Two legal decisions in a single post (getting more efficient here every day). First, comes the news that a judge has ruled that WhenU's pop-up ad software is legal, saying that it's up to the end user to decide how they use their computer. I agree. While the pop up ads may be annoying, as I said when this case was first launched, it doesn't appear to be illegal. The software is actively installed by the end user - meaning that they made the decision as to how they wanted to surf the internet. Now, if you accuse WhenU (and the more popular similar company Gator) of being misleading in installing spyware on computers, that might be a different story. However, from a basic legal standpoint, it's better that end-users have the right to use their own computers as they see fit than to have a judge say that a website can force you to look at their own ads. The second good legal decision of the day comes out of the Netherlands where they've decided that it's not illegal to post links to copyrighted materials and that ISPs should not be held responsible for their customers hosting copyrighted materials. This is the same issue that keeps coming up again and again in the courts, so it's good to see more rulings that recognize that hyperlinks are simply pointers and cannot, by themselves, be illegal. It's equally important that courts recognize that holding service providers responsible for the content their users post would destroy the entire point of the internet, and make it unusable.
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