for adware software. Software meeting the guidelines will be ... More...

The Erosion of Privacy: How to Protect Consumers from Big Brother

Written on
January 3rd 2006
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

The controversy of the day in Washington revolves around the White House ordering the National Security Agency to step up tapping of communications among persons and organizations suspected of involvement in attacks on the United States. Critics claim the tapping to be an unconstitutional violation of citizens’ protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, which will have an unconstitutional, chilling effect on free speech. The Administration argues the intercepts are a ... More...

What to Do About Click-Fraud?

Written on
December 1st 2005
Author
  |   Michael H. Sproule

A number of Internet search engines, including all the big ones, have recently been named defendants in class action suits, now pending in California and Arkansas, alleging that the search companies are profiting from “click-fraud.” With thousands of plaintiffs potentially involved in these suits, the search engines could now easily be facing the prospect of paying out huge damages. Click-fraud, as you know, is the fraudulent practice of clicking on Internet ... More...


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