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David Weslow Discusses Changes to Google’s Terms of Service

The Verge
October 18, 2013

David E. Weslow, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Intellectual Property Practice, was quoted by The Verge in an article about the backlash over changes to Google’s terms of service.

Last week, Google announced it will allow “shared endorsements” to be used for Facebook-like advertising of third parties, beginning on November 11.  While specific details about how “shared endorsements” will be used have not yet been made public, the article indicates that Google has received criticism over the implications of the new terms of service—to the point that Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) has requested the Federal Trade Commission investigate.

Mr. Weslow told The Verge he believes that the early nature of Google’s announcement indicates the Internet giant appears to be attempting to avoid claims from Internet users similar to those that were recently asserted against Facebook in a class action lawsuit.  “They’re offering everything Facebook allegedly didn’t,” Mr. Weslow said.  “They’ve got early notice, contractual basis, and the ability to opt-out.”

He added that the criticism that comes from changing terms of service is predictable for website and online service providers, if not inevitable.  It is a matter of “balancing the legal and the practical,” Mr. Weslow said.