Welcome to the May 2012 edition of ContractAlert from SEQ Legal.
26 May: cookie day
The much-derided "new" cookie laws will be subject to enforcement action from the ICO from 26 May. According to a report in The Register, the ICO has indicated that it probably won't be pursuing site owners whose cookies are not intrusive and pose no real risk of harm, at least not as a priority. Separately, the ICC UK has issued its own report on cookie compliance, which takes a relatively relaxed approach to consent.
Overhaul of defamation laws
A new Defamation Bill has been published, embodying the government's plans to reform the law of defamation. The Bill includes provision codifying the key common law defences, restricting libel tourism and introducing a new defence for website operators. See this quick summary of the website defence from the SCL.
ECJ ruling on software copyright
The ECJ has confirmed that "neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions" are protected by copyright. The judgment itself is slightly puzzling - unclear, to my mind, on the question of where unprotected programming languages end and protectable libraries etc begin.
Video games ratings
Out-law reports on a new age rating system for video games, due to come into force in July. There will be a legally enforceable "age-12" rating. The Video Standards Council will be responsible for rating most games, with the British Board of Film Classification taking responsibility for games with explicit sexual content.
Free (but still great) legal guidance
Over the past couple of months I have been testing a free legal question and answer system. So far, I've been answering all the questions myself, but within the next few weeks more than dozen fantastic lawyers from four different firms will be available to answer your questions. Areas of law currently covered include IT/internet law, IP and media law, commercial law and employment law. Shortly, it will also cover corporate law, commercial property law and litigation.
The following SEQ Legal templates have been updated since the last edition of ContractAlert (22 March 2012);
- Web Hosting Agreement (standard)
- Web Hosting Terms (standard)
The changes are general drafting refinements, i.e. not changes necessitated by legal developments. If you purchased either of these templates in the last 12 months, you're entitled to a free upgrade.